I’m pretty grateful that we are addressing culture and ideologies and media in an English class. Speaking about such topics gets me too worked up and upset and most importantly makes me feel like I cannot do anything to change things, so I have steadfastly avoided giving into my natural interest in the way we communicate/what this “we” is/why we need to communicate/what we communicate about/etc/etc/etc. I am as of yet unable to channel such strong emotions efficiently and productively so I’ve just let them be, but it’s futile really because avoidance isn’t really my style. So, long and short, I’ve got plenty of bottled-up thoughts about the whole mess.
The media section in particular has been on my mind a lot recently. I skim the New York Times daily because it is free where I live and the clippings make nice decorations on my wall. My first issue with this is that a recent issue of the Times– the day of Qaddafi’s death, I believe– had a front and center story about how football can damage the brain. It had an entire “Homes” section about selling large apartments with small closets for optimum profit. It had easy to snag pull-out sections for Sports and Arts (mostly movies) but you had to lug the giant front section around to find any international, national, or New York news. It just seemed despicable to me, a terrible display of priorities that I fear is representative of today’s culture. We’re really devoting front-page space to old news about sport? Maybe if we ran out of news, that would make sense, but something about the revolutionary air these days tells me that is not the case. We’re worried about helping the rich profit off of their homes when the number of homeless people in rising to perilous heights? We make it more convenient to indulge in sports and movies interests than in vital news?
Daily, I read some of the stories in the NYT, not nearly as much as I should because of those feelings of crippling helplessness, but I still end up being more politically aware then a lot of people– not just peers– and that fact saddens me. I don’t think of this as a competition or anything, but it comes back to the base fact that apathy is prevalent. I usually skim the city paper at work, and recently I handed a page I tore from it about the race for mayor to a close friend majoring in International Relations, to which he glanced at it and responded, “Ehh that’s boring, I’m just going to go Stumble for a while instead. I pick the one with the glasses.” An International Studies student can’t be bothered with local politics? A close friend who can’t even pretend to care even if just to appease me? I love Stumble as much as the next person, but the nonchalance displayed is all too wretched and common. And, yeah, nice try, but three of the five candidates were pictured in glasses.
This rant ties into our discussion of media’s reciprocal relationship with society. It brings me to the Media 2.0 section. In the past, I’ve written off social networking and all internet communication as an outlet for low culture, but recently I have decided to embrace my desire to explore how it can be used meaningfully. The TT discussed about this very notion– using social networking as a reliable source of media– and it resonated strongly with me. I can honestly say that, despite my daily NYT skimming, I have found out about more of the big news stories of the past year through Facebook statuses than headlines. It’s not a wide reality, and it’s not as though every friend I have on Facebook is constantly posting high cultured content, but I don’t see why that belittles the fact that it CAN and HAS been used productively to any real extent.
Oh, and I love the implications of the different pronunciations of “ideology.” Emphasising the “id” brings out the root word, “idea.” Emphasising the “ol” makes the “id” part sound similar to the “id” in “idiot.” Heeheehee.