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Four arguments for the elimination of television (original 1978; edition 1978)

by Jerry Mander

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600316,314 (3.83)9
Member:TerenceKempMcKenna
Title:Four arguments for the elimination of television
Authors:Jerry Mander
Info:New York : Morrow Quill Paperbacks, 1978.
Collections:McKenna's Library
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Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander (1978)

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There are books that are outdated yet still relevant; Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, however, isn't one of them. The author can't be blamed for a book about technology becoming outdated after 35 years, but by founding a significant part of his argument on the then-present state of television technology, it is for no better reason than his own shortsightedness that his book is now irrelevant. Add to this a curious mixture of pseudoscience and anti-scientific sentiment (except where science seems to confirm the author's theory, of course), a touch of emotive hyperbole (television = political autocracy); and some particularly fine examples of both erroneous reasoning and intellectual dishonesty, and you have a book that not only misleads but annoys as well.

I really do try to keep my reviews balanced, but I have very little to add to the 'positive' side of the scales here. If I were to summarise my thoughts in one point, it would be that one gets the impression that the argument is very much a product of the conclusion. I don't doubt the sincerity of the author's belief, but the validity of the argument is questionable to say the least.
  PickledOnion42 | Feb 19, 2013 |
A most insightful and brilliant perspective on television, media and human consciousness. You'll never look at television the same after reading this book. ( )
  PurpleV | Jul 14, 2008 |
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This book is dedicated to my parents, Eva Mander and Harry Mander
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If this book has any basis in "authority," it lies in the fifteen years I worked as a public relations and advertising executive.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0688082742, Paperback)

A total departure from previous writing about television, this book is the first ever to advocate that the medium is not reformable. Its problems are inherent in the technology itself and are so dangerous -- to personal health and sanity, to the environment, and to democratic processes -- that TV ought to be eliminated forever.

Weaving personal experiences through meticulous research, the author ranges widely over aspects of television that have rarely been examined and never before joined together, allowing an entirely new, frightening image to emerge. The idea that all technologies are "neutral," benign instruments that can be used well or badly, is thrown open to profound doubt. Speaking of TV reform is, in the words of the author, "as absurd as speaking of the reform of a technology such as guns."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:45 -0400)

Depicts television as a technological monster, a menace to the psychology of the individual and to the environment, and an instrument of unprecedented autocratic power.

(summary from another edition)

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