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The ethics of watching

A century ago the bone weary must have come home from their labors and relaxed by watching the flames dancing in the hearth. But since the invention of the television, weary Americans have been sinking their self-consciousness into the riot of unpredictable images flitting across their television screens. I am no exception. The other night I came home in a haze of weariness, did a swan dive onto the couch and hit the power switch on the clicker. On came one of myriad pseudo-documentaries in which the viewer rides along in the back seat of a police car, fire truck or--in the latest--the coroner's van.


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