[Milton-L] Television

Paul Miller pm9 at comcast.net
Tue Jan 29 20:53:25 EST 2008


            Television
               
     
              The most important thing we've learned,
            So far as children are concerned,
            Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
            Them near your television set --
            Or better still, just don't install
            The idiotic thing at all.
            In almost every house we've been,
            We've watched them gaping at the screen.
            They loll and slop and lounge about,
            And stare until their eyes pop out.
            (Last week in someone's place we saw
            A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
            They sit and stare and stare and sit
            Until they're hypnotised by it,
            Until they're absolutely drunk
            With all that shocking ghastly junk.
            Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
            They don't climb out the window sill,
            They never fight or kick or punch,
            They leave you free to cook the lunch
            And wash the dishes in the sink --
            But did you ever stop to think,
            To wonder just exactly what
            This does to your beloved tot?
            IT ROTS THE SENSE IN THE HEAD!
            IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD!
            IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND!
            IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND
            HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND
            A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND!
            HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE!
            HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE!
            HE CANNOT THINK -- HE ONLY SEES!
            'All right!' you'll cry. 'All right!' you'll say,
            'But if we take the set away,
            What shall we do to entertain
            Our darling children? Please explain!'
            We'll answer this by asking you,
            'What used the darling ones to do?
            'How used they keep themselves contented
            Before this monster was invented?'
            Have you forgotten? Don't you know?
            We'll say it very loud and slow:
            THEY ... USED ... TO ... READ! They'd READ and READ,
            AND READ and READ, and then proceed
            To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
            One half their lives was reading books!
            The nursery shelves held books galore!
            Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
            And in the bedroom, by the bed,
            More books were waiting to be read!
            Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
            Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
            And treasure isles, and distant shores
            Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
            And pirates wearing purple pants,
            And sailing ships and elephants,
            And cannibals crouching 'round the pot,
            Stirring away at something hot.
            (It smells so good, what can it be?
            Good gracious, it's Penelope.)
            The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
            With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
            And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
            And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-
            Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
            And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
            And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
            There's Mr. Rate and Mr. Mole-
            Oh, books, what books they used to know,
            Those children living long ago!
            So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
            Go throw your TV set away,
            And in its place you can install
            A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
            Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
            Ignoring all the dirty looks,
            The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
            And children hitting you with sticks-
            Fear not, because we promise you
            That, in about a week or two
            Of having nothing else to do,
            They'll now begin to feel the need
            Of having something to read.
            And once they start -- oh boy, oh boy!
            You watch the slowly growing joy
            That fills their hearts. They'll grow so keen
            They'll wonder what they'd ever seen
            In that ridiculous machine,
            That nauseating, foul, unclean,
            Repulsive television screen!
            And later, each and every kid
            Will love you more for what you did. 

            Roald Dahl 


            Paul Miller

           
     
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