10 comments on “You Are What You Eat (and Watch, and Listen to…)

  1. Just to be a cinic I would argue you turned alright. Now, I’m not saying that an endless amount “poop” is okay but as someone who really loves tv and probably watches too much of it I get a little defensive on this subject.

    Most studies show the amount of tv watched matters much more than content. Think of it as eating 4000 calories of lean food per day, you will still get fat if you are only burning 2000 of those calories a day.

    I think we try to delude ourselves with the illusion that if what we watch or what we let our children watch is “educational” or uplifting then go on and pile on the low fat turkey burgers.

    I also think many go to the other extreme of making tv out to be the devil and think if their children see someone die on tv they are going to bring a gun to school for another Columbine tragedy. I really wish such problems were so simple as what we let our children watch on tv. I dont think you are saying that m but I think their are those out there who want to blame tv and the media for the downfall of society. I tend to see the downfall of society to be at blame for the “poop” in the media brownie.

    Afterall, if someone can consume all that “poop” and turn out like you did then really how bad or how much impact can it really have?

  2. @Daniel:  Thanks for the comment.  I always appreciate your insights.

    “I would argue you turned alright”

    First, thanks!  But I think you’re falling into a fallacy I spoke about before, that just because something is great now, it couldn’t have been better if different decisions were made in the past.

    “Most studies show the amount of tv watched matters much more than content”

    I definitely agree that quantity matters, although I’m not going to say that quality doesn’t.  If you spend, say, 20 minutes per day reading the scriptures and 4 hours per day watching TV, of course you’ll be out of balance.  There’s no question.

    But, I do believe that somebody who watches 4 hours of uplifting, hopeful content will have a different outlook, feeling or thought process than somebody who watches 4 hours of TV that include The Office, 24 or Nip/Tuck.

    I believe that because I’ve experienced both sides and I feel, think and act better when I surround myself with uplifting media.  Also, the Church spends a ton of time telling us to consider what we watch, read and listen to.  Here’s  a quote from For the Strength of the Youth:  “Whatever you read, listen to, or watch makes an impression on you”.  It even says this, which I love:  “Don’t be afraid to walk out of a movie, turn off a television set, or change a radio station if what’s being presented does not meet your Heavenly Father’s standards”.  That eliminates most TV shows I know of.

    “Afterall, if someone can consume all that “poop” and turn out like you did then really how bad or how much impact can it really have?”

    People can change.  But if they had spent their energy in improving instead of making up lost ground, where would they be?

  3. Excellent Mark! I completely agree with you! I am very sensitive to what I watch and have guarded what my kids watch very closely as well. There is soooo much "poop" that gets mixed in now, even for the kids shows, commercials, etc. It is always good to be on guard as a parent and fill their little minds and hearts with things that are good. "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)

    • Thanks, Katie!  That must be why your kids are so good.  We’re glad to have good neighbors for our kids to play with.

      I love that verse.  One of the Articles of Faith of our church is somewhat based on that:

      We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”

  4. m, I thought you of all people would have loved such an inductive argument as saying you turned out alright. I agree with you that the quality of all mediums matters, but when it comes to tv specifically, though quality matters it does not matter as much as quantity. If someone is watching 5+ hours of tv a day it does not matter if its brownies or brownies with poop, there are going to be ill effects.

    This is from a michael medved article:
    “Concerning school performance, literally hundreds of studies indicate that excessive viewing of television undermines academic success. Professor Edward Gordon of Yale University has spent years analyzing the perplexing inability of black children from even the most successful families (those with reported incomes of more than $75,000 a year) to keep pace with their white counterparts on standardized tests or school success. He recently told the New York Times that one possible explanation for this discrepancy involved the much heavier television viewing among even upper middle class black families.

    Concerning the higher rates of arrest and incarceration for African Americans, the conventional wisdom suggests that racial discrimination accounts for all of the difference. A massive new 17-year study at Columbia University Medical School, however, shows that among males who watch “significant” amounts of television, the likelihood of violent criminality increases between 16 percent and 116 percent. The Columbia study defines “significant” amounts of TV viewing as an hour a day or more – while black children view an average of nearly five hours a day.”

    Whats wrong with 24? I happen to love that show, and I’m a decent guy, wait there goes another inductive arguement. The point being, we probably all watch things and consume media that we ought not, I really wish we could change to general discussion in our country from be careful of WHAT you watch to be careful of HOW MUCH you watch.

    m, I certainly agree we could be much more constructive with our time, but if a lot of people are like me, I dont want to be constructive all the time, I want to be a little selfish and have some me time where I dont have to think, produce, or improve for anyone, including myself. That is a sad confession but brutally true.

    • I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.  I agree that quantity is important but I’m not willing to say it’s more important than quality.  I like Michael Medved’s research on the media, too.  He did a great study on returns on R-rated movies vs. G-rated movies and found there’s no financial reason to make an R-rated movie.

      24 is an extremely violent show.  I’ve only seen a few clips and in each one I definitely found things that “ what’s being presented [did[ not meet [my] Heavenly Father’s standards”.

      I’m definitely not arguing we shouldn’t ever have down time or that our bow should always be tight, as Joseph Smith said.  Only that the quality of activity we choose during that time has a big effect on our soul.

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