I had an interesting and enlightening weekend. Probably too much fun was had, but a person needs to let loose on occasion. (I’ve discovered a wonderful pub in which to practice my beer snobbery–they have 20 some beers on tap and none of them is Budweiser–fantastic!)
Anyways, after recovering from the hangover on Sunday morning and afternoon, I happened to catch a few minutes of the Super Bowl pre-show. I can safely say that I have never seen so much hype in my life. Between the constant hammering on the American male stereotype and the jammed-down-your-throat “patriotism” and the syrupy fakery of the whole thing, I tuned out rapidly. We had plans for an evening out, anyhow, and the sampling I did get of it made me forget any ideas I had that it might have been fun to watch. So instead of watching the game, my husband and I went to a little old movie house on the U of M campus to watch Crispin Glover present a slide show and his film “What is it?”.
It was incredibly compelling stuff, and both of us have been fans of Mr Glover for a while now, so it was cool to see him in person and hear him speak. What really struck me about it all was the idea that it is good to present ideas of all moral qualities in very ambiguous and sometimes provocative ways and allow the audience to figure out for themselves how they feel about them. This runs almost completely counter to the mainstream media culture. In the mainstream, as is exemplified perfectly by the Super Bowl, the viewer is given concrete ideas within a black and white world in which they are told how they should feel about them.
Here is a link to CHG discussing his thoughts with Tom Green (the res is a bit shit for the first few seconds but then clears up nicely).
So what does this all have to do with skepticism? It seems to me that our current media culture is basically training people to rely on outside sources rather than their own intellect in forming ideas and opinions. Maybe if people weren’t spoon-fed in this way they would be forced to think critically about what they see in the media, and maybe that would extend into their lives more generally.
It’s something to think about, anyway.