Television Truths: Forms of Knowledge in Popular Culture. John Hartley. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2008. 290 pp.
John Hartley’s name has been on the short list of influential television studies scholars for over thirty years. He has held numerous academic posts and is now distinguished professor, Australian Research Council Federation Fellow, and research director of the Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. He has earned the right to use a similarly authoritative and profound primary title for his most recent book.
What is “truth” with regard to a medium? In Television Truths, Hartley addresses the TV via lenses of epistemology, ethics/politics, aesthetics, and metaphysics. He does so by dividing the book into four parts, each headed by a question: Is TV true? Is TV a polity? Is TV beautiful? What can TV be? While perhaps not entirely or definitively answered, they are the types of questions that cut to the very core of television’s being. Hartley covers both the breadth and depth in an eminently portable book.