Society Sobriety (pt1) A New Sensation

No doubt the zeitgeist is pretty apocalyptic at the moment. Even at the best of times (i.e. before July 2007) us Westerners can be a pessimistic lot. We devised the perfect anxiety drug and now we’re addicted to this anti-valium, available to everyone everywhere – media. As in “the media” and “media”.

Predating the public internet by a few years, the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy could have been talking about any media channel, particularly online, when they called

Sensationalism is a common criticism leveled at the media. The Red Scare of the 50’s was the first widespread media sensationalism to completely saturate Western society; propagated by government, delivered by the media and perpetuated by the populace. But few individuals within any group or U.S. demographic were entirely blameless. From government agents to newspaper editors to gossiping neighbours, everyone helped spread the meme that Communism unchecked would burrow like a worm into the sweet sweet apple core of the American dream. They even gave the process of gradual attrition its own buzzword; “The Domino Effect”.

Time Magazine ran an article listing 25 people to blame for the economic crisis. The Cynical Optimist argues that the media also deserves a place on Time’s list for sensationalizing the issues and exacerbating the problem. While its an interesting point, the seeds of sensationalism only germinate in the fertile soils of public hysteria. The media provide what they think we want, we consume their product at our own discretion.

People will believe just about anything to cope with the cold indifference of a nihilistic existence. Superstitious and religious, personal and political, ethical and existential; right or wrong we need beliefs to make sense of chaos and chance. Except our beliefs, encouraged or inflamed by the media, can be just as much a source of anxiety as any existential crisis. The saying “see a coin, pick it up and all day long you’ll have good luck” made a strong impression on me as a child. I still need to check myself from scanning the ground like a hobo, so we made a short comedy exploring this superstition in the context of the financial crisis.

Society Sobriety (pt2) Blockbuster to Bankbuster >>


2 Responses to “Society Sobriety (pt1) A New Sensation”

    a study by Access Economics reports that 1million Australians will be jobless by next election. This news is both important, but also inherently sensational, irrespective of Access Economics’ acuity.

  2. […] he has now continued the discussion on his blog Pigs Don’t Fly. It questions the necessity of sensationalism in not just social media, but media […]

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