First in a series of articles on Media and The American Psyche.
A while back a friend told me about a graffiti artist in New York City who’d been covering subway and building walls with a simple declarative statement: Stop shopping and start thinking! This is particularly interesting since we are now approaching the season to shop and shop and shop and shop. It also made me wonder what he was suggesting we actually think about. And perhaps more importantly, what we were doing instead of thinking.
The book is stepping out in Huffington Post with an article that we hope will inspire Americans to wake up.
Wake up America!
There is a difference between fear that is useful and fear that is futile. We worry about sagging neck lines when we don’t think about our bloated and sagging national debt. We are afraid of getting old but not afraid of lives bereft of purpose. We are afraid of nearly everything the media tells us to be afraid of so that we buy (pills, perfumes, and policies) whatever they are selling.
This blog is a reprint of one I had written some time ago, but I thought as we entered yet another “shopping season”, that it was appropriate to print it again. The message, at least for me is critical enough.
Today, once again the news media focused on Lindsay Lohan and some other celebrity just minutes after I discovered that my house value had dropped nearly 20%.
I wondered about priorities. This is not to say that poor Ms. Lohan isn’t important to the people who love her and that her public self-destruct is not tragic. In fact, our obsession with her (and a whole host of other banalities) is not only a reflection of her personal pathos, but a statement about a pervasive cultural tragedy.
Today a colleague of mine sent me a one-page article by a fellow named Paul E. Marek, a second-generation Canadian, whose grandparents fled Czechoslovakia just prior to the Nazi takeover. The article, entitled Why The Peaceful Majority is Irrelevant, made the disturbing argument that good people and good intentions get run over by forces bigger and badder than they dare or wish to imagine.
Thrill and fear are intimately connected. And in many ways our desperate thrill seeking is a defense against the constant pressure and fear we are fed by a media that is in our lives 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Lunatics Are On The Grass
A while back a friend sent me a link to a New York Times article entitled, Recorded Sex Comments Cost Calif. Lawmaker His Job (9:37 a.m., AP, 9/10/09). It read like any other salacious tidbit of news, not too different in perspective from the Enquirer except that it was well-written and had an edgy sarcasm. (Even the New York Times has taken up an Entertainment tonight style. It’s depressing, but that’s another article.)
Standard of “Care”
Are we allowed to check ourselves out of a hospital if we decide we no longer want any treatment? Are we allowed to refuse treatments offered, even if the doctors say they are the “standard of care?” Do we have to submit to vaccinations or swallow medications if we believe them to be harmful? What about our children? Can we choose for them without risking a prison sentence and our children becoming wards of the state?