Archive for July 2010

How to Watch TV (and other media), part 3

In what has become a series of posts, I’ve been trying to introduce some thought processes when it comes to consuming interacting with media in our lives. If you haven’t seen how I’m approaching this, and the questions I’m using, you can check out my first post here, and my second post here. I’m basically suggesting some ways of approaching media that don’t give our attention away in a passive, cavalier manner. In my second post, I discussed narratives that are advanced through media – some on the surface, but many below the surface. Today’s question builds on that concept. Question 3: What systems of power are at work? It may sound a little conspiracy theory-ish for me to presuppose that systems of power are present when I sit down to watch Wipeout or House or Deadliest Catch, but in most cases they are. I’m pleased with how the internet […]



How to Watch TV (and other media), part 2

Yesterday, I began to frame up an approach to interacting with media in our lives . . . notice that I said “interacting with” and not “consuming.” There’s a big difference. I’ll admit that there are definitely times when I consume media – I sit down in front of a television or computer screen with nothing in mind other than to have nothing in mind, and be entertained. But more often, I’m interacting with media, in the sense that I’m asking questions that go below the surface of the story that’s being told on screen – like yesterday’s question – “Who’s paying for this show?” To put things another way, while sometimes I do watch television, most of the time I “read” television. In an effort to further define things, here’s another good question for you to ask: Question 2 – What narrative is being advanced? One of the hardest […]



How to Watch TV (and other media)

Following on my recent commentary responding to a survey in which 70% of Christian women indicated that media does not influence their decisions, it occurred to me that I could suggest some frameworks for how to view media, and live with the tension of its influence on our lives. Watching television doesn’t sound like something that should require skill . . . but if you pay attention – even a little – you’ll see what kind of effort is being put into influencing you. While a good bit of what I will offer here applies most directly to television viewing, you can certainly generalize the questions I ask to include movies, radio, internet, music, and news outlets. This is a bit of a lesson in semiotics, or a way of understanding signs and symbols. Trust me, it’s not as intimidating as it might sound. You can arrive at some healthy […]



Online vs. “Real Life” Personality

I’m guessing that some smarty-pants person out there has already thought of this, but if I was a university Psychology PhD student, I know what my research and dissertation would be about: developing an instrument that categorizes personality, such as the famous Myers-Briggs Temperament Indicator (MBTI). The MBTI is probably the most widely familiar inventory, assigning it’s alphabet jumble of individual personality profiles – “I’m an INFP,” or “I’m ENTJ.” In grad school, I did a good bit of study on these assessments, and really enjoyed seeing how they work. While the MBTI is an excellent inventory that gets better all the time, I would love to see a new thorough, nuanced, and validated personality assessment. Or maybe I’d just love to see a new version of the MBTI . . . like the wwwMBTI. I’ve been making observations recently of the way I interact with people in person versus […]



Responding to a Survey of Women’s Attitudes

One of my friends here in Seattle is a guy called Jim Henderson. I’m not just name dropping here – we really are friends . . . he even said so in his new book/DVD, which released this past week. Anyway, in what’s been a busy week for Jim, he released some data that he collected about Christian women’s attitudes toward church. As it turns out, women seem to be pretty happy with their church experiences. You can see some of the questions and results here. Jim’s asking for some broader feedback on the data, so I thought I’d put the word out to my little band of readers. Check things out, and give him your thoughts. As a white male, I’m actually not that interested in my own opinions on most of the items, but here’s my .02. First, my general response to all the happy attitudes of women […]