Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Keeping Our Heads in the Game

It seems like once a week, many times more frequently, there is some drama broadcast into the consciousness of the nation that literally takes up almost all of our spare thought energy.  I’m not talking about just recently here; this has been a cyclical occurrence since, well, as long as I can remember.  The means of the dramas unfold with the variations of firecrackers exploding in an Independence Day sky.  The populace at large stands below and oohs and ahhs at the site of each new mind catcher, oblivious to what’s actually going on at ground level.

The last thing I ever want to do is diminish the importance of anyone else’s sorrowful circumstances and suffering. But at the same time, the last thing I want to do is proliferate that suffering with my own (and everyone else’s) constant attention toward it.  The recent string of tragedies, whether gun related or alcohol related or what have you that have blown up the media waves recently are all very important events, but only within the community of people that are directly affected.  It should give the rest of us pause for reflection, but in the grand scheme of things there isn’t a damn thing any of us can do about it.  No matter the amount of pining away, vitriolic fist waving, or worrisome tears, none of it will change what has happened in the past.  Can we learn from these events?  Perhaps, but all that most of us know about any of it is what is relayed to us by storytellers in the mainstream media.  Their version of actual events must be precisely tailored to garner the greatest amount of advertising dollars per minute.

It’s obvious that the media loves murder and death.  It is why no media outlet (outside of local) even gave a mention to the shooting at a local high school in my town a couple of months ago (Normal Community High School).  The reason it was passed over is that a teacher reacted quickly by bravely tackling and subduing the 14 year-old with the gun.  No one was shot and no one was killed.  Mothers weren’t uncontrollably sobbing over the covered corpse of their child.  Bystander SWAT forces weren’t setting up a perimeter for hours waiting for the killer(s) to either run out of bullets, or off themselves.  In short, if there is no tragic terrorism to shock the viewer’s minds with, there is no story to tell.  Another testament is that the media has failed completely to report that an armed citizen is what ended the killings at the Oregon Mall two weeks back.  There is no profit in proper behavior and heroism.  If the media cannot make each reader/watcher/listener feel emotional pain and stress, their advertising will fail.  It happens on all levels, and for those that still watch, read, or listen to the advertising machine in action, the psy-op loop that these corporations perpetrate on the populace becomes quite evident if looked for.

It’s not just obvious that the media loves murder and death.  It is just as obvious that the average American loves media.  A friend of mine and I were talking about the latest Newtown, CT tragedy and I had little to offer him that was a solution or 'news'.  I expressed that my intent was to not let it have too much influence on me because there’s nothing I can do about it, nor do I want to.  I have my own little dramas to play out without piling on the stress of big money media’s latest sideshow (and that is not taking away from the depth of the heartbreak, it is only pointing out that the media could care a less about people’s pain or feelings, dead children or the security of a school except when it comes to advertising dollars).  My friend felt that he somehow owed it to the tragedy to give it a great deal of his time.  Granted he had some connection to it through a survivor/employee at the school he had known for some years.  My point to him was that none of his mental focus on that was going to make a bit of difference in the end.  I summed it up by saying that dozens, if not hundreds of children die horrible deaths every day.  It’s no less tragic than this, but can you imagine if that’s all you thought about all of the time?

I guess you can say I learned this lesson to a degree when my high school Alma Mater, Columbine, experienced the same terroristic horror over 13 years ago.  I took it hard back then.  It was one month after my wife and I had lost our first baby in a stillbirth.  I watched and watched and watched as the news cameras replayed the same shots and scenes, and analyzed and reanalyzed the tragic circumstances in every conceivable manner.  I literally poisoned my own mind with the media virus.  I’m sure the whole event is one of their greatest cash cows ever, and one of the worst ways I could have treated my own psyche and spirit.

Then 2 ½ years later came 911.  It was again the media circus and advertising moneymaker.  That one has been played out and is still playing out, every time with more insurance, beer, cars and trucks, and megamart advertising to rake in huge profits for the corporations of America and the world.  I’m hoping I learned my lesson from those and countless other brought-to-you-by-the-media supershows.  As long as the majority keeps watching with wide-eyed captivation, and then buying products from the advertisers that play in the in-between, this will be the America we know, permanently.

The best any of us can do is to keep our thoughts focused on what we can reach with our five senses.  That is the only way we can have influence, create changes or learn from the experiences of others.  Watching television stories and reading tales from the dark side in the papers is a piss poor substitute.  We need to keep our heads in the game; our game, our family's game and the game of our communities.  If we are all constantly looking to far off tragedies, how prepared can we be if those tragedies take roost in our neighborhood? 

For now, if even for a little while turn off the channels of programming targeted at your mind by an ever profiteering corporate media apparatus.  Create your own channels.  Start small if you must.  And then if you must watch that which is created to take from you, keep the mindset that very little of it is for the good of other people, but most exclusively for the good of corporate media moguls, and international corporate advertising agencies and sales forces.  People are getting filthy rich from showing the masses the perpetration of the filth of humanity.