Tom Gray wrote:
> The above URL points to an article in the Toronto Globe and Mail
> on the effect of television. It takes as its basis TSE's attitude
> towards the medium.
Eliot has the name to make people take notice of his concern but I
think a better expert on TV could have been found. (Thinking of TV,
compare this to athletes being underwear spokesmen.) Eliot's letter
has him passing on the opinions of unknown others. Eliot's opinion
was that it would be a good idea to do a study. A smart move but I
don't see any great insight of his own on TV expressed in his letter.
My synopsis of TSE's letter to the editor:
The BBC is going to develop TV.
I was in America recently.
In America more households habitually watch TV than in the UK.
Some people I've met are worried.
Especially for children.
We should look at America before making TV popular in the UK.
My American friends are worried that it may be habit forming even if
all the programming were superior.
This page mentions Eliot and footnotes it (#4).
The URL for the footnote is:
The text for the footnote follows:
4. In a letter to The Times of Wednesday, December 20, 1950, Mr.
T.S. Eliot wrote as follows:
"TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES
Sir,--In your issue of December 17 you announce that the B.B.C.
proposes to spend over £4m. during the next three years on the
development of television. I have just returned from a visit to
the United States, where television (though not, I believe, more
highly developed technically) has become an habitual form of
entertainment in many more households than here. Among persons of
my own acquaintance I found only anxiety and apprehension about
the social effects of this pastime, and especially about its
effect (mentally, morally, and physically) upon small children.
Before we endeavour to popularize it still further in this
country, might it not be as well if we investigated its
consequences for American society and took counsel with informed
American opinion about possible safeguards and limitations? The
fears expressed by my American friends were not such as could be
allayed by the provision of only superior and harmless
programmes; they were concerned with the television habit,
whatever the programme might be.
Your obedient servant, T. S. Eliot
24, Russell Square, W.C. 1, Dec. 17."