Friday, August 13, 2010

Media

It's Friday already and time for an LBC post. Unfortunately we've had a difficult week here and were hit with some unexpected curveballs. Until I this morning, I had forgotten about posting entirely and what's worse is today we write about a topic that I suggested! (sigh)

The topic is media. I propsed this topic for a number of reasons. First of all, my friend Mark B. along with several other folks in England has started an entire project regarding the topic. Amazing! is an interactive (a debate follows the performance) theater project associated with the Agon group that was written for and performed by grade school children. In it, the kids ask some very important questions:

1. What is beauty?
2. Should the media weild it's power responsibly, and if so, how?

The Agon project directs attention to the idea that we truly do buy into media's ploys (both figuatively and literally), the outcome of which can be very harmful.

I don't think this is a new concept. Since its infancy, advertising, a small yet defining segment of the media, has been purposefully manipulative. Selling products isn't about people, after all; it is about business. I think most of us understand that this is true about advertising, and still we are swayed. Why?

News channels, internet, connectivity in all forms seems to have adopted the same philosophy as advertising - to manipulate consumers into buying their "products". So much information is thrown at us on a daily basis that sifting through all of it to find truth is almost impossible. Still, I urge my students to ask themselves "How do you know what you know?", along with all of the other questions imbedded in that one: Who is writing/speaking? What is his/her intent? How can you tell? Did you consider all sides?

I don't know how to hold people accountable for what they make public, especially when it comes to opinions that stray from fact. To some extent it seems that I am treading very close to arguing in favor of censorship. Actually, I am arguing for integrity. As a teacher standing in front of shaping minds, I have the responsibility to think and talk in a way that allows my students to draw conclusions using reason and compassion. Isn't that also the media's job?

I apologize for the rant. On a normal, less stressful week I might actually edit/revise/temper my writing.

5 comments:

rainbow said...

With what you have survived this week I am very proud of you, and you are very right on. I get so irate any more when I watch the local or world news I question "Why bother?", but if I don't watch they WIN and I LOOSE. It is up to great teachers like you to guide our youth to question for the truth and look for themselves what is real. Thank you for saving our future.

Maria Morris-Burke said...

Yes, this problem has been around for a long time and I believe the media and advertising have only gotten more manipulative and persuasive in their handling of ads.

I am not certain what kind of watch dog groups might help. Asking media to act rexponsilby is a little like a trip through Wonderland.

You sound like it has been a very hectic week. I hope next week is a wee bit easier.

gaelikaa said...

The topic is so deep that one can look into it on many levels. There is a superficial level for everything and many times it doesn't go beyond that. But there are layers of meaning and one wishes to scratch beyond the surface and look beyond the obvious there are many more things to discover.

Grannymar said...

Not alone are TV and advertising trying to manipulate consumers, they are also reducing us to a world of sound-bites!

I hope your days and weeks improve and that life becomes calmer real soon.

Rummuser said...

You have used a word that is anathema to the media - integrity. Be it advertising or sensationalism in news broadcast, this particular element is conspicuous by its absence. I can write tomes about its very visible presence in India too. It is all that I can do not to get influenced. The subliminal messages in innocuous looking/sounding messages too are very important in what I call brain washing.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Media

It's Friday already and time for an LBC post. Unfortunately we've had a difficult week here and were hit with some unexpected curveballs. Until I this morning, I had forgotten about posting entirely and what's worse is today we write about a topic that I suggested! (sigh)

The topic is media. I propsed this topic for a number of reasons. First of all, my friend Mark B. along with several other folks in England has started an entire project regarding the topic. Amazing! is an interactive (a debate follows the performance) theater project associated with the Agon group that was written for and performed by grade school children. In it, the kids ask some very important questions:

1. What is beauty?
2. Should the media weild it's power responsibly, and if so, how?

The Agon project directs attention to the idea that we truly do buy into media's ploys (both figuatively and literally), the outcome of which can be very harmful.

I don't think this is a new concept. Since its infancy, advertising, a small yet defining segment of the media, has been purposefully manipulative. Selling products isn't about people, after all; it is about business. I think most of us understand that this is true about advertising, and still we are swayed. Why?

News channels, internet, connectivity in all forms seems to have adopted the same philosophy as advertising - to manipulate consumers into buying their "products". So much information is thrown at us on a daily basis that sifting through all of it to find truth is almost impossible. Still, I urge my students to ask themselves "How do you know what you know?", along with all of the other questions imbedded in that one: Who is writing/speaking? What is his/her intent? How can you tell? Did you consider all sides?

I don't know how to hold people accountable for what they make public, especially when it comes to opinions that stray from fact. To some extent it seems that I am treading very close to arguing in favor of censorship. Actually, I am arguing for integrity. As a teacher standing in front of shaping minds, I have the responsibility to think and talk in a way that allows my students to draw conclusions using reason and compassion. Isn't that also the media's job?

I apologize for the rant. On a normal, less stressful week I might actually edit/revise/temper my writing.

5 comments:

rainbow said...

With what you have survived this week I am very proud of you, and you are very right on. I get so irate any more when I watch the local or world news I question "Why bother?", but if I don't watch they WIN and I LOOSE. It is up to great teachers like you to guide our youth to question for the truth and look for themselves what is real. Thank you for saving our future.

Maria Morris-Burke said...

Yes, this problem has been around for a long time and I believe the media and advertising have only gotten more manipulative and persuasive in their handling of ads.

I am not certain what kind of watch dog groups might help. Asking media to act rexponsilby is a little like a trip through Wonderland.

You sound like it has been a very hectic week. I hope next week is a wee bit easier.

gaelikaa said...

The topic is so deep that one can look into it on many levels. There is a superficial level for everything and many times it doesn't go beyond that. But there are layers of meaning and one wishes to scratch beyond the surface and look beyond the obvious there are many more things to discover.

Grannymar said...

Not alone are TV and advertising trying to manipulate consumers, they are also reducing us to a world of sound-bites!

I hope your days and weeks improve and that life becomes calmer real soon.

Rummuser said...

You have used a word that is anathema to the media - integrity. Be it advertising or sensationalism in news broadcast, this particular element is conspicuous by its absence. I can write tomes about its very visible presence in India too. It is all that I can do not to get influenced. The subliminal messages in innocuous looking/sounding messages too are very important in what I call brain washing.