As is my habit each morning, I click on Google News and catch up with a brief outline of the top stories around the world. When I did this morning, I finally came to the conclusion that as a society, we have plummeted to the depths of despair, if not outright stupidity.

One would expect the top news stories to be about the economic crisis that is killing off people’s ability to work and feed their children, or major natural disasters that claim so many lives, or wars and the constant threat of terrorism or even stories about our political leaders and the trouble they are getting themselves into. Perhaps even a climactic sporting event or the sad passing of a person of fame.

But no. Not today. While the world suffers famine, war, economic collapse and political upheaval, the top story on Google News today was …… wait for it….. Dancing With The Stars. A bloody reality TV program. Well, sorry about my use of an expletive there, but this really turned my stomach because it shows how pathetic we have become as a society. Reality TV is mindless, crass and was created by television producers because it is cheap to make. One episode of the Addams Family had more class, more art, more creativity and more reality that any of the gutter offerings of reality TV.

To have this classed as news in any other form other than at the very bottom of the entertainment and celebrity blooper section of a trashy rag shows how little our society knows, or perhaps wants to know about events that affect our lives and the lives of others. Have we stooped so low as a society, that the most important issue in the whole world today will be who is in Dancing With The Stars this year and what colour dress a bimbo is going to wear?

But even worse, look at the ‘Top Stories’ in the attached image of today’s Google News. Tennis players, footballers, and lo and behold, there is a mention of a hurricane that threatened the lives of people along the East coast of the US. But as it is only threatening Canadians today, who really cares now?

Oh how pathetic we have become.

Has Our Society Lost The Plot?
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23 thoughts on “Has Our Society Lost The Plot?

  • 30/08/2011 at 3:39 pm
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    Pathetic, indeed. This sort of ‘priority’ is exactly why I stopped watching broadcast news or reading the papers. I can scan headlines online from a wider range of sources, at least some of which know what constitutes REAL news, and skip most of what masquerades as important.

    Although the creative headline writers do catch me from time to time and I find myself in the midst of junk…

    • 30/08/2011 at 9:25 pm
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      I think you’re right Cyndi when you say you find yourself in the midst of junk. That pretty well sums up the combined talents of our erstwhile media barons. The purveyors of junk and trash as an excuse for news.

  • 30/08/2011 at 4:22 pm
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    While it is disheartening, and annoys me too, sometimes people get overwhelmed with the sorrow and sadness in the world. There’s famine in Africa, children trying to make their way to food camps are getting raided by bandits on the way. In my own country, we can’t afford to keep the supports for rape victims in place. People are losing jobs, homes, hope. People are getting killed in Libya, there are tyrannical regimes in other countries, food rots in warehouses to keep supply restricted and prices high while others starve needlessly.

    I agree with you, but do you ever get up in the morning load the days news and think that you can’t bear to click on another painful story. Greed means we haven’t been able to improve the lives of the majority of our planet’s inhabitants. That’s a hard thing to take. Articles about Dancing with the Stars, while banal, don’t promise pain and sadness to the reader. I think that’s at least some of the issue.

    • 30/08/2011 at 4:41 pm
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      Christine, while I understand the feeling, and all you said about what is holding improvement and help back is true, it is important to remember that over the long term we have indeed improved the lives of the majority of our planet’s inhabitants. The food and farming situation for millions of people is vastly improved in the last 50 years. We do have a much better response to famine and catastrophe then we did 50-100 years ago.
      My point is to not give up hope. Though it isn’t always easy to see the progress, and there are setbacks and always will be, progress is being made.

  • 30/08/2011 at 4:33 pm
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    Derek mate, I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Its bad enough that our television screens are cluttered up with idiot reality programs and our newspapers are chock full of photographs of nonentity so-called celebrities sunning themselves, when so much truly newsworthy stories get banished to the back pages, or get totally ignored.

    Grrr

    :(

    • 30/08/2011 at 9:28 pm
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      Well Jack, it seems for us ever to be noticed by the media for our literary exploits, we’ll need to don a blonde wig, a short red skirt and get onto Dancing With The Stars. By the way, I’ll lead, ok? And shave your legs before our big gig huh? lol :)

  • 30/08/2011 at 4:33 pm
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    Derek mate, I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Its bad enough that our television screens are cluttered up with idiot reality programs and our newspapers are chock full of photographs of nonentity so-called celebrities sunning themselves, when so many truly newsworthy stories get banished to the back pages, or get totally ignored.

    Grrr

    :(

  • 30/08/2011 at 5:55 pm
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    Hi Derek,

    You make a point that I have all but given up on making. The fact that, as a society, we have become more enthralled with the ‘life styles of the rich and famous’, shows the downside to technological advances. We have been able to become ‘one with the stars’ via so many different media outlets. This permeates throughout the generations as things progress further. When I was a kid the closest to the stars anybody got was a rag mag detailing something or another – but they were not nearly as popular as they are now. That all being said it shows the direction the country/world is headed when there are less and less people involved in things that really matter and affect/effect people and society. To add even more, we have moved away from literary classics and fiction that allow for people’s creativity to flourish and inspire/be inspired. Now it appears headed toward stagnation. My little brother is a recent highschool graduate and did not have to read one – not one – classic piece of literature. Who wants to read such ‘drab, dry Shakespeare’ when there is someone, somewhere living the high life and acting like an immature brat? With some luck Charles Dickens will become ‘cool’ and the ‘latest fad’ again.

    One can always have hope

    • 30/08/2011 at 9:32 pm
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      What Kortney? No Orwell, Hemingway or Carroll? Not even Steinbeck? How low has education plummeted? It sounds like your brother has been deprived of the opportunity to open his mind. Very sad indeed.

      But I really think Dicken’s stands no chance next to a new iPhone!

      • 31/08/2011 at 1:54 pm
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        Ha! How about some Poe, Shelley, Melville, and Austen too? Actually, just because he was not required to read it in school, does not mean that he did not read it. Which is the beauty of having a family that takes charge of the child’s education instead of allowing it to be driven by the substandard US Department of Education. George just lucky I guess. Yes I will have to agree with you, begrudgingly of course, that Dickens does not stand a chance to a new iPhone. Is there an app for that? The graduating generation of the United States does not stand a chance for competing in the global economy that we have now.

        A country of sheep shall beget a government of wolves.

        But as they say – say la vie

        • 31/08/2011 at 8:09 pm
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          It’s not just a US problem Kortney. My kids in Australia are around 30 years old and I don’t think either of them have read anything of more importance than the sports pages of a newspaper. They haven’t even read their dear old dad!

          Luckily Kindle has helped in the resurgence of reading, but sadly our Western education systems do not encourage enough genuine reading from an early age.

          • 02/09/2011 at 12:08 pm
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            I am hoping that there is a mega resurgence of reading with the younger generations. With the ability writers have to self-publish, names and stories that would have never reached readers are readily available now. This means there is so much more good literature out there, available, that we would have never seen before. Finally, it also makes books that would not have been read in other countries available faster. Readers are the winners all the way around- which is the way it should be.

            I was reading some old news articles (I’ll track down the links) that showed there was a lot of nervousness about the publishing industry going under because of things like the Kindle and self publishing avenues. For us – even though we run a publishing company – we support the idea. There’s no way we could publish every manuscript that comes across our desks, even if we wanted to, we couldn’t. That’s not fair to authors who have an excellent book! Worse yet, that’s not fair to the readers because they miss out on a great read.

            The advent of e-readers will hopefully bring back reading and inspire kids to read more. Getting them away from the garbage that is on TV. I, personally, am a traditionalist and want a physical book in my hands. I work at a computer all day – then edit and publish books from a computer – when I read for enjoyment the last thing I want to do is read from an electronic device. Kindle has also given life to works that are in the public domain. I applaud the groups and individuals who are taking these excellent works and making them available on e-readers. Again – with some luck – these will become popular reads.

            Kortney

  • 30/08/2011 at 11:45 pm
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    I could not agree with you more. Literally. I had posted something about this on my blog also and am planning on debasing it further very soon. It promotes mindless zombification! Yes, I made up a word there.

    I have yet another post I am working on that will echo your sentiment here and might get me a bit more incensed! You have basically summed my feelings up in a nutshell and I applaud your position!

    • 31/08/2011 at 10:50 am
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      Hi Gary. I really think our so called news is a product of years and years of Murdoching (my invented word!) of news to take it to the level of gutter press. As in the phone tapping saga. News is not news now unless Murdoch, News Ltd and Fox create it.

  • 31/08/2011 at 12:25 am
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    And ergo – why I no longer read nor watch the news. If anything is serious enough, my husband will tell me.

    • 31/08/2011 at 10:51 am
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      Good move I think Tania. But I feel sorry for your husband having to suffer the news for you. :)

  • 01/09/2011 at 4:51 am
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    Yeah, it’s so sad. Really sad.

    I try and ignore it the best I can. I really do. But the worst of it? People watch that stuff… enough people watch it that they keep signing new shows, old shows, etc.

  • 01/09/2011 at 7:15 am
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    Part of the problem is the existence of 24 hour news channels. They have to justify their existence so fill up the time with celebrity pap, in easily digestible form. There’s a physical reason we’re encouraged to eat wholemeal bread and most of us know whether we choose to do so or not. Explaining the rationale behind the need to stimulate the brain with more than 2 minute chunks of information is harder.

  • 01/09/2011 at 9:08 am
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    You know what I think it is? We have it too easy, and when someone changes the channel to something dark people get too physically ill to swallow it all. It takes a little pain in life to appreciate it, but people have gotten used to not being inconvenienced and feeling it’s the end of the world if someone causes them to feel bad, when there’s people in the desert without food in their stomachs and yet a smile on their faces. That people like me have so much given makes me realize my own misfortunes are not really that unfortunate at all. The TV is a reflection of the spirit of our age, and its rather plastic now. We don’t need to depress ourselves, but we do need to understand how well we have it, to be able to waste our time on TV at all.

    • 02/09/2011 at 3:27 pm
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      It’s interesting James that CNN tailor their broadcasts for different markets. I was astonished on my first visit to the US to watch CNN there after watching their international channel for so many years.

      By comparison, the US version is all diet pills, lost dog stories and when it came to actual news, it was glossed over and lowered to the level of a four year olds comprehension. And worse was to find the CNN Headline channel there, which was even worse. And then there was Fox and Murdoch!

      It is a shame because it is not the people, it’s the media magnates who are responsible for lowering the standard of journalism to the gutter and all in the name of political favour. All people want to be informed, but as always information is not always what the rich and powerful want us to have.

  • 17/12/2011 at 1:44 am
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    Well this is all about the news, manipulation of the masses and dumbing down with celebrity news and all that crap and how inane it all is. And I agree it is utter B…llocks.
    People have long forgotten how to live in the moment and stop wishing for a better future and feeding off stuff that stimulates them, always looking for the next thing, wanting more all the time like there is never enough. It is time for humans to get real and by that I mean time for them to remember HOW to live, by loving one another, appreciate what they have, do kind things for people, stop thinking only about themselves and how ‘they will survive’ and stop complaining about what they don’t have and appreciate this beautiful place we have been given to live in. We are all stuck on this planet, which is just a huge rock spinning in space and we live out our whole lives on it in this kind of dream seeing everything from our own perspective with us at the center and then we end up fighting those who don’t see things our way or threaten our sense of ourselves as though what we are (or think we are) will go on forever. When will it all be enough, when will we stop wanting to own and hold onto stuff that we will never be able to keep? I think that is why this financial collapse is happening now, the madness has gone too far. it is time human kind became kind, and remembered about the ‘being’ part of being human.

  • 17/12/2011 at 2:36 am
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    Well let’s take a look at those points you made.

    If the media didn’t keep reporting about the banking crisis – there probably wouldn’t be one. Of course that would mean bankers could get away with more though.
    The threat of terrorism doesn’t quite mean the same once you understand that in the US you have a greater chance of being killed by legal execution than by a terrorist.

    Natural disasters will always be with us and like ghouls we are drawn to them, perhaps in relief that they didn’t affect us this time. No matter how many there are there will always be quiet times. It’s just unfortunate that the media does not see these as an opportunity to re-visit the area and dwell on relief work and rebuilding.

    War? I wonder how much the media is to blame for many of these? If no credence was given to politician’s rants would they find it so easy to wage war?

    Famine needs to be reported. By making the world aware of it, the media helps feed those in need. Again it’s a shame they don’t take the opportunity to report on the successes though.

    As to the reporting on celebrities, mishaps of politicians and sporting events, most of this drivel is too boring to read about.

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