Monday, October 22, 2007

Do you pay attention to your World?

So lately I have noticed that a lot of my peers/friends/etc are almost completely clueless when it comes to knowing what is going on outside their own little bubble world. This isn't a condemnation on them so much as it is on my entire generation I believe. It used to be your parents would wake up in the morning, read the paper to find out what was going on in the world, go to work and listen to the news on the radio, maybe discuss some of it at work, come home and watch the nightly news at 5 or 11 on TV... and while they may not have known everything that was going on in the world, they were pretty clued in.

Nowadays the idea of reading a "paper" is a complete nonsense! I mean thats made of paper and I can't read it on my crackberry! And listening to the radio?!? I have 7000 songs and 400 podcasts on my iPod to listen to, I don't need no stinkin radio. And the topics at work are usually dominated with the likes of "Can you believe Brittany lost her kids again?" and "Did you know Albus Dumbledore was gay?" Then when we come home we have our DVR's and our Netflix and our 100 channels of HD TV and our 400 channels of cable TV... watching the news, please I have no time for that!

I guess what I am getting at is that in our "information" age that we currently live in, I think people have LESS information (at least of what I think are of the important variety) than they did 20 years ago when you had 4 channels to watch and they all ran the news from 5-6:30 every night and that was your ONLY option.

Maybe I am wrong, maybe the people of my generation spend more time reading and their local tv/radio website than I give them credit for... but sometimes I wonder. So as a little "experiment" I have 5 news articles I am going to link to. I want to know BEFORE you click on the links how many you were aware of. I am going to post a poll over on the right hand side, it's completely anonymous so no one will know how you voted, but lets find out from my readership how many of you honestly (and thats the key word here, be honest) know whats going on in the world.

1. Hurricane winds are propelling deadly wild fires burning homes and communities in southern California.

2. Georgia declares state of emergency because of record setting drought. Atlanta has less than 60 days of water left.

3. Snoqualmie Valley School District had to cancel school because all of their school buses were vandalized.

4. US Forces kill 19 "militants" in Sadr City... including 2 toddlers.

5. US Dollar reaches an all time new low due to global concerns over the US economy.


.justin said...

#1: a friend of mine who lives in SoCal wrote a blog about it. so i would call that a "barely knew about"... but i still claimed it!

#2: i've heard complaining that we're neck and neck with the canadian dollar. which is disappointing b/c i used to go to canada and be able to buy things for free! i also am aware that US isn't the world power that it thinks it is... not for long anyway... i wonder how that will effect "god AND country" people???

- i am a subscriber and pretty faithful Shelton-Mason County Journal Reader.

- kristi tells me about the news sometimes that she gathers via shows like the Today Show, the View, and the Local News on TV.

- some bloggers that i read regularly cover news worthy items, so that helps me out.

- i don't listen to the radio. i usually listen to CDs in my car... although even that's a treat b/c i didn't have radio for about 2 years in my truck!

- i usually just watch specific shows on primetime TV and hardly ever "channel surf". actually, usually i download commercial free shows on torrents...

- i try to peruse the paper when i walk into urraco, but that really shouldn't count!

- i actively avoid celebrity gossip and have a hard time getting names and faces to celebs lined up right. is that "news"?

- i use RSS, but haven't found any news ones that i like.

* if i could watch Jon Stewart's Daily Show's current events for 10 minutes everyday, i would be a happy camper. that's my favorite "news source". but i don't have comedy central, i can't afford the season pass on iTunes, and i haven't found a good torrent system for that! YouTube, where you at?!

* i've also asked my friend ryan to find me a sub-10 minute Vodcast that sums up the current events in humorous form that i could watch weekly/weekdaily... but alas, he has been unsuccessful. one hour is TOO LONG!

* i've also sub-contracted out mr. ryan smith to be my personal political resource. it's all about delegating! pick your friends well.

A.ha. said...

One, I always check cnn before espn.
two, I love to read the paper, I try to as much as possible, plus i read it front to back.
three, as far as i know not many of my friends do that cept nate

jeremy said...

I knew of 1 and 2. I have CNN headlines on my google reader, in addition to other RSS feeds for tech news. i frequent,,, and masoncountynews (from kmas). I tend to read more of the technology, science, and business sections though. Frankly, i skim the headlines until/if i find something interesting to read.

I do NOT read the Mason County Urinal. I ABSOLUTELY REFUSE to read that piece of crap publication that publishes full names of rape victims (even when they are children) and explain in x-rated detail the gruesomeness of the crimes committed against these children when their classmates can buy the paper and go "oh Sally, your daddy did THAT to you?" And then they publish the names of the jurors. No thanks, no journal in my house. I realize this is my community's only newspaper, which grieves me, but i am dead set against this practice and will not support it.

But you are right. We are generally less informed about relevant news events than older generations. It doesn't seem to be a priority.

I think the other digital distractions also take away from our time in the Bible or other useful reading. I'm quite sure uncle screwtape (i assume you know who that is) is quite pleased with us wasting clock cycles on those irresponsible blond chicks in LA or the latest video game then being informed on the why's and the what's of the events of this world.

I used to turn on the evening news when i got home, but since having children it is more important to me to let them connect with me than it is for me to hit the latest bombings in the middle east or traffic in king county.

.justin said...

i like the Cleaver's last paragraph.

i think that in this post 9/11-age, we are seeing NEWS stories become the inspiration for and the development into REALITY TV SHOWS.

just look at the way the Iraq war was/is covered. ESPECIALLY in the opening months.

and the south east asia Tsunami and hurricane katrina... and now the wildfires in SoCal...

news anchors have become ryan seacrest and the survivor host guy. the news has whored out plight for entertainment.

the great cultural commentator jack johnson sings in his song, BAD NEWS:

"Why don't the news casters cry when they read about people who die?
At least they could be decent enough to put just a tear in their eyes"


kristi said...

I had heard of 3 out of the 5. My google homepage shows the top news stories. I am determined not to be the stay at home wife that doesn't know the world is falling down around her. I also hear whats going on from babycenter. (shhh...don't tell Justin that!)

I think that most people don't care about these things. If they did care there are plenty of places to seek out the information. And to get better "rounded" information than the one sided news shows. We do have that advantage over our parents.

Ryan and Shalisa said...

I definitely agree we have more choices and opportunity to hear the news... the question is do we actually do it?

But the world we live in truly is amazing. For example I am monitoring a Google Mashup of the So. Cal Fires while checking out Flickr photo's while listening to the live San Diego dispatch radio. There are also video's being posted on YouTube as well.

Think about that, real time information, flowing from stranger to stranger, in the middle of a natural disaster 1500 miles away. The information is out there for us we just have to have the desire to find it.

.justin said...

i loathe baby center and the stereotype of the people that are on it.


James D said...

4 out of 5

Didn't know "Snoqualmie Valley School District"

I "loathe" local news. I think that king, komo, ect report news in such a useless manor I can't understand why anybody still watches. There are so many more valuable resources available. Most local news is useless. I really don't care who won Seattle Idol or what school got vandalized. Or, honestly, if a family in Seattle was murdered by some druggy (usually followed by the story of someone's 50lb cat that likes to watch Regis Philbin). How does that really effect me? Seems most people just want juicy stories.

I am not so in favor of any tv news. Except Fox because it is fair and balanced.

Just kidding.

Really, news that has video has so much more potential to manipulate and seems to lead to less critical thinking. Show a sad baby and manipulate the immigration debate, show a sad Iraqi and manipulate the war debate. I know faces help "bring it home" but it also kills rational thinking. Gotta have a balance.

Good post Ryan.

Shalisa said...

I think our generation and generations near us are informed to an extent...because of the internet. However, I think that a lot of the news they receive is junk about celebrities or the new study on how breaking up with your boyfriend makes you sexier or something of the sort. I think that you have to actually try and search out for the real news...and our generation is for the most part lazy...because of the internet. I suppose I'm lazy about news. I simply have become numb to the sad stories and horror about the next natural disaster. I'd rather spend my time being proactive elsewhere. I'm probably putting myself at a disservice, but for now, that's where I'm at. I learn a few of the stories from my cnbc homepage my husband so lovingly put up for me after I was oblivious to the carnage at that university shooting awhile back :)

.justin said...

WARNING: incredible honesty and personal vulnerability ahead - [don't read if you like me in a box.]

when it comes to the news, i understand what james is saying about a visual image manipulating the viewer.

HOWEVER, there are times when i really could use [like] a picture of the subjects of the news. mostly so that i can judge them by rationalizing the cause of the crimes based on the victim's socio-economic class.

that way i can know that bad things happen to "bad" people... you know, people who make bad choices, and don't have lot of money or are dumb or are white trash and live in po-dunk-ville kansas...

here's the summary:
i am a very shallow, opinionated, and judgmental person.
i am a sinner in need of grace.
my depravity reaches deep down, to the definition of "total".
i need jesus.

and my need for visuals during the news points me to that.

Koralmae said...

Yeah, we have our i pods, our netflix, our satellite radio, and our internet and believe it or not, I actually think because of all the recent technology availabe, I am actually MORE informed than I would have been without it.

I use my Neflix to watch current and relevant documentaries. I use my satellite radio to listen to NPR whenever I want. I use the internet to research news stories without corporate bias. I use my satellite TV to watch LinkTV, which is totally indepedent news reporting beholden to NO corporate interest.

Granted, I use all these things to goof of too. Like, I do follow crap like Britney and Lindsay and OJ. And I like to know what Paris is wearing, but my brain needs diverted from the heaviness of all the other news I seek once in a while. Without all the other crap I use to escape for a while, I would probably go insane.

And, Ryan, think back to your parents' generation. Do you think a candidate like Ron Paul would have ever been noticed in the 60s or 70s? Not likely. The advancement of technology has made it possible for grass roots campaigns to take shape, and that is a very good thing.