Television V Books – Dec 1997

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Hello and welcome to what promises to be one of the fights of the century and a night which will go down in history. It certainly is the proverbial “clash of Titans”. Rarely have we seen two pugilists of such awesome power come together in a fight for supremacy. People have come from all over the world to witness this eagerly anticipated bout. The atmosphere is electric. The excitement palpable. Spotlights illuminate the ring surrounded by the smoke-filled darkness. Boxing fans await the result, each with their own opinion as to who will come out the victor. So, fight fans sit back, make yourselves comfortable and get ready for the confrontation you’ve all been waiting for.

This is the fight: Books -v- Television.

From the red comer ‘Books’ comes striding out with the confidence of a man who has seen and done it all Yes, he certainly has been around. The old stager knows all the tricks. The man who has been around from the beginning. People are saying his proven track record will mean he has nothing to fear but this must certainly be his toughest challenge yet.

There is no doubting the credibility of the men past and present who have been in his corner. Shakespeare, Yeats, Wilde and Dickens are all names synonymous with the sport. He has been to the ring many times before and enters the stage with an impeccable record. He is the title holder, here to defend his crown. There is no doubt he still plays a very important role in the modern world and seems to have matured with age. This classy fighter comes to the ring wary of his youthful opponent but by no means afraid of the new kid on the block.

And now it is the tum of ‘Television’ to enter the arena. His is famous for these spectacular entrances. The music blares, the multicoloured lights make for a dazzling effect and he struts towards the field of battle with an expectant grin on his face. The crowd marvels at this visual feast. There certainly is a lot expected of this young competitor. A relative novice to the sport, he has soared to popularity and many have seen this confrontation coming from a long way back. He burst on the scene and made an immediate impression, causing many to herald him as a future champion. Through the 1960s and 7Os he matured dramatically and in the 8Os and 90s the addition of improved sound and 3D have moulded him into a considerable competitor.

While the fighters huddle in their corners we will talk to experts and ask for their opinions on both competitors. First to you Jim and your opinion is that Books will come out the comfortable winner. “Yes Mike, Books have a lot of things going for them and they will become quite evident in the opening rounds, for example, Books offer a greater choice to people and cover any number of subjects to suit anyone’s tastes. Whether it be fiction or non-fiction, a thriller or a romantic novel, with Books you can read exclusively on one subject or read any number of different types of books. With Television you take what you’re given. Books are much more mobile than the bully Television. They are portable and offer much more privacy”.

Thank you, Jim, now Steve, you’re very close to the television camp, how would you like to respond. “Well Mike, Tom’s points are very good but today television has a much wider choice and with so many new channels you can’t but have your tastes catered for. As for portability, televisions are getting smaller all the time. You can carry one in your pocket or hold one in the palm of your hand”.

Take your Seats

I’m sorry but I’m going to have to stop you there because there goes the bell for the start of the first round. The two circle the ring in a tentative opening but the challenger makes the first blow, throwing the fact that it has superior coverage of news and current affairs as and when it happens at his illustrious opponent.

Television certainly does bring events to your screens as soon as they happen. One only has to look back at the tragic death of Princes Diana. You could see it on every channel as each chapter unfolded but had to wait until the next morning to see it in print. Television can also bring live and on the spot debate on any number of relative subjects. The champion, caught a little off guard, has returned with a double blow of his own. The privacy book provides is way beyond the bounds of television. In silence with your book there is only you and your thoughts. This leads on to his second blow – reading a book is much more personal. With a book you can become much more involved and form your opinion as opposed to being bombarded by the thoughts of others without being given the time to contradict or disagree. There goes the bell for the end of round one.

It’s the start of the second round and “Books” has come out punching. He has started with the fact that books. are much cheaper than television. Television is certainly reeling after that one! Televisions cost three hundred pounds and upwards. And onto that, the cost of a television license, plus the cost of a satellite and satellite channels you will find that books are coming out much the better. The shots are raining now. Television is trying to use its hi-tech gadgetry to defend itself but there is no stopping the onslaught. The sheer enjoyment of reading is breaking down the defence of television. The reader of Books gets much more involved with the characters. Television tries to counter with his graphics and cheap thrills but it lacks substance and is easily broken down. The bell saves television and he staggers back to his corner to regroup.

The third round and television comes out wary of the punishment he took in the second round. The flamboyance that was there in the opening round has disappeared. He searches his arsenal and comes out with a few jabs trying to hurt Books with the accessibility of television and the informative programmes it shows but the Books matches it on all accounts. Television’s appeal to the young people of the world makes an impact but Books just shakes it off. He follows up with the important events on television, such as the moon landing, shooting of JFK and the other event s of the last fifty years.

Books reply with the multitude of events over the centuries which are in Books and Television comes out the worst of the encounter. Here it comes as Books goes in for the killer blows. The fact that Books stimulate the imagination leaves Television helpless. Nothing provokes thought like a good book and television just can’t compete. Books leave the images to be created by the reader whereas Television leave nothing to the imagination and hence books are far more enjoyable for everyone with any form of opinion.

Television is down for the count. As the referee reads Television its last rights, Books stand triumphant in the centre of the ring as the crowd roar their approval.

So, there it is. The result is there to be seen and no one can question it. The technical wizardry of television was no match for books. Books are here to stay. The King is alive, long live the King.

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About this record

Written by Barry Kiggins

Published here 16 Feb 2023 and originally published December 1997

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