Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Jeff Jarvis. Stop calling it Television!


Jeff Jarvis has a lot, a real lot, of good things to say on his blog Buzz Machine. But he also has a most annoying habit of referring to internet video as "television" or "TV". Damn it Jeff, IT'S NOT TELEVISION. I don't know how you can in one post, praise Jeff Pulver for his petition to the government to not regulate internet video, and in the next post, continue to refer to this revolution as "television". Goddamn it Jeff, IT'S NOT TELEVISION.

Don't you see that when you do that, you give those idiots in Washington another reason to treat internet video like it is television? Something to be regulated, to be parceled out to the highest bidder, to be controlled by mega-corporations?

Please! Don't continue to perpetuate this false perception that internet video is just another kind of television. IT'S NOT TELEVISION.

Television is one-way. Internet video is multi-way. The fact that viewers talk to each other is even more important than that they talk back to the producer. You were among the first to point that out! IT'S NOT TELEVISION.

Television is centrally controlled and we are force-fed home shopping channels and infomercials because it lines the pockets of Comcast and Cox. Internet video is uncontrolled and diverse. IT'S NOT TELEVISION.

Television is homogenized to appeal to the lowest common denominator and not, heaven forbid, offend anyone. Internet video is wonderfully free to be and say and do anything. It's the ultimate in "if you don't like it, don't watch it". Nobody but you even decides what you can choose from. There's no power broker to apply "family values" pressure to. You have to make an even more deliberate choice to watch something. IT'S NOT TELEVISION.

Television is bored couch potatoes with glazed-over eyes flipping their remote in never-ending cycles of the same crap channels. Internet TV is inquisitive and engaged people choosing and evaluating and interactively critiquing, panning or recommending an endless variety of new and different things every hour. IT'S NOT TELEVISION.

Finally, the word "television" has come to be synonymous with "the vast wasteland". It speaks of bland, droning pap, of marketing pukes in suits with their "notes" on scripts. It says creativity is the last issue on the table, behind focus-groups, product placement and Nielsens. Television has become the metaphor for everything that is vacuous, vapid, tepid and tasteless about American culture.

Jeff, please... it's not television. It's something so much better.

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