An Observation

In my 7th grade classes we’re watching an episode of the Twilight Zone. It’s called “To Serve Man,” and it’s about an alien race that comes to earth. They have this book, and the earthlings decipher the title, which is “To Serve Man.” They think the aliens are there to altruistically help them, but they figure out eventually that it’s a cookbook.

Here’s my observation about the episodes though–we’ve watched two now, and television watchers in the sixties were definitely more intelligent than tv watchers now. Here is a smattering of the vocabulary I’ve heard in the first few minutes:

incisive
Euclidean geometry
felicity
subsequently
perusal
“shake hands figuratively with a Christopher Columbus from another time”
altruism
insurrection

As an English teacher, I find it sad that language like this is now scarcely understood, much less used in mass media.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “An Observation

  1. OK, I’ll bite. Why on earth are you watching The Twilight Zone for your class?

  2. I thought I wrote that…we’re studying science fiction and fantasy, and it’s the day before a long vacation. So, we watched an episode (one was in our text earlier as a teleplay, so the kids were familiar), and we talked about what elements of science fiction and/or fantasy are in it. And we reviewed the elements of plot.

  3. And why on earth are you posting in your blog in the middle of the school day, Miss De Yager?And I think it’s okay that those words aren’t used in mass media today because it makes people like you and me and everyone we know feel super smart – and those sorts of media-induced compliments are few and far between. I think it has more to do with media becoming more visual and less textual (meaning old school “text”, like written words). We’re not getting dumber, we’re just getting better at picking up visual signifiers. That’s my optimistic take on things!

  4. I was posting because I was sitting at my desk with my laptop while we watched. not neglecting anyone.And I completely disagree. I think it sucks that tv being mediocre is okay. The Twilight Zone was so interesting, and though the special effects aren’t great, the story lines and dialogue are really interesting.

  5. I almost forgot…I don’t think it’s as much a smart thing as it is a creativity thing. If we used more inspired language, we’d understand it.Getting off my high horse now.

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