The Next Generation of Media: The Fool

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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:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atZtZm7pSL4

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
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.
 

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About claudius

Philosophy, Medicine, Economics, Marketing

6 Responses to The Next Generation of Media: The Fool

  1. squid says:

    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.

    … see almost any given debate in the House of Commons. It is is jarringly hollow when a British politician attempts American-style high-oration rhetoric (for example, the latest Budget). That’s not, of course, to say that we have a more ‘down-to-earth’ politic, only a more ironic one (“All our politicians look like friendly neighbours from a really bad soap opera” – some comedian, I forget). We’ve been floundering in the gravitas stakes, Post Blair, and even he appeared embarrassed around certain Anglo-American issues, (“Did you pray with George Bush?” – if I recall correctly, he blushed and looked away).

    Its certainly interesting you see America following this road; perhaps it isn’t that “Americans don’t get irony”, only that their not so deeply embedded in it… yet?

  2. Napsterbater says:

    Where’s the Onion video?

  3. AnonymousAtLarge says:

    This onion video is hilarious because everyone has thought at some time or other about how horrible it would be to be in that situation… and as a 15 year old no less, life long guilt!
    It’s our natural animalistic selfishness that leads us to think thoughts like:
    “If anyone ever saves my life, and in the process loses theirs, I would be sure as hell glad because my life is the most important life… but it would suck dealing with all that guilt and pressure to make something of myself”.
    Unless we are saints, we’ve all had that kind of thought. Maybe an anxious twinge of “but would I be grateful ENOUGH? Would I be mostly concerned with myself, would I even feel all that bad the other person died? Would I have to fake it a little bit? That would make me a monster I bet.”

    See these anxious concerns about how bad we might feel in such a situation, the secret fear that one is an uncaring monster and is too selfish, this is why THE ONION video was funny. We can all relate to those feelings and so we laugh at this fictional teenager being forced to play it out.

    I mean, its like when someone is nice to you, buys you a present, a favor out of genuine altruism. You feel pressure to reciprocate. You are faking it. You feel guilty for being less good, for being perhaps not a very good person at all. I think all people can relate to that feeling, so the video is funny because these are the kinds of thoughts which are private and never really discussed, meanwhile here is this little girl being berated by two television hosts. It’s just so funny.

  4. JohnJ says:

    I think mockery and humor actually have quite a history in American politics. Lincoln was certainly no stranger to it. I’m willing to bet you could find examples of it throughout America’s electoral history. It’s probably actually a more recent phenomenon that our politicians clothe themselves in a more serious demeanor while allowing their surrogates to handle the humor and mockery.

    At the very least, it’s not entirely uncommon.

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