The Genocidal Madness of Idealism

May 2008


In February, 1948, NBC television first broadcast the Nightly News.  This year is its sixtieth anniversary.

In the same year of 1948 the generation of artists who would come to be known as ‘Abstract Expressionists’, after long years of searching for their artistic identity, and already middle-aged, finally broke through to their mature, original vision of modern art.

Beginning less than ten years later, a new generation of young artists clamorously arrived on the scene with a wide variety of ready-made styles.  Pop art adopted as subject matter the iconic products of contemporary American commerce and Minimalism emulated the design technology of the industrial production line.  Mark Rothko would declare at the time that: “these young artists are out to murder us”.  Many think that they succeeded.  I am not one of them. 

The innovation of television is hard to measure in terms of its impact on the imagination. Omni-present in the domestic environment, it represents a real-time surrogate imagination that occupies the new entity of a collective mind born out of belief in a sociologically determined ‘visual culture’. According to the A.C. Nielson Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of television each day; that amounts to 28 hours per week; or 2 months of non-stop television watching per year.  In a 65 year life that person will have spent 9 years watching television.  The number of hours of television watched by Americans annually is 250 billion.

Today, 99% of American households possess at least 1 television, while 66% have 3 or more. 70% of day care centers use television during a typical day. The average child watches 1,680 minutes of television per week. The same child sees 20,000 thirty second commercials per year and by age 65 that number will have risen to 65.2 million.  The average American youth spends 900 hours in school and 1,500 hours watching television per year. 

So much for sociology. Welcome to THE GENOCIDAL MADNESS OF IDEALISM


Data compiled by TV-Free America.