> Date:         Wed, 7 Feb 2001 15:00:39 -0500
> From: Andreas Johansson <[log in to unmask]>

> Exactly what are those benefits? I know from experience that not watching
> soap operas do nothing to enhance one's social life ... But I can of course
> only blame myself (or possibly my genes) since I can't stand watching them.

Funny you should mention it. I just (yesterday or so) watched a
program (on TV!) about how it affects people to watch TV, soaps in

Well, you all know what watching the stuff does. Unless a group is
extremely motivated otherwise, turning on the TV will kill all
conversation and reduce them to empty-eyed staring within 15 minutes.

But what surprised the sociologist, and me, was how much time people
then used the next day to discuss what happened. Her theory is that
talking about soaps has taken over the function that village gossip
used to have.

And that function is the honing of social skills --- learning to learn
about how other people work by observing their reactions to and
opinions about the characters in the soaps. With the ultimate goal of
finding out who in your family/class/workplace you can put your trust
in when push comes to shove, and who you should avoid.

So unless you have other ways of learning those skills, or getting
people to reveal what you need to know about them, it seems it can
actually be worthwhile to follow the most popular entertainment.

Lars Mathiesen (U of Copenhagen CS Dep) <[log in to unmask]> (Humour NOT marked)