- China Needs Fewer TVs, Or A Billion Of Them. Adnotated.

Wednesday, 18 September, Year 11 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

I'm just as surprised as you, but at least I'm drunk

I'm just as surprised as you, but at least I'm drunk


Reread Part 1. What's happened since?


Studies have apparently shown that soap operas shown in developing countries introduce/reinforce progressive values like female empowerment, education, equality, with very real effects on the society (e.g. birth rates are lower, girls stay in school longer, etc.)i

From a news article entitled, "How soap operas could save the world"ii:

"The evidence we have from these academic studies is that quite often [soap opera viewers in developing countries] take away different attitudes toward things like how many children they want, what is acceptable behavior for a husband toward his wife, what is the breakdown in a household of responsibilities over things like finances, should we be sending girls to school," says Charles Kenny, an economist at the World Bank.

Soaps are particularly powerful because they attract so many devoted viewersiii. But other shows have similar effects. Charles Kenny wrote more extensively about this in Foreign Policyiv:

When a woman reached the final five [of Afghan Idol] this year, the director suggested "it would do more for women's rights than all the millions of dollars we have spent on public service announcements for women's rights on TV."

Ok. But what did it change in women, exactly?v


1. How fast does the culture change due to TV? Probably only by a half-generation. Tick

2a. If this effect is real, is it conscious and deliberate on the part of TV execs? Are interested parties creating shows to influence the culture (as opposed to simply selling product?)vii

2b. If this effect is real, why don't special interests (the government, the Christian Coalition, GLAAD, whatever) just give money to established Hollywood producers and say, "can you make cannibalism ok?" or "Please rewrite history or me." Works for Spielberg. So?viii


Certainly everyone loves to complain that TV is destroying society, why not get together and use TV to push the agenda you want?

Maybe they don't themselves know how real this effect is? Or maybe they don't want to. Maybe Spielberg doesn't want to change the world, just be thought of as the guy who wanted to.ix)


You'll observe that the article's title isn't "How soap operas alter the world" it's "How soap operas could save the world" -- so it's a good thing, then?x I know the result here was that women wanted empowermentxi, but it could just as easily have gone the other way. Why would a soap promote only the positive values of empowermentxii but not promote the negatively sexy ones such as showering with your boss and recording it?xiii

This is from the Museum of Broadcast Communicationsxiv article on soaps, specifically 1960s medical soaps:

The therapeutic orientation of medical soaps also provided an excellent rationale for introducing a host of contemporary, sometimes controversial social issues

Yay progress. But here's the sentence immediately preceding it:

Their popularity also spawned the sub-genre of the medical soap, in which the hospital replaces the home as the locus of action... the biological family is replaced or paralleled by the professional family as the structuring basis for the show's community of characters.

Not to mention our own personal community of characters. Eventually even those get replaced with TV families. Why else would there be an all new episode of Brothers and Sisters this Mother's Day?


If you're still trying to figure out whether the studies show that TV violence causes real violence or TV progressivism causes real progressivism, you're approaching the question the wrong way. Those are accidental outcomes influenced not by the content of the shows, but the way TV makes you look at things.

And that way of looking a things is -- get ready -- narcissism. TV makes you look at things not starting from the thing, but starting from yourself. No third world village woman looks at a soap and thinks, "I wish women had the right to freely choose their own husbands." They look at it and say, "I wish I could choose my husband freely." It looks like a positive value, but that part's an accident. If you look closely, TV has only made her ask what she would like for herself. It promotes of the right to self-identify. You can argue whether that's good or bad, but the argument has to be about that.xv


Soap operas were stylistically different from other shows because they were open ended, unlike the neatly wrapped episodic dramas and sitcoms. They are also shot in quasi-real time.xvi If a character says something dramatic and the show cuts away to another scene/subplot, when they return they will pick up exactly at the moment of the character's last words. You are hand-held through every step of the emotional processing. It's impossible to apply the full force [of] your prejudices to a social problem, e.g. abortion, when the show never gives you a moment to do so. You are carried through the entirety of the process through the character's life.xvii

Soaps are also directed as a theater (opera) production, conscious of the audience's placement relative to the stage. Characters never turn their back on the camera; they'll turn their back on the other character (e.g. both facing outwards, towards the audience) and argue in a way no one ever does.

It's a stage effect: it pulls the viewer into their lives. You're in there, day after day, part of the action, part of the drama -- which they guide you through. No closed ended show can be as powerful.xviii

It's hard to appreciate how unusual that was, because nowadays most TV dramas are run like soap operas: Sex & The City, Grey's Anatomy, Brothers and Sisters etc.xix That's what makes these shows so much more culturally influential than porn.xx Or church. If I was going to L. Ron Hubbard a religion, I would take Sunday services, and serialize them. Tune in next week.xxi


TV doesn't just influence those who watch it, it's enough simply to be aware of TV:

Barely five percent of the TVs that are on at that time are tuned to Gossip Girl; in other words, very few people watch it. Yet there isn't anyone who doesn't know about it, even if it's imagined based on magazine covers or ads. So the existence of a menage a trois episode mainstreams it for people who don't watch the show, and that's actually more powerful a cultural influence.xxii i.e. If you're a fan of the show, the threesome is specific: those three people are doing it. For everyone else not watching, it becomes background noise: "oh, people are having threesomes nowadays..."xxiii

This is why it is true that even if you are not interested in pop culture, pop culture is interested in you.


Let's say I forbid my daughter or son to ever watch TV. What happens? Is she at a disadvantage because she is slightly less familiar with the rhythm of her social group? Will he be mystified by the seemingly contradictory desires in his female classmates? Will they both be frustrated and anxious at how everyone interprets social and political events using the exact same phrases, none of which they know?xxiv


Those of you expecting the rise of the Chinese Dragon and the collapse of the American Eagle are all going to die, along with your grandkids, way before that ever happens. Plan accordingly.

When Charles Kenny says TV is promoting values, what he means is western values. Right? As long as America controls the horizontal and the vertical, western values -- or whatever CBS decides those are -- will be exported and fetishized.xxv Accompanying those will be a interpretive framework built on narcissism. It is inevitable. You'll see Chinese women disdainfully rolling their eyes about American frivolity and arrogance even as they dab dry their Cosmopolitan splashed Hermes clutches and wonder why they are single in a nation infested with Y chromosomes.xxvi "The last guy I dated didn't even want to want to sex me anymore, let alone get a real job. Do I need to move to fucking Australia?"

Take a breath, Wildman, have a drink, the caps lock is on the left and I'm not going anywhere. Let me ask you [a] more immediate question: not everyone in China has a TV. What do you call it when part of a population becomes exponentially and suddenly more western while another part doesn't at all?xxvii

I'll save you the Google search: the answer is Iran.xxviii

Tell Sally Fields a happy mother's day from me when you see her tomorrow. I'm glad to hear she's doing good.

  1. These aren't "progressive values", not merely because the progre is the opposite of value but also because they happen to be trans-Hajnal nonsense. This bullshit where the average age of marriage is 26 in males and >23 in females, where spouses are relatively close in age, where a substantial number of women married for the first time in their thirties and forties and where about a fifth of adults never married has nothing to do with "progress", nor does it have anything to do with protestantism, or even scottish presbyterianism (the actual source of the English civil war, and of UStardianism generally -- the world's dumbest people). In fact, it predates the Norman invasion, it's fucking antique. Some genetic strands are intrinsicly failful, there's a reason nobody trans-Hajnal ever produced anything of any import or consequence, there's a reason the Renaissance started in Veneto not Zeeland, and so following.

    But yes, they're a lot more serious about maintenance. []

  2. He links []
  3. Whom they select : for laziness, indolence, and stupidity. Just what the pantsuit want to bless the orclands with more of. []
  4. He links

    Isn't it lulzy how the particular form of the idiocy "hidden" away in the url gives away the simple fact that all these spamsites are run by the same hand ?

    Lookit, why is "boston globe" in the format /ARTICLES////blablabla?PAGE=FULL while "foreign policy" is in the format ARTICLES////blablabla?PAGE=FULL ?

    Spamsites, you understand how this works ? Do you ? []

  5. Keks. []
  6. What fucking culture ?

    Here's the thing : if tv enacts something you think you can measure about culture, the only thing you're measuring is the absence of any culture. Mercury salts only improve the health of corpses, comparative to other corpses ; white knighting only improves the satisfaction of imagined women, over other equally imagined women ; TV only impacts the culture of retards who ain't got one.

    Such "measurements" an' "impactings" are a futile exercise. []

  7. No, the effect is imaginary. Specifically, it is imagined by a certain kind of retard, so as to justify (in their own eyes) their "TV exec" larping. []
  8. Because they don't have any. Only I have money ; all the rest of you are just living here, dicking about back and forth with fallen leaves. []
  9. Bingo. (In fairness, I wanted to link here a discussion with hanbot where she observes that most schoolgirlies don't want a boyfriend as much as they want the other girlies to think they've got one, but, obviously... I can't find it! []
  10. No, it's a fictitious thing.

    Pro tip : world "saving" is always fictive. []

  11. Women wanted a better life ; what they got was the life that was available on the dwindling resources of a diminishing industrial base and world relevancy. And they like it ok, because that is what woman means : she'll like okay whatever it is you've got for her. []
  12. There's nothing positive about this "empowerment", leaving aside how it also doesn't exist as hallucinated into words. []
  13. Are you fucking kidding me, of course they are. []
  14. He links []
  15. Yes, definitely, postmodernism is all about infantilism. Retarded women from the orc village pick the TV over... nothing. Because that's their natural choice : they normally have the nothing they naturally deserve, but with this new fangled invention from the people who specialize in scraping the bottom... well ? It's something, innit ? Even if it's not very much, it's still something. Right ?

    Nodoby who's anybody gives or need give the first flying fuck ; the people who watch TV are unimportant (and they know it). Whining to the contrary does nothing. []

  16. They're also older than fucking dirt, having been around since the fucking fifties. Just because you heard about it recently doesn't make it "new" or "modern", they're fucking called soaps because they grew out of Unilever post-war advertising. []
  17. Yes, they're essentially instructional videos for the marginally retarded. Because that's what they started out as : explanations as to the benefits of washing made for the sort of people who need those explained to them. []
  18. Or inconsequential. []
  19. What the fuck does he mean, "run like" ? They self-evidently and stinkingly obviously are soap operas, what.

    You think I don't review them because I don't like the names or something ?! Abso-THEFUCK-nothing in the world keeps me or could keep me from declaring henceforth Trilema's dedicated to reviewing the wonderful world of Grey's City / Sex & Anatomy / whatever -- except, of course, for the incidental detail that there's nothing the fuck there. But for that, you'd read all about them, I'm sure. []

  20. Nothing in the history of mankind was ever more influential than porn, except perhaps Bitcoin eventually. []
  21. You know, Walmart's done exactly that. They call it orientation and nobody cares.

    Nobody cares specifically because the "pile-ness" was never a property of the actual pile ; the influence is not a property of the show, or of the format, or of the dreams and aspirations of cuckold retards hoping against hope. The perceived influence was a result of circumstance, specifically the circumstance discussed in footnote xv. []

  22. Oh holy hell, get the fuck over it, ridiculousness of ridiculousnesses.

    What next, the Sun "is aware" of your favourite sun priest cult ? []

  23. This is how Trilema actually works, and how whatever anodyne anonymous nonsense aspires to work, but definitionally does not work. []
  24. I dunno dood, I never watched all that much TV and I have no problem whatsoever making dick ornaments out of any of these retards that did, should I feel inclined. Tres disadvantage indeed, I propose Ballas should watch more TV to catch up to me, bridge this sad gap of unfairness.

    He could watch it in Romanian -- after all, I'm skullfucking him in his native language, aren't I. []

  25. Too bad this all ended long before Ballas was born, but whatever, as long as lazy people have their memories they can wank about that one time back in the summer of '69. []
  26. While sitting around at teh designated corner lesbian teahouse in Minsk (populated with a bunch of lanky aspie girlies tryna be like what they think netflix describes) I casually picked up a shitty book (heavily promoted by exactly Ballas' brand of circlejerk) purported to have been written by some female monkey from India, about her "just like that Sex and the city" life experience. Something about how she and the rest of her ditzy "gang"... TP'd some dork's car, I shit you not.

    In other words : I'm sure the soap opera circuit will depict exactly such "absolutely authentic" "Chinese" women. For the retards who watch soaps. []

  27. You call it "
    Where THE FUCK!!! is everyone ?
    ". It happened, recently, in the US. Duh. []
  28. Or at least -- that's what the author would like to make true. Not that it works ; but whatever, it's a show not a process, it's there to display not to work. []
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21 Responses

  1. Offtopic: se pare ca ai ranit ceva sensibilitati ale localnicilor, lol.

  2. Anonymouser`s avatar
    Sunday, 22 September 2019

    I loled.

  3. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Sunday, 22 September 2019

    Nua, bine.

  4. Reddit diddit too!`s avatar
    Reddit diddit too! 
    Sunday, 22 September 2019

  5. Anonymouser`s avatar
    Sunday, 22 September 2019

    Ideea e ca nu am crezut, ok? Citesc p-aci despre dragoni energetici si de astea, dar ma gandeam ca exagerezi. Ei bine, nu exagerezi, imi cer scuze.

    Chiar ai aterizat inapoi la tine in mitoc ca un ozeneu intergalactic, si mitocanii chiar te-au dat la gazeta, pentru motivul ca existi si tu si curvele tale si cum se poate sa existe asa ceva tulai Doamne.

    Dar fiind lucrurile asa, am o intrebare, ca poate vei fi fiind mai umblat. Unde pe lume nu is melteni de astia?

  6. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Sunday, 22 September 2019

    Noi sa fim sanatosi ; ca ei sarmanii...

    Si-n rest nu zic, ca pe urma se strica.

  7. Nicolae Drobu`s avatar
    Nicolae Drobu 
    Sunday, 22 September 2019

    Sa sa mai noteze de altfel ca MP nici nu este banacean original si adevarat ci vinitura.

  8. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Sunday, 22 September 2019

    Sau chiar mai rau.

  9. Lol at the outrage of the Stefan Iulian Cojocnean camera derp derping about the penal code. Nearly everyone else appears to be telling him to STFU. There are a couple persistent prudity trolls on each thread. The prudes seem do a lot of failing to answer where their outrage is when the homosexuals parade on leashes.

  10. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Sunday, 22 September 2019

    As I was saying in teh logs, the retards figured out exactly nothing in a decade. Whatevers.

  11. Se pare ca ati mai inspiratsi pe altii domnu Mircea.

    Insa intre timp se vede ca sa pus interdictie de sus, nu se mai da in presa asa ceva. Deci practic ati inspirat ambele parti

  12. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Thursday, 23 July 2020

    E, bine. Ei sa fie sanatosi.

  13. > Ideea e ca nu am crezut, ok?

    Trilema ftw, ruland fin ca-n 11. 2011.

  14. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 10 October 2020

    Ca-n viata.

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