By Michele Rosenthal (auth.)
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Additional resources for American Protestants and TV in the 1950s: Responses to a New Medium
No number of sustaining or public service hours for religious programming on radio or television could offset the destructive influence of everyday commercial entertainment. For Morrison, the aesthetic resulted from his ascetic, inner-worldly Protestantism. The post–World War II leisure society, as it was coming to be known, was at odds with the work ethic. There was no “elective affinity” between this new America and ascetic Protestantism. If Protestantism (as Morrison understood it) was to survive these cultural shifts, it would need to convince Americans to reject the hedonistic comforts of the armchair for the hardwood pew on Sunday.
78 The younger generation at The Christian Century no longer hoped to keep America Protestant. The new model was the church as sanctuary or respite from the culture. ”79 The editors reconceived the mainline Protestant church as an escape from the homogenized, mechanized world that was increasingly the norm in the age of TV culture. In this redefined landscape, the television would remain problematic, but for different reasons. Conceived as less of a potential personal vice and more of an important shaper of social values, the television would remain suspect for promoting violence (particularly on children’s programs) and social inequality, and generally for offering a worldview that was in direct conflict and competition with mainline Protestantism.
Most importantly, the SCOT approach demonstrated how social and cultural differences in the users not only lead to different interpretations and uses of the same technology, but to actual modifications of the original technology. 79 Scholars in cultural and communication studies have complimented this approach through their examination of the ways in which technological objects are “domesticated” into the home. Roger Silverstone et al. have used this metaphor of domestication to describe the phases that a household goes through when acquiring a new technology.