Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Why are we so afraid these days?Reading has always been a passion. The internet has therefore been something of a divine gift to me. You know all the cliches so I won't repeat them. Something else happened that also kind of feels like a divine intervention. The realization that there is something fundamentally flawed about our culture. Never is this more apparent when seeing a news story simultaneously gets covered on websites with different views. It's jarring to see that Demons and Angels can be flipped so easily. One site may talk about the politician who's the salvation for the country because of x,y and z. And they may mention the evil politician who promotes a,b, and c. Another site will call the politician an evil destroyer - because of x,y, and z. The followers of each site will demonize the followers of the other - they're dupes, they're frauds, they have a secret agenda. And they may well mention the scrappy, heroic underdog who promotes a,b, and c.
Now, it's nothing particularly new - newspapers and media companies have always had a preferred slant on events. There's nothing wrong with that in and of itself. In the days prior to the Information Age, mass-media could only push it's slant too far. There would be too many people reading or watching who had different views to call bullshit. And there was a level of accountability for the major outlets. Sure, the media giants especially could call on cadres of lawyers in cases of lawsuits and pass the blame buck internally, but a third of the country would have the evidence in the event of a fuck-up. If nothing else, the public could just move to another of the outlets. Never underestimate the power of ad revenues (although that power was used to censor as well as censure, but that's another post).
Modern television news reflects modern trends the most. Regardless of slant, it's the same stew of music beds, cherry-picked stories and clips and the "correct" story told in loud, jumbled words. All without the least bit of context or insight. There's precious little chance to consider the story or understand anything. Nor is there time. The average headline clip lasts 20 seconds - if it's not just a five-second headline crawl at the bottom. Even the in-depth pieces are little more than wire-service copy with no fact-checking (takes too long). It's as if Kurt Vonnegut's Handicapper-General wasn't needed after all. We did it to ourselves.