Reflections On The Modern Times

Available on DVD


I read around an appeal to getting rid of one's TV set in order to avoid exposure to the abominations of our times, now represented in growing measure even in mainstream programmes like, say, the Grammys.

Allow me to say why I disagree.

Firstly, I would say that if it is undeniably true that the TV set can be the source of inappropriate or outright perverted content, this is the more true for the Internet, which makes filth of all kind far more easily available, around the clock to boot. If, therefore, I had to throw away my TV set, I would have to get rid of my Internet connection first. Which would be unusual, since I write a blog and rely on the Internet access of other people to be read, and on mine to run a blog in the first place.

Secondly, I have no qualms with the TV set, but I do rarely watch TV these days. The fact is, a TV set can be used to watch perfectly fine DVDs, play video games, watch learning material, and so on, providing countless hours of perfectly innocent entertainment or even useful education. What about my dear collection of Walt Disney Classics, then? No Cinderella, Snow White or 101 Dalmatians anymore? No “Passion of the Christ” during Holy Week? No history documentaries? No football, cricket, Formula 1, you name it? An Italian who doesn't watch at least a bit of football should have his citizenship revoked. Well, you know what I mean.

Thirdly, the argument reminds me of those who want to ban weapons, because “weapons kill”. No they don't. Humans kill. How many knives do you have in the kitchen? How about that meat cleaver? Should we ban it, too?

“Ah”, you will say, “this is all fine in itself; but then it is so easy for the wrong content to creep in!”. Look, it is life that makes the wrong content creep in, and it is much better to teach one's child – and oneself – to look for the right content and have the right frame of mind, than trying an escape from a reality of modern filth that will never succeed anyway.

In London, Stonewall regularly has ads put on the underground and on buses. No child can escape them, and it makes no sense to try to protect the young from the reality of filth. Politicians talk of sexual perversion all the time, and their words are reported by radio and newspapers, even in the morning.

No radio, then? No newspapers?

Speaking of children: at some point, the child will ask anyway what “same sex marriage” or “homophobia” are supposed to mean, and then you'll have to give an answer or your child's liberal teacher will give it for you, earlier in life than you can imagine. Far better, then, to have this child in front of the TV set watching the “passion of the Christ”, or the DVD about the Tridentine Mass, or a documentary about the Roman Empire, or a game of Chelsea FC come to that.

This, of course, presupposes control. But it has always been this way. As I was a child, my parents decided if and how long I could sit in front of the TV set, to the minute. There is no reason whatever this should not be done now. If one hasn't the time to properly supervise the children, the problem is that he cannot supervise his children, not the TV set.

We can't shut ourselves, or our loved ones, out of life. Life will enter our and their world anyway. Rather, use the TV set, the Internet, the radio and whatever will come in future as an instrument to make this world cleaner and better for you and them, and to live a better life.

You are, in fact, doing it just now, as you are using the Internet to read a Catholic blog.

The TV set isn't a pervert. Perverts are.



Posted on January 31, 2014, in Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, Traditional Catholicism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Agree to a point, M. I say keep the TV but for DVD’s only. Other than sports, the overwhelming majority (98% I’d guess) of TV is evil rubbish. The internet, on the other hand, has loads of awesome content…Catholic blogs like yours truly:+), Catholic encyclopedia, Catholic news outlets, even online radio with Catholic content…not to mention the countless organizations that teach truth, Christ, wisdom etc. You just need a filter for the internet. Radio? Eh. Newspapers are being read online. I once heard someone say to focus on learn on the original (truth) so that when the counterfeit comes along you can spot the error asap. So use the tools of the DVD and internet to learn the truth so that when you see the lies in public you can refute and share the truth with others. God bless~

    • Well, 98% seems a bit overstated to me. Beautiful documentaries are still to be found, and not everyone has the money and space for, say, every Jane Austen and other TV series the BBC has produced. So we have sports, documentaries, old movies, good literary productions… In some countries (not England) the news are rather good, too. That’s enough to justify the purchase and use of the thing. Of course, it doesn’t have to be much, but in summer is football world championship again, for example…

      Est modus in rebus, as they say.


  2. I agree with you 100%. We’re Catholics not puritans. Another point is, how are you supposed to evangelize, spread the faith, especially with the younger crowd, when you have no clue on whats going in the world and popular culture? By knowing about those things, you’ll be able to connect with people more. If not, you’ll wind up looking like a weirdo jehovah witness type that’s lives in his own little world. Live in the world, but not for it.

  3. Yes, the forbidden fruit would have just the opposite effect on many children. Our teens prefer old time TV–Andy Griffith, Bewitched, I Love Lucy, Loony Toons, etc. Yes, even some stuff from the days of yore needs explaining–such as Hogan’s Heroes being a dreadful parody of the Nazis and cannot approximate their evil, but ultimately proves how stupid they were! My children are allowed to see Bond movies, which they love. They do know when Bond crosses the line, as with the torture scene in Casino Royale II. They know rot when they see it. I think having intelligent discussions with teens as to why something is morally repugnant is key. However, that being said, I would not allow my children to watch demonic(from what I’ve heard) things such as the latest Katie Perry stunt, or gross lewdness like Miley Cyrus. That is all gratuitious slime. Gross violence, such as in Django, is also called out and forbidden.

    As for myself, Jeopardy is harmless fun, though even they have a mild agenda, inserting questions about gay marriage legislation and the like from time to time.

  4. I agree with you in a general way but individual circumstances will often make changes necessary. I am able to tolerate quite a lot of nonsense but I would not think of exposing my daughter to the same. Children tend to concentrate the mind! As a result we ditched our TV a long time ago. We don’t miss it much.

  5. Mundabor, good points (first time commenter, long time -er, 8 monthsn now- reader).

    However, the critics of the television set are most likely readers of Neil Postman.

    Have you read “Amusing Ourselves to Death” by Neil Postman?

  6. You’re wrong. Throw it out.

  7. You can shield your kids from filth, but you can’t completely hide them from it, it’s everywhere. If you think getting rid of the television will solve everything, you’ve already lost. Once they become teenagers, the lure of the world will intoxicate them. If you guide them, and allow them to see some of the wickedness of the world, they might be inclined to reject it. If your kids like a certain song or entertainer,, you’re better off telling them that these entertainers live sad lives, and probably sold their souls to the devil for fame, and too look at the evidence by their disastrous personal lives and drug/alcohol abuse.

    • Exactly.
      You can’t just criminalise the planet, and if you do you’ll make of it a huge forbidden fruit, which can’t be good.
      Cover the rock singer in ridicule, and his music won’t make appreciable damage even if he should happen to be, like most of them, an idiot. Smart people can discern a nice tune from a stupid ideology.

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