Hello, fellow readers. In my last post, I spoke about my experiences at a political rally. To somewhat continue on the subject of politics and the mass media, tonight’s post is going to be about why I absolutely rebuke the media. The main sources of mass media I am discussing is: television, radio, and tabloids.
Television consists of numerous distractions, and all of them discourages me from watching it. For example, commercials are prevalent in virtually every channel. On average, a 30-minute show is, in actuality, only 22 minutes long; 8 minutes, or over ¼ of the time, is advertising directed towards the viewers.
Moreover, many shows themselves are distractions as well. News stations serve as a prime example. The content released to viewers isn’t meant to educate them. The information in each broadcast does not reflect the importance of the issue. They operate the same as any other business: the manifest content is to generate revenue. In other words, their main objective is to get money.
Before I get accused of being a pedantic connoisseur, stop and think for a minute. I personally cannot give any first-hand experiences, for I haven’t watched television since my years in elementary school. I also can’t remember the last time I have willingly listened to the radio or read a magazine. Instead, the following examples are on behalf of what I’ve heard from my personal friends, unintentional eavesdropping, and from my very own sister.
Did you hear about ______ from Jersey Shore?
Have you seen the latest music video featuring ______?
Do you remember that one commercial where they talk about ______ and ______?
Have you ever heard about what happened to _______? It was on Channel XYZ last night!
Whenever the aforementioned examples (or any other) are bestowed upon me, I always answer with the same nonverbal gesture and nonchalant response: I shake my head, and I say “no.” What happens afterward is always very similar: “You’ve never heard of it?!” or, “You don’t watch that show?!” or, “You haven’t listened to it?!” followed by (in a joking tone), “What a loser!”
By not following the masses and watching certain television shows, listening to certain radio stations, or discussing certain subjects, I’ve realized that I possess a few benefits and drawbacks.
The benefits of not watching TV:
- More open minded.
- More inclined to have no opinion on certain subject matter.
- Less exposed to “poppycock.”
- More time and attention spent elsewhere.
The drawbacks of not watching TV:
- Often times feel like an outcast amongst the majority, for all my friends talk about many things that I am absolutely unaware of.
- Constantly dumbfounded about why other people care about minuscule topics.
The conclusion: is it worth being the outcast?
I know of people who repeatedly express certain negative/positive feelings towards a specific person, group of persons, or certain demographics. For example, those who become belligerent when the subject of celebrities (Michael Jackson, Tiger Woods, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears) come up. I know of people who are deeply afraid of Blacks. Of Latinos. Of Middle Easterners. I know of people who believe in stereotypes in a perfunctory manner. I know of people who have great misconceptions about different social classes.
I may often times feel like an outsider. I may often times feel deviant to the majority. But, I feel as though my time is invested in more productive thoughts. By not watching television, listening to the radio, or reading magazines and dictating my attention to what I deem important and relevant to my life, I am a much happier person. Not being constantly distracted by the media has partially influenced my open mindedness. Think about my previous posts, folks. I’ve picked up hitchhikers. I’ve held conversations with homeless people aka “dysfunctional” members of society. I associate myself with whomever I want. I take risks (in this case, “risks” is defined in the perspective of those who observe me).
It’s entirely okay to be aware factual data. However, I don’t waste time fearing terrorists, serial killers, viruses, school shootings, and other overly discussed topics. If American media were more focused on objectivity and less on sensationalizing/dramatizing any popular subject, I may contemplate on dusting off the remote controller and turning on the television. Otherwise, I am perfectly adequate without having mass media in my life.
So, is it worth being the outcast? The answer is: most definitely YES.
Thanks for reading folks.
P.S. I have been wanting to write about this topic for quite some time. However, what prompted me to write this tonight was due to an important American Government lecture. I give much credit to the professor who unwarily encouraged me to write this tonight.