Monday, January 01, 2007

The American Altar

Foreward: I am guilty of most everything I'm about to complain about.

When was the last time you walked into a house and found there to be no television in it? Actually, scratch that. When was the last time you walked into a house where the family room wasn't organized around a television? Every home has a room that has this technological altar centrally placed. Chairs, couches, endtables, and almost everything in the room is organized to help visitors to this room to focus on the television. I can count on one hand the number of times I have entered a house and not found this room.

Television forms a sort of social glue in our culture today. When you go to a party, and someone starts talking about that latest episode of an evening drama, or the recent sports event, or the world news, it becomes easier to join into the conversation. Everyone that has watched that piece of television programming is able to connect with that conversation. It also allows us to not expose ourselves to other people except in the shows we watch. Instead of talking about what's going in our own lives, we can talk about the lives of other people, even if they happen to be fictional.

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