i don't think that anyone's saying that you can learn *what* US society is like by watching the teevee. that would be using some sort of realist grid, asking how teevee represents US society. Now, this is certainly not the point. Would you use the same sort of realist frame for looking at updike? pope? harriet tubman? the letters between debeauvoir and sartre? rigoberto menchu? the letters between jefferson and adams? the journals kept by women traveling westward to stake out a plot of land during the second half of the 1800s? ken keasey?