It’s the End of the World As We Know It (Oh, Shut Up)

The sky is falling! It’s a plane! The British are coming!

Oh the Interwebs just love their daily dose of hysteria. To be honest, I rather dislike the news. To clarify, I dislike the news media culture. Learning about what goes on in the world outside of my little bubble is great. I love to learn and I enjoy, to a degree, hearing about how messed up humanity is. As George Carlin would say “It’s entertainment! Live a little!”

But to go back to news media culture and why it sucks – it’s ratings-driven. HBO’s The Newsroom offers a really neat – if overly dramaticized – view of the politics and backstage workings of newscasting. Jeff Daniels plays the highest paid news anchor on TV, who seeks the good old days of hard-hitting journalism. It’s reality. The powers that be of the news media culture know what we want to see because they have skillfully manufactured it. They spoon feed us stories of terrorism, poverty, political scandals, showing us how dark and miserable the rest of the world is (and how lucky the first world is). And then they give us pieces of hope, where they shower us with stories of found puppies, revitalized children, and stupid renditions of that awful, awful “Harlem Shake” trend.

It’s the end of the world, folks! Have you heard? North Korea’s gonna’ nuke us! Duck and cover, kids – they gonna’ go Gangnam style on our asses. Haven’t you seen that Olympus Has Fallen movie? Did you see how easily those Koreans took over the White House? It’s totally plausible. Secret service agents are obviously inept. They’re trained to mindlessly run out into the front lawn to get mowed down by superior Korean weaponry. Gerard Butler, save us!

Olympus Has Fallen - secret service agents mowed down by North Koreans

Shown: Convenient stupidity of unimportant characters for purposes of plot progression.

And to hell with international politics – have you heard that Roger Ebert passed away? A moment’s silence please for the king of film criticism.

Silenced yet? Give yourself and Mr. Ebert a thumbs up.

All right, moving on.

In happier news, the Craigslist Killer has been sentenced to death! Yippee…? Yeah. You see?  The news is depressing. Death, death, death. Well, death sells. If modern executions were broadcast on television, you could bet that that would get some of the highest ratings of anything in the history of “entertainment.” However, that’s actually a topic of discussion for another time.

Now that I’ve raised your spirits, here’s R.E.M.’s music video of “It’s the End of the World.”

What do you think of the news? Informational? Entertaining? Trash *cough*FOX*cough*? What’s your favorite recent news story?

16 thoughts on “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (Oh, Shut Up)

  1. The world may not come crashing down anytime soon, but we shouldn’t be waiting around holding our breath for it, either. We should still be prepared on the off-chance it does happen.
    Growing your own food, having first aid kits, having a bug-out plan, and having precious metals are all great things to invest in while things are good in society. Better than calling all prep’ers crack-pots for believing that the current state of things won’t last forever, when history shows us exactly that things won’t indeed last forever.
    (I think I’ve had enough of spamming your blog with knowledge for one day. I’ll leave you be..)

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  4. Yeah, I like my TV news and press as much as I like hackneys, paper books etc. Networks vile hunger to remain that 4th authority status in democratic systems is one thing, the second is that they are loosing audience, so they try to be more “sensational”. Third is that most people don’t like to think for themselves – try to argue with that 😉

    • Curious: so is the news media in Poland just as ruthlessly ratings-driven and suspect?

      That third point is often true. There are those who don’t like to think for themselves and then there are those who have been tricked into believing that they think for themselves. Those who believe this think they form their own opinions without the influence of bad sources – which is 99.9999% of the time false. We are all influenced by surrounding information.

      Thanks for the reply!

      • In Poland media (whatever drives them) are just badly made. Or maybe as a screen of society they just show in what place as community we are (you have to remember that we are “just” 23 years after system transformation, so to make that shift real some people remembering “old times” have to pass away – to be brutally honest – because of private wars, unsolved issues of earlier system and people with just broken mindset of living on the cost of others that is affecting media and politics as a whole).

          • There are some good thriller stories in recent past of Poland 😉 Unfortunately some ended up unfortunate, and some may be hard to find in history books. But I strongly recommend to “bite” it sometime – it’s great example of how some people in power can waste great chance of a “fresh” start (well, not so fresh, but certainly there were many more chances to take advantage of).

  5. Yes, a great post. The media would love to have us accept everything they tell us but we’ve been bitten too often, of course the downside of this is that most of us feel horribly cynical and suspicious 😦 and sometimes just plain fed up about it. There are good things happening out there but we won’t be hearing about it on the evening news.

    • True true, just a tad bit cynical in my post 😉 And the news does report on good stories once in a while, but it’s miniscule in comparison to the sensationalist stories. And then they think showing us cute Internet videos is enough (well, sadly, it often is enough to placate the masses).

      Thanks for reading!

  6. Really enjoyed your blog post! I’m based in the UK and the press are not much better here, the BBC have had scandals this year over turning a blind eye over horrendous allegations. I’ve had a few trips over to the states over the years and have always been shocked by the news available. It was hard to find a news relating to what was happening around the world, and if I did find anything it was only sensationalist headlines. Shows you need to read and investigate everything you are told these days rather than be spoon fed an opinion.

    • Personally investigating a story is definitely beneficial, but who has the time to do that in our hustle ‘n bustle world? The news media capitalizes on peoples’ lack of time. A few will look deeper into the story, but many can only afford to switch on the news as they’re getting ready for work and maybe read a few headlines during their lunch hour. It’s not their fault. It should be the job of news outlets to provide reliable information to actually – I don’t know – INFORM people, not just “entertain” us.

      Thanks for the reply from across the pond!

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