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TorgoX (1933)

TorgoX
  sburkeNO@SPAMcpan.org
http://search.cpan.org/~sburke/

"Il est beau comme la retractilité des serres des oiseaux rapaces [...] et surtout, comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d'une machine à coudre et d'un parapluie !" -- Lautréamont

Journal of TorgoX (1933)

Saturday May 22, 2004
07:00 PM

To Satisfy Everyone

[ #18889 ]
Dear Log,

«The most accurate context in which to place television programming is that of general religious ritual. Unlike court etiquette or specific types of drama, religious ritual is designed to satisfy everyone. Like "Leave it to Beaver" or any other sitcom, religions at their very heart are classless. Like television, they eschew surprise, particularly creative surprise. Instead they flourish on the repetition of known formulas. People are drawn to television as they are to religions by the knowledge that they will find there what they already know. Reassurance is consistency and consistency is repetition.

Television -- both drama and public affairs -- consists largely of stylized popular mythology in which there are certain obligatory characters who must say and do certain things in a particular order. After wathcing the first minute of any television drama, most viewers could lay out the scenario that will fallow, including the conclusion. Given the first line of banter in most scenes, a regular viewer could probably rhyme off the next three or four lines. Nothing can be more formal, stylized and dogmatic than a third-rate situation comedy or a television news report on famine in Africa. There is more flexibility in a Catholic mass or in classic Chinese opera. [...]

Television has become the daily religious service of the modern world.»

-- Voltaire's Bastards , p.454

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  • Like television, they eschew surprise, particularly creative surprise. Instead they flourish on the repetition of known formulas. People are drawn to television as they are to religions by the knowledge that they will find there what they already know. Reassurance is consistency and consistency is repetition.

    ...and national [dennys.com] restaurant [tacobell.com] chains [dominos.com].

    Brings new meaning to "The Temple Of The Golden Arches [mcdonalds.com].

  • The author's point has a dark attractiveness in the "How could my Modern life not suck since everyone worships TV" sense, but I think a direct connection between the conventions of televison and religious ritual is overstated.

    Throughout history, storytelling, both religious and secular, has employed stock characters and plotlines. Today's cheesy sitcom is no more inherently religous that was, say, the commedia dell'Arte [commedia-dell-arte.com].

    If there is a connection, its in the fact that both My Two Dads and the Catholic Mas