Friday, July 04, 2008

MEDIAMANIA- Attitudes, Signs, and Self-fulfilling Prophecy

I just finished an incredible book entitled “Endurance- Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” by Albert Lansing. It is the true story of survival in Antarctica during the years of 1914 and 1915.

I will include in later blogs some of the great quotes from the book and a look at Shackleton’s undefeatable will- but I was struck this morning with a quote by one of the crew in his journal.

While the men were locked on an ice flo- they began to exhibit an unhealthy obsession with the wind reports. They were dependent on the wind to move their flo closer to land. If the wind went in one direction they were closer to freedom, if it changed, they were pressed hard to hold on to hope.

This obsession with the wind was labeled ‘amenomania’ – literally, ‘wind madness’- The crewman commented “ This disease may be exhibited in two forms: Either one morbidly anxious about the wind direction and gibbers continually about it, or else a sort of lunacy is produced by listening to the other amenomaniacs.

As I read this, I couldn’t help to think of our modern disease of ‘mediamania’ where we are constantly bombarded with 24 hour cable news about the state of the world and nation. Then talking heads waste hours gibbering about their worldviews and pre-suppositions.

The constant drumbeat of the messages has produced division and cynicism in our world today. Our extreme negative views are supported and encouraged in the news desire to sell the things that make us watch. We are disturbingly drawn to the tragedies and bloodbaths.

I’m getting closer to believing that we may need a media-fast to pull down this influential and destructive idol in our society.

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