On to: Culture Stuff | Glossary | Music Stuff | Psychopathy | Introduction | Short Story
Save the Children!
I have a short anecdote I'd like to share before moving on. I first wrote on this topic two short days before the High School shooting at Littleton, CO on April 20, 1999. I started out pretty tongue in cheek with the intent to poke fun at all the concern nowadays with the well being of our kids and the "evil shroud of darkness" settling over our society -- all because of movies and video games! Well, after the Littleton event, I didn't touch this page for a long time! I no longer felt like following that direction. I just let this page stay in limbo as I did more soul searching about it all. Here's an analytical article about the two killers entitled "The Depressive and the Psychopath". Click over there ==> for more on psychopaths!
After that anecdote, I guess I should at least try to begin on a light, humorous note now as I tell you about a George Carlin story. He starts off page 33 of Carlin (2001), saying that he's getting so tired of all the BS he's always hearing about kids these days! It's always something like help the children, save the children, etc. So George fires back with saying that kids are getting way too much attention nowadays and we should just forget about them already!
Then he goes on to say that they've been made into some sort of cult objects by parents and members of the media! Finally, he simply notes that we all love our children. It's just gotten way out of balance......Now on with the show:
Images and memories play a significant role in the human body-mind-spirit equation. From them we build a sense of who we are and who we are not. Accordant with one's conceptual continuity, we tend to choose sensory input which is already in line with our existing memory constructures (memcons, for brevity). This allows us to avoid cognitive dissonance on a daily basis, and gives us a sense of consistency of Being.
Language, vocalizations, and nonverbal behavior are all we have to initiate social exchanges with each other. The finer tuned in we are to the other's sense of self, the more clear these communications can become. When people start to share more and more cultural elements, they begin having more in common with each other. This is in fact, an avenue into exploring humanology. Over time, it's like we're using the same building materials and similar designs. For example, by studying a culture's use of language (ie, popular idiom), architecture, work and recreational activities, one can gain insight into its values.
Colloquially, we say that things get "burned" into our minds or memories. That's an interesting choice of words (see the Flame Analogy). I would think that some events can leave behind an indelible or ingraining mark, as far as the "subjective entity's" field of perception goes. Simon (1991) would be an interesting example of this.
There seem to be many complaints around today that the media (TV, video games, music and movies in particular), is to blame for several societal ills -- including the alleged limited scope of imagination and attention spans of our youth, as well as runaway drug abuse and the escalating culture of violence. How are the media responsible? By inflicting inappropriate and savage memcons on their passive recipients, of course!
I hasten to point out, though, that this kind of thinking moves both ways. At one end, images emerge from the sound, print and picture media and flow into the memcons of the consumer. At the other end, we can consider what is sent out over the airwaves as projective exposés of those who produce the stuff!
We find ourselves re-visiting the validity of the frustration-aggression hypothesis (ie, Dollard, Doob, Miller, Mowrer and Sears, 1939), which says in short, that when we are frustrated we tend to act aggressively to lessen our feelings of frustration. Could it be that some movie makers (for one example), believe themselves to be so ineffective in satisfying their wants and desires, that they then feel it necessary to direct their energy into this type of creation, to lessen the distress of their pressing preconscious frustrations? Think about it. How many times do plots include one group wielding their power over other groups helpless to stop them? Quite an infantile fantasy in my opinion. No person is all powerful or completely helpless. It's just that some people seem to need to entertain these memcons in order to boost themselves in their own eyes.
I guess my point about movie plots is, that when such circumstances are idealized, there is an unrealistic attitude perpetrated against an impressionable viewer. This does not a healthy, effective individual nor a benevolent society make. In fact, it does more to shape selfish, mean people...and mean people suck. I know some reader out there is thinking, "lighten up, it's just an escape!". That's cool too, I guess. Just put on your make up and get thee to the show (sort of borrowed from Alice Cooper, 1975).
Just what then do we do with our mental and physical abilities? We manipulate the environment. We're like little welding machines carving out our wants all around us. Our energies from inside get focused though our words and deeds and go out to our physical and social environments.
LAUSD's Human Resources Department Sucks Rocks!
I worked as a substitute school teacher for over 6 years in New Jersey and northern California, back in the 80s and 90s. However, when I applied for employment with the Los Angeles Unified School District (in 2004, I believe), I was turned down simply because I did not have 3 solid years of employment immediately prior to my employment application with them! Apparently, they prefer hiring perverted child abusers! The LAUSD really needs to overhaul their HR department...and fast! (Mind you, not only did I possess the required Bachelor's degree, but I had a Master's, too! And yet they passed me over, but hired:)
Unbelievable! Here's now a fourth example.
Stop Corporate Hackers!
I never add toolbars to my browsers. Yet all of a sudden, there they are! Then it takes me forever to find out how to get rid of them. These assholes just can't stop themselves from smearing their corporate feces in your face! Can't we make a law we can prosecute these bastards with? Adding toolbars without your permission is malicious hacking as far as I'm concerned!
Too Big To Care!
Let's start with everybody's favorite -- the federal government. They have their own army and therefore don't need to give a damn about your grievences with them. What are you going to do about it? Blow up a federal building? It's been my experience that it only takes about two years or so for an employee of the federal government to develop such a disparaging attitude towards the general population...otherwise known as the riff raff.
Next, we have the huge corporations. Let's use AT&T as an example. They are so big and rich that they can afford to lose some customers because of their actions or attitudes. Hence, they don't need to give a damn about you, either! And believe me, they don't. If they did, they wouldn't be cramming their individual customers' bills with questionable charges!
Finally, even smaller local groups can be guilty of not caring about their customers. For this point, I will use my local news broadcasts as examples. Even though the on-camera people may project an air of sympathy and caring, it is directed to the general public -- not to individuals. What about when they are contacted through social media (ie, FaceBook and Twitter)? It's been my experience that the citizen is ignored more than he is responded to. I personally have seen only about a 25% response rate from my local FOX news broadcasters (and that's before writing this mildly critical section here). That's just the on-camera people; the ones behind the camera can more afford to be stand offish and never respond. Would it be too much to assign or even hire someone just to keep contact going with the individuals who together form their viewing public? Even an intern would be acceptable.
However, I still watch FOX because their local competition for the 7 to 10 am time slot is way worse. For example, KTLA (channel 5 in LA) has shot themselves in the foot by hiring way too many (boring) males for their on camera positions. Let's face it people, all the news broadcasts cover pretty much the same stories; they just present them in different orders. So, it's the presentation which attracts viewers to the show. FOX (KTTV, channel 11 in LA) hires relatively young, attractive females for most of their on camera positions, while often being voted the number one news broadcast in Los Angeles. Coincidence? I don't think so. They wish to attract the group while not caring about individuals! [Side Dish on TV news and my viewing habits.]
To be fair, I must point out that it looks like the creator of this picture made the left image darker so it accentuates the lines on her face, while making the right image brighter, diminishing them.
Everybody Loves Robert
Every now and then things don't work out as planned. In the sitcom "Happy Days", for instance, the character of Fonzie was originally a very small part. But its popularity grew to the point that Fonzie is the best remembered character from the show. Another such instance is found in the original series "Star Trek". It was planned that William Shatner would be the big star of the show. However, Leonard Nimoy's character of Mr. Spok grew in popularity to overshadow Shatner's Captain Kirk. Finally, in the sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond", I believe the character of Robert is more memorable than that of Raymond.
Incidentally, snopes.com has determined that this photo was a concocted hoax, but I like it anyway!
The Franco-American War
Have you ever known someone who seemed to be getting all of his or her news about world events from the monologues of late night TV shows such as (the former) The Tonight Show with Jay Leno or The Late Show with David Letterman? It astounds me that such people manage to get by each day. It's a regrettable reality today, that someone can live in the US for any good amount of time, and not know some basic things about its history and cultural icons. This was repeatedly demonstrated in the Tonight Show's recurring segment called "Jaywalking". Camera-shyness and stage fright explain some of these answers, but...! Being aware of the USA's cultural heritage seems to be getting less and less important to instill in our descendants. If so, I wonder where we're headed instead.
Sidedish: The American Dream and the Menace of Marketing.
Then again, I do believe that we as a society want our history to be passed on to the next generation, but something is interfering with the transmission. TV programs and commercials occupy more of children's time than history and civics lessons do in school. I feel that this differential frequency of input, and hence the balance of informational substance available for memcons, simply takes its expected toll. People naturally become much more familiar with the lyrics to the "Gilligan's Island" theme song, for instance, than they are with the social and political conditions present in Europe after the first world war -- which then led to a nasty bout with fascism.
The Battle of Mammals vs. Reptiles Continues...
Woman gets eaten by a giant reptile. Short film clip from youtube. This is not special effects; it's the real deal! Please think twice if you're squeamish.
Here's an article about what can happen when immigrants fail to identify with the new dominant culture.
And another thing: Why don't we require immigrants to be able to pass the SAT in English after 5 or 10 years of residency or they get kicked back to where they came from?! We don't need a mass of uneducated people who can't even speak English populating this great country. Just think of the property values!
Power to the People!
Finally, here's a link to photos and text covering the current wave (2012) of naked protesting. (Link is still current as of 09 Aug. 2016.)
The entire realm of the website "http://www.syntheory.com" is
copyright © 2000-2015
by Ken Windish. All rights reserved.
General permission is granted to copy and disseminate the contents of this webpage for fair and reasonable uses within the world of academia, provided that the source is properly cited and credited. Duplications for uses other than academic, must be granted through written permission from the copyright owner.