Catalogue

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Electronic hearth [electronic resource] : creating an American television culture /
Cecelia Tichi.
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 1991.
description
x, 249 p. : ill.
ISBN
0195079140 (Paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 1991.
isbn
0195079140 (Paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
general note
Title from e-book title screen (viewed October 16, 2007).
catalogue key
7372076
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 233-245) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Cecelia Tichi is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English at Vanderbilt University
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 1991-06-15:
In an attempt to expand a study of television beyond the content of its programming, Tichi (English, Vanderbilt Univ., and author of Shifting Gears: Technolo gy, Literature, Culture in Modernist America , LJ 3/15/87) offers an examination of the ``television environment.'' In other words, she covers the physicality of the set (thus the title), the act of watching (especially its voyeuristic implications), the way television ``certifies'' places and politicians, its uneasy relationship with the publishing community, and its perceived effects on children. This is a truly ambitious study. Tichi refreshingly pokes fun at the intellectual snobbery that blanket-condemns the medium, but she doesn't always offer a convincing defense. A doggedly academic writing style will limit her book to a smaller audience than it deserves.-- Thomas Wiener, formerly with ``American Film,'' Washington, D.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 1992-04:
Of all the inventions in American society none has been more dominant in its cultural reach or so damned for its influence than television. Many authors have grappled with the complexities of the subject Marshall McLuhan's Understanding Media (CH, Dec'64) provided several early theoretical guideposts; Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death (CH, Mar'86) dealt with its negative reverberations; and Todd Gitlin's The Whole World Is Watching (CH, Oct'80) treated its political ramifications. None, however, have analyzed television as environment. Tichi's penetrating study explores the ways in which a major technology has been assimilated into white middle-class culture and how society has been symbolically and historically transformed by this electronic technology. Tichi's environment emerges from diverse media forms, print and audiovisual: e.g., advertisements, cartoon humor, art, journalism, memoirs, fiction. Her purpose is to demonstrate how American society has come "to understand the social change and the cultural continuities of television." Her analysis accounts for vast changes over the past 40 years, including technological modifications within the industry itself as well as social and political events. At the same time, she compares the different generations that have literally become television's children. As a study of material culture, Tichi's book is exceptional in its interdisciplinary reach and articulation of the issues. Unquestionably, this is a major guidepost in the scholarship of the field. College, university, and public libraries.-J. Boskin, Boston University
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1991-05-24:
Television is so deeply embedded in American culture that, in Tichi's view, it has brought about a ``momentous cognitive change'': the on-screen world ratifies existence. Politicians, actors and other ``simulated heroes'' of TV are elevated into specious authority figures. The author, a professor of English at Vanderbilt, maps the average viewer's ``teleconsciousness,'' which begins with a ``continuous reprioritizing of attention in the habitat of the `always on' TV.'' She traces the postwar role of television in promoting such values as individualism, domesticity and Cold War patriotism. Drawing on writers--Donald Barthelme, DeLillo, Kosinski--and on cartoons, ads and rock music, she illuminates the pervasive influence of the ``TV hearth'' on personal behavior. This sophisticated, McLuhanesque study bristles with fresh insights. Illustrations not seen by PW. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A good, readable text. Should be attractive to students....Excellent reference list."--William H. Young, Lynchburg College
"Perceptive, subtly nuanced study of how Americans' perceptions of TV have developed over the past five decades....Tichi takes a close look at the often maligned, frequently misinterpreted medium....Her thinking is original, her arguments convincing. Fresh and fascinating."--KirkusReviews
"This sophisticated, McLuhanesque study bristles with fresh insight."--Publisher's Weekly
"Truly an ambitious study. Tichi refreshingly pokes fun at the intellectual snobbery that blanket-condems the medium."--Library Journal
"Very good for courses on the history of broadcasting and cutlural studies."--J.D. Peters, University of Iowa
"A good, readable text. Should be attractive to students....Excellent reference list."--William H. Young, Lynchburg College"Perceptive, subtly nuanced study of how Americans' perceptions of TV have developed over the past five decades....Tichi takes a close look at the often maligned, frequently misinterpreted medium....Her thinking is original, her arguments convincing. Fresh and fascinating."--Kirkus Reviews"This sophisticated, McLuhanesque study bristles with fresh insight."--Publisher's Weekly"Truly an ambitious study. Tichi refreshingly pokes fun at the intellectual snobbery that blanket-condems the medium."--Library Journal"Very good for courses on the history of broadcasting and cutlural studies."--J.D. Peters, University of Iowa
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Cecilia Tichi argues that TV is not simply another appliance like the refrigerator or toaster oven, but that it is actually an environment--a pervasive screen world that saturates almost every aspect of modern life. In Electronic Hearth, she looks at how that environment evolved, and how it, in turn, has shaped the American experience. Tichi explores almost fifty years of writing about television--in novels, cartoons, journalism, advertising, andcritical books and articles--to define the role of television in the American consciousness. The television set, she writes, has emerged as a new electronic hearth--the center of family activity. Ranging far beyond the bounds of the broadcast industry, Tichi provides a history of contemporary American culture, aculture defined by the television environment.
Main Description
We all talk about the "tube" or "box," as if television were simply another appliance like the refrigerator or toaster oven. But Cecilia Tichi argues that TV is actually an environment--a pervasive screen-world that saturates almost every aspect of modern life. InElectronic Hearth, she looks at how that environment evolved, and how it, in turn, has shaped the American experience. Tichi explores almost fifty years of writing about television--in novels, cartoons, journalism, advertising, and critical books and articles--to define the role of television in the American consciousness. She examines early TV advertising to show how the industry tried to position the new device as not just a gadget but a prestigious new piece of furniture, a highly prized addition to the home. The television set, she writes, has emerged as a new electronic hearth--the center of family activity. John Updike described this "primitive appeal of the hearth" inRoger's Version: "Television is--its irresistable charm--a fire. Entering an empty room, we turn it on, and a talking face flares into being." Sitting in front of the TV, Americans exist in a safety zone, free from the hostility and violence of the outside world. She also discusses long-standing suspicions of TV viewing: its often solitary, almost autoerotic character, its supposed numbing of the minds and imagination of children, and assertions that watching television drugs the minds of Americans. Television has been seen as treacherous territory for public figures, from generals to presidents, where satire and broadcast journalism often deflate their authority. And the print culture of journalism and book publishing has waged a decades-long war of survival against it--only to see new TV generations embrace both the box and the book as a part of their cultural world. In today's culture, she writes, we have become "teleconscious"--seeing, for example, real life being certified through television ("as seen on TV"), and television constantly ratified through its universal presence in art, movies, music, comic strips, fabric prints, and even references to TV on TV. Ranging far beyond the bounds of the broadcast industry, Tichi provides a history of contemporary American culture, a culture defined by the television environment. Intensively researched and insightfully written,The Electronic Hearthoffers a new understanding of a critical, but much-maligned, aspect of modern life.
Main Description
We all talk about the "tube" or "box," as if television were simply another appliance like the refrigerator or toaster oven. But Cecilia Tichi argues that TV is actually an environment--a pervasive screen-world that saturates almost every aspect of modern life. In Electronic Hearth, shelooks at how that environment evolved, and how it, in turn, has shaped the American experience. Tichi explores almost fifty years of writing about television--in novels, cartoons, journalism, advertising, and critical books and articles--to define the role of television in the American consciousness. She examines early TV advertising to show how the industry tried to position the newdevice as not just a gadget but a prestigious new piece of furniture, a highly prized addition to the home. The television set, she writes, has emerged as a new electronic hearth--the center of family activity. John Updike described this "primitive appeal of the hearth" in Roger's Version:"Television is--its irresistible charm--a fire. Entering an empty room, we turn it on, and a talking face flares into being." Sitting in front of the TV, Americans exist in a safety zone, free from the hostility and violence of the outside world. She also discusses long-standing suspicions of TVviewing: its often solitary, almost autoerotic character, its supposed numbing of the minds and imagination of children, and assertions that watching television drugs the minds of Americans. Television has been seen as treacherous territory for public figures, from generals to presidents, wheresatire and broadcast journalism often deflate their authority. And the print culture of journalism and book publishing has waged a decades-long war of survival against it--only to see new TV generations embrace both the box and the book as a part of their cultural world. In today's culture, shewrites, we have become "teleconscious"--seeing, for example, real life being certified through television ("as seen on TV"), and television constantly ratified through its universal presence in art, movies, music, comic strips, fabric prints, and even references to TV on TV. Ranging far beyond the bounds of the broadcast industry, Tichi provides a history of contemporary American culture, a culture defined by the television environment. Intensively researched and insightfully written, The Electronic Hearth offers a new understanding of a critical, butmuch-maligned, aspect of modern life.
Table of Contents
Television Environment--A Prefacep. 3
Introduction--Phasing Inp. 11
Electronic Hearthp. 42
Peep Show, Private Sectorp. 62
Leisure, Labor, and the La-Z-Boyp. 84
Drugs, Backtalk, and Teleconsciousnessp. 104
Certification--As Seen on TVp. 129
Videoportraits and Authorityp. 155
Two Cultures and the Battle by the Booksp. 174
The Child--A Television Allegoryp. 191
Comics, Movies, Music, Stories, Art, TV-on-TV, Etc.p. 208
Referencesp. 233
Indexp. 247
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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