I can’t quite bring myself to say directly that I’m thankful for television, because I believe it has done great harm in our society, but it would be wrong to ignore the enormous educational and cultural benefits this technology has conferred. As strong a proponent as I am of the written word, some second-hand experiences are much better approached in a video format. From African safaris to Wagnerian opera, video provides formerly elite experiences to the hoi polloi. It’s not the real thing—but even the very rich cannot experience everything directly.
Thus I am also thankful for the technology that has enabled us to be masters of this medium. In my early days we had no television at all, but it didn’t take long to become enslaved. Life was planned around when favorite shows were on, because if you weren’t watching at that very hour, you missed it. I remember (to my shame) being reduced to tearful anger because our babysitter wouldn’t change the channel from her favorite show to mine.
It's true that we are, as a society, still enthralled. But we don’t need to be. We have the tools to use the medium for good purposes and ignore all the rest.