Literature Has Much More Value Than Television

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Literature Has Much More Value Than Television It may go without saying that there are those who will never study, appreciate, or even perhaps consider literature as it is known in academic circles. There are those for whom the written word may have, at best, utilitarian purposes, and for whom any piece of writing beyond a technical manual should, at least, be a work of “non-fiction,” designed to impart a clearly stated morsel of information or worthy opinion. Part of the explanation for this may coincide with the same general reason that some people never consider religion: the proponents of literature – as is sometimes the case with the proponents of religion – sometimes themselves make their cause a used-up, weary, and trying thing, and may remove from it all the beauty and potential which it might, in the proper hands, convey. Arguably, much like religion, literature has a transcendent value, and fulfills an essentially universal need, in every human being. After all, even the most ardent opponent of the usage of literature in his or her own life embraces forms which complete virtually the same need within him; that is, myths, folklore, stories, movies, television, and even song, occupy essentially the same place and function as literature in the human person, albeit in a form often immeasurably more crude. And, as hotly debated as the following may be in the milieu of post-modern and relativist academic circles, the need to convey truths and explore the human person through story and myth may reach its most sophisticated form in literature. That, of course, raises the implied debate as to just exactly what constitutes literature. If poems and theater can be properly called “literature,” can not film, or popular s... ... middle of paper ... ...evision, and now, following in their footsteps, much written “literature,” seek mostly to entertain, to lull viewers into a comfortable despondency and create a sense of need for consumption, all of which perpetuates the success of these mediums. The vacuous lack of effort required of the viewer by television points to the factor that may simultaneously be literature’s greatest value and its most daunting hurdle to many potential readers. That is, literature invites readers, at its best, to learn a new set of codes and means of digesting language and tales; it may require, as in (for example) opera, learning an entirely foreign collection of meanings, linguistic cues, symbols, and, in effect, a new kind of listening. But those who seem to most appreciate opera, much like those who seem to most appreciate literature, swear that the payoff is well worth the toil.
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