Thursday, January 20, 2011
My attention was drawn to an excerpt from the 1976 movie Network. Actor Peter Finch plays a controversial TV host who turns against the agenda of his employer network to expose how the media is systematically "dumbing down" its audience.
Lifestyles, public interest, priorities and political choice are all manipulated for the benefit of the sponsors. Everyone is too lazy to read, or to form an opinion or to voice protest. A sense of hopelessness and powerlessness sets in and the populace seek fun and games for relief and outlet.
Sound familiar? (35 years later). At every street corner I see young people head down and texting rather than attending to the things around them.
These days people don't talk or exchange opinions or allow themselves to get angry. Jobs are replaced by electronic gadgets (car wash, gas pump, grocery check-out, bank teller, parking lot attendant). Opportunities for conversation and "pressing flesh" are shrinking daily. Young people text and chat with absolute strangers whom they will never meet. Yet they call them friends. Literacy is reduced to "Valley Girl" slang and texting short-cuts (LOL).
This love affair with the screen is gobbling huge amounts of time. It is robbing us of outings in the public and the fresh air. It is creating a game-playing cult. It becomes more the friend and the authority. It is up to the minute (and reliable?). It promotes impatience. Thousands of apps and options. We yawn now at the politicians, professors, papers and preachers. But we can't wait for the next instalment on Justin Bieber or Angelina Jolie. It is the potential tool of a great evil.
See the You Tube excerpt with actor Finch's tirade and then REFLECT!
(or simply enter You Tube for "Peter Finch's speech in Network")