Television: The Worst Invention in the History of Mankind

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Premier

Television: The Worst Invention in the History of Mankind

I've given this a lot of thought and although I have spent countless hours being "entertained" by TV, I think it has led us astray. I admit I'm starting to sound like my father but at 40, shouldn't I?

The Time Robber

What else could we be doing instead of watching TV? Are we truly spending quality time with our family when no one talks to each other? How many times will the kids actually watch the exact same program - apparently as many as their parents will let them. How about business? What else could we be doing to move ourselves forward? Not to mention sleep. How many of us get an hour or two less sleep just to watch TV?

Useless Consumerism

Of course we are consumers. We do need to spend money on products that we truly need; food, clothes, transportation to do our jobs and live our lives, but what kind of products we buy is drastically affected by TV. Commercials create the illusion of image related to a product. How many people think they need more than they truly do?

Lowest Common Denominator

The first time I saw the Jerry Springer show I was shocked. I felt that giving any attention to those who push the boundaries of acceptable behavior in a civil society only created more of the same people. They think its OK since they saw it on TV.Of course Springer was just the beginning.

Contributor to Rampant Negativity

Now I realize I should be pointing the finger at myself here too (since this is a bit of a negative rant) but tell me the last time you saw more than one positive story in a half hour on the news. We've all heard the tagline, "If it bleeds it leads." What does that do to the collective psyche of the world? Not to mention the messages of the shows we watch. When I was growing up, the shows had a positive message but now I'm hard pressed to find any message at all.

Political Wild Card

Who wins the race these days? The person with the most money, it's as simple as that. And what do candidates buy with all of that money? TV ads! If it's not a candidate it's a political action committee (PAC). Where do think most of this money comes from? Is it a whole bunch of people giving $25 or $100 or even $1,000? Nope, it's businesses and massively rich individuals giving millions. What do you think they expect for all that money? This isn't confined to one party, it's both and they're responding like a moth to a flame because it works.

The Greatest Generation

For those of us in middle age (younger baby boomers and Generation X) these were our grandparents. They survived the Great Depression, fought WW II and built the United States into a great nation. Guess what? They didn't have TV. At least not until they were well into adulthood. Think about that. Could that be a contributing factor to their astounding character, work ethic, and drive to succeed for the betterment of their children?

I had to get this off my chest. There are some really great things TV can give us but I'm not so sure that what it takes away makes it no longer worth it.


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  1. Dan Edward Phillips 06/20/2010 06:58 PM
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worst invention ever

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Scott Baker Coldwell Banker West Shell - Liberty Township, OH
Realtor Homes for Sale Cincinnati/Dayton Ohio

TV is simply no different than anything else. Too much of, is not good. The commercials don't bother me. That is marketing, and I am a marketer. I don't watch Springer and such. But I can't tell you all I watch is educational either. It's entertainment, that if over used can really eat up too much time. I mainly watch a few sporting events.

Jun 18, 2010 04:38 AM #10
Charita Cadenhead
eXp Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

Nate I'm not much of a TV person.  I have a few shows that I like to watch on a regular basis but that's about it.  I don't know a lot of people who stay glued to the television perhaps those who are unemployed.  I must admit that I used to hear a lot of this (being glued to the television, product placement, etc)  but with so much other technology (cell phones, laptops, social networking, iPads), I thought TV was taking up a lot less of people's time these days.  Maybe I was wrong.

Jun 18, 2010 04:44 AM #11
Lisa Moroniak
Keller Williams Realty | Northern Virginia | 703.635.0388 - Leesburg, VA
SFR - Short Sale & Foreclosure Certified

Welcome to America...home of the free...where religion of choice is capitalism.  In a controlled environment (PARENTS) it can do more good than harm.  Where the median household income nationwide barely tops 50K it's a cost-effective way to experience cultures, lifestyles, studies and professions outside your own.  I'm grateful for every day that I can count on unwinding to shows like Justified, get my "news" with a smile from Bill Maher and laugh at the inaneness of American life watching Chelsea Lately.

Jun 18, 2010 04:47 AM #12
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Nate- For a time when my daughter was about 5 we spent a year with no television and until she was 14 we didn't have cable, so we only had networks tbs (for braves games) and pbs.  I feel I made the best choice and would certainly do it again.  Too many people use the television as a babysitter and don't spend the quality time they need to with their children.

I watch too much myself now.... but with rerun season upon us maybe I'll turn it off tonight and pick up a good book.  I used to do that a lot when children were in the house.

Jun 18, 2010 05:00 AM #13
Mike Calhoun
iMarketLuxury - Seminole, FL

I like TV a lot, but .. really can't refute any of these points!!  Very interesting piece, I'm pleasantly surprised to find something so far outside the real estate market on here .. thanks 

Jun 18, 2010 05:04 AM #14
Nancy Conner
Olympia, WA
Olympia/Thurston County WA

I'd rather read a book than watch TV to relax - & I wonder if the next generation will actually watch TV or if it will all be on the computer?  (Which won't necessarily change the points you've made!)

Jun 18, 2010 05:19 AM #15
Nate Gerard
Keller Williams Premier - Stillwater, MN
CDPE, East Metro Twin Cities Realtor

Katerina, Wow, I hadn't even given that thought; placating the masses. Very interesting. BTW, what an interesting life you've had.

Scott, I agree everything in moderation but do you think TV is used in moderation?

Charita, coming from a marketing/advertising aspect the marketplace is more fragmented but there are still many watching as is evidenced by the effectiveness of the ads (especially political).

Lisa, I heard where you're coming from however I'm not sure there is much control. My generation has little control over their kids (more reasons for this than I could go into here) so a by-product of that is lack of regulation of TV. Yes it can be very good but how often is it?

Tammy, I grew up without cable too and with restrictions on TV just like Katerina and of course that made me want it all the more, but the book reading and other activities I did while younger have paid dividends I didn't realize they would at the time. Good for you!

Mike, I call myself a reformed TV addict so I understand but as time has gone by and seeing what the TV does to my kids especially, I've been forced to the conclusions I draw above - and thanks for the compliment. I wasn't sure where to post this but I really like the interactions I have here at AR!

Nancy, Maybe the computer will give us more choice and maybe a better educated audience?

Jun 18, 2010 05:41 AM #16
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

I liked Katrina #9 last paragraph.  There is, indeed, a Roman parallel.  I don't have cable, and when my son was growing up, I refused to get that.  I told him he could always complain how Mom made him live with such depravity!  When we were young, TV was from 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. then bedtime.  It's not the TV -- it's the SHOWS!!  Tawdry, mindless, and dumb-downed.   It's a shame that such a GREAT technology is so misused.  There is nothing that replaces Ed Sullivan -- now that, THAT was a shoe, show.  ;-)

Jun 18, 2010 06:08 AM #17
Dawn Maloney
RE/MAX Trinity Northeast Ohio Real Estate Specialist - Hudson, OH
330-990-4236 Hudson & Northeastern Ohio

There has never been a greater tool to completely stop activity in human beings.

All you are doing is SITTING. Hello weight gain and a host of other maladies.

The computer is in second place only because it is a newer invention, but let's not talk about that.

Jun 18, 2010 06:24 AM #18
Eric Anderson
Eric Anderson Realty Group - Fayetteville, NC
Fort Bragg Military Relocation Services, Fayettevi

Interesting post. Most of us probably watch way more TV then we need to.

Jun 18, 2010 06:34 AM #19
Ron Parise - Cape Coral, FL

 The greatest generation had a strong work ethic to be sure, I think my fathers work ethic developed  because he was a child of immigrants and lived through the great depression, not because of there was nothing else to do (no television) The fact is once the war ended the depression and once the bomb ended the war and they  could; my parents (and the rest of the greatest generation) bought  as much stuff as possible including a car in 1947 and a TV in 1949.  From Milton Berle and Edward R Morrow, to Steve Allen and Jack Parr, my parents were hooked.  Its my belief that Madison Ave didnt take over tv and make make them consumers. rather its their consumerism, that made Madison ave and turned television into the commercial vehicle its become

Commercial Television didnt develop inspite of the Greatest Generation. The Greatest Generation made commercial television happen

Jun 18, 2010 07:36 AM #20
Nate Gerard
Keller Williams Premier - Stillwater, MN
CDPE, East Metro Twin Cities Realtor

Carla, you make a great point. The programming influences as much as the commercials.

Dawn, I know the next culprit is the computer, but at least we can have an "active" two-way dialogue! (I couldn't avoid the pun!)

Eric, thanks for the compliment!

Ron, I like your premise and partially agree with you but let's not underestimate the power that TV had and has to change people's habits. The Greatest Generation made TV popular and they had that work ethic passed down to them by their parents, but since then TV has actually formed our daily routine because we became addicted to it. Example of forming new habits: Old habit; read the evening newspaper. New habit; news at 6:00.

Jun 18, 2010 08:17 AM #21
Tamara Camden Vacation Rental Agent
All Rentals 2 Remember, inc. - Key West, FL

Hi Nate, I like watching tv (or surfing the web) as a news addict to keep up on current happenings, and for entertainment reasons also.  There are some great educational shows too.  I'm sure there are many of us who watch more tv than we should and could be doing other things at times with the family and getting connected with nature.  Just like anything else, too much of one thing can be toxic.

Jun 18, 2010 08:51 AM #22
Brian Block
RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President - McLean, VA
Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate


This is why we ditched our television and have large 65 gallon fishtank as the centerpiece of our living room.  The fish never try to sell you anything and never report bad news about the world or the economy. 

There's always Hulu or other venues if I want to watch some entertainment.

Jun 18, 2010 08:52 AM #23
Nate Gerard
Keller Williams Premier - Stillwater, MN
CDPE, East Metro Twin Cities Realtor

Tamara, I like TV - too much. If I drank beer as frequently as I used to watch TV I would have had to go to AA long ago! What if you had one beer or glass of wine or mixed drink for every half hour of TV you watched. would it feel healthy?

Brian, I love it; fish! I wish I had the guts to do the same.

Jun 18, 2010 09:02 AM #24
Lynda White
Bluegrass Homes & Farms Realty, Agent Know How - Louisville, KY
Admin. Mgr., Keller Williams Realty

My husband and I went without TV for six months after "The Big Switch." I did not want to have to pay for TV..we broke down when his brother sold us a converter box for $15.00.

How did I ever go without it?

Seriously, I do love shows like American Idol and Celebrity Apprentice, and love a good PBS special every now and then, and maybe SNL is really funny on a rare occasion, but most of the time I'd rather be researching on the net or reading a good book.

There will come a day when TV and the internet will be one and the same.

Jun 18, 2010 09:26 AM #25
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

I personally love the TV set.  But, as all wonderful technological things, it is the end user that abuses it.  Afterall, we are the ones with the remote or device in our hands.  However we relinquish our power to turn the darned thing off as often as we should.

I love PBS documentaries and programing.  I also love "The Young and the Restless," "Two and a Half Men" and "Boston Legal."  I don't know what that says about me. . .But it is what it is:-)

Jun 18, 2010 12:27 PM #27
Jean Hanley
Coldwell Banker Kivett Teeters - Hemet, CA
Specializing in Folks Who Want To Buy/Sell Homes

I agree that television has a whole lot of garbage available for us all to watch, but I must admit, I enjoy the late night guys, and the history channel

Jun 18, 2010 12:53 PM #28
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author


I had read that it sat around for 13 years before somebody decided to activate it. At its inception, it was fascinating. Now, it is mindless drivel and garbage. The choice to watch what you want is prevalent. Why would anyone watch TV today for TV's sake is beyond my understanding.......thank you

Jun 20, 2010 12:27 PM #29
Sherry Chastain
Hendersonville, Nashville, Old Hickory, Lebanon Tennessee - Hendersonville, TN
Realtor, Selling Homes, Lake Properties,Luxury Homes,Short Sales

I would like to add to your rant! I have 2 kids 6 & 8. They used to hear me when I talked, now I have to turn off the tv to get a answer, trust me yelling doesn't work. Only when the off button is hit and the remote goes on top shelf in closet do you get a reaction. I used to allow tv at dinner NO MORE! Also you think your can only watch nick, discovery, funniest home videos. Just to name a few. Well guess what....teen nick shows teenagers in bed together, discovery shows the joy of sex organs, and the funniest home videos headline was painful moments in the delivery room. I ask myself what's the consequences of me jerking this absurdity out of the wall!!!!!!!!!

Jun 20, 2010 04:45 PM #30
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Nate Gerard

CDPE, East Metro Twin Cities Realtor
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