Furthest Right

Unhappy people watch more TV and the Broken Window theory

A study co-authored by a University of Maryland researcher says unhappy people watch more television.

Sociologist John P. Robinson, the study’s lead author, found that people who described themselves as “not too happy” watched 5.6 hours more of TV a week, compared to their jolliest counterparts.


Cause and effect dilemma: is TV the cause, or the effect? Meaning: does TV make people unhappy, or do unhappy people seek out TV?

My guess is: unhappiness is a process. You get a little unhappy, you start feeling sorry for yourself and compensating by watching TV, and then the process goes on and on. Soon you’re watching TV as a routine.

This corresponds to the Broken Window theory:

“Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside.

Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars.”


Consider what you see on TV, instead: dramatic, neurotic, angry or silly people, in ridiculous or unrealistic circumstances. Distractions, in other words. If you need a distraction, what does that imply? That life is bad and you need to look away from it. So what is the message of television? That life is horrible and you should be distracted.

No wonder people who watch more TV are unhappy. They’re being subjected to anti-life, pro-couch propaganda every day of their lives. They’re not as wealthy or good-looking as the people on TV, nor are their lives as important as those on TV are portrayed to be. And the whole thing adds up to a hill of negativity because it insists distraction is necessary.


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