Is this man laughing at you?
Well. We are rapidly approaching some awfully critical events in the world of domestic and foreign politics. The denouement of the Dem primary battle, and at least a mini-showdown on a few of the fronts where the Democratic Congressionals are FINALLY opposing Bush. It sure feels like Pakistan is going to get interesting, and Iraq is reminding me of the old movie line “it’s quiet……..too quiet.” Despite all of the tensions behind the scenes having to do with the ineffective puppet Govt. And the Oil law, and the Turks and the Kurds….etc. It is going to be quite a ‘interesting’ spring and summer. And then we have the general election that will (at the VERY least symbolically) shape and determine the fate of the world for the immediate future.
And of course during all this…the world is building hundreds of new coal burning power plants and huge numbers of cars and doing all it can to pretend that the ice caps aren’t melting.
And presiding over it all will be the Fourth Estate, the media.
The corporate owned media. The self interested media, the conflicted of interest media….what we used to call, the NEWS media….will decide which pieces of information you receive. Will decide which narratives to spin. Decide how each event will be framed. How each new development is perceived. Decide which story to tell the world. Will, in that way, decide how the world reacts to these possibly monumental events.
In some ways the Wolf Blitzers and the Brian Williams’s and almost certainly Rupert Murdoch….have more influence on the way things will go than those actually generating the events they cover. In an interesting application of the idea that ‘All politics are local,’ the events themselves tend to be somewhat localized. The perceptions of events that are then broadcast, in large part determine the cultural…and thus political reaction. By picking and setting the narrative, by broadcasting their reaction to events, they are in essence telling us how we should react. And most definitely telling the politicians and participants….those who are required to react….. What their reactions should be.
The media have become our story tellers and our interpretors of the myths and meanings of all that happens in our global village, in effect, the shapers of our reality. All we have after all, to shape and understand our reality is the information that each of us takes in on a daily basis. And even the smartest and sharpest among us cannot analyze and process and integrate that now massive amount of information on our own. In olden days, the Wise…the Elders would perform that function. And in olden days, they had the time to consider just how to do it and the effect of their interpretations of events in relation to the culture and its myths. Now, we receive a never ending shotgun blast of new myths and interpretations and attempts at pre-programming our responses hourly and daily.
There is not time to thoughtfully respond to events or to try to discuss, question and change the framework that the events are presented to us in. By the time rational thought even has a chance to surface, we are on to the next rapid fire iteration of sensation stimulating artificially enhanced emotionally barbed…’news story.’
Yes we are fighting back on the blogs as much as we can. We are trying to do our part to temper and change the myths and memes that are inflicted on the public like a plague in order to sell headache remedies that you can apply directly to your forehead in the commercial breaks between the presentation of the representation of reality that is giving you the headache. But the blogs reach a TINY portion of the eyeballs and cortex’s that TeeVee does.
So it comes down to this.
You cannot change the world unless you change the perceptions of the world, and by extension the reactions to those perceptions. And as long as our (cultural) perceptions and reactions are influenced so greatly by…if not controlled by, in the case of those of weaker mind and curiosity….The Powers That Be: Media Division, we will have immense difficulty building and maintaining a different….better….narrative….and healthier myths, for the global village.
How do we do that? How do we wrest control of the narrative away from those who are currently determining it through the way they present and frame “The News?”
It is at least as important a question as who to elect or how to prosecute their brethren in our current executive branch, if not more so.
Reality IS determined (at least to some extent)by war between two rival groups of programmers. How can we win that war?