“Oh my God!” she shouted – exasperated – as she swung open the office door. She was flaunting her phone for us all to see, explaining that BBC Breaking News had just informed her that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were filing for divorce. Granted, the announcement was met with my surprise at first, but then my reaction moved to one of dismay. I was disgusted that the BBC had deemed this breaking news.
I understand, we live in a celebrity culture. I understand that celebrities are powerful brand ambassadors, marketing tools and sources of entertainment. But more than that, in a rather sinister sense celebrities are used as tools of distraction. If the media can scream and shout about the latest weight loss or nose job or in this case divorce, that’s bait. That’s bait for us, with our short attention spans and easily-influenced minds to feed upon. Meanwhile, beneath the surface darker tales are panning out.
The point of this post is not simply to rant, though I must say that I do take pride in that particular skill of mine. No, this post is more of a ‘how to’. How can we live amicably with the mass media when we don’t necessarily agree with the crap it spews?
- Don’t give it your power. We are each capable of deciding in any given moment whether to hold onto our own power or give it away. When you hear or read or see a story being presented to you as the ‘news’, firstly remember that the story was selected and manipulated in a way that the company doing the reporting benefits from. Remember that these are simply from the perspective of people with particular kinds of interests. Not all of it will affect your reality. What you’re hearing/reading/seeing is only a fraction of what is actually occurring in the world right now. It’s not even a dot on a page. Remember that you can choose the kind of reality you’re living and interacting with. What you’re being told isn’t necessarily it.
- Make a habit of taking in information from alternative sources. In other words, do your research. Read the publications that interest you. Follow the work of people you find inspiring. Be proactive in your approach to learning about the world and not resorting to being spoon-fed.
- Laugh at it. I know, trust me, that the time is now for changing the world and all that jazz. However, a bunch of angry, panicked individuals doesn’t really result in much other than frenzy. No, what’s going to comprise our salvation is strong, calm, centered individuals. That’s why you have to turn and laugh at the clever tactics used by the mass media, you really do. The material being churned out may be stupid, but the brains behind the creations are not. See through how it all works and you’re half way there. You can’t be sucked in if you understand what’s going on.
I remember being a teenager and thinking that people who didn’t read the news were stupid and ignorant. Nowadays, I realise that there isn’t really such a thing as ‘the’ news. There’s simply news and in topics across the spectrum. Don’t waste your time on information that you don’t need to dwell on – information that isn’t going to help you do your best work. Give it the middle finger and delve into those things that set your soul on fire.