Why Not Learn From Television?

1051 Words5 Pages
Why Not Learn from Television? From local news to world news; from drama to comedy; from the idiotic to the educational, television offers it all. With ninety-nine percent of American households owning a television, television has become one of the most powerful communication and entertainment devices of the twenty first century. In Barbara Ehrenreich’s essay “Spudding Out,” Ehrenreich argues that television is diminishing Americans curiosity to explore the outside world and turning them into unmotivated couch potatoes. By focusing on family sitcoms, Ehrenreich makes the claim that people watch television to escape from their boring families and “spud out” at the same time. While it may be true that families, such as the Barone’s from Everybody Loves Raymond, are more interesting and entertaining than our own, viewers do not watch television to replace their own families. Americans watch television because television has become the most convenient source of entertainment and provides viewers with a valuable and accessible educational tool. A major problem with Ehrenreich’s argument is her generalization. Ehrenreich begins her essay by criticizing her own family. She describes how each of her family members began to “spud out” to the point where “[they] never see the neighbors anymore, nor they us,” (700). While this certainly shows personal experience with the idea of “spudding out,” Ehrenreich’s individual experience cannot be used to compare with the rest of modern day Americans. However, it seems that Ehrenreich did not take this into account. Besides consistently referring back to her own family as support for her claims, Ehrenreich doesn’t supply any other form of support, i.e., interviews or research, for her claims. There may be individuals or entire families in America much like Ehrenreich’s who have become unmotivated couch potatoes, but it is
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