Mr. Williams

By Request

I took a course in college called “Mass Media and Communications”. I can’t remember the reason. But what I will never forget is one of the lessons. This was back in the early 2000s, so HDTV (1080p etc) wasn’t prevalent yet. The professor taught us how a television worked. I had no idea before then. He explained that a device inside the box quickly draws a very thin line–two hundred forty evenly spaced lines actually–across the screen. Then on its return trip, this device fills in the blanks just left with another set of lines. That’s where 480i (NTSC) comes from. Old televisions in America had 480 “interlaced” lines. Now we all watch in some level of progressively scanning lines, meaning the picture is fully refreshed each trip across the screen and the image is high definition. Now you know.

What all this techno-mumbo-jumbo means to us mortals is that the images on the television screen are an illusion. They’re not really there. Different than a painting, sculpture, or the words and images in a tangible book/magazine/newspaper, which we can really see and feel and touch, the images on the television screen are an optical illusion. Our brain is able to put together all these rapidly moving lines and we think we see a man or woman or if you’re four and a half years old, it seems that all you see is an Octonaut.

But the truth is there is nothing there. There is only an illusion. Mr. Williams is not in our living room. Only a powerful illusion that our brain wants to believe is a trustworthy man named Brian Williams is there. But even that is not true. This illusion isn’t on or in the television, the illusion is in our minds.

The question then becomes, “Can an illusion lie?” I say no. I say there is no non-fiction television to begin with. How could there be?

If there is anything to be learned from current events, it is that we’ve allowed ourselves, yet again, to be fooled. The new question, the only question I see remaining at the end of this is, “How many more times will we let it happen before we turn off the TV?”



  1. John Love

    I get what message you want us to get by your post, most it appeared didn’t even try. My problem is, yes we need to turn the T.V. off. But along that same line, this computer we are using here to access the internet, same thought process is actionable. So that leaves me in my cave drawing pictures of what I can see from my windows on my walls. So what I try to do is sample as many different news sources as I can searching for the same story. If I can, I try to find the actual source material and read or watch it, as the case may be. I do not watch the news on T.V. at all anymore, they are just entertainment shows nowadays! So for example, I will sample NPR, national and U.S. versions, the Irish Times, BBC, Spiegel, and English Pravda, to name a few. It is time consuming, but the only way if you want to try and see the truth amid a sea of prevarications, cherry picked comments, and a skewed view of how things really are!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Brother Dave

    I have to laugh (Thank you for that) whenever the discussions arise regarding TV, yet we are all sitting in front of computer screens and weighing in on the “Hellivision”. (John Love buys a pass here)

    A simple statement that was given to me in my youth has returned manifold benefits in shaping my life; that being, “Believe none of what you hear, half of what you read and only what you see (Being present at the occurrence of the event).”

    Living away from my birth country, I find TV to provide a connection to a previous time and place.

    As far as newscasters are concerned, they stopped reporting the news eons ago; all have become commentators (Contaminators if you will) by interjecting their personal beliefs and opinions amidst reporting on events. Much like John Love I sift through various sources to seek out the facts. One thing for certain, the videos and photos do help me to keep abreast of global happenings. Click!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pete Deakon

      We’re close, but I don’t think all the way there quite yet to having lost the original concept of television and its attempt at bringing things into your home that you might not otherwise see. You and John are obviously right about the technology of this screen and that screen being the same. But I still say everyone should “turn off the tv”. 🙂 Give it ten years and the only thing we’ll be doing on screens is reviewing words, images, and videos created of, by, and for ourselves. lol

      I, for one, can’t wait.



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