Skip to main content

Why I Hate Our Media-Saturated Culture

You want to know why I hate Modern Mass-Media and our generally Media Saturated Culture? Because it coerces you, forces you, to care about totally meaningless things through sheer Volume and Persistence.

For example: take the woman in the picture. Some of you might know her as Kate Gosselin of "Jon and Kate Plus Eight," a T.V. show about a couple who is raising octuplets.


Until today, I had no idea who this person was, and I was perfectly happy not knowing, either. But finally, the constant, inescapable pressure of the Mass Media forced me find out who she was. And though I still don't care, I feel defeated. I've caved in.


For month upon month I've seen her face on magazines at the check-out line in the grocery store. The magazines were at eye-level, and since she's a fairly attractive woman, I usually glanced at the magazine covers with a bengign sort of curiousity. "Who is she?" "Have I heard of her?" "Should I have heard of her?" I would ask myself. I consider myself pretty worldly, and fairly media-savvy, so I assumed that if she was someone worth knowing about...AT ALL...I would either a.) already know who she was, or b.) read about her soon enough in some REPUTABLE publication such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, or the Financial Times (all of which I read on a daily basis, thank you very much).



But month after month, I still never figured out who she was. Though, thanks to constant innundation by the Mass Media, I began to be dimly aware that something was going on in her life. Thought provoking headlines like, "Kate Says: I'm Leaving Jon!" or "Jon is Cheating on Me: Kate"" began to inform me that she was having marital trouble. Meanwhile, I still had no idea who she was or WHY I SHOULD CARE. But, as I said, she was being implanted so deeply in my subconscious that I found myself becoming mildly curious. I couldn't help it! After all I was being treated to her most intimate confessions---in headline form---every time I went to the grocery store. At a deeply subconscious, caveman level, I was asking myself, "Why pretty woman with funny haircut cry?" Naturally, however, I refused to buy one of the magazines or even flip through it, all the while wondering with a nagging itch in my brain, "Who the hell IS she??"



Well, the Mass Media Machine finally beat me. When I opened up Yahoo! News today, she was the top story. With all of the War, Famine, Disease, Catastrophe, Degredation, and general Chaos happening in the world, this woman was the top story. The Machine finally put this woman's story into a depth-free and commitment-free form so that I would not have to spend my money or much of my time to finally unlock the mystery...and so I clicked on the story.



Why does this bother me? Because this woman has been implanted in my brain, taking up valueable space (of which I have precious little), and to such an extent that I actually just HAD to find out who she was. More than likely, I'll do it again, and again, and again, just out of irresistible half-interest. Like it or not, she's on my radar for good. I had almost no choice in the matter.



There's probably a word for this phenomenon, something like Indoctrination, Brainwashing, Culture Conditioning, Brain Shampooing...I don't know. But I don't like it. This is the kind of thing that scares me and makes me believe that the human brain isn't as strong as I'd like to think, and is, in fact, a porous, maleable organ that is easily influenced. It's just up there on top of your head soaking everything in, and while you think you might have control over it, you have much less control than you think. Worse yet, there are people out there who know how to control and use this weakness to their advantage.



I'll stop before I go off the deep end and start listing all my conspiracy theories about the Government-Media Axis and lose all credibility (assuming I had any in the first place). But, be on the lookout, folks. Be conscious of what you're putting into your brain, and be conscious of what is being forced into it on a daily basis. Take a look at your lifestyle and ask yourself if what you're doing, the choices you're making, are being made for you or if you're acting with a purpose in mind. Above all, make sure you're taking periodic breaks from Mass Media and Popular Culture to look around and ask yourself a few honest questions now and then...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

New Yorker Fiction Review #151: "The Bog Girl" by Karen Russell

From the June 20 issue...

My loyal readers (if there are still any, which I doubt) will know I'm usually not a fan of Magical Realism, which, as you may also know, is Karen Russell's stock in trade. That said, there's nothing I love more than having my antipathy for magical realism shattered by an awesome story like "The Bog Girl."

Briefly, an Irish teenager discovers the body of a young woman who as been buried in a bog for over 2,000 years and begins to date her. What more do you need, right? If I'd read that one-line description somewhere else, and wasn't on a mission to review every New Yorker short story, I doubt I'd have read "The Bog Girl." But maybe I should start doing a George Costanza and do the opposite of everything I think I should do.

Where Russell succeeds here is in two main areas: 1.) Making us really love Cillian, the teenager who falls in love with the bog girl, and 2.) pulling the unbelievable trick making the characters…

Holiday Q&A, Volume 1

These questions come to us from Grace. Thanks for sending your questions!! Answers below:
What is the most thrilling mystery you have read and/or watched?
The Eiger Sanction (book and film) by Trevanian is what's coming to mind. International espionage. Mountain-climbing assassins. Evil albino masterminds. Sex. Not a bad combination. Warning, this is completely a "guy" movie, and the film (feat. Clint Eastwood) is priceless 70s action movie cheese. But in case that's your thing...
What's the deal with Narcos?
Narcos is a Netflix show about the rise and fall (but mostly the fall) of Columbian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar. Thus far there are two seasons of 10 episodes each. RIYL: The film Blow, starring Johnny Depp; the book Zombie City, by Thomas Katz; the movie Goodfellas; true crime; anything involving the drug trade. My brief review: Season 1 started out a bit slow and I know a bunch of people who never made it past the first few episodes. Some of the acting is a…

A Piece of Advice I Learned From My Grandfather

My grandfather was one of the most learned men I know. He read widely and voraciously, and not just in the sciences (he was a doctor); he loved politics, philosophy, and great literature as well. Whenever he finished a book he would write his thoughts about the book in the front cover and then sign and date it. To this day every once in a while I will open a book from my bookshelf or my mother's bookshelf, or at one of my family members' homes, and there will be my grandfather's handwriting. He was also a great giver of his books; if you remarked that you liked a particular one or wanted to read it, you were almost sure to take it home with you.

Reading is a very solitary pursuit but my grandfather was not a solitary person. He relished having family and friends around him which is convenient because he was blessed with a lot of both. And he carried out his intellectual life in a very "public" way as well. He was, in some ways, an intellectual evangelist. If he r…