Saturday, February 26, 2011

Why do we have it so good, yet feel it's so bad?

San Francisco - Modern news outlets often corporatist way of delivering the news sounds eerily like Henny Penny when she claimed the sky was falling. Many have perpetuated the fear among the already scared baby-boomer generation that socialist ideas will inevitably destroy America. If it's getting so socialist around here, then where are all the socialists?
     We have it pretty good compared to the rest of the world, then why do some of us feel it's so bad? Where did we get the notion that America is going to hell in a hand basket? Some would say that the media has perpetuated these fears, and however true that may be in the instance of network and cable news outlets, many respectable independent news agencies source their material soundly and report on stories with little embellishment or speculation. These respected outlets, however, aren't where the majority of voting Americans choose to get their news.
      Perhaps Jim Lehrer of the PBS Newshour is a little too old fashioned
for today's general audience, or maybe Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! is a little too frumpy to engender a youthful audience. Or maybe their message delivery is just as bass ackwards as the conservatives' dog-and-pony show. It is less important how the news is delivered, nowadays, than how it is perceived.
     The current younger generation (15-25yo) is no longer a culture with substantive thought-processes, trust me, I go to school at a community college with them daily. Things must come in a quick, shiny package for them to take notice. The benevolent and inclusive nature of their generation is something my generation, Gen X, still strives for today, but their generation leaves little time for dissemination and context. They aren't interested how older generations got their news, they only know of The Daily Show, or Bill Maher's sarcastic view of bureaucracy and politics. Their news is tongue-in-cheek, not hand-on-chin. 
     They don't remember the gas crisis of the 1980's, most of them would shriek if they had to wait in those kinds of lines. And they certainly don't remember American's being taken hostage in the 1970s on American soil, they only know 9/11 and the Iraq war. Theirs is a view with contextual blinders, but a cultural magnifying glass. They see the transparent ways in which my generation faltered, and sidestepped solutions in favor of how we were perceived. They hold no predetermined set of notions about who someone is solely based on dress, hair, or look. They respond to the actions of another, not merely the words. Other older generations could learn something from them.
     The morning news anchor with her legs crossed wearing a thigh-high mini skirt, or the busty weather person shoved into a dress you might see at a fancy nightclub, or even the investigative reporter in the trenches, showing our brave soldiers win the battle for freedom. All these reflect the visual connection between our conditioned level of interest in current affairs. and how important we perceive that information to be. We've been trained to watch and not listen. We've been programmed to change how we feel about what's going on in the world, merely by how it's delivered.
     Should we still subsidize the cotton industry because we feel guilty about the South losing the civil war?  Anyway, the cotton leaves our country in a cargo ship to be manufactured somewhere else. We have many reasons to be jaded. World conflict, hunger, genocide, and climate change remind us daily that we're constantly close to being in over our heads. The sensational reporting of world events doesn't need to accompany our daily cup of coffee any longer. We can choose to watch news sources that don't skew perceptions, set illusive agendas, or misconstrue the truth. Our dialogue on global events must be louder than any news outlet trying to sway us with a catchy headline or a provocative photo spread.

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