Alan Watt Talking About Television

To give an instance in fact of why TV was so important, to show you that it was so important to have it in the homes of ordinary people; most countries in Europe for instance up into the 1950s and ’60s – and I’ll give an example as Britain – the working class people did not have credit cards.  You could not get a credit card.  You couldn’t get a bank loan without collateral, to put something up against it.  So therefore you were at pretty well a fixed income; there was no extra cash outside of rent, food and so on, clothes for the children, essentials.  There were no extras for luxuries.  There was no credit given to them, yet the British government – just like the Chinese government did two years ago – made it a mandate that every household in Britain must get a television set.  And what they did, they made one exception – out of all the things that the people could need, really needed, they made one exception – they allowed credit companies to come into being.  They could go round the houses every week and collect half a crown, or five shillings or whatever it was, and pay off a used television set.


The British government made a deal with the United States of America to buy in used televisions, which were then reconditioned, to be sold to the working class all across Britain.  As I say, they wanted a TV in every home.  Now since when is government interested in how happy you are at home?  You know, there’s another reason for this.  And sure enough the working classes all got these DER – DER was the company that brought them all into Britain – and the guys came round every weekend collecting their half a crown, five shillings.


And suddenly – and I can remember where I was, it was one of the last areas really to get television; a real working class area – I can remember at this high [height] being taken by my parents to the local park on a weekend, and passing dozens and dozens and dozens of other couples on the way with their toddlers as well.  When you got to the park which was a valley, there were over maybe a thousand, a thousand and a half couples along the grass in the valley.  And that’s where everything was discussed; local politics, national politics, labor unions to do with their mining and so on.  And everyone mingled with everyone else, old school friends and so on.  That system had been going on for hundreds of years – hundreds of years, where people communicated thoughts, real feelings, real things that really mattered to them and their communities to each other; conversation.  When the TV came in, and I was still about this high, within about a month I could go down that park every weekend and no one – I mean no one – was there.  It literally overnight killed off the socialization and interaction between people, and tradition, again where they exchanged viewpoints, gave each other news, helped each other out, who was sick, who was this, who was that, everyone helped each other out.


From then on you could pass rows and rows and rows of these houses – and they were called row houses, all joined together – and all you saw at night was the flickering of that bluish light in the windows, and that was the end.  That was the end of real communities.  It happened within a matter of about a month.–The_Manipulation_of_the_Human_Psyche_2009.html


~ by cloudslikemountains on November 19, 2012.

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