From: Virginia C. Risk (
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 15:01:21 -0500
Hi there,

I agree with the substance of what Stuart has said about television --
that the way people tend to use it and the influence that use has on us
is very undesirable. And that the 'just exercise personal
responsibility' line of thinking comes off as an evasion of issues. 
Also, as a general principle, I think it's constructive to avoid blaming

Here's an observation:
I think there's a lot of value in talking about and becoming more aware
of the effects of such things as television use on our lives.  But I
don't think there's nearly as much value in isolating "blame" -- partly
because we're conditioned to be naive about cause and effect and to
reason in a linear fashion.  We run into confusion between underlying
values and symptoms.

In other words, perhaps it's more important that we explore our
relationship to television than whether or not we watch it.

Ginny Risk
ginny [at]

Stuart Staniford-Chen wrote:
[most of Stuart's note omitted...]
> To me "Television is how we use it" is an argument akin to "Heroin is
> how we use it".  Sure, if people would just use heroin once or twice a
> year it would be a great drug.  Maybe there are a few strong minded
> people who do that, but most people who use heroin do so in a destructive
> and unhealthy way.  That's why it's an evil drug.
> Similarly, there are some strong minded people who only watch the good
> stuff on PBS (and a few who insist on the same for their kids).  But the
> great bulk of people who own a TV watch it in an addictive, destructive
> way.  Sure, we can accuse all of those people of being irresponsible, but
> I prefer to blame the medium.

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