Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television

•May 20, 2017 • 1 Comment

Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television has been on my to-read list for quite some time. I finally got around to it earlier this year. Jerry Mander provides a lot to think about in this book. Here is a summary of his main points and what I took away from it.

Mander’s first criticism of television is how it creates artificial environments and disconnects us from our natural environment. He terms this the mediation of experience. “…[H]uman beings have lost insight into natural processes – how the world works, the human role as one of many interlocking parts of the worldwide ecosystem – because natural processes are now exceedingly difficult to observe.”

“Television’s highest potential is advertising.”

His second argument relates to how people have been changed to match the television environment. “Unplugged from our natural connection to the environment, we are replugged into a new consumer environment.” Mander goes on to criticize advertising suggesting it “exists only to purvey what people don’t need.”

The third point is the effects television has on people. This ranges from an increase in hyperactivity, sensory deprivation, and isolation while decreasing our ability to communicate, show affection, participate, and engage in  interpersonal sharing and critical thinking. “Television isolates people from the environment, from each other, and from our own senses.”

Mander’s final point is the that television possesses a number of biases which are permanent and unchangeable.”The overriding bias of television, then, the bias which contains all the other biases, is that it offers preselected material, which excludes whatever is not selected.” Another bias is the inclination towards intense visual emotions such as anger, rage, hate, fear, and jealousy. These feelings, along with violence, suffer no information loss through television. On the other hand, concepts and information involving nature cannot be captured adequately on television. “Programs concerned with arts, programs concerned with many religions and all programs concerned with non-Western cultures are similarly distorted by television’s inability to convey their sensual aspects.”

I thoroughly enjoyed Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. Mander discusses a lot of ideas we generally do not think about when it comes to our relationship with television. I am not lobbying for the elimination of television, but I definitely agree with much of Mander’s reasoning. My only wish was that Mander wrote revised editions of his book every five years or so.

St. Kitts

•March 26, 2017 • Leave a Comment

One year ago I was wandering through the rainforest of St. Kitts. Here are a few pictures of the trip!

 

Girvin, Saskatchewan

•February 21, 2017 • 1 Comment

The town of Girvin was named after John Girvin, a contractor for many railroad stations west of Winnipeg. The railway preceded the village, built during the 1880s by the Qu’Appelle, Long Lake, and Saskatchewan Railroad and Steamboat Company. Settlement of the area started around 1902. The post office opened April 1st, 1905 and a school followed the same year. A restaurant, lumber yard, butcher, hotel, bank, livery, and blacksmith soon followed. Girvin had three grain elevators by 1915. It was incorporated as a village in 1907. The pump house, constructed in 1906, provided water for horses hauling grain into town. It is the only pump house in Saskatchewan and has been recognized as a Municipal Heritage Property since 1994. Girvin’s population peaked in 1926 at 151. In 1941 it had 93 residents; in the 1950s 140 citizens. Decline began in the 1960s. The school closed in 1970. By the 1980s the only business was a gas station and garage. In 2004 the skating rink collapsed. Today there are twenty residents with no businesses. Girvin relinquished its village status on December 19th, 2005.

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Saskatoon’s Train Bridge

•January 25, 2017 • Leave a Comment

The CPR Bridge in Saskatoon was completed in June of 1908. It is nineteen and a half metres high and 341 metres long and includes a pedestrian walkway built in 1909. It is a truss bridge made with steel, wood, and concrete. Preliminary plans were to have a lane for vehicular traffic, but this was later removed from the project.

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Old Geo’s Antiques

•January 14, 2017 • Leave a Comment

During the winter break my brother Mike and I embarked on a day trip to our grandparents’ former farm. Along the way we stopped in at Old Geo’s Antiques in Whitewood. George owns a two and a half story house built in 1885. I believe there are seventeen rooms in the house and at least five staircases. We stepped in and George invited us to tour his house stuffed with antiques of all kinds – bottles, radios, lamps, First Nations pipes and tools, food tins, spinning wheels, telegraphs and more. In addition there is a village of about 20 buildings on his property. Being it winter, we only stopped in at the saloon. We spent about two hours looking around and chatting to George. Over 24,000 visitors have been to Old Geo’s. He has been featured in Prairies North magazine, Beijing Cosmopolitan, and other publications.

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2017 Reading List

•January 8, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I am an avid reader and enjoy reading a variety of books. Usually I am drawn to non-fiction books but do like a well-written novel from time to time. Here are a few books on my reading list this year:

Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television – Jerry Mander

 

 

 

 

 

nightThe Nightingale – Kristin Hannah

 

 

 

 

 

iwoIwo Jima – Bill D. Ross

 

 

 

 

 

gardenThe Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

 

 

 

 

 

aprilIn Search of April Raintree – Beatrice Culleton Mosionier

 

 

 

 

 

astroAn Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth – Chris Hadfield

 

 

 

 

 

natureNature – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

 

 

One-Room School

•November 24, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I came across this school a few years ago on a winter photo trip. Searches of  various local history books and historical school websites have proven fruitless concerning its name and past. Judging by its appearance I’m guessing it closed in the 1950s or 1960s. The school is located about ten kilometres north of Pense, east of grid 641.

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If you know any information about this school please leave a comment.