Study: Watching Fewer Than Four Hours of TV A Day Impairs Ability To Ridicule Pop Culture

A Columbia University study released Tuesday suggests that viewing fewer than four hours of television a day severely inhibits a person’s ability to ridicule popular culture.

“An hour or two of television per day simply does not provide enough information to effectively mock mediocre sitcoms, vapid celebrities, music videos, and talk-show hosts?an essential skill in modern society,” said Dr. Madeleine Ben-Ami, a professor of cognitive science and chief author of the study. “The average person requires a minimum of four to six hours of television programming each day to be conversant on the subject of The Apprentice or able to impersonate Anna Nicole Smith.

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“Because the ridicule of pop culture comprises the bulk of today’s social discourse, a non-viewer is at a distinct disadvantage in the workplace, on campus, and in the dating scene,” Ben-Ami said. “An employee who can’t participate in jokes about Ashlee Simpson’s disastrous Orange Bowl appearance will sit dumbfounded while a more able coworker ingratiates himself to the boss by laughing. And just as the bird with the most colorful plumage attracts the most attention, so too does the bar-TV viewer who yells, ‘Have a sandwich before you faint!’ when Mary-Kate Olsen appears on screen.”

Study: Watching Fewer Than Four Hours of TV A Day Impairs Ability To Ridicule Pop Culture (The Onion [satire… will expire])

Once I was talking on the phone to my toddler, who said that Mommy was watching a TV show with ladies that sit around talking. When my wife came back on the phone, I said, “So I understand you’re watching ‘The View’.”

We don’t subscribe to cable, so there were only a limited number of shows that could have been on at that time. Still, I was fairly proud of myself for making that connection.

Blogs are my Cliffs Notes to television pop culture.