And also, his conclusion is that "all technologies" designed to help advertising "will tend to push social evolution in this direction," e.g., in the direction of dominating citizens. Doesn't it seem possible that there are a few people in advertising who have no interest in dominating people's minds, but just want to make a living creating clever advertising to sell kites, and toothpaste, and English muffins?
In this regard, Mander is using a "hasty generalization"; that is, making an inductive generalization "that draws a conclusion about all members of a group from evidence that pertains to a select few" (Hurley, 142). But wait, Mander hasn't even shown any evidence; he just fires with both barrels and makes a "false cause" (a fallacy based on a phantom link between his premises and conclusions) (Hurley, 143).
Before launching into his four arguments, Mander asks readers to believe (47) that the four are linked together because "they deal with aspects of television that are not reformable." So the reader is now set up to believe that notwithstanding the logic or lack of logic in the material to follow, there is no way out of this disastrous medium, and so the society is basically doomed, driven to its knees. Readers may as well learn why there is no way out. Indeed, in Mander's world, there is no light at the end of the tunnel - only the flickering light from the tube that the whole society is mesmerized by.
In his section III, "Effects of Television on the Human Being," Mander introduces hypnosis; he interviews several professionals in the fields of hypnosis and psychology, all of whom assert that inductively the link between television and hypnosis is strong. And typical of Mander's weak inductive logic, he asserts on page 197 - after realizing "how very obvious the process was" - that "every advertiser...knows that before you can convince anyone of anything, you shatter their existing mental set and then restructure an awareness along lines that are useful to you" (Mander, 197). That strategy has an extreme reach; it's an "appeal to ignorance" because, as Hurley explains on page 140, Mander has presenting an idea that "is incapable of being proved." How do you prove that every advertiser must first shatter mental states of his or her audience? Is this tactic the design of a cryptic, cynical ex-advertising executive seeking a new career in publishing?
He introduces the "Hitler phenomenon" as an analogy to America's dynamic in the 1970s ("the wider context is already disassembled, leaving the subject in confusion"); Hitler was "a clear channel of clarity out of confusion" he explains (199). Given that American in the 1970s suffered from "grounding lost and expectations sinking," and with no Hitler around to mesmerize this society, television has become a pinch hitter for the Nazis, looking to hit a home run and control the audience in the process. The television is the "guru-hypnotist-leader" that opens a "clear channel into surrogate clarity" in other words, TV is the new fascism.
Mander utilizes conditional statements in his sometimes-blundering attempt to be scientific. On pages 205-206 he seeks to build a case that television puts viewers in a kind of trance ("...a form akin to daydreaming or time out"). First he acknowledges that a study on the effects of television by Merrelyn and Fred Emery (Australians) is "not based on great amounts of evidence." Then he goes on to quote from the research as though it was valid. On page 207 he brings the reader his conditional statement: "If the Emerys are correct" (the antecedent), "then their findings support the idea that...[television] is sleep teaching" (the consequent).
Keeping in mind that at the outset of the reference to the Emery study, Mander noted that the authors admit, "...with a certain degree of rage," that their findings are not based on "great amounts of evidence." He then goes on (207) to use this material as though it were verifiable because "...sleep teaching would also help explain my own observations."
Hurley, Patrick J. (2000). A Concise Introduction to Logic. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth /
Mander, Jerry. (1978). Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. New York: William…