[Very Jenial thanks to Global Voices Online for picking up My interview with Andrea Pérez (the post beneath this one.) Learn more about Andrea's work with her Silent Grace Foundation and please look into supporting her efforts for sustainable development in Haiti.]
You have noticed, I'm sure, that when the fecal matter hits the rotating oscillator in a big way, the media almost invariably finds some dumb-as-manure "story" to focus on. Now a part of that pattern might be the natural human tendency to want to be distracted from what makes Us anxious, leading to the widespread use of alcohol, drugs and cartoons to keep the fears away. But another part is sheer manipulation, the naked attempt by "media moguls" from top CEOs to your local dumb-as-day-old-dirt reporter to feel power in the simple act of "Focus on what I say you should focus on."
What this pattern boils down to is that the moronic media acts in an un-concerted way to manipulate Us and We, in an un-concerted way, mainly react like retarded children pursuing soap bubbles. The end result is that We are largely misinformed and the media defends itself by mewling "But it's what the people want!"
And the reason they have been able to puke that garbage excuse for decades is that there's more truth than crap in the statement: We generally do want the media to give Us turds rather than turquoise.
You see, by and large, We are lazy. To the vast majority of Us, thinking is like competing in a decathlon: an effort too complex and lengthy to even consider. We don't want to think, so We like to have someone tell Us what to think; hence the "success" of talk radio and FOX """News""" with its fanatics and lunatics garnering huge audiences.
Bypassing thought, just make Us feel something, and if that something helps Us feel "better" than We normally do--even if it is false--then bring it on! Thus the "success" of scandal stories, preferably involving the humiliating downfall of someone "famous" or "noteworthy." Their media-engineered rise to fame/success was a good story (in the "See? We can all do it!" mode), but their fall from grace--also media-engineered--is a great story. And We get to feel "superior" to the fallen bum/tramp, even when the vast majority of Us will never amount to 1% of some of their positive achievements.
For those of you more on the media-savvy side, I am talking about the proverbial "lowest common denominator," the subjective point at which most of Us will "bond" or "react" to a story. The President violated the Constitution and committed major crimes? To most of Us, that rates no response. The President committed an ethical lapse? That barely rates a look. The President committed a moral lapse? Well, okay, but make it snappy. The President had sex with an intern? Hell yeah, tell Me more!
Some pundits claim that explaining how a murderous moron violated the Constitution to the extent Huns raped nuns is too complex a story to get people interested; the "don't make Me think" corollary introduced above. But what's to explain about an intern performing oral sex on the President? Not much, except to answer "Why couldn't 'the most powerful man in the world' pick a better-looking fellatrix?"
No one can argue that a story involving the deaths of thousands of citizens and hundreds of thousands of non-citizens because of a war based on lies is more important in every way than a sperm-stained dress. But that's exactly how it's playing out, not for the first time, not for the last.
Is the problem the media? Yes. Is the problem Us? Yes. Is the problem solvable? Of course it is. But We'd have to think about it, right?
And there's your answer, right there.
The Jenius Has Spoken,