Sonia Sotomayor, in response to Sen. Klobuchar’s (D-Minn.) question during yesterday’s confirmation hearings for her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court

Yesterday’s Senate confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor included a lighter moment where Sotomayor shared how growing up watching the TV show Perry Mason inspired her to pursue a legal career. As I listened to radio coverage of the hearings, I realized that being immersed in this week’s program with Diane Winston helped me to hear this Perry Mason reference with new ears.

Yes, television can be cast as frivolous fare — a kind of cotton candy for the mind. But as Diane Winston emphasizes, television narratives are extremely powerful. They illuminate our collective social concerns. The characters we meet in the shows we come to cherish — as Sotomayor testifies — can sometimes inspire big life decisions about who we want to become in the world.

Television also serves as a touchstone and provides points of connection across different life experiences. Yesterday, newly seated Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) shared how he grew up watching Perry Mason in suburban Minneapolis while Sotomayor took in the show from her home in the South Bronx. “And here you are today,” Franken said.

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The images we feed our brains are seeds we plant there. Most of those seeds will die, some will struggle, some will thrive depending on the conditions when they land. But we do reap what we sow.

I loved “Joan of Arcadia” because it so perfectly demonstrated that God is omnipresent. The theme song “what if god was one of us” reminded us that God is ALL of us. That show was so effective on many levels. Teens to seniors loved it.

I was a bit disappointed with the show's focus on all new series (or so it seemed on one listening). That may seem to select listeners who are 18-30 only. Much modern media has been criticized for promoting the self in ways that are counter to religious goals. So many eras skipped over. // I did like hearing how early TV's sex roles may have been offensive to women today. That may explain why these two favorites had to be skipped over, too bad: the values-rich relationship between Father and Son in "Andy Griffith" and "The Rifleman".