Thursday, March 19, 2015

Obsession du jour

The first problem with criticizing the obsession du jour is how do you tell people to ignore the Obsession du jour without drawing attention to it. This wouldn’t be a problem if we had a good media that was trying to keep the public's attention on important subjects but we don’t. 

Joanne Scaglione, James Garbarino and Ellen deLara are doing research on how to prevent bullying which leads to an enormous amount of violence including school violence. If the public was aware of this they could make a lot of improvements based on decisions made with accurate research. But instead of reporting on this the media is focusing on the obsession du jour.

Dorothy Otnow Lewis and Lonnie Athens have been doing research into what turns people into dysfunctional serial killers. This confirms the work done by other researchers and they have found that most if not all mass murderers have been badly abused as children and often they have also been subject to bullying and other unreasonable treatment before they became violent mass murderers. This indicates that by reducing child abuse and bullying crime can be dramatically be reduced. But instead of reporting on this the media is focusing on the obsession du jour.

Jimmy Briggs and Peter W. Singer are investigating child soldiers and how to stop armies from forcing children into fighting wars. They are also investigating how to rehabilitate these children. But instead of reporting on this the media is focusing on the obsession du jour.

Richard Gabriel and others have been trying to develop more improved ethics for war to minimize the damage done by it although they recognize the only true way to implement true ethics is to minimize or eliminate war. The Peace Corp, Seeds of peace, Habitat for Humanity and other organizations have been looking for more peaceful ways to settle differences. But instead of reporting on this the media is focusing on the obsession du jour.

Johannes Kepler and Isaac Newton discovered the laws of planetary motion and the basics of physics. There are still an enormous amount of science fiction stories and alleged science fact stories that contradict this but instead of reminding the public of this the media is focusing on the obsession du jour.

There has been a long history of floods and other natural disasters that have been followed up by research into how to minimize the damage of these disasters. Some of these researchers have worked on better ways to build secure dams when necessary that can hold up to disasters. Some of these researchers have pointed out the simple fact that if you don’t build in a flood zone you are much less likely to be flooded out. Some researchers have found ways to build earthquake proof buildings but instead of reporting on this the media is focusing on the obsession du jour.

There have been plenty of studies indicating how much pollution contributes to diseases including lung cancer and many other cancers. There have been efforts to discover alternative ways of obtaining electricity and other necessities. Many of these efforts don’t involve much if any more cost than existing methods. In most case if you figure in the unacknowledged costs the existing methods are already much more expensive than the alternatives. There have been some stories about these in the media but not many mostly the media is focusing on the obsession du jour.

There have been plenty of studies on the damage caused by gambling. Some people have simply looked at the fact that in order for gambling industries to make a profit they must first cover expenses then profits before returning the remainder to the winner. In stead of pointing out the obvious fact that all gambling industries are fixed the media is focusing on the obsession du jour.

Joy Behar says “Out with the old brainwashing demagogues delivering the obsession du jour in with the new kinder gentler demagogues delivering the obsession du jour.”  Or something like that; those are the words I heard even if they aren’t the ones she used.

The media is keeping the naïve and intellectually lazy members if the public distracted. They are using this method to evade any rational accountability for themselves as well as the government and other institutions. They don’t completely control what people think but they do have a major influence on what subject they are thinking about at least. For many members of the public they also have a major influence on how they portray any particular subject.

This will continue to happen as long as the public allows them to get away with it. Most of the public is to naïve to pull themselves away from the influence of the Mass Media. There are some that have the independence to look for information on their own. The rest need some help at least until they develop a stringer will of their own. They may receive help from some of their friends if they are so inclined to point them in the right direction. This isn’t a guarantee since many of peoples “friends” are just as misguided as them. We need a better set of checks and balances where people listen to different points of view and a media that is at least trying to focus on the most important issues of the day and the basic principle of a large number of different subjects that are being ignored. The Mass Media is being controlled by to small a group of people and they are more concerned about manipulating the public for their own purposes than educating them.

Until the public can take the initiative to educate themselves we will never have a truly free press.

First posted on Tripod on 10/27/09

(For more information on Blog see Blog description and table of context for most older posts.)

The following are the original replies when this was first posted on Open Salon.

Zack, if it's not at a persons finger tips, forget it. Unless they hear it, see it or touch it, they will not look for it.

scanner October 14, 2010 05:48 PM

That's the problem most people aren't taught at a young age to do their own homework; and until this changes and people realize they need to help inform themselves this will never be a real democracy.

zacherydtaylor October 16, 2010 10:09 AM

Comment from temporary redirect

The Mass Media has come to the conclusion that the current Obsession du jour isn’t good enough so they are going down memory lane and spending an enormous amount of time discussing past Obsessions du jour.

At times Rachel has attempted to give the public the impression that she is the only one that reviews many of the most important news stories like when some pregnant teens were arrested for protesting when a state appointed bureaucrat took over from elected officials and decided to close a school for those that are most in need or Wisconsin; although she let Ed and even a few of the other members of the Mass Media share the coverage of that. It is now clear, assuming it wasn’t before, that she does things like this when and only when she receives permission from her corporate sponsors. Perhaps they believe that when we finally have some degree of reform they can relay on Rachel to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand.

Rachel has of course come through when they need her to including right now. She is no longer covering any important issues; assuming she didn’t get to them after I got fed up and changed the channel. Now that the Mass Media needs everyone to get in line with the Obsession du jour she is doing so along with everyone else.

She is even providing charts so that people can decide how to interpret this crap and even move it around in a manner that they choose.

Therefore I have come to the conclusion that it is not an unreasonable time for me to go down memory lane too and provide a temporary redirect to my previous post about the Obsession du jour.

zacherydtaylor June 08, 2011 09:39 AM

On a minor note while preparing this I decided to google my blog title, "Obsession du jour," which I thought I came up with on my own and it turns out that many more people have come up with the same obvious phrase on their own.

zacherydtaylor June 08, 2011 09:41 AM

Zach, The 'public', in the form of parents, may soon end up taking back the education system anyway. Oh not because folks have woken up and realized that a quality education is the key to all tomorrows or anything like that. Just because of money.

The mess that has been made by the government(s) in handling all aspects of an "education system" that is little more than blatant brainwashing of students in preference to offering them a decent, proper education has become so expensive that folks just can't afford the taxes that would be needed to clean it up and make it work.

Parents may have to go back to the local schoolhouse that their children will attend classes taught by teachers that the parents join together to hire.

It has been obvious for years that government run schools have no interest whatsoever in providing a good education for the masses. At the behest of corporate America, government conspires to limit real education to just that required by industry so that workers can read the instructions for operating the factory machines. I don't mean that literally of course, but you get the idea. Who was it who said, "Any population that gets educated beyond its requirements for employment always gets troublesome"; one of those major industrialists who had the gumption to get off his fat ass and go out and inherit a few million dollars, no doubt.

I have noticed the trend toward home-schooling in recent decades. In the last few years I'm hearing more and more of parents forming groups to share the financial and other burdens of educating their children. Some have begun to chip in to hire a teacher to teach certain subjects. Needless to say, the propaganda and brainwashing crap foisted upon the public education system is very low on those parents list of important subjects to be taught to their children.

I was stunned to find out that over 20% of North American (yup, Canada too) high school graduates - graduates!! - could not locate their home country on a world map! I'm also told that about 48% of high school graduates are functionally illiterate - can't read a newspaper cover to cover or use a bus or train schedule effectively. WTF kind of "education" is this?

Education HAS to come back into the control of the parents. Politicians should NEVER have any say in curriculum or funding for education!

skypixie0 June 08, 2011 10:31 PM

Some good parents have taken the initiative to improve however there are also a lot that may have good intentions but they are trying to teach their children their own beliefs many of which may be flawed. One thing I have wondered about is if they could set up a system where children are partially home schooled. This could enable the parents to choose some of the curriculum and allow the school system to handle some of the material they may not know enough about.

Ideally, both the “experts” and the parents should be involved. The experts should be required to show the work for their curriculum so it could be scrutinized and it should start with the basics so that everyone that beliefs it will do so based on their understanding not just the credentials of the “expert.” Sincere experts wouldn’t have any objection to this.

zacherydtaylor June 10, 2011 09:32 AM

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