Tag Archives: Media

The Utopian vs. the Dystopian

Crime. Pollution. War. Climate change. Corruption. Lies. Overwhelming, isn’t it?

It’s easy to be cynical these days. Reading the newspaper or watching the news on television informs us all of the myriad ways the country and the world are going down the tubes. And watching your favorite entertainments on your beloved media devices shows you all sorts of dystopian futures and worst case scenarios that you’d rather not be in the middle of in a few years time.

It’s easy to get discouraged. It’s easy to feel disenfranchised and helpless by the onslaught of problems that we are facing every day, every week and every year. It’s hard enough to manage our own issues and get through the day without feeling like we’ve lost ground to disorder and entropy. It’s hard to be happy about a future that will be hardly worth catching up to, a future less happy and less hopeful than we thought we had earned and even deserved.

Utopianism is out, and Dystopianism is in. Nobody seems to want to hear about bright and shiny possibilities for everybody. It’s either pie-in-the-sky or it’s flat-out impossible. Human nature and economics collude to block us from hoping for better days, for a sustainable progress in our quality of living, learning, and planning. No words to the contrary, because that’s not being “realistic” of how the world works, or how it is run. All we can do is wait for ruination.

Happy reading and watching!

Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utopian_and_dystopian_fiction

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightenment_Now

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The Fourth Estate

As the basic institutions and fabric of our democracy come under general attack from within our very own government, I am reminded of this fourfold, long ago enlarged from the original but variable threefold of the estates of the realm. The journalism of the free press still remains a very important part of our society and has long served us well, shining a disinfecting light on the misdeeds of powerful and corrupt elements of the wealthy class, and yes, even some of those in the leadership of religious institutions.

Of course, the very same powerful and corrupt want to attack the scrutiny of the media by childish name-calling and vilification: “enemy of the people”, “lame-stream media”, and other silly phrases that encourage glad-handing and back-slapping, winking and smirking. But these attacks are extremely serious in their intention to weaken and transform a press geared towards informing the ordinary individual, and substitute for it an instrument for propaganda and misinformation serving the puissant.

As newspapers and news magazines lose readers, and traditional television network news shows lose viewers, the internet has provided a multitude of new ways for the “common” individual to be mislead, to be encouraged to give into base and false narratives, and to appeal to tribal mentalities of “us versus them”. I can barely see how this disorder might ultimately benefit the wealthy, but how does this serve the “clergy” of religious organizations that speak of peace and brotherhood yet side with a destructive, hateful agenda?

Oh look, some are calling blogging and social media a “fifth estate”. Piffle!

Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estates_of_the_realm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Estate

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifth_Estate

At first I wanted to put “Free Press” into the fourfold below, but choose “Free Lunch” instead because I didn’t want it to be too political. Oh, well.

https://equivalentexchange.blog/2018/07/11/free-four/

Also, this:

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2019/10/aaron-sorkin-mark-zuckerberg-facebook-open-letter

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McLuhan’s Tetrad of Media Effects

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetrad_of_media_effects

http://earth-wizard.livejournal.com/56638.html

http://dar.aucegypt.edu/bitstream/handle/10526/3383/HarmanTetradPhenomenolgy.pdf?sequence=1

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