Tag Archives: food for thought

The Problem with Needing to Be the First to Report the News

“Don’t believe everything you read on the internet” — the new and now longstanding credo du époque. 

What happened to actually reporting the news?  Pressure from conglomerates happened. Ratings, sensationalism, virality happened. The internet and social media happened, and I’d argue that we’re all to blame in some way, simply by demand and consumption. 

With the internet being the world’s main and largest source of information, and social media making it available and accessible by the literal second, it is a bit tough to escape the matrix — but tough doesn’t have to be impossible. 

On Monday, October 2nd, reports flooded in early in the day that legendary singer, songwriter, and musician Tom Petty was taken to the hospital in a state of unconsciousness following cardiac arrest. His condition was updated to having been taken off of life support, to dying. This was reported by hundreds of verified online publications, until it was acknowledged that confirmation had, in fact, not been obtained. 

Following a statement from the LAPD denying their prior confirmation, reports were quickly retracted to Petty clinging to life until his spokesperson released a statement hours later that he had passed away at 8:40 pm PST.

This need to be the first to report breaking news is now regularly causing once-reputable news outlets to shoot themselves in the foot while it’s still their mouth, while other websites — essentially RSS or reblog feeds — pick up the story and further spread the contamination. 

Was this the LAPD’s fault, or was it the fault of the new school of journalism? Was it our fault as the public for how easily we’ve adapted to wildfire? 

I would answer: all of the above.

As a result, Petty’s final hours were tinged by the unfair and unwarranted stress of infringed upon privacy, personally experienced by his family, friends, and bandmates. Fans around the world were either propped up by false hope, or thrust into a position of waiting for him to die. There was no good publicity to be garnered from it — just a media circus. Just vultures circling around, waiting to strike. 

It begs reminding that it is the job of journalism to report and document the news through an unbiased lens, with integrity to the profession. It a position worthy of dignity and respect, one with huge responsibility. It is far more than cents-per-word or exposure-only employment. And, it is not at all about the journalist. Journalism is our history in motion.

In forgetting this, devastating events surrounding the first two days of October 2017 have fallen under the pay-per-click umbrella, where “everyone is a journalist”, at an ultimate cost to the subject. 

We should all be ashamed.

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Why Words Are Not Enough 

My boyfriend and I don’t really say “I love you” to each other. 

During the first couple of years in learning about each other, I thought that there was an order of things to model after. But instead of going down the “first comes love, then comes marriage” speedway, we took the scenic “first comes sharing snacks, then comes some awkward dance moves” route. 

Respecting the fact that relationships require time and work, I would like to think that this detour has contributed to a mutual familiarity and understanding beyond words that has kept us together for nearly seven years. Still, I remember having done so much research on the subject, because “I love you” meant so much to me. In sharing with others in longer relationships — including my parents, married for 39 years — I was able to realize that relationship advice isn’t relationship gospel, that one size daren’t fit all, and that words mean everything as much as they don’t. 

Recently, I learned about the neural phenomenon of semantic satiation. A concept of study since the early 20th century, it was defined in 1962 by psychologist Leon James as the temporary inability to process the meaning of a word after hearing or reading it multiple times in succession. 

It really got me thinking. There are plenty of words that I myself overuse or hear overused in conversation — “love”,”hate”, “ridiculous”, “crazy”. There are surely better words to use that aren’t completely expunged of meaning and turned into mere intensifiers.

But if all words have a tendency to lose their meaning, exactly whose fault is it? Our brains for letting it happen, the words merely for existing, or one’s intention? Is it even that big of a deal?

Are you confused yet? Welcome to my world.

I just need to shut up sometimes. We all do. We need to read more, write more, learn, and listen. Turn off our brains for a second and not force or rush through a moment. You know, the simple stuff that’s not at all simple. Then maybe we can finally know what it means to understand and love each other.

All I know is that when I hugged my boyfriend  this morning after learning we’ll soon be proud parents of the SNES Classic, he held onto me just a little bit longer — and that was all the “I love you” I needed. 

Me, Writing for The Past Few Days

I have a three blog drafts lined up to complete and post here, but it has taken a while because they’re not fun topics — which seems to be what people want, right? Entertainment is all about the escape, crafted with the goal of carrying the recipient somewhere that matters. 

I realize that I’m totally working to reason with myself. To be honest, the topics aren’t even that out of the ordinary — but in a sea of beauty/vegan/lifestyle bloggers, they dive into complex territory that even I’m not sure I’m comfortable with. 

Still, as much as I lack the desire to visit and revisit dim places in the name of clarity, it’s imperative in writing, creative or otherwise. Life is just one giant functional, resistance training session that hurts and weighs heavy. But humans were built to acclimate, and there’s a lot of good, even beauty, to be found there. Blessed be the buffer of self-deprecating humor. 

I often tend to express the sentiment that writers need to trust their readers and not make decisions for them. That is very important as both contributor and recipient, so that’s what I’ll work to do. New post soon, I promise.

Thanks for reading.

Transformation Tuesday (Or, How I Stopped Bitching and Learned to Love the Hashtag)

There’s this holiday-themed Fruity Pebbles commercial from the mid-80s l that I would drop everything to watch when I was a kid. As we were more of a Grape Nuts, Cream of Wheat, and Quaker Oats family, the draw was less about the product and more about the strong sense of family and the magic of the Christmas season (and, of course, Fred finally letting Barney have the cereal).

No lie, that commercial is still fun to watch as an adult. But being an active, sometimes unwilling participant in consumerism, I have developed a little bit of a Grinch complex, particularly towards the over use of hashtags in social media and digital marketing. Considering their overall purpose and that they’ve only been clickable links within the past decade, I can’t really be too critical of them. Within the social media framework, they only serve to further connect people and ideas, whether for good, bad, or worse. And when you think about it, SEO and hashtags are merely yester-era’s catchphrases and slogans. The only difference between :more traditional” forms of media (i.e. print, radio, and television) is that this still relatively new media is available on demand, 24/7.

Anyway, with this realization, I’ve decided to shut up about the whole hashtag thing and learn to love the monster for linking the world together. Marketing means consumerism, which means a potential boost in both local and global economies. Even further, the fact that notable messages, ideas, causes and projects have the potential of receiving substantial exposure outside of an echo chamber is huge. 

Finally, because this type of media is still so new in comparison to others means that there are still plenty of uncharted avenues in which to employ it outside of the standard, excessive, and sometimes annoying. Independent creativity, meet wave of reinvention?

I can feel my growing heart three sizes already.

The Rhythm of a Short Week

Never underestimate amount of bliss contained within the four-day workweek that follows a three-day weekend. Who doesn’t love Faux Monday falling on Tuesday, and a Friday that takes no time to arrive? It’s all such a carefree flurry breezing through humdrum life, not unlike bygone days of early dismissal in grade school. 

But mind thy calendar, for as quickly as you wished for it, we’re now back to your regularly scheduled two-day weekend. And once its over, what’s left is the five-day workweek of weeks past — complete with Real Monday, and perhaps a sour gut feeling as if nothing noteworthy ever happened, nor will happen again. 

C’est la vie. Such is life. Every day is, in fact, a gift, and yet:

“Time keeps on slipping into the future.” — Fly Like an Eagle, Steve Miller Band

Just like that. 

Stay In or Go Out?

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Maybe it’s just the way it’s filmed, but the first time I watched Sex & the City, I thought that the girls went out all the time. Rewatching the series over the years (and now being a woman in her 30s) I’ve realized that, while not impossible, that just wasn’t the case for them, for myself, or anyone else I know (that I know of).

It wasn’t long ago that I’d rush home from work to head down to happy hour and get the weekend started — but as I’m writing this, it’s just after 10pm on a Saturday night and I am in my pajamas getting ready for bed.

I’ve actually been quite socially active — camping in Big Bear, attending rock and acoustic shows, gallery showcases and birthday parties. And while I’m not the biggest club goer these days, sometimes there’s just no better feeling than when the beat drops while you’re in the middle of the dance floor, and euphoria rushes like sprites in all directions through your bloodstream. Knowing what that feels like, it’s only natural to feel that if you’re not out, you’re missing out.

The other day I posted a series of tweets with the #selfcare / #selflove hashtags that ended up running along the vein of knowing your limits and not forcing things:

So to the above, I’d like to add that self-care is letting yourself stay in, which in my experience can take the same effort it takes to go out. Sure, going out can mean trading a security blanket for a pair of social butterfly wings, but staying in can mean pushing aside fear of missing out, or perceptions of what other people — or you yourself — may think.

Allow room for both as you see fit. Sometimes it’s okay to do nothing. It’s probably the biggest something you can do for yourself.

ttfn~

photo via Pixabay

The Solar Eclipse Doesn’t Care What You Think

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I’d been looking forward to today’s total solar eclipse for weeks. Between the Perseid meteor shower last weekend and the Sturgeon moon the weekend prior, this was to be the marzipan frosting on top of a delectable month of visibly galactic activity.

From my vantage point in Los Angeles, I knew going in that it was going to be partial, but that was more than enough for me. To take part in a major event in the universe was all that was necessary.

What took me by surprise was some of the remarks about the eclipse — that it was a bit anti-climatic, or only okay. Fair enough if the hype surpassed reality. It happens.

Guess what? It’s a total solar eclipse. It doesn’t care what you think. It’s not here for you, humans. It went on without you whether or not you were there to watch it.

If you really want excitement, watch Game of Thrones, if you can continue to stomach the subpar writing of the past two seasons.  If that doesn’t do it for you, scroll through your favorite tag on tumblr. Still nothing? Tweet at your favorite podcaster and momentarily lose it when they “at” you back.

It’s to be expected, as a good amount of people have conditioned themselves to be so entertained or moved by something or someone that it seems to be forgotten that existing is enough. Meanwhile, the universe could collapse on itself and our planet wouldn’t even register on its list of worries.

My puny human advice? Be like the universe. Be brilliant, be bold; evolve and be limitless. Always be the bigger entity. Attract endless crowds just by existing. Illegitimi non carborundum and all that jazz. After all, aren’t we made of stardust?

See you again in 2024.