Television Is A Goddamn Amusement Park

Network (1976) – One of my favorites

In a world bombarded with mass media, how do we find truth? Sure, things have changed a little with the advent of the internet but we still have a responsibility to sift through the garbage and find the meaningful gems. Media channels are not direct anymore. They are communalistic, engaging, conversational ones that feed off of people’s responses. People talk amongst themselves. That is why social media is such a revolutionary phenomenon. Does it mean the people are right? Generally the group is smarter than the individual but there are few absolutes in the world. I guess the moral of the story is truth is a self actualization process. Is truth relative? Agree or disagree all you want, thats my answer, at least for now… Regardless, its a pretty fantastic clip.


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7 responses to “Television Is A Goddamn Amusement Park”

  1. Andres Fonseca says :

    I’ll be hard pressed to contribute original thinking to the whirlwind of what has been said on the matter of truth, television, or Mr. Beale’s homily but I suppose it just might improve upon the silence or sedating amusement we were just commanded to abandon.

    I am afraid, ladies and gentleman. Truly, afraid.

    Suppose we confine ourselves to truth in social media. Thomas Jefferson, when arguing against the Hamiltonian model for a democratic United States insisted that the key to the country’s perpetuation was the enlightened, land-owning, agrarian man. He believed that a there was no way to separate a man’s self-interest from encroaching change, rhetoric, or danger and that those who owned a part of this country would vote, dissent, and communicate accordingly. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the truth might stand a chance in social media* if we feel the very real responsibility of guarding and nurturing it that should accompany a realization that we, as a species, are integrating our distinctly human capacities with a new world**.

    In conclusion, social media has, without formal notice, entrusted we, the people, with the state of (some of) truth in cyberspace and I’m not so sure what that will lead to.

    In the interest of being thematically consistent with the original post and concern, I leave you with a question:
    Are we, as a flawed, innovative, online, truth-seeking, community, in the boredom-killing business?

    *cue realization of the analogy between direct media channels and less-than-democratic forms of social organization a la Howard Beale
    ** cue imperfect analogy regarding the dawn of internet communication, Columbus, internet in the present, and some thoughtful founding fathers. Full circle, ftw!

    • Dan Fonseca says :


      One thing comes to mind when you say this.

      John Locke’s “Social Contract” <– the founding fathers' handbook

      We must take it upon ourselves to take action. Like honest Abe once said, "government of the people, by the people, for the people," it is up to us to find these truths and contribute to this "enlightenment". (The Renaissance part deux, fingers crossed!)

      In hopes of achieving the top of Maslow's "hierarchy of needs" pyramid, self actualization and truth go hand in hand. If considered at nation, Facebook would be the fourth largest in the world. The internet and social media have broken down traditional borders and our world is becoming smaller and smaller. We must "enlighten" ourselves through social media. We no longer are fed through a single funnel. We learn from each other! Can anyone say Wikipedia?

  2. Jay Everett says :

    Gentlemen, I believe that social media is only an expansion of the world from in which we search for ‘truths.’

    Before I got dialup and AOL Instant Messenger in the 8th grade I had never expressed myself to the world except through my personal interactions. When I had to make my AIM profile, I really had to present myself to an uncertain audience for the first time.

    Sure, I only did this because AOL told me it was cool and because I wanted to talk to girls without being visibly terrified in front of them. But, did my ‘truth’ become instantly and inextricably tied to this, my first foray into mass media? I contend that it did not.

    As Mr. Andres Fonseca commented in reference to President Jefferson, our sense of ‘truth’ is not derived from the “new world” of interconnectedness in which our species now thrives. No, we are able to stand at a distance and recognize mass media and social media as only an ingredient, or more aptly, as a cooking instruction, in humanity’s truth pie. We learn from each other in a myriad of ways which do not involve, and even scorn media. Therefore, fear not, and remember that Mr. Beale is mass media himself.

  3. elvalentino says :

    Yea the clip is awesome, I remember coming across it several months ago and realizing that what I believed to be the truth (from trusted sources) was nothing more then my false assumption that authority would always be right. Eventually by reading books like The Prince by Nicollo Machiavelli could I see the greater truth – that people do and will lie to manipulate the truth for they’re own purpose (or at least countries agenda)

    It’s an awesome post and theres many truths to be told in it +1

    • Dan Fonseca says :

      All we can do is try our best to live a noble life full of enrichment of the soul and mind. I believe if we do that then we have nothing to worry about and if humanity strives for the same then we all will have absolutely nothing to worry about. It’s posts and conversations like these that help me sleep a little better.

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