Prescription TV

Last night we learned the cure for the Norovirus that is doing the round of the British population, especially in our hospitals. A member of the RCGP told us how to take over the counter remedies, stay of work and out of contact with others, and watch television! How could such a debilitating device help with the returning one to health?

Perhaps the doctor was under the illusion that there might be something worth watching in the current broadcast schedules. If so, he either does not watch it himself, or worse, he does and genuinely believes there are many worthwhile programs to be seen.

Coincidentally there was one program worth watching last night — a superb documentary about the Snow Leopard in remote Northern Pakistan. For once, David Attenborough didn’t regale us with patent nonsense about the imaginary age of the planet. The scenery was spectacular and the animal footage truly delightful.

The most worrying thing about the doctor’s advice was that coming from an apparently educated expert, it simply feeds the popular idea that tv is good for you. If family doctors are now prescribing tv viewing, what can be wrong with it?

Sadly Postman, McLuhan, Ellul and Groothius are not widely read nor accepted. If only they were, we would not be given such harmful advice. I had coincidently revisted Douglas Groothius’s article ‘How the Bombarding Images of TV Culture Undermine the Power of Words‘, Modern Reformation, 10.1, Jan-Feb 2001.

If your family doctor prescribes tv viewing, you could always let him read the article. It might just help in the fight against truth decay. It’s definitely a worthwhile article to read at the start of a new year, and resolve to cut back on tv viewing, prescribed or otherwise.

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