Crack and the Box Essay

Shoo Long ENG 1010 July 13, 2010 Crack and the Box “Crack and the box” was written by Pete Hamill. In this short essay the narrator explains his thoughts on a very common topic of addiction. He compares crack which is a drug to the box which in this case would be a television. The narrator speaks of his time as a reporter interviewing many different crack addicts some which were his personal friends. He explains that they cannot break free from this addiction and that is very much so like the television viewers.

Hamill speaks of television as a form off addiction saying that it occupies most peoples day. He also states that “Television, like drugs, dominates the lives of its addicts. And though some lonely Americans leave their sets on without watching them, using them as electronic companions, television usually absorbs its viewers the way drugs absorb their users. Viewers can’t work or play while watching television; they can’t read; they can’t be out on the streets, falling in love with the wrong people, learning how to quarrel and compromise with other human beings. In short they are asocial.

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So are drug addicts. ” The narrator says the people should read more claiming that this will help us gain our sociability and be more informed than watching the news. Saying that “Getting news from television, for example, is simply not the same experience as reading it in a newspaper. ” He claims that reading is more active. “The reader must decode little symbols called words, then create ideas and make them connect; at its most basic level, reading ‘images or an act of the imagination.

But the television viewer doesn’t go through that process. The words are spoken to him by Dan Rather or Tom Brokaw or Peter Jennings. There isn’t much decoding to do when watching television, no time to think or ponder before the next set of images and spoken words appears to displace the present one. The reader, being active, works at his or her own pace; the viewer, being passive, proceeds at a pace determined by the show. Except at the highest levels, television never demands that its audience take part in an act of imagination.

Reading always does. ” Hamill says that television itself is a consciousness-altering instrument for the reason that with the touch of a button, it takes you out of the “real” world to a world where you can be doing anything that you want or go anywhere you can imagine. Just like the effects of popping a pill. In conclusion Hamill tells the reader that television is certainly not going away, but its addictive qualities can be controlled. It’s a lot easier to “just say no” to television than to heroin or crack.

He also says that we should do more productive things with our spare time like reading books or participating in social activities with other people in order to challenge our minds. I believe that the narrator is correct, and truly agree with his statement because it is in our everyday activities that we gain experiences. We cannot gain life changing experiences from watching something on television. And if we do it will not be our own but one of someone else, or a fictional character.

I believe that Albert Einstein or even any of our great leaders of today did come across any of their discoveries by sitting in front of a television all day. Instead it was in the activities that they partook in that made them what they are today. I believe especially that in today’s world that social networking is the most important part a creating a new and productive idea. I do not believe that Philo Fransworth who invented television in 1972 sat there and did nothing but watch it every day after it was perfected, and I don’t suspect that this is what he wants us to do either.


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