The Media Circus Feeding Frenzy

The Media = the-greatest-show-on-earth?

A “Media Circus” describes a frenzied journalistic approach to the media coverage of what is typically considered “A Big Event.” News agencies dispatch reporters from far and wide to cover a significant “breaking” news item. It’s described as a “circus” for it’s over the top appeal and for the sheer number of individuals and news outlets covering it.  The televised OJ Simpson Escalade Escape Circus stands out as a spectacular event in its time. Most recently, the coverage of Will and Kate’s Wedding Circus in which entertainment outlets made round the clock non-news by interviewing other media outlets about the significance of the media covering this event was a spectacle in and of itself. [I’m looking at you Entertainment Tonight.]

Which brings us to the feeding frenzy part. The “feeding frenzy” aspect of a Media Circus, in part, describes the instant zombie/trance-like action of media-related participants who like zombies to a dead carcass come to “feed” on the same piece of “news.” Take a moment to visualize that in your mind. Or don’t. I’m not into visualizing gore. At all.

Due to the 24hr  fast food-tabloid nature of our times, a Media Circus Feeding Frenzy is an ever present fixture, and a psychological construct of faux-importance whether the news is big, small or irrelevant. Much, if not most of this news, has manufactured marketing importance and pseudo-relevance in the grand scheme of things. [Except when it doesn't. Increasingly the stories that grab the most attention are offshoots of the pop-culture we consume].  The Media Circus Feeding Frenzy now includes The Paparazzi, Gossip Columnists and the Internet Blogging Mafia, where anyone with a computer and a wordpress/blogger template can sling arrows and cast aspersions from the “safety” of their un/professional amateur status. One need only to Google the same news item to be inundated to see how far the same news item is leveraged. Indeed, this is where good editors [and good writers, of course] will have greater impact and importance.

Now, whereas both public and private citizens used to be able to discern what was “important” from what is “relevant,” and whereas certain kinds of news items had high priority over others, the lines between the two have eroded, such that all of it is now high priority, and all news items are “relevant.” As a result, The Media Circus Feeding Frenzy no longer has the same impact it used to have since the Media Circus Feeding Frenzy is a “normal” if not, an integral, part of the way many of us view our shared, lived lives. In other words, we have not only come to expect millions of google-able media-made stories  live-streamed, video-tubed or otherwise, we now welcome it. The Off switch no longer exists. We’re turned on and we like it.

But not so fast Internet Lovers! Do not think that your self-awareness means that by virtue of your  plugging out you can also filter out the energy of others who participate in the second by second newsfeed of information that is continuously unravelling before our eyes. If anything, we are more inclined to experience heavy withdrawal, rather than relief, since internet conversations engage us in multiple ways that television can’t. It’s no longer enough to believe that everyone has a truth, or that there is one simple truth, it’s now more acceptable to say and believe that everyone’s version of the truth is credible, and that these so-called variations of truth are worth considering. Plus you know, if it’s ON television, it’s gotta be “real” right?

Even those folks who purport to shun modern day traditions, technologies, systems and institutions walk the slippery slope of raging against the machine whilst actively engaging in them to tout their messages. I’m looking at you Free Birth People, Unschooling Parents, Gender-Free Activists, Sustainable Gurus, Hippy-Dippy Fashionistas, The Logic Mafia, and so on.

What with “true stories” turning out to be “fake stories,” “fake stories” being treated as “real stories,” it’s easy to see why some of us might begin to question our own so-called reality—you know, that pesky state of being that exists off-camera, and not in print, and involves such everyday reminders that no, we don’t live a celluloid life because our reality means that we deal with bills, families, spouses, children, mortgage payments, jobs, co-workers, in-laws, survival, in a much different way that what we see portrayed on TV. Sure, Celebs deal with that too, but we don’t generally hear about what they struggle with until they are in crisis-mode, or until somebody outs them, which entitles them to a different kind of experience by virtue of their fame. Thus creating a Hollywood Narrative that includes stories of Abuse Addiction and other sociopathologies.

No, if we are to pay attention to what The Media Circus Feeding Frenzy actively, and passive-aggressively co-opts us into paying attention to, we can be forgiven for getting shall we say, a little “caught up,” but more accurately, a little mixed up. If we think that our so-called priorities mirror what The Media Agenda posits as “important” and “relevant” to our successful existence, then we could certainly be forgiven if we assumed that what is important and relevant to function in today’s society falls in line with the following:

  • Predictions about the ending of the world are unreal unless they come true;
  • Arnold’s Housekeeper is a Jezebel, a coloured woman and also unattractive;
  • Housekeepers are sinners and unintelligent;
  • Maria Shriver is a part time saint;
  • Raising a genderless child is not a media spectacle but an earnest applaudable social experiement conducted by saintly altruistic parents– that is until the media and the blogosphere catches wind of it;
  • Jane Pratt the former editor of Sassy has launched a new online pub, and she’s 48 but doesn’t look it;
  • Being 48 and looking 48 is a fate worse than hell;
  • Young, fit bodies are privileged bodies and preferred bodies, so get over it;
  • If professionally pretty people tell you what products they use, you too have a chance of looking professionally pretty if you use the same products;
  • Being blonde gives you coverage in the NYTimes, particularly if you’re smart [See also Chelsea Handler];
  • Interviews that describe what women are eating during said interviews are far more interesting than interviews with men who clearly don’t eat during interviews;
  • Owning the requisite 5-item summer wardrobe must-haves together with the “correct” beach body type is mandatory for summer success;
  • Red pants are not just for fashion-victims, except if you’re not wearing them then you’re not stylish;
  • Women Run the World in bodysuits and 5″ heels while dancing sexily, except, however, if you identify as a so-called textbook Feminist;
  • The Black Community is more dysfunctional and homophobic than the entire American society in which it exists;
  • Don Lemon is the black male representative of homosexuality, except he’s famous, so he doesn’t count;
  • White Women are superiorly attractive than any of the ugly step sisters you might find yourself attracted to, so sayeth Psychology Today;
  • Black Men are superiorly attractive than any of the ugly dudes you might find yourself attracted to, so sayeth the aforementioned article;
  • Black men are sociopaths and rapists and most of them make rap music;
  • Viral videos on YouTube are the ONLY way to dispel media falsehoods;
  • Osama Bin Laden may or may not be dead;
  • Muslims are untrustworthy;
  • Radical face surgery is recommended just before someone you used to sleep with releases a tell-all book;
  • Privileged, white corporate dudes, who are in charge of large sums of money, are actually small-dicked predators who pay for sex;
  • Marketing is important because without it, we’d be unable to make decisions for ourselves;
  • Domestic workers, aka housekeepers, maids, and servants are irresistible to men of means;
  • Moms do shitty things for fame and money and then blame it on their children;
  • The public is easily lead, and pathologically gullible;
  • Cosmetic’s surgery isn’t just for ugly people, but if a fairly attractive person has it done, a woman’s beauty magazine will give you the blow by blow details, because it’s OUR business;
  • Asian people have pathologies that include aggressive, castrating Mothers who create weak, albeit successful males who score high in Ivey League academia, but score low in practical life;
  • When Oprah Winfrey leaves television you will no longer be encouraged to life your best life;
  • Girl child actors eventually grow up to be sluts, which is better than forcing them to stay virginal;
  • Slut Walks are a feminist construct yet oh-so empowering if you happen to be young, white and hot’ish, and already like to dress like a slut;
  • People who don’t believe in a woman’s right to choose an abortion are crazy;
  • People who do believe in a woman’s right to choose an abortion are crazy;
  • Feminisms are an oppressive regime, particularly if you’re coloured and older;
  • Transpeople will have a voice particularly when/if their parents are famous entertainers [See Hollywood Narrative];
  • Beyonce, a black woman, wants lighter skin, while white woman want darker skin;
  • Most men generally behave badly, while most women can’t catch a break;
  • Rich people are good salespeople, and awesome brand ambassadors;
  • Christians are fundamentally bad, and intolerant;
  • Atheists are fundamentally good because they can “prove” that Christians are “bad,” they’re also funny and more fun and have great comedic timing [See Bill Maher];
  • Cornel West has a beef with President Barack Obama because Cornel West is the arbiter of colour for our nation;
  • The tabloid media is “worse” than the mainstream media except sometimes the two are seemingly interchangeable since dumb people will “believe” anything, and heck it’s not our fault it’s The Media;
  • All press is legitimate;
  • All publicity is good publicity;
  • Black people use Twitter “differently” than White people and the New York Times can prove it;
  • Bad press will land you a reality tv show…

The above, is by no means an exhaustive list, but you get the picture. Being distracted is no longer something that happens to you, it happens whether you’re aware of it or not, and whether you like it or not. And certainly if it’s not happening directly to you it’s happening to somebody around you, or 6 degrees from you. It’s almost as if we need to be deprogrammed from the types of information we receive. And plugging out, or turning off is no long a sufficient option.

 

The solution? Well, solutions are like truths, there are many different approaches, but only one righteous path. It’s up to us to find it.

 

Cheers,

 

xobolaji

 

 





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