The Camera Age (Magill's Literary Annual 1982)
Of all the various arts, that of television is hardest to pin down. In fact, what is usually meant by “the art of television” is not its aesthetic nature but rather the complex of technical processes which enables strange and wonderful sights to appear in small boxes in the corners of millions of living rooms. Most people take these processes for granted, so much so that they become annoyed and complain if wavy lines appear in their pictures or if the sound that is supposed to accompany these pictures disappears. Of the technical side of television “art” most viewers are blissfully unaware.
Viewers are even more blissfully unaware of any sort of standards or analysis that can be applied to television as an art form. Indeed, there are many who would claim that television is not an art form at all and therefore has no aesthetic principles, but if it is not an art form, what then is it? Some say it is an entertainment medium—and it certainly is. Others would say it is an educational medium—and it certainly is. Still others would see it as an information medium—and it is that, too. Indeed, it is all of these things and probably more, but viewers are still bedeviled by such questions as: “Was Archie Bunker good or bad last night?” “Which network did the better job on covering the election?” “Wasn’t Marco Polo the best program you have ever seen?” In short, viewers stubbornly keep asking...
(The entire section is 2115 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1982)
America. CXLIV, June 13, 1981, p. 489.
American Film. VI, April, 1981, p. 72.
Choice. XVIII, July, 1981, p. 1537.
Christian Science Monitor. LXXIII, April 13, 1981, p. B8.
Library Journal. CVI, August, 1981, p. 1522.
Nation. CCXXXII, May 2, 1981, p. 524.
National Review. XXXIII, July 10, 1981, p. 796.
The New York Review of Books. XXVIII, July 16, 1981, p. 32.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXVI, April 12, 1981, p. 3.
Times Literary Supplement. May 8, 1981, p. 511.
(The entire section is 57 words.)