Television: The Mass Tasteland

Evening. A darkened room. Figures huddle close together. There is a sudden flash, a great white ball of light. Then a wavy line. Then a dot. Then nothing.

"I feel like someone is dead."

The occasion is not an atomic disaster, but the breakdown of the family television set in prime time. The pitiful line about someone being dead was actually spoken to an interviewer on television viewing habits, along with such others as, "I nearly lost my mind. The days were so long," and "It was terrible. We did nothing. My husband...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!