The next generation of media will not be defined by the type of sensationalism we see in the news today, but by backhanded sarcasm that evades the predetermined narrative of the mainstream media.
Using the guise of humor, these Fools are able to bypass the current standard of political correctness of “the mainstream media.” These Fools can completely evade the predetermined narrative because people think “they’re fools.” However, these Fools can still make a serious points.
First, let’s consider this fairly recent video from The Onion which uses dark humor to raise important points:
Imagine if you saw a show on Fox or CNN about how if someone gives up his or her life for you, you owe it to them and society to give back more. This will never happen. Why? The job of the mainstream media is to keep as much people watching as possible. If major news networks tailor their programs to get higher ratings, they must tailor them to appeal to the masses. I’ll forego any judgments about the mindset of Americans.
Yes, that video is supposed to be funny. I’m sure some of you will say that it’s all that video is and any further interpretation is ridiculous. But as Stephen Colbert once said, out of character:
2:10 “They wouldn’t get the joke if they didn’t understand the news already.”
Referring back to The Onion video: it is funny, but no one in the mainstream media can make an outright statement like that: perhaps they don’t have the cojones, perhaps it wouldn’t appeal to the masses and thus wouldn’t get them ratings/money.
Notice how they set you up though: the sarcasm is so intense, that you find yourself agreeing with them. They use dark humor to set you up. You are laughing, but at the same time they are setting you up to think “they’re right, we should live in a society where if a firefighter gives up his life for another person, that person has an obligation to give back more.”
But we don’t. That expectation is lacking. It’s not there. “Melanie,” although fictional, can be seen as representing a poorly raised younger generation, that does not have ideals about duty or service to the greater good. It’s not really her fault, but that doesn’t matter because they literally force her to take up the baton, whether she likes it or not.
We live in a society where, in general, people do not want to think about their lives this way. They believe they deserve, not earn. Thinking of ideas like “duty” and “the greater good” scares people because it de- stresses the importance of the individual. And in a society that stresses the importance of the individual, this will not fly as a narrative in the mainstream media.
Today in America, we don’t believe in measuring people with their accomplishments. Trying on different identities like different clothes is the game we can play to evade the question: what have you done with this life? It is too scary for the individual to wake up one day and say to himself “I have been given so much by my family, friends and society, what have I done to give back?”
Apparently not much.
Foolish media gives us brutally honest, straightforward message because the authors can literally make any point they want with no fear of reprisal. This sort of “no holds barred” form of media not only has the ability to address actual important points, but is also more entertaining than mainstream media because it’s actually funny. Part of the reason why it’s funny is because the points it makes are true.
Of course, I understand that it is also the job of shows like the Daily Show, The Onion, and The Colbert Report is to keep you watching. These shows also need ratings. But at least when you’re watching it – you know it’s a joke, you know it’s not real.
The problem is that the mainstream media is also not real, but it is treated as though it is. This sensationalism is not sustainable because other forms of media (e.g., the internet) have given us tools to deconstruct the mainstream narratives. The deconstruction of mainstream media, along with Foolish media, give us some hope. But…
Unfortunately, Foolish media can be hijacked and bent to any group’s will, as we see below.
It will be interesting to see the future role of Foolish media. It would not surprise me if in 10 years we see a debate between two politicans where they used backhanded sarcasm and mockery of the other’s points to win.