Your Brain on Media

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Remember those ’80s-era PSAs that showed you an egg in a frying pan and the cutline, “this is your brain on drugs”? Here’s the modern version, the American mind on media:

44-year-old Julia Roberts stuns in bikini

Pitcher’s incredibly rare, embarrassing feat

Dramatic ‘save’ on ‘American Idol’

What stars charge to show up at parties

NBA star blows wide-open dunk attempt

Teen runner disqualified for using tape

Fighter’s classy gesture after knockout

Rihanna’s flirty bikini photos

These are the “news” headlines on the Yahoo main page from the past 48 hours or so. I copied and saved them as exemplars of the subjects deemed important and relevant by the media – and demanded (apparently) by the American public. Celebrity gawking. Worship of sports figures (and almost-Einsteinian dissection of “the game”). Titillating, distracting, irrelevant to anything real nonsense.

A nation that “tweets” is a nation of twits.



  1. This problem is solved by creating media that has an agenda dial setting. That way, a moral majority family, a hippy, and a militant femnist could all get the version they prefer. Sales using free media full of purchase inducing subliminal content can be maximized, and no culture wars need be fought.

  2. The media is about what people want. It seems a lot of people are just nosy busy bodies with no real interest in anything substantial. Ok. Fine. It’s business I see that. This is a problem with the people more than the media.

    The real media problem is that as a businesses in the present US of A they must have licenses and the general favor of the government. Otherwise they are out of business. Wouldn’t want to lose “access” now would they?

    Back ages ago they distorted the news to sell papers. Now they do it for the government either on purpose or through laziness of publishing press releases. Most of their customers don’t care, don’t pay attention, or left for various corners of the internet where they can get real news.

  3. The thing that galls me the most about today’s media is that it’s all agenda-driven in one direction or another. Haven’t been around that long but they tell me it used to be damned near objective!

    Today I read a story about a 30-year-old woman in New Zealand who dropped dead of a heart attack. Turns out she had a two-gallon-a-day Coca-Cola habit, which was the headline. You had to get into the smaller print below the picture to find out she also smoked 30 cigarettes a day and ate practically nothing, ever. Also that it happened two years ago. At one point today it was one of the features on MSN.

    Any excuse to bash a successful corporation.

    • It’s a combination of laziness and an urgent desire _ a necessity, really – to amen politically correct orthodoxies. I’m “inside” (or was, once) so I can vouch for this, personally.

  4. So Yahoo has become the e-version of the National Inquirer (that’s The Daily Mail for all you Brits)? I wondered what happened to Yahoo. I haven’t gone there in years. I still hear somebody on CNBC bring it up once in a while, usually speculating that someone will buy it.

    Do yourself a favor and rise up above the lowest common denominator. I still watch TV, but with a DVR. And if the DVR is empty, I turn it off and do something else. There’s lots of good TV these days (Top Gear… the BBC version, not the poorly copied History channel version), but only if you look for it. There’s a lot of good content on the Internet, but only if you look for it.

    • I prefer “The Sun” myself. Page 3 girls are easy on the eyes.

      As for news I like RT (tv network) and Press TV.

      I dumped cable a long time ago, you can find anything online. Same for a phone, no cell phone or even a dedicated phone line. Magic Jack works great and I never get spam phone calls. You can find a hack to turn off their monitoring of your web viewing.

        • If I wanted to I could just make my own VOIP, Voice over internet protocol. But the magic jack is dirt cheap and it includes extras, an answering machine, stored numbers, when someone calls it tells me who it is, things like that. I also use “Grand Central Station” I can pick a dozen different numbers and all of them dial my home line. What I do is have these numbers set for my friends and family to call so it’s always a local call for them. They dial a local number and it dials into my main number. I Paid about $80 total over the last 5 years and I can talk long distance all day long. Plus people can call me and not pay either.


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