Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television
Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (1978) is a book by Jerry Mander, who argues that many of the problems with television are inherent in the medium and technology itself, and thus cannot be reformed.
In an interview with Nancho.net's W. David Kubiak, Mander summarizes his book:
Well, one of the points of the book is that you really can't summarize complex information. And that television is a medium of summary or reductionism – it reduces everything to slogans. And that's one criticism of it, that it requires everything to be packaged and reduced and announced in a slogan-type form.
But let me say this: the book is not really four arguments, it's really hundreds of arguments broken down into four categories. And the categories have to do with a variety of effects that are not normally discussed. Most criticisms of television have to do with the television program content. People say if there is less violence on television or less sexism on television, or less this or less that, television would be better. If there were more programs about this or more programs about that, then we'd have "good television".
My own feeling is that that is true – that it's very important to improve the program content – but that television has effects, very important effects, aside from the content, and they may be more important. They organize society in a certain way. They give power to a very small number of people to speak into the brains of everyone else in the system night after night after night with images that make people turn out in a certain kind of way. It affects the psychology of people who watch. It increases the passivity of people who watch. It changes family relationships. It changes understandings of nature. It flattens perception so that information, which you need a fair amount of complexity to understand it as you would get from reading, this information is flattened down to a very reduced form on television. And the medium has inherent qualities which cause it to be that way.
And the book is really about television considered from a holistic point of view, from a biological point of view – perceptual, environmental, political, social, experiential, as well as the concrete problems of whether a program is silly or not. But other people deal with that very well. My job was to talk about television from many of these other dimensions which are not usually discussed.
- Amusing Ourselves to Death, 1985 critique of television by Neil Postman
- History of television
- Is Google Making Us Stupid?
- Luddites as an example of a social movement which opposed specific applications of technology on political and social class grounds.
- Media psychology
- The Plug-In Drug, 1977 critique of television by Marie Winn
- Screen-Free Week
- Social aspects of television
- Television studies
- The Shallows
- Mander, Jerry (1978) [First copyright 1977]. Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. New York, New York: HarperCollins. p. 375. ISBN 978-0-688-08274-1.
- W. David Kubiak. "Nancho Consults Jerry Mander". Archived from the original on 2012-09-08. Retrieved 2010-11-09.
They give power to a very small number of people to speak into the brains of everyone else in the system night after night after night with images that make people turn out in a certain kind of way. It affects the psychology of people who watch. It increases the passivity of people who watch.
- Barnouw, Erik; Sugar, Bert Randolph; Wolper, David L.; Troupe, Quincy; Parish, James Robert; Trost, Mark; Mender, Jerry; Coakley, Mary Lewis (1978). "Television". Communication Booknotes. Informa UK. 9 (8): 127–129. doi:10.1080/10948007809488974. ISSN 0748-657X.
- Bass, A. Z. (1978). Rated X/Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (Book Review). Library Journal, 103(5), 560 http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=5567736&site=eds-live
- Boyle, Harry J. (1979). "Television's Critics and its Future". Queen's Quarterly. 86 (4): 681ff.
- Chandler, Theresa Mariani (1994). "WARNING: The Media May Be Hazardous to Your Health". Teaching Sociology. SAGE Publications. 22 (1): 135. doi:10.2307/1318628. ISSN 0092-055X.
- Comber, Michael (1979). "Review: Hopeless?". The Cambridge Quarterly. Oxford University Press. 9 (1): 85-93. JSTOR 42965304.
- Gillett, Nicholas (1979). "Reviewed Works: Television Violence and the Adolescent Boy by W. A. Belson; Brutalität aus zweiter Hand: Wie gefährlich sind Gewaltdarstellungen im Fernsehen? by M. Kunczik; Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by J. Mander". International Review of Education. Springer. 25 (4): 558-561. JSTOR 3443672.
- Goldsen, Rose K.; Mander, Jerry; Stone, Christopher; Weizenbaum, Joseph (1980). "Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television". Contemporary Sociology. SAGE Publications. 9 (1): 137. doi:10.2307/2065642. ISSN 0094-3061.
- Gray, P. (1978). Inner Tube. Time, 111(12), 92. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=53522096&site=ehost-live
- Greenfield, Jeff (May / June 1978). TV is not the world. Columbia Journalism Review, 17, 29-34. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=hsr&AN=520902992&site=eds-live
- Greenfield, Jeff (7 September 1980). "Growing up on television: the TV effect (Book Review)". The New York times book review: 15. ISSN 0028-7806.
- Johnson, J. (1978). FOUR ARGUMENTS FOR THE ELIMINATION OF TELEVISION (Book Review). Business & Society Review (00453609), (26), http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=4646460&site=eds-live
- Jonassen, David (1980). "Reviewed Work: Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander". Educational Communication and Technology. Springer. 28 (2): 140-142. JSTOR 30218027.
- Kaufman, Ron. "Review of Jerry Mander's Four Arguments For The Elimination Of Television". Archived from the original on 2004-01-13.
- Levine, Richard M (1 May 1984). "Getting Off on TV". Esquire. Vol. 101 no. 5. p. 169–170. ISSN 0194-9535.
- McCarthy, C. (18 August 1978). "Four arguments for the elimination of television (Book Review)". Commonweal. 105: 538-540. ISSN 0010-3330.
- Monaco, James (1989). "Reviewed Works: THE PLUG-IN DRUG by Marie Winn; FOUR ARGUMENTS FOR THE ELIMINATION OF TELEVISION by Jerry Mander; THE BEST THING ON TV: COMMERCIALS by Jonathan Price; TV BOOK: THE ULTIMATE TELEVISION BOOK by Judy Fireman". Cinéaste. 9 (2): 53-54. JSTOR 41685896.
- Moore, Frazier (4 June 2003). "Book on banning TV still makes sense today". Free Press. 120 (54): B6. ISSN 0893-3715.
- Morris, Barbra S. (1989). "The Television Generation: Couch Potatoes or Informed Critics?". The English Journal. JSTOR. 78 (8): 35. doi:10.2307/819482. ISSN 0013-8274.
- Phelan, J. M. (1978). Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. America, 138(16), 351-352. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=hlh&AN=35968966&site=eds-live
- Schickel, Richard (23 April 1978). "Four arguments for the elimination of television (Book Review)". New York times book review: 13. ISSN 0028-7806.
- Sirota, D. (Fall 1978). "Four arguments for the elimination of television (Book Review)". Journal of Broadcasting. 22: 542-543. ISSN 0021-938X.
- Smith, Leon (1978). "Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television". Journalism Quarterly. 55 (2): 383-383. ISSN 0196-3031.
- Sourian, P. (1978). Television. Nation, 226(15), 483–484. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=poh&AN=11147648&site=eds-live
- Wolcott, James (6 April 1978). "TV Guide". The New York Review of Books.