Sunday, February 8, 2009
Is it just me, or has the world lost its everloving mind?
As I sat watching CNN news Friday evening, I was struck by CNN's coverage of the Michael Phelps bong saga. As the world appears to be collapsing around us, CNN spent a fairly hefty chunk of time on this absolutely friggin' meaningless story. His talent? He swims fast. Big deal. I'd be more impressed if he swam all of those races and at the same time outswam a Great White Shark about to make a meal of his waterlogged arse. My first responses were (1) who cares, and (2) I sure hope the folks at Doritos recognize the endorsement goldmine that the "World's Greatest Athlete" provides. Then, in considering all of this, I came up with a theory.
My theory is this: because TV and websites have a 24-hour news cycle, and it takes a lot of (meaningless and otherwise) stuff to fill all that time (and, that also means telling the same story, over and over again, just to fill air time), it has two effects: (1) it trivializes "real" news (most news organizations have no news judgment--they're just pandering to people's ignorance and stupidity), and (2) the effects of any bad news are multiplied dramatically.
While I fully realize that our economy is tanking, I can't help but wonder if at least part of what is going on is a psychological reaction and is stoked by news organizations beating the same end-of-the-world drum, every fifteen minutes, ad nauseum. People have quit spending because they are scared shitless, which then triggers layoffs, etc., driving people to an even higher level of scared shitlessness, precluding them from spending because they now are unemployed. It becomes a cyclical downward spiral of fear which just makes things perhaps worse than they would've been if we only had Walter Cronkite telling us the numbers every night at 5:30 p.m. I'm certainly not making an argument for ignorance of our current economic situation, but at least it's food for thought.
This just in . . .Doritos has made Michael Phelps a 7-figure endorsement offer, which will drive up the cost of Doritos, making them more expensive, which people won't buy because they're too scared to spend, throwing Dorito workers out of work. Stay tuned for the full story.