Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Juderonomy Is Back

If you've missed Juderonomy as much as Mitchell and I have, rest easy. She's back with all of her experience, wit and wisdom and her penchant for critical thinking. Enjoy and join in the fray.

So much as been said lately about the state of the world. Is it really worse than it was twenty, thirty or even forty years ago? I don't know for sure, but I do know that immediate access to any bit of news is almost instantaneous. We have 150 or more channels and the Internet to assault us. In the "old" days, there were maybe four or five networks to pick from. They broadcast the news for a half hour, twice nightly. Now there is a constant barrage of what is called news.

We've become inured to what is happening around us. Kids are shooting into classrooms, disgruntled crazies are blowing up Federal buildings full of workers trying to make a living and their kids in the building's day care, and thugs are "popping caps", blowing away five year olds sitting on the front steps of their own homes. So, yes, I do think it is worse today than it was ever before.

We're so used to hearing and seeing, in vivid color, the death and destruction that is happening in the world, even in our neighborhoods, as we eat our dinner. The images and the reality of what's happening doesn't have the effect that it should. We're so inoculated to the images of violence, thanks to media coverage, that it doesn't really penetrate our souls any longer.

There was crime when I was growing up, but our parents weren't afraid to let us play outside without an armed guard to watch us. Then again, a lot of the parents were sitting outside watching us play. TV wasn't the pap of the masses that it is now. Someone one said that the Medium is the Message, and this box in our lives is changing our perception of what is acceptable.

To use the media as a babysitter instead of a learning tool is not acceptable to me. Don't get me wrong--there are wonderful programs that we can use to better educate ourselves and our children. Media should be used to better understand the big world around us, but to rely upon and and be hooked into it is absurd. The networks are scrambling to fill up hours of time to satisfy the advertisers; if the gorgeous Florida school teacher-cum-pederast or teen girls gone wild can sell their product, all the better for them. We are consumers. What happens when we consume hours of these images and ideas? We become immune to the impact.

So, is the state of society worse than it was X amount of years ago? Reported crime statistics do seem to sell the story that we're safer than ever. The population has increased; could that have an impact on crime statistics? And beyond the quantity of crime, what about the quality of the crimes committed? We've become accustomed to violence. The fact that the harsh realities of the world we actually do live in don't disrupt our plans to sit down for a nice evening of reality television tells a story of its own. Think about that the next time you sit in front of your "idiot box"...


Anonymous said...

I think the media access is creating a chicken little syndrome.

People are screaming the sky is falling when in fact it isn't. It's still quite there.

Now a by-product of this I feel in todays society is lack of respect for indivuduals around you due to the fact society is focusing more on the individual instead of the community. We are becoming more distrustful. Our social skills are suffering. We no longer care and take interest in our neighbors lives (unless those neighbors have loud dogs.) This doesn't mean we're becoming more crime ridden.
The problem is we are becoming apathetic and non empathetic to our fellow man. Where apathy dwells evil is soon to follow.

Statiscally speaking if the population is growing and there is the same amount or less crime happening, lets say murders. It's a good thing, because the odds of you dying by murder decrease. Simple math will illustrate. If you had a 100 person town, and one person dies. You have a 1:100 ratio, now say the population of that town booms and you have 1000 people and you have 5 murders your ratio is .5/100, so it's better.

To show my examples here's a nifty site of Iowa, heart of America. A slice of Americana. The data is a little older, but good. It shows some years like 1974 were worse then recent years.

Nora said...

River said:

Now a by-product of this I feel in todays society is lack of respect for indivuduals around you due to the fact society is focusing more on the individual instead of the community.

--Abso-friggin'-lutely, dude. And do you think the media doesn't play into that? And I think Jude is going beyond simple crime, here. I think her message is that violent crime has LESS IMPACT. I don't think she's saying the sky is falling. I think she's saying that, in general, violence doesn't affect us like it should.

You also said:

The problem is we are becoming apathetic and non empathetic to our fellow man. Where apathy dwells evil is soon to follow.


Get off the fact that the sky isn't falling. That is not the message here. The message is just what you said. People are harder to shock and are less affected by what they see. We buy what the media sells, and the media sells sensationalism and a lack of concern for, like you said, the community. And I don't mean your city, your town. I mean all of humanity.

This is not a commentary on the QUANTITY of violence, it's a commentary on the QUALITY of it and the fact that the recognition of it has less of an impact as time goes on.

Nora said...

Oh, and River--I wonder if the meth labs in Iowa were as plentiful in '74 as they are today.

Mitchell said...

Again with the chicken little?

Nora said...

Mitchell, I thought the same thing!

Anonymous said...

The boy who cried wolf is a little sexist I thought.

But as they say if the shoe fits, wear that mutha fooking shoe. :)

Mitchell said...

I really think society just has a bad case of the Ol'-Mother-Hubbards.

Nora said...

River, you are famous for missing the point of these blogs.

It's not necessarily about "oh, my god! Violent crime exists!"

It's about people's attitudes TOWARD violent crime.

I quote you again:

The problem is we are becoming apathetic and non empathetic to our fellow man. Where apathy dwells evil is soon to follow.

--If you really find that aspect problematic, your condescending attitude toward people who want to wake others up to that fact isn't helpful to solving said problem.

Anonymous said...

Ok to illustrate that I do get your point. Your saying that crimes are becoming more absurd, more grotesque, more outrageous. Where in the past when someone gangraped someone it wasn't on youtube for everyone to watch.

it is you who isn't getting my point, I say it is not the crimes that are getting worse, or that the frequency is higher. It's the fact that it is televised more.

I am in agreement today's society isn't the same as it was 30 years ago. If you quote me, I said becoming apathetic. In the fact that we are heading that way. Will we end up that way I don't know. The pendulam might swing the other way.

Alas this discussion is a moot point though, for the only person I can control is me. So I will do what I do, and let the world continue on its course.

Jude said...

The violence was,is and always will be around us.My concern is that so many feel so little about it.As long as it isn't happening to you,then it really isn't happening!
One TV station used to have a segment on happy news....that didn't really sell,so bye-bye.Lets get as much blood & guts as we can in as much time as allowed between hawking the Product of the Month.
Basically, what I was saying is most of us are getting very calloused about the world we live in...and it is because of the constant barrage of said medium.
Society is worse than it was 20-40 years ago,because we just don't feel any more.Our collective attitude has shifted from what should in most cases horrify us to an oh gee..too bad attitude.

Jude said...

Thank you Nora...I thought I was fairly explicit in what I was saying

Mitchell said...

I'm trackin' with you, Jude.

Here's an example I was thinking about the other day:

Do you think America would deal with the assassination of a president the same way they did with Kennedy?

Of course, it might have to be a president with an approval rating above 37%

I think video footage of it would be flying around the internet in 0.6 seconds and people would be watching it like crazy.

Jude said...

Mitchell,Every camera phone would be out so fast that people would dislocate their arms trying to get it on to what ever BOOBTUBE would buy it.And we'd all watch,not in horror,but fascination,sadly.

Mitchell said...

Just like with Saddam Hussein and the Crocodile Hunter.

And THAT is what's sick. Fucked up shit always has and always will happen, but societies fascination with seeing it is the worst it's been in a long time.

We've all supposedly grown morally, yet the same fascination that drove people to watch beheadings so long ago is back stronger than ever.

The major difference between now and then is that we're supposed to be shielded from such gruesome things. Yet freedom and technology make it easier and easier for us to subject ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Wow Mitchell nailed that one out of the park.

I think we're still the same people, the masses awaiting a gladiator fight in the roman empire, the crowd awaiting a hanging in merry old england, a person witness the witch trials in colonial america, an audience looking on why a convict gets an electric chair in the 50's, or now as we witness cheerleaders beat each other on youtube.

We're humans, I don't think we'll ever change.

Nora said...

I don't know that we should be shielded from reality necessarily. It's the presentation of the realities that troubles me.

Slippy said...

I am guilty of just ignoring the violence until it happens to me. I happen to work at Saint Xavier University and have been dealing with the threat to our students and faculty over the last week and you are right, I never realize how scary the violence or threat of violence is from a news story until you realize that it could be happening to you or someone you care about. We have come to accept violence as a casual story on that we see daily on the news.

Jude said...

Slippy, this is exactly what I meant. The fact that until something happens in your own circle,it means very little.We have been so anethisitized(SP?) to so much of what is happening around us that it just doesn't penetrate our souls any longer.

Slippy said...

Jude- I saw your point and I agree. Unfortunately, I never thought that about myself. I am the first to donate, cry and write letters for Amnesty International and the One campaign, but I was completely ignorant to my own tolerance of the violence that is shown to me everyday and to not even second think the news stories that are shown to me every day about the high death toll of children being killed by violence in the Chicago school district. I have just blindly accepted that as a fact of life. If nothing else out of the last few days of the blog and challenges, I have come to realize something about myself.

Jenn said...

Ok~ So this was written a long time ago, but since I am very knew to Bloggerland, I am just reading this now.

I am reading this and I think to myself how the news affects me. I, for one, would love to be able to read the newspaper and watch the news to keep current on events, but everytime I indulge in this, I feel nothing but sadness and a heaviness weighs on me. I have come to realize that I cannot watch the has such a negative impact on my outlook on anything from enjoying a tomato to letting Peyton ride her bike 2 blocks down the street to the neighborhood park. It literally effects my whole mood. I feel for every person that goes through a horrible experience...the mother who just lost her son to a drive-by, the toddler who fell out of a 2nd story window, the old couple who where robbed and brutally murdered (most of the time by their own child). I just can't deal with it. It weighs on my mind and heart and sometimes consumes my thoughts until I can push it out and get on with happier thoughts. I have come to realize that I would rather live in my bubble of oblivion than read or watch what horrendous happenings of the world. I know this might sound a little immature and ignorant, but I just don't want to spend a half-hour or hour of my day listening to all the negative things that happen in the world. I know they happen, I know distress, murder, rape, disease, disfunction...I know all of these things are real...but I chose not to have them shoved down my throat.