|Society for the Eradication of Television
I do not watch television and
encourage others to do the same.
A Look at How They Do It is a brief history of The Society for the Eradication of Television.
Reprinted from The Match!, Issue Number 94, Summer 1999, an anarchist magazine that is now in it's thirty-first year.
The Match! is published by
Fred hates computers and doesn't want e-mail, so if you would like information about The Match! you need to write to him at that address.
Contact Society for the Eradication of Television
Television and Violence:
1 Hour = Violent Behavior
Television and Children:
New: Why Newsweek is Bad for Kids
Ottawa's Health Problem
Children's TV: A 'Junk-Food Cafeteria?'
Less TV = Less Violent
Children, TV & Meals
Children, TV & Toys
Television and Mental Illness:
TV & Alzheimer's linked
TV & Dementia
The Society for the Eradication of Television was started by Mary Dixon and some friends in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1980. Following several all-night discussions about media, especially television, and the bad effect that it usually seems to have, they printed a simple membership card that read: I do not have a working television in my home and I encourage others to do likewise. The befuddled and sometimes hostile response from the people they gave these to (who seemed to be just regular folks otherwise) reinforced their worst fears about what television was doing to people.
One thing led to another, and soon S.E.T. was holding meetings and publishing a newsletter. Anarchistic from the get, S.E.T. members started to spread the word in many other ways as well. Ester Erford sent a response to Dear Abby when Abby gave a tepid response to a woman who had written that her husband had stopped even acknowledging her presence once they bought a television. Esther asked Abby why she hadn't suggested booting the boob tube -- a perfectly reasonable question, it would seem. Abby printed Esther's letter, and then a blistering response, in part calling S.E.T. unamerican. Ellen Trabilcy and I coordinated a Radio Bridge dialogue about television between Americans and people in the Soviet Union on Radio Moscow. Radio Moscow and the Voice of America were at that time heard by more people worldwide than any other stations anywhere. Pat Brown did interviews on both the Voice of America and Radio Australia. In short, S.E.T. members were innovative in getting the message out in both big and little ways. After the Dear Abby column, followed by a second Dear Abby column given over totally to rabid attacks on S.E.T., and then the radio interviews, S.E.T. was suddenly flooded with requests for information from all corners of the world.
Now, many years later, the Society for the Eradication of Television is even more timely than it was when it first started in 1980: The number of non-television households is still right around 2%, the number of televisions manufactured is almost identical to the birthrate, and the media masters who own television still try to dictate what we think, what we think about, and when we think about it.
The most important thing we've learnedA couple of years back Mary Dixon wrote a brief guide called Start a S.E.T. Chapter in Your Locality: Not hard to do, which outlined several activities step by step. The steps, which apply to organizing around this or almost any other issue, are these:
So far as children are concerned
Is never, never, never let
Them near your television set -
Or better still, just don't install
The idiotic thing at all. . .
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they're hypnotized by it,
Until they're absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk. . .
'All right!' you'll cry. 'All right!' you'll say,
'But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!'
We'll answer this by asking you,
'What used the darling ones to do?
'How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?'
Have you forgotten?
Don't you know?
We'll say it very loud and slow:
They used to read.
They'd read and read and read and read and then proceed
To read some more.
-Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
I hope this brief history of S.E.T. is of interest. More important, I hope it is of use to Match! readers, and that they will soon create two, three, many chapters of the Society for the Eradication of Television.
Permission to post, reprint, forward, or otherwise distribute A Look at How They Do It is hereby granted.
To contact the Society for the Eradication of Television, write to
Oakland, CA 94610-0491
Tucson, Arizona 85702
The number of non-television households is still right around 2%,
the number of televisions manufactured is almost identical to the birthrate,
and the media masters who own television still try to dictate what we think,
what we think about,
and when we think about it.
|Society for the Eradication of Television|
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