Wayback: Orbital Revolution – Quatro
For those of you who haven’t tried the Wayback Machine, it allows you to see what websites once looked like. I found a bunch of my old rants…thought I might share them all with you. Please read them with a eye on when they were written…I regret nothing I’ve said, but they should be read in context.
This piece was written back in 1996, for my friend Yoshi’s online ‘zine “Orbital Revolution”. I had a semi-regular column called “Primal Scream” in which I waxed philosophic (and idiotic) about a number of different topics. Many of my political views have changed in the 17 years since I wrote this, but some are still exactly the same.
This a bit different from my usual ranting and raving…..a week or so ago, I received an e-mail from a gentleman living in Japan, who wanted to discuss a few things I had stated about “mass media”. His letter was quite concise and very intelligent and out of respect for him, I will not post his letter here without his prior permission…..
I will in fact post my reply, though, from which you might gain the gist of his argument….what follows is that reply.
Sorry it’s taken so long for me to answer you….I’ve been quite busy as of late.
I believe in Freedom of the press. But, I also take notice of the cost that this freedom brings down upon society. The major of these costs being over-sensationalism. Mass media does in fact have the right to point out the problems of our society, and report the truth, but in a world where television ratings gather the most in advertising dollars and hence make more money for the station or television show, and where the loudest rudest headline sells the most newspapers, I am afraid that far too often the mass media strays from what you or I would construe as “truth”.
Witness the case of the bombing at the Olympics in Atlanta. The FBI began to look at an individual as a possible suspect, yet at no time said that he was in fact the culprit. Once someone had leaked the fact that he was SUSPECTED to the news media, this man was inundated with phone calls, had media hounds camping on his front lawn, and lost his job. It was almost a nightly sacrifice at the altar of the ratings god for this man, his reputation soiled and his standing in his own community sullied. Yet….when the FBI cleared this man of all charges, did the same media that crucified him apologize? Did he get numerous interview offers from network news? No. He got one small mention on the evening news and was subsequently discarded like trash. Here we have the life of one man completely ruined by the “freedom of the press”. And there are many more just like him in the world.
I do not know how media works in Japan, I will have to ask my mother, as she is currently living in Okinawa….but, here in America we do not often get “opposing points of view” in our mass media. The vast majority of the media elite in this country is biased to one way of thinking. I disapprove of this, for although I may not agree with a person, I do want to hear what their point of view happens to be. The mass media in America would have the world believe that men like Rush Limbaugh and G Gordon Liddy have taken over the airwaves of radio in the US, and thus caused the “militia” incursion that resulted in the bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma City last year. But that type of sensationalism is akin to the Japanese media saying that the same cultist group that let Serin gas loose in the train station in your own country had its own members lurking behind every corner and was slowly taking over the country.
As far as violence, sex and racism on TV, I feel that more often than not, Life imitates Art, rather than the other way around. Just because a national talk show has a group of Nazis on television and claims it is performing a public service, does not in fact make it so…..because each airing of the Nazi viewpoint gives some disenfranchised individual who merely needs some help in life, or a sense of belonging, the idea that it IS, in fact, the fault of the Black or the Jew or the Asian that has led them to where they are in life.
I am not in any way for censorship. But, I do believe in self-policing. I feel it is the responsibility of the media to take the time to determine how their product will effect or even infect society. And then have the good sense to act accordingly. A person may in fact think that shooting a gun into a crowded room serves as a good example of why guns are dangerous, but, logically that person would first examine the effects of what that bullet might have on the crowd and who it may in fact harm.
There is always a better way to do things….but, if we always give in to the lowest common denominator and shrug it off by saying “Thats just the way things are…..”, we then doom ourselves to become that lowest common denominator.