I’ve spent weeks trying to figure out what topic I should close out the year with and I have vacillated between many. Then it happened, I heard something on the radio that caused such a reaction in me I knew I had found my topic: media-generated, faux outrage. Apparently there is some controversy over the song XO by Beyoncé because it contains a live audio clip from ground control during the 1986 Challenger disaster. Specifically, the song includes the phrase, “Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction.” To be honest, I had never heard the song prior to writing this, and I can say that the song begins with the NASA audio clip in question, and I could bear the torture no longer and shut off the video.
You are probably asking yourselves what about this blip on the media smoke screens gave me pause, and it is quite simply what the artist (and I use the term loosely here) had to say in defense of the song. Along with reassuring the masses that the song has more to do with living in the moment, and appreciating those who mean the most to us while they are in our lives, she also went on to say, “The songwriters included the audio in tribute to the unselfish work of the Challenger crew with hope that they will never be forgotten.” Did you catch what I did? The songwriters included the audio inferring that she herself had nothing to do with the composition of the song, and that is exactly what stuck with me.
I immediately began to wonder why-the-fuck the mainstream media bothered to ask a person who had merely sung a song written by others about the intent of the words? How would a puppet understand the motives of the puppeteer anymore than an actor understand the intent of a playwright? And then I remembered that media today is more about slight of hand than it is true accountability. What Christian can they throw to the lions to feed the bloodlust of the Internet masses today? What manufactured outrage can they incite today to keep our minds off of the real issues? What self-righteous indignation can elicit with a viral, bullshit story that has not been properly fact-checked, and will eventually prove to be false? But we never hear about the real endings, now do we?
Here’s one I bet you all remember: the waitress in New Jersey who claimed to have been stiffed on a check and instead left with a disparaging comment regarding her lifestyle? In an uncommon move, the people who claim to have been the ones accused committing such a wicked deed, stepped out of the shadows, and provided evidence that they had not only left a 20 percent tip, but they had also not written any such comment on the receipt. As a direct result of the initial report there was an outpouring of support for the poor lass, who received donations to make up for such an evil misdeed. How could anyone mistreat a war veteran? Reports indicate she pocketed in excess of $3000.00, not bad for a day’s work, in my humble opinion. Miraculously the victim’s character has come into question under the media spotlight, and it appears she is no longer working at the establishment where this make-believe transgression took place. Doesn’t matter though, the damage was done, and there are likely some who still believe this urban legend to be true.
Why is the general public so easily distracted? What is so appealing about jumping on the faux outrage bandwagon? I have no answers, as usual, only more questions. I do suspect that it has something to do with most people are simply clicking a ‘like’ or ‘share’ button on a social media site and no longer have the attention span to investigate if there is any truth to a story. This worldview is so skewed that it is terrifying to those who have their eyes open, and would be absolutely astounding to the futurists’ who wrote the Science Fiction that is playing out in real-time.
2014 is now upon us and we lack a lot of the really cool technology they promised us, but the Big Brother surveillance state is very much real. The mass media mind control is frighteningly accurate. One needs only to look at how many parents now placate their infants with tablets to understand where this is all headed. Free thought is an endangered species, and everyone is too busy and self-absorbed to care. As long as they can have their over-priced latte and sit silently amongst a large group of humans, safe in their Wi-Fi-cocoons of connectivity, modern life is just fucking peachy.
As we humans continue down this path of globalization and constant stimulation, it is inevitable that the horrors around us will become less and less noticeable. Who cares about the starving or homeless in close proximity to us when there are so many helpless animals being mistreated on another continent? Who cares what happens to schoolchildren in our own communities because there are children somewhere else who need our help or worse, were killed by a psychopath? Who cares? Why we do, right? We all care so much that we have completely disconnected from our own communities to form this global community, which has so far proven to be incapable of accomplishing anything. Last time I checked there was still war and famine in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. And Uganda, and Sudan, and Rwanda.
And lest we forget there is the simple matter of Fukushima. You remember that story, right? I know, it’s been a long time in Internet years, but way back in March of 2011 there was a major earthquake that took out a nuclear reactor. Now I don’t want to bore you with all the details while you’re sitting there eating your sushi or anything, but the Japanese government sort of never really contained the leak. And it has been pumping nuclear waste into the ocean non-stop for almost three years now. But don’t worry, I read on the Internet recently that they have hired homeless people to assist with the cleanup.
Have a blessed New Year, kiddies.
dixē.flatlin3 is a pistol-packing mama from the American Wild West. Having survived more travails than Christian in the Pilgrim’s Progress, she decided to get mean and take it to the world. Honing her acid-sharp wit on MySpace, Facebook, and later Twitter, she became known for compacting volumes worth of vitriolic social commentary into one-liners, which she would throw off with the abandon of a Vegas stripper. She is a long-time contributor to Paraphilia Magazine and also runs its Twitter account. With Dixē Ex Machina she shares her insights into the vagaries of social media, technology, business, and 21st century communications: the good points, the bad points, and suppositions as to where it all might be headed.