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A Slight Misunderstanding

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The media sure has its hands full! First off, it’s changing the physiology of grown men, transforming their brains into those of sixteen-year-olds with its cathode tubes, according to Steven Stark in his essay, “Where The Boys Are.” Next on the list is the task of convincing our youth that “murder is cool and fun,” a statement courtesy of John Grisham’s essay, “Unnatural Killers.” The media is making today’s youth somehow disregard everything they’ve ever heard about it being wrong to kill someone and consult their television for guidance instead! That job can’t be easy! Never having a moment’s rest, the media has also been sighted by Marie Winn. It was in the act of changing our entire families into groups of distant acquaintances, which we read in, “Television: The Plug-in Drug.” Finally, add to this list “screaming.” Deborah Tannen states that the media is making us scream at each other, an enlightening fact one may find in her essay, “The Triumph of the Yell.”

Some new light has recently been shed on the subject, though: the media is not a concrete being. To say the media is sending out a message is akin to saying that your TV is talking to you. This being not possible, we must now examine those who control the media. This is a tough crowd to figure out. We do not know anything about these people. They could be the guy on the corner, or your favorite bartender… probably not, but with all the face-less notoriety this industry has been painted with, one might think so. We are led to believe that we are being controlled and manipulated by unknown egomaniacs that are systematically destroying every facet of good ole’ fashioned life. Life, though, was fashioned many moons ago and has not changed much since.

We have always craved to live our lives vicariously through art. The concept of real life imitating art was not born with the advent of slasher films and rap music: the heyday of the Wild West spurned multitudes of dime novels that city kids grabbed up and relived on their stoops. And the media, throughout the course of its evolution, has always attempted to tap into our innermost desires, desires to step into surrealism. It has to. It’s the product it’s selling. Some may say that they’re exploiting our vulnerabilities.

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