Response to Marie Winn’s “Plug-In Drug”

I read this article by Marie Winn and found it to be fascinating. Here is the link to the article: Read it first, then read the following…

“The Plug-In Drug,” by Marie Winn, is an article in which she defines the term addiction and then applies it systematically to behavior. The term addiction means to be attached to something firmly and cannot break away. Winn tries to show how television addiction is compared to a drug addiction, but there seems to be no “gray area.” The gray area is how both are similar, and yet one you can walk away from, and the other requires a rehab. Both can disrupt communication: with television, you will have little to no contact with the outside world, whereas drug addiction can cause communication to become distorted.

Television addiction allows one “to blot out the real world and enter into a pleasurable and passive mental state” (Winn, 2002, para. 3). Winn (2002) then goes on and compares it to reading saying, it is “easier to stop reading and return to reality than to stop watching television” (para. 3). Both television and reading can provide a brief respite from your daily life. To compare the entry into either, she states that reading is an open return ticket and that television is not. I agree that reading is much easier to break from because of distractions or the need to do something else; it is simpler to bookmark your passage. Television is much harder to break away from because you have to wait for a commercial break or the end of the show, unless you have a TIVO, then you could just pause it. I find that to stop either a book or a show disrupts the flow of a good story, more so in television.

Marie Winn (2002) states that alcoholics “are only vaguely aware of their addiction” (para. 4). I agree with this statement. Moreover, it is my opinion that many people overestimate the control they have on any addiction whether it is television, reading, or drugs. We tend to lose control with television by leaving it on and not setting aside time for family and friends. I agree that television is an easy gratification and reading is more involved; requiring more thinking. Alcoholism is triggered by one drink; it can give a brief satisfying feeling. However, it can be a serious detriment to your overall health.

Many find that with any type of addiction, they can put off other activities and that they can resume normalcy after a “bender.”  In reality, they put off the activities that do not bring immediate gratification. They soon forget to do the chores of home, engage in good conversation, or just do something that is enjoyable and produces a tangible result. They are so unbalanced that they can no longer see that the addiction is in control, whether it be television or drugs. Winn (2002) states, “It is the adverse effect of television viewing…that it makes it feel like a serious addiction” (para. 7).

Marie Winn essay seems vague and little to no creditable proof; this seemed to be written as an opinion. She tries to compare television watching to serious drug addiction. It was, overall, well written, but needs more facts to back up her claims. It is interesting that she placed the thesis statement near the end of her essay, which forces the reader to read the whole essay to discover her overall point. Clever!