This weeks lecture for BCM240 focused on the 'Emergence of the television culture'. We were required to ask someone older than you in your family or community to share a story with us about watching television, and the spaces in which this occurred. I chose to interview my mother, as she always wistfully reminisces about the time her father bought home their first television set.
My mother was ten years old when the family bought their first tv, however not everyone in the family was as thrilled as she and her siblings were. My mother recalls her mother being infuriated when her husband carried the set into the lounge room. Here was this hugely extravagant machine when she didn't even have a washing mashine yet!
My mother's family were on of the first in the area to purchase a tv. When the tv set was finally put in place and set up, the neighbourhood went 'berserk'. Children and adults spent hours in the family's house watching cartoons and pretty much anything that came onto the screen. The parents even had to come and collect their children at the end of the day to make sure they did not bother my mother's family too much.
It's unfamiliar to hear such a story where people were crazed over a machine we take for granted today. Before everyone had a tv set, the members of my mother's small town in Germany would crowd around the one tv that sat in the window of the electronics shop. People would even bring chairs and sit outside the store captivated by the moving pictures on the screen.
Even though the tv set was a prized posession and extremelly valued in the family, it did not dominate their life like it does to many people in the 21st Century. Watching tv was something to be done when there was no sun outside, no chores to be done, or when someone was ill. There was also a much smaller variety of shows, not a constant stream showing every hour of the day and night. My mother's parents were strong believers that children should be active and be outside playing, not sitting inside watching a screen. It was only used as a source of leisure for special occasions.
It is interesting to see how tv culture has changed the activities of families over time. Now it is a common occurance for a family to sit down (often individually) and watch hours of tv. Tv culture is even reflected in the architecture of a modern living room where the lounges face the tv, not the family members. Although this is not the case for every family it is sad to see children missing out on activities my friends and I enjoyed when tv culture was not as engrained as it is now.