On Wed, 7 Feb 2001, Lars Henrik Mathiesen wrote:

> 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
> particular.
> 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.

Really?  Turning on the TV, unless it's something I actually want to
watch (Jeopardy...?), is prone to make me go off and do something else.
But then, I've never liked TV much, being a not-very-visual person.

> 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.

Really?  I could have told you that from listening to my friends.  =^)
Mainly because of all the conversations I couldn't follow.

> 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.

Or worthwhile to learn *some* form of social skills.  <rueful look>  God
only knows I *suck* at social situations.  It's a form of intelligence I
wish I had!