Virginia Postrel article ‘Who Needs a Raise When You Have TV’

The post by the Bloomberg view columnist Virginia Postrel ‘Who Needs a Raise When You Have TV’ states that extensively watching television is better than having a better pay. She additionally states that since the lives of Americans have not majorly changed economically, more leisure time (watching television) would improve their lives. She also indicates that the entertainment industry has experienced a lot of growth with regards to increase in entertainment options and this has been disregarded when measuring the economic improvement. This notion that watching TV improves one’s life as compared to an increase in income is largely misleading.


The customized entertainment value is not inconsequential to American’s well-being. However, it possesses very little economic well-being towards the multitude of viewers but rather to the customized entertainment producer’s along with the mega media Conglomerate managers  who usually acquires extremely exponential rolling out peddling benefits, which are higher than the standard middle class worker’s yearly income (Postrel, 1). Surely part of it normally trickles down to cable and satellite installers, sales representatives and support teams in form of jobs: But the core phrase is trickle down. These companies want American’s to continue watching more television and dedicate their full attention on their companies’ 42”  LCD screens, miniature smartphones or 10” tablets. After paying all this attention to the display and looking out to the world in full view then one will realize just how much their adult life has been hoodwinked by entertainment (Postrel, 2). Many of the American’s could not actually feel entertained if they were aware of the ominous and subtle reasons of this misdirection that is being passed off as entertainment. For an American to live a happy life they should spend more time outside involving themselves in physically helpful outdoor activities; this will be a better way of spending the leisure time at their disposal. A majority of the individuals spending their lives watching TV wish they would have spent more fulfilling lives. Thus, for American’s to live happily they should unplug the TV and free up their minds.

A simple question to enquire regarding the writers statement about individuals whose living standards are largely improved by increase in technological entertainment is, if the same people were offered income in place of entertainment what would they pick? How many people would opt to remain in the entertainment vortex instead of take up an opportunity to better their financial well-being? Given the option of a larger income there exist no doubt that these people spending leisure moments on entertainment would choose financial freedom, decreased fiscal stress and debts (Postrel, 3). This means that the author’s statement amounts to a poor logic since it is very evident that increased entertainment real value is minimal or overstated. The big question remains to be, should we solve the problems American’s are undergoing through TV watching.   

The writer statement is largely misguided: take into account that whilst the latest technology is narcotizing people more money is being collected by the cable TV companies, the elected official are doing nothing since there is no oversight and other social problems continue to worsen. The author encourages people to blindly keep watching TV, fantasizing how life is great till they can longer be able to pay their cable connection and their houses are closed due to rent payment issues.

Postrel states that national income along with productivity statistics partially captures advancements in quality and diversity of consumer products, a position that is mainly uncontroversial amongst economists. She additionally indicates that money is not the only means of improving American’s lives but rather life quality should be of ultimate significance, that is, less controversial. The mainly controversial point is the fact that she chose to illustrate the improvement of life through television (in place of improved healthcare, clothing, and diets) is unfortunate. The issue is not that the poor live a good life owing to number of hours they spend watching television but rather the fact is, because of TV everyone’s life is a little better compared to the income statistics (Postrel, 4).

Further for Postrel to make an argument that entertainment require to be factored in individuals wealth taking into consideration the huge number of unemployed and underemployed people is an injustice. What if the writer loses her job today would she continue getting rich as a result of more time she would put into watching TV.   She seems to be living within her own little bubble detached from actualities of real life facing Americans (Postrel, 5).

Postrel is missing an essential point. TV is never good entertainment but rather cheaper for individuals who cannot afford to attend concerts or go for a camping trip. Experiments have shown significant correlation linking extended TV watching and depression, anxiety and social isolation. TV as compared for instance to a night out with friends after a long day of work never nourishes a soul (Postrel, 5). Extended television watching in actuality indicates a decline in the leisure time quality. An individual who has been hospitalized and spend most their time watching TV does not become richer.

Everyone is aware that we are existing in the TV’s golden era/age. However, the problem is not the TV but lack of critical thinking skills in examining the impacts of the worst aspects of the medium compared to the medium itself. Postrel fails to understand that if an individual for instance makes $530 or less every week they never leisure time but instead they have worry time. One has only time of being busy working their heads off, trying to make ends meet. One job is not even enough, one frantically tries to find an additional job on the internet (assuming one has it), through friends or through the newspapers, but not sitting and watching television. Postrel entire article indicates just how much rich people have never got an opportunity to worry about the source of the next meal. Television along leisure activities can never replace a living wage in addition to a peace of mind (Postrel, 4).  

Reading still is a leisure activity, however reading Postrel’s article leaves one sad and incensed. Ms. Postrel never paid attention during her study with regards to ancient Rome’s economy. She seems to be comparing circuses to bread.  Decent entertainment is part of a person’s need, but no individual can survive devoid of food. Clearly Ms. Postrel possesses absolutely zero understanding of what poverty is. Indeed rich individuals Ms. Potrel being one of them perceive poverty to as lack of riches. But poverty does not refer to lack of riches but rather it is a contagious plague filled with vice along with despair to name only a few of its symptoms, thus if a parent sits on the couch to watch TV they will definitely pass the disease to their kids and who are likely to also be inclined to watching TV thus becoming poorer (Postrel, 6).

Works Cited

Postrel, Virginia. “Who Needs a Raise When You Have TV? – Bloomberg View.” N.p., 2013. Web. 18 Sept. 2014. <>.


The rhetoric analysis was quite interesting and I liked a lot of things about it. Firstly,   thinking rhetorically is among the aspects I liked about this experience. Possessing the autonomy of expressing my thoughts after analyzing the components of the rhetoric situation is quite fulfilling. Offering my communication position made me feel as if I have already become an author. This essay has transformed my steps towards becoming a good decision maker who is able to make decisions speedily. Making decisions speedily have been acquired by learning to examine issues from a rhetoric point of view. I have learnt that I can write a better and a more effective document using less time through thinking rhetorically. Thinking rhetorically has enlarged by mental activities capabilities such as focusing on locating the needs towards a particular audience. 

I particularly did not have a lot of things that I disliked about the rhetoric analysis. The only factor would be about the essay, which is largely misleading towards the Americans. The issues regarding the essay writing were an opener thus no difficulties were encountered.

If I rewrote the essay, I would add more insights regarding the topic such as offering more economic perspectives of the writer’s editorial. These additional perspectives would to caution the readers about the misconceptions of the articles theme.  I would also provide more in-depth analysis and literature review to disapprove the author’s viewpoints and message.

This rhetoric analysis has made me a better writer in my future writings. This is because I have understood better the rhetoric tools and techniques such as inductive and reductive reasoning. These are techniques that I will utilize to my advantage when writing future essays. The rhetoric analysis techniques and tools will assist me avoid future mistakes along with major logical fallacies.

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