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Why stop at alcohol?

Letter to the Editor | Sunday, April 13, 2008

I commend Ryan Slaney (Alcohol: Enemy of academic and moral development,” Apr. 10) for his insightful and well-researched indictment of the dangers of alcohol consumption. I would, however, like to expand upon his vision, which I feel to be sadly restricted. The physical and spiritual harm alcohol brings to our student community is obvious but there lurks a more insidious threat to our personal and moral integrity. It lurks within every residence hall, perhaps even your own dorm room and its usage is completely unrestricted by Our Lady’s University. Yes, I am talking about television. According to some motivational poster I saw at my old high school, sitting on the couch and watching television day after day not only makes you really, really boring, but also affects your health by impairing your vision and encouraging weight gain. You would be much better off going outside for a jog, or at the very least a brisk walk about the block to meet the neighbors whose dinner party you blew off last week so you could watch “30 Rock” and “The Office.”What’s more, long-term addiction to primetime television shows can negatively impact a person’s intellectual life. I have seen this happening at Notre Dame since I was a freshman – walking down my hallway at 8 p.m. of a Thursday night, my ears were assailed with the inanity of “California” coming from all directions. Today, I know people who skip homework, put off papers and ditch group project meetings just so they can catch all of their weeknight line-up. I find it deplorable that the administration has exacerbated this problem by granting dorm-wide cable access. Do they want students to fail?There are some who may try to argue that watching television is a purely personal choice, or that its impact is not nearly as detrimental as I’m making it out to be. To them I say that the effects of television, like those of other drugs, can only worsen with increased exposure, and never stay limited to the user. Countless silent victims have their studies interrupted when their neighbors gather next door for a session of collective IQ-lowering with America’s Next Top Model at full blast. Innocent bystanders and their property become compromised when someone’s attempt at publicly replicating a Jacka** stunt inevitably goes awry. The Catholic character of this university is itself under constant assault from the day-to-day influx of television programs promoting sexually promiscuous attitudes, the objectification and degradation of women and the gay agenda.Let us not also forget that television watching frequently goes hand-in-hand with that other vehicle of both mental and moral impairment: alcohol. A group of students gathered in a dorm room watching SportsCenter are far more likely to be engaged in irresponsible drinking (which, as we all know, is the only kind of drinking) than a group of students occupying their time with wholesome and enriching Bible study.Now, I’m not denying that television can have its proper place and time. I myself was responsibly introduced to television by my grandmother when I reached an appropriate age and spent many summers at grandma’s house enjoying the chaste pleasures of Mother Angelica’s Eternal Word Television Network. I only wish that other students had been so fortunate as to have the support and guidance of loving family members during their first experiences with television. However, it is obvious to me that the student body lacks both the maturity and the moral fiber to resist television’s many sultry temptations. It is therefore the duty of the administration to give our Notre Dame Family proper guidance by prohibiting the use of television.

Nikki HuirasseniorBadin HallApr. 10