Radio Inactive

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  1. #1

    Radio Inactive

    The following are the views of the writer, and the writer alone. They do not reflect the views of the Writing Forums, any political party, sports personality or police state. The views are provided for informational, entertainment and intellectual use only. The creator of this content is not responsible for the misuse or misunderstanding of any following concepts or ideas. Those with weak constitutions and limited reasoning ability may be triggered. Reader discretion advised.

    Preemptive disclosure: I’m not a big FDR fan. The whole “cult of personality” things turns me off. FDR did lead our country during turbulent times, and did a damn fine job of it (even though he ushered in the Nanny State era). He struggled with personal issues that would have crushed lesser men. As a man, and a leader, I respect him. As a politician… meh.

    My mother-in-law thought JFK walked on water. Kennedy had a similar back-story battling his physical issues, addiction, plus the anti-Catholic rhetoric of the day. JFK did the nasty with Marylyn, and FDR was schlepping his secretary. Men are made of flesh. That doesn’t make them less brave and strong. But no one is perfect, and deserves to be placed on a pedestal.

    Every college student learns about the famous 1960 Presidential debate between Nixon and Kennedy in the context of mass communication. People that listened to the debate on radio thought Nixon won, because his answers were concise. People that watched the debate on the new medium of television thought Kennedy won because he looked better. Welcome to the new world of perception over content.

    Historians have over-emphasized Roosevelt’s “fireside chats”, and how they soothed a troubled nation during dark times. Radio is lauded for bringing us together, with Norman Rockwell images of families huddled around primitive radio sets. I’m not questioning the efficacy of the medium, nor the eventuality of it’s use. I’m questioning it’s morality.

    Marshall McLuhan beat this horse to death in regards to Television. I’m simply looking at our media-dependent, addicted and addled society of today and trying to find the nexus of the disease. We could go as far back as the pamphleteering of the 18th and 19th Centuries. Or Guttenberg himself and the King James Bible. But let’s be honest. You can crumple a piece of paper, and set a book aside. That’s free will. It’s also free will to allow yourself to be manipulated. Or walk away.

    In the 19th Century, politicians stood on a soap box to address large crowds. In this manner, they could project their voice and be seen by more people. But a man standing on a box does not have better answers than anyone else. He just has a box.

    Way back before literacy, there were two primary modes of communication: Pictographs and oral history. Prehistoric man could interpret the pictures as they saw fit, and give the storyteller the reverence he or she earned. And you could walk away from either. Better yet, it was possible to compare interpretations with other tribe members, or other tribes. In my humble analysis, a hunter gatherer from a dozen millennia ago could think more critically than modern college student. Because they had to, and hadn't forfeited their free-will.

    There is increasingly no variation in “the message”. The arbiters of fact just throw out there whatever they deem appropriate. You have no “real-life” fact checking. The internet is the definitive and final source. You access that information through hand-held devices that are a managed portal, shaping everything from your consumer to political choices. Hell, this horse has been flogged. I know most of you “get it”. Still, you “do it”.

    But let’s look again at FDR and his Fireside Chats. Remember, others during that same time were using the medium of radio to shape the public opinion of their nations. When they did it, we called it “propaganda”. But it was the same mechanism, for the same effect: A public united for “the greater good”. But whose “greater good”? Do you have a say in it? Of course not.

    We have the illusion of control with voting rights. We have the illusion of control choosing our ad options before the video feed. What we don’t have is real control over our participation in a system designed to direct our thoughts, and reprogram our thought processes.

    In the 1930’s we were conditioned into listening to and absorbing mass communication. It became the electronic equivalent of attending the games at The Forum. It’s your civic duty. It’s socially directed. And dammit, you will enjoy it. To not enjoy your electro forced-feeding is antisocial. To question it is treason.

    You can pick any subsequent point after FDR, and call that “patient zero” for our epidemic of media addiction. Cronkite in the 1960’s. Reagan in the 1980’s. “The View” gals in the 2000’s. But it’s all the same. You’re being fed someone else’s thoughts. And instead of simply developing your own, you adopt the thoughts of a contrary media acolyte to counteract the ones you don’t like. You can order from Menu A (Democrats) or Menu B (Republicans).

    But here’s the synthesis: Any time you form as a group to digest pre-packaged thought, freedom dies. This is that loathsome (yet poignant) “NPC” meme that triggers may people. In the years following our mass conditioning in the 1930’s, we interned thousands of American citizens based on their ancestry. We bombed civilians in Europe, then took the show on the road to Japan. Meanwhile, the news reels spun carefully crafted images of brave men defeating the “evil” out there. Yet five years later, our allies were our enemies (USSR) and our enemies were our allies (Japan and Germany).

    No one questioned the evil closer to home. We had been programed as consumers of information, not critical thinkers. We accepted the assertion that everyone had the right to vote, while racism and misogyny negated the actual act. McCarthy sprung-up, then a counter-revolution pushed back in the 60’s. In the decades that followed, the cycle continued. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    I’m not a Luddite, but I’m also not a sucker. Mass media has its place in modern society. But it sure in the Hell shouldn’t be center-stage. People today orbit around the singularity of media addiction. They stare down into it’s blackness, unable to break it’s grip, and also somehow are comforted by it’s dark embrace. It will eventually crush them.

    Radio was the mass communication gateway drug. Now we main-line "the junk" all the time, until we attain an anti-intellectual stupor.

    Don't commit intellectual suicide: Stop watching videos, and read. Read stuff you don't agree with. Print books are great, because once written no one can randomly do back and change “facts”. But reading on-line is fine, IF you're circumspect. Stay out of the mass-media indoctrination platforms (do you really need me to name them?). Balance your diet. Spend some time at Mother Jones, and Town Hall. Hell, take a trip to RT and see what the Russkies have to say. BBC, NPR, Al Jazeera, the cyberworld is your oyster. Once you have some raw material to work with, you can probably build your own, reasoned opinions. Instead of simply regurgitating someone else’s thoughts / “facts”. Today’s AP or Reuters are functionally identical to 1950’s TASS.

    Take a walk. Ride a bike. Play a board game. Do something, ANYTHING besides sitting in front of the fentanyl box of brain death. Reading is only one form of learning. There’s a lot of “doing” to do out there. Talk to real people, in the real world. And listening is great, but don’t just listen to one voice.

    Because sometimes that voice comes from a flawed, but well-meaning leader. Like a soothing, grandfatherly old sage. An old guy on a sopabox, or the radio, or any matter of projection. But other times the voice is far more malevolent. Without a frame of reference, how are you to know? Listen to another guy, on another soapbox? Maybe both guys are shitheads. Should you trust your feelings? Sorry kid, you’re not Luke Skywalker.
    You could always look it up on Wikipedia, and call it good. But, as a wise man once said, “Trust, but verify.”

    I find it impossible to rationalize that the God that gave us sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” Galileo Galilei
    It's a real quote. Look it up.
    And remember to drink your Ovaltine.

    The preceding was intended for non-academic, private entertainment use only. The views expressed were not intended to change anyone's opinion, or force the reader to think. If either outcome did occur, that's not my fault. It's your brain, and your responsibility.
    Last edited by Winston; December 18th, 2019 at 05:29 AM.

    "Wubba Lubba Dub Dub!"

  2. #2
    People that watched the debate on the new medium of television
    People who ...

    Re your point about hunter gatherers. There are some who believe that humans started on a downward slide with the introduction of agriculture. A hunter gatherer needs a relatively huge amount of knowledge, understanding all the animals and plants in his environment, not just the few cultivated. She also lives in small, scattered communities which are not susceptible to disease in the same way and ate a more varied diet. There is some evidence that the size of the human brain has reduced since agriculture was introduced.
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  3. #3
    /\ Thanks, Olly.

    You're spot-on with that observation. If I expanded upon this piece, I think that would have been a logical segue: The generational re-programing of the human brain.
    Over-specialization has left humankind vulnerable in so many respects. It's far beyond the danger of the current generation not knowing how to take care of themselves, it's about our inability to form independent thought.
    But even as recently as a century ago, most humans understood the basics agriculture and animal husbandry. Now, the mass-media reminds us that all we need to do is perform our specialized task, and we can buy anything that our heart desires.
    Unless your heart desires independence and free thought. That ship has sailed.

    "Wubba Lubba Dub Dub!"


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