Wednesday, November 5, 2008

TV in Enemy of the State

Earlier in the course, we talked about how television seems to prove that more information does not necessarily lead to corrective action. In fact, as demonstrated by the Sarajevo crisis, media overexposure can actually do much more harm than good. Because even when people are glued to the catastrophes taking place on their television screen, they feel somehow removed from them. The glass wall of the television screen effectively separates them from whatever is going on in the world that CNN feels the need to report.

That's sort of why I thought that one of the most interesting moments in Enemy of the State was when John Voight's character, Reynolds, is watching television with the little girl, who is presumably his granddaughter. He is treating the television as background noise, and is thus irritated when she draws attention to it by changing the channels back and forth. When he tries to get her to stop jumping up and down, he realizes that she has located a channel that seems to be broadcasting the couch that they are sitting in.

Television thus invades the safe, removed space of his own living room, and reminds him that it is not, in fact, safe.

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