[in a different format published in the book "do-tv" by do Publishing Co http://www.dosurf.com ISBN 9789080 392786, $15 ]

ReindeR Rustema, http://rrr.dds.nl/ rrr@dds.nl



Watching television has become a part of our daily routine. In what way does it effects us socially?

People watch TV ritually. Rituals are important to structure and give meaning to your life. Horizontal programming, everyday the same broadcast at the same hour, is based on this. Television is always there when you need company. Humans are more 'interactive' and inpredictable. Television becomes the background noice that can be interrupted at anytime by humans who want you.

It's a social activity/ it's a non-social activity

Every exchange of meaning is social. You can identify with social interactions that are shown to you. The negative side-effect of watching television is that you are not involved in social interactions while watching. You are, after all, only a witness.

In what way does it effect the relationship between people.

Many people can connect to the same meaning and value system at the same time. Television tends to dominate it, although it can not control it. New meanings and values develop off-stream invisible by television. When television picks it up it becomes mainstream.

How does a TV communicate?

Television is the story-teller of our time. If something (like it) has not been on television it does not exist in the mainstream culture.

How does tv contribute to our cultural identity (for example: identification with personalities on television)

TV does not contribute to culture but maintains the status quo. Cultural changes still happen in human interpersonal interaction. Sooner, later or never it is picked up by television. Television can point us to new elements in our culture but the individuals themselves ratify it with daily real life practise.

How does television contribute to the discussion of race & gender.

Television can speed up or set the agenda for a discussion but it can not direct the outcome in any particular way if the television watchers do not feel that it connects to their own experiences. If something on television deviates too much from any individual's experience or peer group culture they ignore it.

In what way does it teaches a spectator about other cultures?

Television watchers can pick up new imagery from other cultures but it is meaningless until they give meaning to it. A religious icon from an old and ancient culture can end up as a gimmick on a party through television. The meaning is changed, we do not really learn from other cultures until we meet the people. The airplane does more for the global village than television.

What is the relationship between television and isolation.

People in isolated places can hook up to a nearby culture through television if they choose to, sometimes at the expense of their own culture. Individuals who live in isolation can use the television to feel part of a greater whole and feel less isolated.

What is the influence of the remote control?

Any technology that gives more control to the invidual is easily and eagerly adopted. Just like the telephone, the VCR, the internet and the mobile phone. The advertising driven attention economy on television is the next institution to fall victim to this development. It will be welcomed with joy by individuals around the world to the dismay of the media moguls who will and shall adopt grudgingly.


Is entertainment television the most democratic form of entertainment , in that it doesn't exclude anybody?

Television is not democratic in the sense that you can let your voice be heard. It is democratic in the sense that you can access it. Most television excludes everybody besides the producers. Recently an internet-inspired (re?)valuation of the ordinary individual and his daily live emerges. It complicates television making since it becomes increasingly difficult to portray our culture. It is too heterogenous.

Do you think entertainment television is the death of social and cultural life?

The inflexibility of advertising driven television certainly wastes many valuable years of our life while it contributes little too nothing to our social or cultural life. Most advertising is founded on the repetition principle. A colossal waste of our precious collective time. Time we could have spend on distinct cultural artefacts, unlike advertisements.

What kind of relaxation provides entertainment television?

It does not give a physical relaxation at all. At best it can divert the focus of the viewer on other matters than the ones occupying the life and thoughts normally. Contrary to popular thought, watching television is a physically straining activity. Although the television watcher is typically positioned in a knocked down positition, any intense visual stimulus alerts the brain instinctively. Movement used to mean danger, the brain luckily still functions this way. It prevents us from being run over by cars. When you are already physically tired watching television can effectively put you to sleep. The best kind of relaxation.

How manipulative is entertainment television?

I doubt it is manipulative in the sense that the producers deliberately try to distort the world in a certain way according to a ideologically determined worldview. But, due to the mechanisms of the attention economy and scarcity in television channels, entertainment through mass media does not allow certain kinds of messages. Abstract processes can not be shown in favour of stardom cultus for example. Society is not helped much by the adoration of certain individuals and a lack of understanding of abstract processes. Another characteristic of television is that violence and action is attractive to show. It is a universal visual language that can be sold to any culture. Even while tv-viewers (except young boys) repeatedly show their desinterest in excessive violence on television, it is the most profitable to produce because it can be sold endlessly. Fiction with elaborate negotiations on moral issues can not be marketed internationally and are confined to the culture it is produced in.

Would you say that because of television high and low culture have an influence on each other?

I do not see a distinction between high and low culture.

What is it about tv that makes people feel addicted to it?

It is always available and predictable in its goals. It is there to entertain you, not to question your behaviour or thoughts. Real life is more complicated.

What is the influence of entertainment television on our social life?

See the social channel.


Can television unites the world into one big village?


In what way does global television has an effect on local television?

The more global the world, the smaller the cultural units individuals subscribe to. Some call it the re-emergence of a tribal culture.

Do politics use global Television and does global broadcasters use politics?

It is the other way round. Television is using politicians, it corrupts politics by emphasising on the men in power and glorifying them, instead of explaining abstract processes at work.

What does global television means for language and different cultures?

I quote Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, an expert in linguicide, the killing of languages: "Languages are today being killed at a much faster pace than ever before in human history. Only around 600, fewer than 10 per cent of today's approximately 7000 oral languages, are assured of still being around in 2100. Already today, between 20 and 50 per cent of the world's oral languages are no longer being learned by children"

In what way should global broadcasters use their power.

The medium of television is not well suited to educate people and therefore is always an abuse of their power. Television news is not to inform people, contrary to popular belief, but to set the agenda of politics. Television tells us what we talk and think about.


Many countries have problems with its educational system (money, growth, lack of teachers etc.) In what way could TV take a bigger part in providing education?

Stressing the importance of education and not pretending to be educative.

How do we learn through our television?

We do not. At best television can point us to something interesting we would like to learn or think about.

What are the limitations of getting education through television?

Television does not allow for reflection because it is a continuous stream. Only when reading and discussing, reflecting one learns. Television is by it's very nature unsuitable for this purpose.

How independent should educational television be? Is this an area to be governed by non-profit organisations? (UNICEF TV)

Independent educational television are ghettos in the massmediascape and highly irrelevant when it comes to teaching masses of people. A television can not substitute a teacher. Educational television could be television that does not want to appeal to the largest common denominator. But even target group narrowcasting can not educate without supplementary reading material.

Do we just learn a little about a lot?

We learn nothing about everything.

Television is becoming more inter-active in the future. What effect could this have on the way education is brought through TV?

Video can at times be useful in an educational setting. The best feature of video is the pause button. Most computer aided learning is based on the same thing. The student themselves determines the speed of learning.

What are the demonstrable medical/scientific effects of tv on our brain.

You get tired, restless, horny, unfulfilled, impatient etcetera when watching television for too long. Children who are educated by television see violence as a solution to resolve problems while in real life it is not. Such children lack the communicative skills to deal with conflicts with other humans. There is also evidence that children become agressive directly after watching (violence on) television.


TV is 70 years old. With the advent of newer technologies, how will TV survive?

Television will change into what I call Pure Television. It will dissappear like most mass media are disappearing thanks to technologies that allow more choice and personalisation. Pure Television operates outside the attention economy. The largest common denominator is not the goal but pay-tv and narrowcasting around a product or interesting will replace it.

The integration of the web and TV is happening right now and will blow us away within a few years. How will this work? </P>

It will not. The internet is a communication medium and television is an entertainment medium. In this respect one should distinguish The Small Screen and The Big Screen. The Small screen is for personal matters, like e-mail, telephony, webbrowsing for information, etetera. On The Big Screen you can play (net)games, watch movies and Pure Television.

Invent the ideal TV for the future.

The ideal TV has a memory for all programs I am interested in. It can also receive bookmarks for televisionprograms my friends are watching and I might like too.

What could be a totally new role for television in public society?

To give individuals more freedom of choice. The end of mass media and mass politics.

What is the follow up of the remote control?

Voice recognition with exactly the same goal as the remote control. More choice, control and freedom for the individual.

Do you think there is a future for personal tv?

Yes. See above.


What is the real value of news on television?

Entertaining action pictures of disasters, wars and people arguing about irrelevant issues. It proposes new icons for cultural use around the world.

Who should decide what is news on television?

Professional journalists who operate independently from any commercial interest.

Where is the boarder of news?

News is what is 'fit to print'. Every editor has it's own view on what is news and what is not. The viewer should choose the editorial policy of his or her taste.

Could you define a relationship between news and politics?

News sets the agenda for politics to react upon. Politics is corrupted by the workings of television with it's glorification of individuals and violence as opposed to abstract processes.

What is the impact of 'live' news on our daily life. (O.J. Simpson, Kuwait War)

Live news is entertaining because it has an open ending. It has been the advent of new kinds of live entertainment television with ordinary people playing their part. The closer to home, the better the viewer can identify with it. Live news is disastrous for the quality of the news because reflection of the reporter is not possible before or during the coverage. Meanwhile the interpretation of the viewer who is not on the spot is completely dependent on the images that are broadcast.


Companies and businesses are now bigger and more influential than governments. What will be the next step for brands and communication on television?

This is an introduction to the next question.

One channel sponsored by one brand. How would that look like?

This is an example of Pure Television. No longer the attention of the lowest common denominator matters but the attention of the prospective customer. This gives more freedom for the communicator to provide more information and treat the customer with more respect. It gives power to the individual where the so-called influential company is not listening to the needs of the customer.

Would a 'Greenpeace'-channel gives us better information on facts than a Greenpeace-story on the news?

A Greenpeace channel will be very much like a Greenpeace website. You know what you can expect and you tune in with a predefined question you want an answer on. Independent, respected and critical journalists will still determine which questions are asked. The tribe of Greenpeace fans might remain uncritical to their own channel but it is not possible for Greenpeace to impose a dominant reading of events on the public. It could certainly make the debate more intense, deep and more thoughtful. Mudslinging is less dominant with so much freedom for the viewer to switch to the other version of the story.

Consumers today identify themselves more with the values of a brand than with its products. Wouldn't it be a logical step to communicate these values through the content of a documentary, a film or a talk show than through a 30 seconds commercial?

Yes, with Pure Television each brand can establish their own community of believers. The battle of commodified values will be an interesting one with no evident outcome.

Where should the influence of brands stop when it comes to the content of television?

A brand should distance completely from the editorial process when it comes to sponsoring. When influence by the sponsor is not transparent the credibility of the brand is at stake. With transparent influence on the content it is accepted because it can be recognised and valued how the viewer chooses to.


It was always thought that TV would kill the cinema. Since there is still an uneasy relationship between the two, how can we make them love each other?

Pure Television is the opposite of Pure Video (or cinema) and will remain so. In cinema a talented story teller tells his (fictional) version of reality with a traditional beginning-middle-end scheme. The creation carries the name of the artist who created it. The name can become a brand by itself, like musicians and directors are now marketed by the entertainment industry. Pure Television is like a shower of images. The creators should refrain themselves as much as possible from artistic aspirations.

Pure Television is about witnessing in real time things that are happening elsewhere, therefore the word is tele (remotely) vision (see).

What is the role of the vhs and dvd?

DVD, VHS, ReplayTV, Tivo etcetera are the media that will carry Pure Video. It is the opposite of Pure Television. Pure Video is a product worth real cash. Pure Television is free, sponsored (by corporations or the collective).

Are there similarities between the small and the big screen?

The big screen is the live social experience of watching a movie in public. It is a valued event where people congregate around an artistic creation. There will also be a Big Screen in the home where people do the same thing in the private sphere. The artistic creation can also be a game. On the Small Screen, which is personal and wearable like a telephone, PDA or laptop is now, one can consult information and communicate with other people.

What has television done for cinema and what has cinema done for television?

Good cinema has remained uninfluenced by television and good television has at best imitated cinema very closely.

Will the new technology of television melt the two media together?

It will make the distinction between the two more clear. Pure Video (cinema) and Pure Television (stream of info) are each other's opposites.

How has tv affect the quality of cinema?

There is no innovation from television on cinema. There are technologies used by both that have had an impact, but the formats of television have had no effect on cinema. Most innovation in storytelling comes from cinema is imitated by television. Television is status quo after all.

Will cinema survive the development of new technologies?

Cinema in the meaning of a telling a compelling story with images will persist using any medium, including the ones we call new today. Also read an excellent interview with Egar Reitz' about the cinema of the future. http://rrr.dds.nl/heimat/interviews/heise181198en.html

What is the role of cinema in your own culture?

The cinema is, like books, the memory of our culture. Television is not, it is transient.


The channel owned by viewers.

Any idea for new, impossible, innovating or shocking ways of using television is welcome on this channel.

Anyone with an interesting story can tell it here.

ReindeR Rustema http://rrr.dds.nl/ rrr@dds.nl