Post source: Applications in Biology for a New Generation

Back before television and radio people learned from books. A book was read by one person at one time. They were in limited supply. But radio and later television information became available to everyone at the same time. With the exception of a few close races we know who are politicians will be before we go to bed election day. “Dewey defeats Truman” just doesn’t happen much anymore. On March 30, 1981 in was announced on network television that James Brady was killed by John Hinckley in the attempted assassination of President Reagan – which was instantaneous – but wrong. But this is not the norm but an exception to the rule. We get our information quick and usually accurately.

Has the television cost our society their social skills. Did reading books and writing and mailing letters make us better communicators. I don’t really think so. We are much more likely to reply instantly to a text message or phone call or reply within a day to an email. When I have received written letters and had nothing more than an address to reply to it has taken me months to get back to that person. This is probably a personal flaw on my part – at least as far as ‘months’ but I do think it takes people much longer to sit down and collect their thoughts when writing a formal letter. Will we loose history with the lost of hand written letters. We have a President today that forced the Secret Service to deal with his need for his Blackberry. If you go to the White House home page to find an address to contact the President you find a link for email. Knowing President Obama that is probably the most effective way to communicate with him. But are these emails being saved. Our history is founded on the written words for thousands of years. How will we maintain our collection in the future. They are collecting Tweets for the Library of Congress – but that is probably the worst thing to be collecting – but it is probably all that they can get their hands on.

Television has had a huge impact on our society. What ended the war in Vietnam in 1973? Nixon? Number of deaths? No – Walter Cronkite brought the war into the living rooms of every American. They showed the war in a way no war had ever been portrayed before. Television has had a huge impact on our society. Today rapists have their victims shower and wash any bed linens before leaving – they watch CSI also. With the good comes the bad – they never travel alone.

The television has been entertaining us since its first introduction at the World Fair in New York. Franklin Roosevelt was broadcast opening the fair in 1939. The American people had no idea what they were in for. For over 60 years the television has been a source of entertainment with Gracie and Allen, a source of sorrow with the assassination of John F Kennedy and the death of Princess Diana, a source of information as Wichita Kansas was the second city in the nation with Doppler radio in an area where tornadoes are a normal occurrence, and a source of horror on 9-11 2001. It has been an integral part of our lives.

Growing up with an entertainment box in our home has force education to take on a role of entertainment to a certain extent. I constantly make references to authors like Jules Vern and Tom Clancy, shows like NCIS and CSI, and performers like Rock Hudson, Michael Jay Fox, and Christopher Reeves. Television (yes even for authors) has made the American public aware through entertainment and I tap into that entertainment. How many people remember the interview with Tom Clancy three days after 9–11 where he expressed remorse over his book “Debt of Honour” where he writes of a 747 passenger plane deliberately crashing into the Capitol Building killing the President, along with most of the Senate, House, and Supreme Court. Tom Clancy did not create the idea of using a plane as a weapon but 9-11 hit too close for comfort. Television isn’t going anywhere, nor is technology, we can either embrace it in the classroom or become obsolete.