Archive for August 13th, 2014

Doors of Perception

It’s a simplification to conceive the Cathedral as a media apparatus. As simplifications go, however, one could do far worse. Media are essential to the Cathedral, even if by no means casually synonymous with it.

It is surely noteworthy that ‘the media’ have become singular, in much the same way as ‘the United States’ have done. ‘They’ have turned into a thing, and one that is still far from being confidently understood. Even when subjectively identifying with a residual plurality, they cannot but identify themselves with a unitary effectiveness.

While it would be asking far too much to expect the Cathedral to identify itself as a central causal factor in a world going insane, it gets close. NYmag expresses deep concern about the consequences of the news machine:

A terrifying jihadist group is conquering and butchering its way across big swaths of Iraq and Syria. Planes are falling out of the sky on what seems like a weekly basis. Civilians are being killed in massive numbers in the Israel-Gaza conflict. Others are falling prey to Ebola in West Africa. The world, in short, is falling apart. […] That’s how it feels, at least, to those of us who sit at a blessed remove from the death and destruction, but who are watching every bloody moment of it via cable news and social media. It raises an important question: In an age when we can mainline bad news 24/7 if we so choose, what’s the psychological impact of all this exposure to tragedy at a distance?

Drawing upon the work of Mary McNaughton-Cassill (a University of Texas–San Antonio professor at the “leading researcher on the connection between media consumption and stress”), it describes a process of “negative-information overload” driven by market-incentivized sensationalism, compounded by social media revolution, and prone to poorly-understood tangles of psycho-media feedback. Since a story of this kind consists primarily of the Cathedral talking to itself, with everyone else listening in, we quickly learn that the ‘problem’ cashes out into pessimistic disengagement from electoral politics and progressive voluntarism. According to McNaughton-Cassill, negative news bombardment produces “this malaise: ‘Everything’s kinda bad’ and ‘Why should I vote? It’s not gonna help’ and ‘I could donate money, but there’s just gonna be another kid who’s starving next week.’”

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August 13, 2014admin 10 Comments »

The Islamic Vortex (Note-1)

An executive summary of Ali Khedery’s open letter to President Obama: Face it, ISIS is your ally bro.

August 13, 2014admin 12 Comments »
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