The pace of reading, clearly,depends entirely upon the reader. He may read as slowly or as rapidly as he can or wishes to read. If he does not understand something, he may stop and reread it, or go in search of elucidation before continuing. The reader can accelerate his pace when the material is easy or less than interesting, and slow down when it is difficult or absorbing. If what he reads is moving, he can put down the book for a few moments and cope with his emotions without fear of losing anything.
The pace of the television experience cannot be controlled by the viewer; only its beginning and end are within his control as he clicks the knob on and off. He cannot slow down a delightful program or speed up a dreary one. He cannot "turn back" if a word or phrase is not understood. The pro-gram moves inexorably forward, and what is lost or misunderstood remains so. Nor can the television viewer readily transform the material he receives into a form that might suit his particular emotional needs, as he invariably does with material he reads.The images move too quickly. He cannot use his own imagination to invest the people and events portrayed on television with the personal meanings that would help him understand and resolve relationships and conflicts in his own life. he is under the power of the imagination of the show's creators. In the television experience the eyes and ears are overwhelmed with the immediacy of sights and sounds.
If someone enters the room while one is watching television--a friend, a relative, a child, someone, perhaps, one has not seen for some time--one must continue to watch or one will lose the thread. The greetings must wait, for the television program will not. A book, of course, can be set aside,with a little regret, perhaps, but with no sense of permanent loss.