During a commercial break, I pause the playback and return to the keyboard.
I started rethinking about something I mentioned in passing in a previous blog entry. I used an old saying fragment; “I read somewhere” before stating some supportive fact. It’s an innocent enough thing to say. We all have memories from things we’ve read or seen or heard previously without any real knowledge of it’s source. We all say this, or similar lines during conversation before we interject some rumour or wisper or article or TV segment we’ve seen.
This got me thinking a bit about how those sources have changed over the past decade.
Before the Internet, or at least before daily feeds came into mass popularity, a good percentage of our society didn’t use print media much for news and current events. We didn’t read our news. Some did, but many of us either got their news, POP culture, and social cues from TV, or real world social interaction. Although they say the days of the newspaper are fading, I know a great percentage of the world never used newspapers for news. We’ve always heard or seen more than we’ve read to keep pace with the world.
In my found adulthood before the Internet, I once asked a friend; “what war?” I was shamed at the time, and it changed my life a little. In my teens and 20’s, I knew little of politics or news in general.
If I had heard of wars, the environment, local news, the economy, or natural disasters, it would have been from my top news source, Saturday Night Live and morning radio. If it was important enough to know about; they’d be making fun of it.
As I grew, I added late night talk host monologues and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to my news sources. In Canada, This Hour has 22 Minutes and Air Farce spoofed the top stories. Howard Stern was my morning man.
However, in today’s world, the internet sites like Facebook have quickly become the new source for social awareness. We are reading again. Lots. More than ever. Not only am I informed of upcoming weather, horoscope, movies, and the passing of Leslie Nelson, this news is all presented by my peers and friends I trust, often delivered to my morning ritual with a smiling photo and comments and commentary.
As a nation, we have become even more informed of everything our friends think is important. We have become the news source, and sharing gives u a personal pride in being first – or being a news provider. When people die, we feel good telling our friends before they tel us. It’s almost a race. I get a bit upset when I have news, and as I am going to post it for others, I see a friend has beaten me to it.
Although we have no proof of many of the facts we spread, because it comes from friends, we trust it anyway. It’s all new.
As I evaluate this concept in detail for this blog, I remember the quote that inspired the whole thing. I was watching The Mentalist, and was remembering seeing some article that Police departments did not use civilians in their investigations like they did in this show. It was absurd to the Policeman interviewed that the public thinks it’s something real. I don’t really remember anything about the article itself, including where it may have come from. I just have a general feeling I saw it somewhere. The police talk about The Mentalist the same way CSI agents talk about those shows, or doctors talk about Hospital shows. Reality is far from TV fiction. In truth of course, I don’t know this to be the case… I only have a vague memory of reading it was said. It could have been a skit on Saturday Night Live.
Facts are irrelevant in society. All of existence is just the story we tell.