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multiple20-Aug-1998books/literaturegilly by votes62957.5%

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Do you believe that reading a book is better than watching TV?

Define "better" any way you like.


VotesAnswer
39Books are better
22It depends
5Neither is better
2TV is better
1Other Outraged Opinion


UserComment
jjg
posted 20-Aug-1998 11:08am  
Better? No. Different? Yes. It is all entertainment. Sometimes I like to be an active participant in my entertainment, so I'll read. Other times I prefer to be passive, so I watch TV.
seven
posted 20-Aug-1998 11:10am  
Books require using thought, which is generally better than not. My moods favor both activities at different times.
gilly
posted 20-Aug-1998 11:37am  
I dunno, most of the reading I do (and I read a lot is pretty brainless, as well. I don't think it's necessarily any better than TV watching, although it probably does do something for my literacy skills. If you're comparing, say, Harlequin romances (not that I'm admitting to reading those) with watching the Discovery Channel, I'd say TV wins.
dpolicar
posted 20-Aug-1998 12:34pm  
defining "better" as "I enjoy it more and get more useful results from it," the books I read are better than the TV I watch.
eris
posted 20-Aug-1998 1:16pm  
Books are in general far more interesting, in my book anyway.
jzp
posted 20-Aug-1998 1:48pm  
tv could have more substance. broadcast loses anyway, as it centralizes the crations of culture.
cpierson
posted 20-Aug-1998 4:13pm  
While I'd say the common perception of "book" is better than the common perception of "TV", it's all a matter of _what_ book and _what_ TV. Is a Shakespeare production on PBS better than the latest Danielle Steele slop? Probably not. Even the better network TV shows (e.g. Homicide) are preferable to a lot of printed material. I'm a fledgling author (first novel came out last month), so my vested interest would be to say books were better, but I can't. In a great many cases, they aren't.
hunter
posted 20-Aug-1998 4:51pm  
Define "better." If you want to relax and be entertained, TV might be better. If you want to learn something and engage your thought processes, I think books are usually better, although it's certainly the case that you can do this with TV. In general, I like books better than I like TV, yes. My new housemate watches quite a bit of TV and it kind of amuses me. So far I'm able to ignore it.
steve
posted 20-Aug-1998 5:04pm  
I said "Books are better," because for me they are in the vast majority of situations. However, I also said "It depends," because there are certainly times (very rare times, it's true, but even so) when I just want to be a vegetable, and TV is better for that. (I would probably do so more frequently than I ought to, if I had the option, which is why we don't have any convenient TV.) It also depends because there are people who don't read well, including dyslexics, who may be very intelligent and accomplished people, perfectly able to read if they need to, who nevertheless find reading to be such a painful chore that it is in no way a leisure activity. I know such a person, and would never try to tell him that he should be forcing himself to read instead of watching TV, which could actually give him some pleasure.
BadtzMaru
posted 20-Aug-1998 7:06pm  
*cpierson: Is your book called Spirit of the Wind?
phi
posted 20-Aug-1998 7:24pm  
Although Star Trek books are pretty pathetic.
emily
posted 20-Aug-1998 8:13pm  
Books and TV are like people. You find good and bad in both. There are things you can get from one that you can't get from the other. I would say I do equal shares of reading and watching TV.
Mimi
posted 20-Aug-1998 9:19pm  
I love books, but I seem to spend so much time with the computer that I usually have my TV on. My husband is in the other room, usually reading, but sometimes watching TV.
Books are much better!!!!!!!!
Resy
posted 21-Aug-1998 1:55am  
I think books are Better for Me ... but I admit, I sometimes read them while listening to TV.
Atzilut
posted 24-Aug-1998 10:45am  
I find it incredibly amusing how completely the meme of 'TV is evil evil evil' has engulfed the world. it just goes to show that if you say something loud enough and often enough it becomes true. TV is a tool , a medium. It's probably not being used as well as it could, but to brand it as 'evil' is laughable.
macquivr
posted 24-Aug-1998 1:58pm  
Kill your television
doom
posted 24-Aug-1998 2:33pm  
Books are generally better but sometimes I just want to watch TV. Depends on my mood. *** macquivr how come you always seem to know all the ads for products?
lisashea
posted 25-Aug-1998 12:13pm  
In general, I feel books are far better than the standard drivel that comes out of TV sets. However, I do know that some channels (PBS, History Channel, etc.) have fantastic series and those in particular would be better than books. I think both have a place if used properly.

bill: a gun is like a knife. a TV is like a torture tool ;)

Bill: We'll get into a gun argument here. In Worcester, a gun helped keep my child safe when burglars tried to break into our home. The gun was NOT evil. It can be used for good, and used for evil. It is merely an object. Surgery scalpels are meant to cut human beings!! Is that bad? It *can be*. It can also be *very good*.

lizzie
posted 25-Aug-1998 2:13pm  
Books are better for stimulating the imagination. TV is spoon feeding, but if you're feeling lazy, TV is better. The TV has a stand, but you have to hold a book in your hand.

BTW, guns don't kill people, it's the bullets that do. (Yes, I stole that from a song. Points if you know which one!)

reality
posted 26-Aug-1998 10:15am  
books are better by far. I'll watch TV when I want something brainless.
*lisashea/gilly: yeah the educational stuff on TV can be better, but even a trashy book is better than most of the stuff on tv. it improves literacy(sort of) and requires some thought/brain input. for me, books win, but TV is nice to just sit back and be fed info, whether trash or useful. and with a TV, you can't go to other shows to get more info (usually) you have to go to books... the TV shows have less depth.
*bill: guns are no more evil than pencils. it is the intent of the user.
*bill: my point exactly.
*bill: absolutely not. it is almost all in the intent of the user (where user is defined as the person either wielding the instrument in question or in the case of a trap, then the person who put it there). water can be used to torture, is water evil? no object in and of itself is inherently evil.
bill Survey Central Gold Subscriber Gold Star Survey Creator
posted 26-Aug-1998 1:01pm  
Kill your book. (just kidding) I've almost completely stopped watching TV now. Books rule, using my computer is even more fun though...
Atzilut, a gun is a tool too.
reality, a torture device is a tool.
reality... but some devices were built to do harm, doesn't that make the device itself evil?
** romkey, my tool is nothing special, it is evil though.
romkey Survey Central Gold Subscriber
posted 26-Aug-1998 4:09pm  
bill is a tool, too

*** hey bill, "it" doesn't put a link in when you put a comma after someone's name  * smile *

hmmm, maybe it's only when you put a comma after my name.

seanhuxter
posted 1-Sep-1998 11:41am  
I really don't like it when people try to rate these media in comparison to each other. They're entirely different! It entirely depends on the subject matter. I'd take a good episode of "The X-Files" over a Harlequin Romance any day, but I REALLY liked "Ender's Game."

It's when others tell you Television is mind rot while books are treasures that I get angry.

And I think it was Jerry Lewis who said:

"Theatre is life
Film is art
Television is furniture."

(To daver: How can you say television is entirely passive? Images just don't wash over you. Yeah, they would if your eyes were closed, but you DO have to think while watching television. (If the show is not crap.) The only difference is that when you read, your mind conjures the images. That's the ONLY difference. That in itself is good exercise for the mind, but not enough to discount TV as useless.)

To cpierson: Hey, dude. Didn't know you were here. I couldn't agree more. Congrats on the book, by the way, as if I hadn't said that a million times already!

daver
posted 1-Sep-1998 11:51am  
Absolutely. Watching television is nigh-completely passive...just be a lump and let images wash over you. Reading a book (even junk fiction) requires a little effort and thought on the part of the reader.
**seanhuxter: When reading, there has to be some minimal level of thought involved, if only to translate from wiggly patterns on the page into words. This is not necessary for TV. This is not to say that one can't think while watching TV, or that there are no thought-provoking programs on TV, simply that the medium encourages otherwise.
bgoodman
posted 3-Sep-1998 9:07pm  
I'd rather read a book than watch almost any TV series....The exception for that is Babylon 5 and sometimes ER. Movies are different. I watch more movies than most TV shows. But I'd usually still rather read a book.
nbarone
posted 13-Sep-1998 10:18am  
in general, i enjoy books more than tv. however, if you mean "better for me", it depends what your reading/watching
lelle
posted 13-Sep-1998 5:39pm  
In general, I prefer to read a book. Certain TV is pretty good (I like educational stuff) but most isn't. I also don't find watching TV to be relaxing or entertaining (well, some ads are pretty entertaining) nearly as much as reading. If I want brainless entertainment, I read 'fluff' or play minesweeper... :)
New comment way later: I saw a really cool TV show on the proving of Fermat's last theorem, which I think was better than most fluffy books. :)
BrianOblivion
posted 14-Sep-1998 1:44am  
The television is the retina of the mind's eye. Soon all information shall be transmitted in the form of video waves, rendering the paper medium of print obsolete.
Jaime
posted 5-Nov-1998 6:55am  
Book is better. Specially if the TV/Film it's based on the book.
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