Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Graphology, Television, Plato, and Paul

When I was in third grade, we had a guest speaker who was a graphologist. I was FASCINATED by the idea that you could discern someone's personality traits from their handwriting.

The guest said since we were just learning cursive, it was too soon to really analyze our own writing. But I do remember a classmate asking that since our writing showed our personalities, could CHANGING our handwriting shift our personalities--because the guest said YES. I tripped out.  (Hold that thought.)

Now I have never researched graphology (although I admit to analyzing people's handwriting all the time based on what I learned that day--high cross on your t's mean you think highly of yourself. Open loops above your a's and o's? You can't keep a secret), but this morning I wondered if there was a similar link between SES and TV viewing. 

I found a study from 2001 which analyzed viewing habits of 26,420 people in five Latin American countries, and sure enough, what they watched was influenced by their wealth and education.

Here is what the researchers found:

" Insofar as their television viewing are concerned, we observed these preferences:
  • SES Level A: travel, business & finance, economy, recent Hollywood movies (on premium cable channels or pay-per-view), internationally produced drama series, politics  [TOP 10% of SES]
  • SES Level B: biographies, documentaries, general interest & education, local news, sports [NEXT 20%]
  • SES Level C: sports commentary, live music concerts, music videos, cooking, home decoration, entertainment, home shopping, internationally produced telenovelas [NEXT 30%]
  • SES Level D: domestically produced novelas, game shows/contests, comedies, horror, cartoons. [NEXT 40%; see chart below; all brackets Haiku Education's]"
Back to the held thought: can changing one's viewing habits influence one's SES? Hmmm.

Here is the education connection. Aristotle believed that the purpose of education is "to make the pupil like and dislike what he ought." Everything Else Thrown In puts it this way:  "Plato, the teacher of Aristotle, said that a properly trained youth was one “who would see most clearly whatever was amiss in ill-made works of men or ill-grown works of nature, and with a just distaste would blame and hate the ugly even from his earliest years and would give delighted praise to beauty, receiving it into his soul and being nourished by it, so that he becomes a man gentle of heart.”    As scary and Big Brother-y as this can sound, it's true that children tend to develop tastes heavily influenced by those around them and their culture, INCLUDING their teachers. 

AND SO... I want to expose my charges to the beautiful and the true. I want them to feed on integrity and good character. I want them to ask "why?" I want the novels in my class library to help them become noble and jolly. This TV study supports my notion that mainstream TV is an enemy of their financial future; perhaps so are certain types of books. This is not a censorship argument--if a kid is into bodice-rippers, that's her business--but I want to have a shot at helping to WIDEN and perhaps shift that taste to include, perhaps, some Charlotte Bronte or Jane Austen, or Ray Bradbury for that matter. 

I guess I am just echoing what Paul wrote in  Philippians 4:8:

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

1 comment:

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