Daily Archives: May 24, 2005

Our Media and Our Lives

3 hours/day of television.3 hours/day of radio. 3 hours/day of exposure to billboards and product advertising. 3 hours/week of movies. 3 hours/week of magazines and newspapers. 3 hours/week of Internet usage.3 hours/week of video games, mp3s, cds.3 hours/week of talking about media subjects. Add to or subtract from the above. Arrive at your own numbers. The statistics are no mystery.Thousands of hours each year immersed in media. Living within mediated realities.When not attending directly to them, we replay them in our heads.Rehearsing movie roles, TV characters.Thinking about them.Fantasizing. Fixated on media images. Pop stars. Celebrities. Rock idols.Supermodels. News anchors. People in ads.Trying to look like them.Trying to act like them.Repeating snippets of their scripts.Thinking their thoughts.Yet we want to believe we can resist their hold on us.It is easier to observe when we see it in a group other than our own – children, for example.Occasionally, for a moment at a time, pay attention to your thoughts. How would you describe them? Ordered? Rational? Do they often seem to be a jumble of adolescent rambling, low-level complaints, self-criticism, media memes, spontaneous obsessive-compulsive repetitions, pieces of previous thoughts, parts of old scripts, generally negative self-image-wise? What could be causing this?**The guy looks pretty anxiety ridden. Here he is, studying hard and booking down. The look of concern begs the implication that he hasn’t yet “made it” – accomplished his goal in life. He looks anxious.The goal is presumed to be to get a home for him and his woman to start a life together. The pressure is on. The woman’s strap is down on her dress, she’s breathing heavily, and she’s got her heel in her crotch. Her hand is in the same place. She can hardly wait for this guy to come up with the goods. They are out in a field somewhere. The woman is a thoroughly erotic presence here. She is hot and he is falling behind in his responsibility. He knows it is his responsibility to “get a room” or by extension a place to bed down together. “All the solutions you need. All in one place.” He needs solutions and he needs them fast! The message is “C’mon dude, get it together and take care of this lady or you will lose her. We can help. Get a home loan from us and the object of your desire will be yours.” All this happens in an instant – a mini-drama imperceptible to the conscious mind but available after extended study. Ads are made to be apprehended in 2 or 3 seconds – flipping through a magazine, driving by a billboard. I have a terminal degree in Fine Art and I have been trained for many years to analyze and create visual images. But I can not preceive all of the messages conveyed here in 2 or 3 seconds. My eyes and brain however, catch them instantaneously. The emotional impact of the image enters the unconscious. Deep-seated fears and urges are unleashed. And the solution to all of this precipitous anxiety and repressed passion is within reach: a Fleet Home Loan… Typically, the most significant aspects of this type of message are not consciously perceived. *Many hundreds of highly researched and engineered commercial messages a day enter our minds. Do we have nearly the same number of ordered, precisely constructed personal thoughts in a day? Do ordered, edited, professionally produced, manipulative commercial messages seem more coherent than our normal thoughts? Imagine one’s self-image being molded from an early age by commercial messages. Self-image is perhaps the very deepest part of a person. How about what we think of others? Does what we think of others seem affected, colored, influenced by commercial messages of what is the ideal way to be? Do the commercial representations of the ideal affect our self-image as they do our judgment of others? How about what we think of the world and our place in it? Affected, influenced by commercial messages?The topic is about the messages that surround us and about how they affect us. Are we strong enough to maintain a clear and assured sense of ourselves within the maelstrom of mediated material we are surrounded by?

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