A few days ago, I joked with K about how hard it must be living with someone who is constantly examining the world. Self-examination continues, but these days it mostly has to do with my reaction to events in our world; our own world, and the larger world around us. Unlike our own, it is so hard to be optimistic about where we (the human race and our 'civilization') in that larger world seem to be headed.
Looking around at how crazy everything is these days, it is hard to avoid noticing disturbing patterns, evident in media of all sorts. Oh, so much of the media is seductive and wondrous. I still recall a friend calling up an obscure song on Youtube I thought was lost forever on a broken 78rpm shellac disk. We can share ideas with people across the globe and chats with friends were and still are a sort of lifeline for many, including me.
Without the 'net, I wouldn't be me, so it is hard for me to admit how negative it all makes me feel these days. It seems clear that without vigilance toward media, we shall find ourselves slaves held by invisible shackles.
The oldest, print media, has declined to the point where it seems hardly relevant, and yet that is where, from time to time, a voice cries in the wilderness, calling for sanity (much as someone writing in a blog might).
Broadcast media, television and radio (again, irrelevant mostly) have become such well-organized tools of control by the rich that one hardly knows where to begin. Hint: advertising is everywhere now. Those five-minute breaks are easily ignored, but much of what might be called advertising appears in the programs, and is designed to wear down the viewer in a subliminal way. It tries to make us immune to feeling, so that we can watch cruelty of every sort, night after night (K and I still remember watching video from the Vietnam War - so immediate and cruel). We can watch fictional cruel people murder and be murdered in return without feeling that it is unnatural. If you approach it as a visitor to the planet might, the repetitious mind-numbing tactics are so overt they make one want to scream and run. More on that later. Don't run. Instead, pay attention as that visitor would.
The media misnamed social is the most dangerous in my estimation. It has the feel of being under our control at all times, and yet this could not be further from the truth. Not sure who originally wrote "the internet is forever", but we could ramble on for weeks on the way this truism has ruined lives. More than that, this form of media, perhaps because it feels personal and controllable, has the power to mess with your life, even though it might change it in a positive way too, as when two people who haven't seen one another for many decades, reconnect, as K and I have. It has the power to change how you feel about just about anything, because many articles are targeted using your own usage as a model. One might consider that the computer "bots" are benign, but look up the word "naive" if you really believe that to be universally true.
When my kids were growing up, we were so lucky. Television and movies were the only media to be concerned with. Some friends thought that keeping their children from watching certain programs was the way to keep them from harm. I wasn't naive enough to suppose that we could protect them that way. Instead, we talked to them about how it was natural to feel envious seeing people on television having things we don't, but real people don't live in "television land". We tried to avoid showing them violence, of course, but we discussed that too. Television can educate you in a negative sort of way; a "don't be like that" way.
I'm not naive (see above) enough to imagine that any power on earth or any individual can fix the way media is controlling our lives now. It seems to me that the very best we can do is to be aware of how it will affect you if you let it. Good parenting these days requires that we do the same for our young ones.
The best you can do is to think for yourself and then be yourself, not who the internet, or some media mogul wants you to be.
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A bit of time travel to a sillier time, not a kinder time. Back then a computer was still a person, and the television was thought to be a miracle that would help educate the young by showing them the world from their home.
GrandDad liked this piece though:
and GrandMa was fond of this one.
I still love my grandparents so much. They couldn't be held responsible for the direction the world had gone or would go, no more than you or I.
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We Wish Everyone a Wonderful 2019!