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Old 10-21-2008, 12:22 PM
1,749 posts, read 3,986,574 times
Reputation: 4620


In recent months as we find more and more airtime devoted to "the economy" and the upcoming presidential elections, I am disappointed that even in this environment, a general sense of apathy exists towards effecting any kind of change that would be of substantive value (as opposed to academic value) to our condition in this country. What I see is a continuation of the pursuit of the trivial (entertainment) in Americans' day to day lives.

Granted, the economic realities are there and individuals feel it, but from a macroscopic level, there is a general emphasis still overwhelmingly placed on entertainment over economics and politics. Sports venues, concerts, ad nauseam, still take up the majority of the median consumer's attention span, whereas concepts such as a general understanding of the economic principles of our society, an understanding of the tribulations and disparities in our political landscape etc; things that affect said people's present and future fall into the "meh.." category.

So I was sitting at a wings place and suddenly thought to myself "what would happen if I were to cut power to the jumbo tron and people couldn't see the game? What would happen if I were to restrict the TV feed to C-SPAN and the bailout debate (when it was happening)?" Quickly the answer became clear to me "They would lynch me". So, here I am knowing with certainty that physical harm would arise from disrupting trivialities which are of no real impact or consequence to these people's lives, but same outcome cannot be realized if I just stopped them and plainly told them in plain words of things that do and will affect their economic and personal identities, which do affect them and their children.

With that in mind, I was wondering what you folks have experienced and if such observations are similar (or not) to mine. Would we be better off (academically speaking) if we systematically negated people in this country the ability to consume entertainment and forced them to face economic and political reality. Would we attain a greater sense of involvement, past two-party voting gimmicks mind you, if we mortgaged these people's ability to entertain themselves with the requirement of giving a $hit about their political and economic condition? Or am I in the minority in that I took the red pill, and hence will have to write off my countrymen as those slobbering fools who are to repeat history and effectively will get what they deserve?

Your thoughts....
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Old 10-21-2008, 12:49 PM
Location: West Texas
2,441 posts, read 5,369,651 times
Reputation: 3108
I'm one of those losers that enjoy Sunday football "ad nauseum."

But, to be honest, it's because what is shown on media. Unless I decide to go back to college, or spend countless hours on the internet trying to decipher what is factual and what is bologna, I can't start to comprehend the complexeties of the current economical situation.

If there were educational shows, with experts and UNbiased reporting on the situations you speak of, then I have to default with experts. Not the most favorable situation in this nation, but until something that educates and doesn't speak at the PhD level for economics, I'm stuck.

It's rare to even find anything comprehensive without all the double talk for politics. Things should be broken down for leymen: What McCain would do, what Obama would do. And not just the pretty, sparkly bull. But the negatives, too. Treat us like adults, tell us the good and the bad, and let us make the decision. Break it down by topic (taxes, military spending, homeland security, economy, etc.). We get that now, but of course left-wing media touts Obama and right-wing McCain... without the possible sticking points.

Bottom line: If reasonable, non-partisan, non-biased media could provide educational programming at a basic-to-intermediate level of politics, economic, geo-politics, military, etc., then we could be better informed. As long as the partisan rhetoric of mainstream media continues, I'll stick with my Sunday football games.
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Old 10-21-2008, 01:20 PM
28,905 posts, read 46,723,251 times
Reputation: 46028
Well, there are really two different questions at work here.

1) Has government become so vital to the everyday management of our lives that it has to occupy our every thought?

2) Why do we feel a need to retreat so fully into the escapism of television?

I have a theory about all that: Deep in a hardened nuclear-bomb-proof shelter is a secret government outpost. Several times a year, a cabal of government officials, television executive, little league sports gurus, lawn-care experts, style editors for newspapers, and others all meet to devise plentiful new ways to suck up the average person's free time. All for one sinister purpose: To devise so many distractions that ordinary people don't have the time and energy to wonder what the government is up to.

Think about it. It used to be that the average person had a two-week vacation. Our weekends were for hanging out. Our Sundays were for going to church and resting. Now? It's a continuous treadmill of homework, youth sports, overtime at the office, charitable activities, go go go go go. And, if you actually manage to plop exhausted in the den at 8 p.m. you can either flip on the idiot box or read the newspaper. Which requires less energy? Yep, you guessed it. Dancing With The Stars. If you've attended a city council or board of education meeting anytime in the past year, raise your hand. Anyone? Anyone?

And that's it in a nutshell. Somehow, in the quest to raise a budding sports star, have two nice shiny cars in the driveway, and own a 4,000 sf house with a tailored lawn, we've really forgotten some important things along the way. Such as our responsibility in the universe to be as much a producer of happiness as a consumer of it. A duty to distrust the government and let them know that you're not turning your back on it for an instant. Nowadays, the only people who do that are old people whose children have fled the nest, militant halfwits from the lunatic fringe of either political party, and semi-coherent cranks who write letters to the editor, rather than fiddling with their train sets down in the basement.

So, in other words, we've farmed out our governance to other people, the way we hire yard people to give our grass its rich, verdant green. We march into the voting booth to pick the least dangerous boob to manage things, and march back to our lives feeling pious and self-satisfied about it all. Yet, while we get irate about what the government should and shouldn't do, far fewer of us are willing to sacrifice the time or money to ensure things are done to our collective satisfaction. Need a case in point? Most Americans agree with the theory of capital punishment. Very few Americans would have the actual nerve to either inject the condemned with the poison that will kill him or pull the switch that will cause Yellow Mama to fry the criminal's brains out.

The answer to your question, then, is yes. The Romans voted themselves bread and circuses. What they didn't realize what they were really voting to put the chains on their wrists. For there has never been a government in the world where civil servants didn't eventually become civil masters.
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