In June 2006, the Good Weekend, the magazine supplementing Saturday’s the Age in Melbourne, ran the following cover story by Catharine Lumby: “Worried TV will turn your child into a zombie?” The cover featured a science-fiction image of a boy’s upturned face. Televisions were reflected in his pupils, giving them the effect of being square instead of round. The message, though, was ultimately non-alarmist with the subheading already instructing “Relax. It’s all good”. Stories like this appear regularly in the press, and while I am not interested in debating whether TV is good or bad for children, I am interested in the popular image of children—or, for that matter, adults—as being akin to zombies when they watch TV, if only because something similar happens when we read books. Although it is not as fashionable to talk about it, we become emptied of ourselves, possessed by something other.
Spectres, Screens, Shadows, Mirrors: JASAL Special Issue 2007