I just had a very lovely Sunday. It wasn’t because of a delicious roast dinner or a particularly rousing episode of Songs of Praise; it wasn’t because I’ve just got back from holiday and I had lots of lovely TV to catch-up on. It was because of the Sunday Times and its columnist, my new favourite person, India Knight.
Here’s a link. It might not work because of The Times and its paywall. If you subscribe and it does work, my job is done. You can now click on that banner ad for the enticing conference you won’t go to.
If the link doesn’t whisk you off to a wonderful article, then I will generously save you the price of a subscription by telling you all about it because it is full of goodness.
India Knight devoted her column to explaining why she can’t bear people who high-mindedly claim they don’t watch TV. She calls them ‘TV snobs’ and what they claim to do ‘wilful cultural imbecility’. Especially as we live in a ‘televisual golden age’ where ‘sitcoms have never been funnier, dramas have never been meatier…and every taste is catered for’.
You’ll drop your muffin in astonishment when you learn that I agree with her.
I not only agree with that, I also agree with her brilliant analysis of what it is TV does for us as individuals and as a society. She points out how TV brings us together, offers us ‘collective emotional engagement’:
‘Television is how we learn about other people, whether we’re watching the National Geographic channel or a soap opera. It’s how we’re humanised. Television brings the wide world into our sitting rooms.’
This is true. In fact there are 6 specific needstates that watching TV fulfils, one of which Knight highlights here: the need to connect, to feel that we are part of society, connected to our time and place. You can read about the needstates here.
Not finished, my shining Knight continues:
‘Television unites us, even if we don’t all watch it at the same time. It gives us sport, entertainment, news, music and politics. It makes us laugh, shows us how to cook and teaches our children sign language. It shows how huge and fascinating the world is and how interesting people are, be they the Kardashians or Thomas More. It can feed our souls, spark our imaginations or make us snigger like idiots for half an hour. It is magic.’
No money exchanged hands.