Does The Yellow Ever Go Away?

Posted on May 13, 2012. Filed under: Journalism, language, Piss Ants | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Alas, Virginia, no!  And, by “no” I mean “absolutely not.”  I am afraid it’s the “pecking order” thing embedded deep in the genes of all multi-cellular life.  Oh, yeah, you got your goody 2-shoes, reformers of human nature, tolerance, Dr. Phil, Dr. Spock, Dr. Fraud…   Freud…   but, all of that is basically just spittin’ into the wind — you just can’t change a leopard’s spots.  At least, not overnight.  A million years or so of natural selection might do the trick, but, really, who has that kind of time?  Best thing to do is just go with the flow, adapt to it, resign yourself to it, etc…   There will always be a little yellow in every headline-grabbing story.  (Uhmmm, on a personal note, Virginia, you don’t still believe in Santa, do you?)

Marketing.  That’s what they call “yellow” these days.  Like, if it’s playoff time, they media-hype old rivalries or even print stuff that CREATES controversy just to make sales; or, if it’s election time, they play on old phobias and Elysian dreams.  The line-up to identify the current opinion hot button contains the usual suspects:  economy, jobs, taxes, global warming, integrity (we’re talking about politicians here, right?“), improper conduct, family values, lifestyles…   They parade before the editors until someone says, “There!  That one.  That’s the incumbent’s (or challenger’s) Achilles’ heel.”  Then, depending on which runner is favored by the media, the order goes out, “Minimize the importance of that” or “Play it up really big.”

And, by “minimize,” they mean, “Bury it.  The stupid masses needn’t bother themselves with such trivia.”

And, by “play it up,” they mean, “Exaggerate the crap out of it.  Shock and awe the stupid masses into our line of thinking…   and voting.”

I do not mean to imply that main stream publishers and broadcasters are subject to being biased like the rest of us.  If you are having to infer anything from my text, then I am not being so clear as I think I am.  So, just to be sure you get my drift:   ALL MEDIA ARE BIASED, PRONE TO EXAGGERATE THE IMPORTANCE OF THEIR OFFERINGS, AND TAILOR THEIR MESSAGES TO A TARGET AUDIENCE.  Does that make it clearer?  Like Diogenes’ search for an honest man, the search for an unbiased reporter/blatherer can go into serious over-time.

Responsibility and veracity are very important in information transmission.  But, it is the individual recipient who bears full responsibility to test the veracity of information content and its sources.  You have the freedom to either be brainwashed without resistance, or, to demand to see the ingredient notice for the washing solution so you at least have some reading material during the rinse cycle.

Next up:  Panache, smoke, and mirrors

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Responsibility

Posted on April 29, 2012. Filed under: Constitution, Journalism, Piss Ants | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

As in accountability and blame for.

That good ol’ First Amendment gives to all of us the right to broadcast our views and news, either wirelessly or via that old-fashioned Gutenberg press (Version 1442.2012)  Print it, text it, blather it.  Used to be, only those with expensive and difficult-to-use printing devices or broadcasting equipment could get the goods out there, but, now anyone with a computer and web access has the same avenue as the big boys.  Just write, text, or talk whatever comes to mind, punch a button, and, WOW! everyone in the world can instantly share.

This constitutional freedom of (ex)press(ion) does not specify that the grantees (that be us) exercise due care to not hurt the feelings of other persons.  In fact, libeling other persons, inciting public unrest or sedition, and endangering national security are just about the only restraints on the expression of opinions while telling stories about all them other people and events.  So, emphasizing the sensational, salacious, and sleazy ain’t aginst th’ law…   maybe in poor taste, even malicious…   but, not illegal.  So, if not Big Brother, then, who does arbitrate the good, the bad and the ugly of our social literary mores?

Drum roll, please…

Cue the trumpets…

READY?  …We the People! (with a big “P” just like “The Press”)  Ain’t freedom grand?  Every time we pay attention to some item (broadcast, i-net site) or lay our money down for a book or other publication, we “vote”, as a society, on what we want to know and how we are told about it.

Information is packaged just like hard goods.  How to books, biographies, fashion trends (okay, my list is about 200 pages long, so I’ll just say…) …you get the picture.  The packaging itself is a marketing tool.  Hard goods (say that cordless hair-dryer you’ve always wanted) with attractive pictures and clean wording describing the product;  books and magazines with glossy, imaginative cover designs; celebrity and current trending periodicals with surprising pictures and tantalizing headlines;  tabloids and news outlets winging it every issue.  Getting the attention of the audience is paramount, and, the marketing that The People pay attention to is the marketing that proliferates.  Tired of seeing all those lurid tabloids at the check-out station?  Sorry, but, The People have spoken — at least enough of them to make the genre profitable.

Now that we have that settled, I’ve been wanting to talk to the rest of you about your choices of what is “good.”  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to tell you how to think, but, c’mon…   really?  The Simpsons and that  whole genre for all these years?

I… apologize… for that.  Entertainment choices are a whole different field.  Escapism can take many forms, and, we might lose ourselves in anything (action, satire, comedy, romance, nature…) while seeking relief from the daily reality.  Anything to restore balance to our manias.

But, really…   The Simpsons?   …lest you think I am intolerant, I did tune it in once and saw that  w-h-o-l-e  episode.  I’ve been doing avoidance therapy ever since.

Dense populations (numbers, not a surfeit of bone heads) means big markets for everything.  (Oh!  Just received a quick-note from the Marketing Management Association.  Says, “Don’t be so quick to rule out bone heads as viable and lucrative market targets.“)  O-kay…   moving right along, we got your internet, lots of restaurants, clubs, smart phones, computer games, land-a-date-if-youre-lucky, identity thieves, the evening and local news, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, e-Bay, tons of bail bondsmen, and bunches more of marketers.  All after our money.  None wanting to wait in line.  Each eager to touch us first.  That advertising scene is one frantic jungle.

Next up:  “The public has a right to know”

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