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.
“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.