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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Welcoming Our Media Overlords

We all share a common distaste for sheep. Oh, no, not the animal -- the concept. We do not want to be termed "sheep" because, as everyone knows, sheep are just dumb animals that follow the crowd and do whatever they are told to do and we do not want to be that. There are, of course, multiple reasons, but one of the biggest, I suppose, is that the media tells us we shouldn't.

Have you ever thought about how much our reality is determined by our media? Our modern media aims to "inform and entertain", and that's all well and good, but somewhere along the way we've decided that they are also going to be our source of reality. All we, like sheep, have gone astray. We've allowed the media to determine what is real and then live accordingly.

The thing that really highlighted this for me recently was a news story about how "testosterone will improve your love life." Yes, that's right, all this advertisement about testosterone replacement therapies finally made it to the news and they were happy to inform us that by improving your hormones you could improve your love life. Now, in what universe does that even make sense? Does no one realize that "love life" is far more complicated than "hormones"? For instance, infusing a testosterone-deficient single male with new hormones isn't going to give him new relationships. A man with ED isn't going to be better off with hormones that urge him to have more sex. A fellow who has a poor love life because he beats them up will not have a better love life because he has better hormones. This is stupid. But there it is. This hormone replacement therapy will improve your love life.

The news is our primary source of reality today. We don't really analyze it much. We don't consider the fact that the news is defined as the unusual because, after all, it's not news that "98% of those who went to work this morning arrived home safely tonight" or "Not one single child was shot today at schools around the nation". No, no, the news is predicated on those things that are not the normal. So we hear of shootings and killings and kidnappings and crisis after crisis not because they define reality, but because they are unusual. And what effect do these stories have? People are afraid to take their children to the parks because someone was abducted at one and people are arming themselves against the completely bizarre concept that someone might show up at their work and start shooting and ... well, you get the idea. The unusual events that make up the news become the definition in our minds of "normal" -- and they aren't.

In our culture, sexual norms are almost solely determined by our television sets. Start, for instance, with that "testosterone replacement" story I just mentioned. When they say "love life", what do they mean? We're not unclear. It is sex, plain and simple. But I love my mother and I love my daughter and I love my sisters and I have to tell you my love life is doing okay ... but none of it has anything to do with sex. So who told us that "love" and "sex" are synonyms? They aren't. And we know it, yet we forget it. So we allow the media to tell us that sex between any man and any woman is good, regardless of marital relationships or even genuine love. Sex between any human couple is good. Sex is frequent and those of you who aren't having frequent sex need to seek help or, at least, be ridiculed. Our media has assured us that what was once the object of shame and embarrassment is now normal. Pornography, masturbation, multiple sexual partners, even adultery are considered "normal" and even commendable. Our media, without the aid of any objective basis, has determined for our society what is moral in the bedroom (and, of course, wherever else you want to do it).

Our value system for various roles has been skewed by our media overlords. Society once thought that men were at the top of the structure with women taking second place and children -- who should be seen and not heard -- at the bottom. That, of course, is the exact opposite our media is presenting today. Children are the wisest beings on the planet -- the younger, the wiser. Women are only slightly less wise and are sometimes useful in directing the wisdom of children, but their primary role is in deflecting the dangers of the worst human entity known today -- the adult male. These are useless creatures without brains in their heads. Some can be worse than others, of course. The white male, for instance, is bad while the native-American male may actually have some good points. The American white male in general is worse simply because he is, after all, an American. And the American Christian white male is the absolute bottom of the barrel. Without redeeming value, these beings are to be shunned and ridiculed until they no longer dot our landscape. Have at them, oh wise women and children!

Like sheep, we look to our media overlords to tell us what we should like. Environmentalism is all the rage these days. Have you hugged a tree today? (I saw a news item yesterday where police were trying to find someone who cut the ears off a dog. The woman who found the dog was saying, "I just hope they let me do the same to him when I find him" because, as we all know, animals are of at least equal value to humans.) We should like iPads because they tell us we should. Their manifest impracticality and built-in shortcomings are of little concern; the media said we should want them, so we should -- and we do. I'm convinced that the biggest problem with personal electronics is that people use them. But because the media assures us we should, we are glutted with people with their heads down and backs to one another texting and playing games and surfing the web because they can -- to the point of addiction1. This, of course, makes it all the easier to avoid being around the people we are told not to like. People with conservative views. Politicians. Lawyers. White people. Males. We are told not to like certain groups, so we don't. ("The Republicans in Congress" springs to mind.) And we are told what values to embrace. We know, for instance, thanks to our media overlords, that people with higher levels of education are the best source of wisdom. So a person with a PhD who tells you "There is no god" knows better than anyone else, right? That this is manifest nonsense is beside the point. The media has spoken; thus saith the lord. No, we must value "tolerance" which, rather than any useful meaning like "allowing differences of opinion", now means "eliminating any opinion but ours". And we must value sex. I don't know for sure why, but this is one of the fundamental values the media seems to hold. And while there are more things we ought to value, one thing we must universally hate is religion -- Christianity in particular. I suppose any religion that doesn't seek to offer a different view than the media (or might kill you if you disagree) is okay, but there is no religion on the planet more worthy of ridicule than Christianity. Thus saith the media.

"Amen, brother!" I can hear some of my fellow sheep say. "I hate the liberal media!" So we climb on board the conservative media bandwagon and allow them to determine our reality. We don't even see that the media, regardless of its bias, is biased. Nor do we recognize that, at the core, the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jer 17:9) -- that Man is prone to suppress, not present, the truth (Rom 1:18). And we go astray with the rest of the sheep.

I, for one, do not welcome our media overlords. I want something of reality to color my view of reality. I want the truth to define what is real because, after all, truth is defined as that which correlates to reality. From that approach, I know that Christ is "the Truth" (John 14:6), a great starting place. And I know that God's Word is truth (John 17:17). And I can see that using Scripture as a basis for truth will produce huge disparity between what our media overlords tell us and what God tells us. That's okay with me. I'll go with that. It's not an easy path, but I'll go with it.
1 See recent news items from the Huffington Post, The Times-Delphic and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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