Ok, I’m venting a bit, but I’m just a little done with all the media coverage of fringe activity. And not only am I done with the coverage, but I am also discouraged by the impact it has on behavior. What we see ad nausea (mostly on television) begins, if not deepens, our perception of what is normal. And unfortunately what is covered is mostly…abnormal.
The shooting spree; the freak accident; the enormous success story; the wacko family; the misspoken word; the friendly-fire tragedy; the massive lawsuit over the minor infraction; the activist special-interest protest. The most popular “news” shows and news coverage seems to be largely, if not exclusively, motivated by landing the most outrageous and titillating scoop. Supposed journalists have agendas and seek out anomalies rather than central stories. Movies and T.V. series are equally guilty. So instead of The Cosby Show we have The Simpson’s – because it’s more “real-to-life.” Right. 3-year olds consistently spout off remarks and jabs that exceed their own development and intellect. It’s like a massive frenzy to bring the fringe to our living rooms. It’s a fringe frenzy!
Maybe I live in a bubble – but experiences likewhat I see on T.V. or movies or in the news are so rare. The whole unintended conspiracy leaves us isolated, fearful and bored. Isolated and fearful that we or loved ones will be hurt or even killed by a misguided kook. Bored because we begin to believe every experience must start with a bang like the movies, boarder on heroic in the middle, and end in the most bizarre of ways.
Having built fear and boredom into the fabric of life, marketing picks up where the coverage ends. Items related to protection and security top the sales charts, while “bigger, faster, better” sells. (Have you ever wondered why Lego’s® of yesteryear have become insufficiently engaging for today’s child? It’s not because the little ones complained. It’s because the parents were convinced the building blocks were insufficient.)
Fringe excites and fringe sells, but it subtly moves our behaviors and our attitudes away from normal – where most people live. Don’t get me wrong, every breathing person is valuable and worthy of concern, attention and compassion. But let’s let normal be normal so that we don’t end up living in an imaginary world of extremes, making our normal lives seem too insignificant to matter. Paul says this to the church in Thessalonica, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders.
Let your kids ride their bikes around the corner. Go to the basement at night without fear. Believe the simple toys are good enough. Invite your neighbors in for tea. Sit around doing nothing now and again. Speak without fear of retribution. Help the old lady across the street. Do normal things without presuming without media coverage its not worth it. Guess what – pretty much everybody’s doing it. It’s normal. Live your normal life and remember it has great and lasting value …
A COMMENT FROM RICK REYNOLDS…
More venting…How are any of the “reality” shows anywhere close to reality? Can a show today be produced without including at least one controversial minorityl? Nobody can win “Survivor” and maintain an ounce of integrity, honor, or morals. People will say “It’s just a game,” but the “me first at any cost” mentality is being taught and reinforced. I disagree that it is an unintentional conspiracy. Can you imagine a news report that said, “well, not much happened over night so we’ll turn you back over to the network.” The conspiracy is that TV ratings/revenue drives the industry. It isn’t news unless we can sensationalize it. Have you noticed the adjectives that newscasters use to make the mundane spectacular? The end result is a desensitized/anesthetized public. We don’t cry when we hear of an airplane crash killing everyone on board or a child killed by a drive-by shooting. I think that’s why I always appreciated and will truly miss Paul Harvey who would take time to applaud people celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary or 100th birthday and would take time to share “the rest of the story” with us.