Maybe Mcluhan is right and the medium is the massage, subtly working us over and restructuring the personality. Do the vaguely flickering illusions of TV, like a kind of electronic LSD, transform forever the psychic orientation of those who take too many trips in front of the living-room set? How otherwise explain the actions of a man like myself who, after solemnly taking leave of the U.S. television scene and giving unanswerable reasons why he should do so, voluntarily returns a year later?
Rationalizations are easy to make, but only half convincing. I might, for instance, argue that since unavoidable circumstances compel me to watch more television than any normally sane and decent man would choose to, I might as well assuage guilt and self-disgust by turning the ambiguous pleasure into work. But casual viewing, the set turned firmly off during the more arid or putrid stretches of the weekly schedule, is one thing; systematic study, in which The Newlywed Game (ABC) and Bell Telephone Hour (NBC) are equally grist for the mill, suggests more dubious motives which one hardly dares to probe. In any case, it is now too late for introspection. A new season compels attention.
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