Quotations about   television

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Moral passion without entertainment is propaganda, and entertainment without moral passion is television.

Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) American author, playwright
Starting from Scratch (1989)
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Added on 26-Oct-18 | Last updated 26-Oct-18
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If television and radio are to be used to entertain all of the people all of the time, then we have come perilously close to discovering the real opiate of the people.

Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965) American journalist
Interview, Television Magazine (Jul 1957)
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Also cited in various places as being a speech given at Brandeis University (1958), and (incorrectly) upon receiving the Einstein Award (5 May 1957). Sometimes quoted as "used for the entertainment of the people" and "used for the entertainment of all of the people."
Added on 11-Aug-17 | Last updated 13-Aug-17
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This instrument can teach. It can illuminate. Yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise, it is merely wires and lights in a box.

Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965) American journalist
Speech, Radio and Television News Directors Association, Chicago (15 Oct 1958)
Added on 15-Apr-17 | Last updated 15-Apr-17
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I must say I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go into the library and read a good book.

Groucho Marx (1890-1977) American comedian [b. Julius Henry Marx]
“King Leer,” Tele-Views (Sep 1950)

Commonly paraphrased: "I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on, I go into another room and read a good book." A number of uses of this line by Marx are found around the same time frame, with variant wordings. See here for more discussion.
Added on 7-Apr-17 | Last updated 7-Apr-17
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Life is not made up of dramatic incidents — even the life of a nation. It is made up of slowly evolving events and processes, which newspapers, by a score of different forms of emphasis, can reasonably attempt to explore from day to day. But television news jerks from incident to incident. For the real world of patient and familiar arrangements, it substitutes an unreal world of constant activity, and the effect is already apparent in the way which the world behaves. It is almost impossible, these days, to consider any problem or any event except as a crisis; and, by this very way of looking at it, it in fact becomes a crisis.

Henry Fairlie (1924-1990) British journalist and social critic
“Can You Believe Your Eyes?” Horizon (Spring 1967)
Added on 31-Mar-17 | Last updated 31-Mar-17
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Imitation is the sincerest form of television.

Fred Allen (1894-1956) American humorist [b. John Florence Sullivan]
(Attributed)

Sometimes attributed to Steve Allen.
Added on 24-Mar-17 | Last updated 24-Mar-17
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I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts. But I can’t stop eating peanuts.

Orson Welles (1915-1985) American writer, director, actor
In the New York Herald Tribune (12 Oct 1956)
Added on 17-Mar-17 | Last updated 17-Mar-17
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We all live in a televised goldfish bowl.

Kingman Brewster, Jr. (1919-1988) American educator, diplomat
Lecture, St George’s Chapel, Windsor, England (5 May 1978)
Added on 21-Nov-16 | Last updated 21-Nov-16
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Every time you think television has hit its lowest ebb, a new type program comes along to make you wonder where you thought the ebb was.

Art Buchwald (1925-2007) American humorist, columnist
Have I Ever Lied to You?, ch. 4 “Live and In Color” (1968)
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Added on 20-Jun-16 | Last updated 20-Jun-16
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It’s important to remember that the relationship between different media tends to be complementary. When new media arrive they don’t necessarily replace or eradicate previous types. Though we should perhaps observe a half second silence for the eight-track. — There that’s done. What usually happens is that older media have to shuffle about a bit to make space for the new one and its particular advantages. Radio did not kill books and television did not kill radio or movies — what television did kill was the cinema newsreel.

Douglas Adams (1952-2001) English writer
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Future (2001)
Added on 22-Jun-15 | Last updated 22-Jun-15
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Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the road less traveled by and they CANCELLED MY FRIKKIN’ SHOW. I totally shoulda took the road that had all those people on it. Damn.

Joss Whedon (b. 1964) American screenwriter, author, producer [Joseph Hill Whedon]
Bronze Beta board (14 Feb 2004)
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Posted after learning the WB had canceled "Angel".
Added on 1-Jan-15 | Last updated 1-Jan-15
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Readers usually grossly underestimate their own importance. If a reader cannot create a book along with the writer, the book will never come to life. Creative involvement: that’s the difference between reading a book and watching TV. In watching TV, we are passive — sponges; we do nothing. In reading, we must become creators, imagining the setting of the story, seeing the facial expressions, hearing the inflection of the voices. The author and the reader “know” each other; they meet on the bridge of words.

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) American writer
Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art (1982)
Added on 12-Aug-14 | Last updated 12-Aug-14
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I wonder how many men, hiding their youngness, rise as I do, Saturday mornings, filled with the hope that Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam and Daffy Duck will be there waiting as our one true always and forever salvation?

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
“Why Cartoons Are Forever”, Los Angeles Times (3 Dec 1989)
Added on 3-Mar-14 | Last updated 3-Mar-14
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TV — a clever contraction, derived from the words Terrible Vaudeville. We call it a medium, because nothing’s well done.

Goodman Ace (1899-1982) American humorist [b. Goodman Aiskowitz]
Letter to Groucho Marx

Published in The Groucho Letters.
Added on 22-Jan-14 | Last updated 22-Jan-14
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