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Some will live, many (perhaps most) will die. But to put their staying put down solely to a refusal to recognize reality on account of media damage is, to my mind, too easy and too simplistic.

Consider those who fled: Once the storm has passed, they will come home to literally nothing. Their homes and all their possessions will have been utterly destroyed, leaving them with just the few things they packed in a hurry. I expect that in thousands of cases even the lots their homes once stood on will have been washed away.

I don't know about the rest of you, but in that situation I'd feel awful damned shitty.

I think many of those who remain are not merely in denial of the storm, but are unable to bear the prospective trauma of being refugees: homeless, helpless, hopeless, and dependent on others for the barest necessities.

I think the stay-behinds are mistaken, but I don't think they're (all) nuts or brain-damaged. And to the extent that they are sincerely unable face the trauma of being permanently uprooted, I can't find it in my heart to blame them.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sat Sep 13th, 2008 at 06:34:29 AM EST
I think that many captains have gone down with their ships for the very same reason....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Sep 13th, 2008 at 06:47:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
True, but I'm not blaming anyone, more making the point that:

  1. There's such a thing as media damage which is independent of media bias.

  2. If we're looking for reasons why people vote against their interests and are disconnected from reality, media damage is one place to start.

There's something very paradoxical about the way that this kind of media noise simultaneously diminishes and distances reality, while at the same time captivating attention so that there's no room for reality to creep in.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Sep 13th, 2008 at 11:35:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think one of the reasons I am no longer an avid consumer of daily news(papers) is that I realised most stories don't survive past the current news cycle and so are insignificant in the grand scheme of things and a distraction from important stuff. If an event is picked up and commented on by people I like to read or listen to, then it becomes worthwhile to spend some time going back and researching it.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 13th, 2008 at 11:38:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree that media damage is having a serious effect on people's ability to make decisions in their own interests. The John McCain candidacy is more evidence of this than I can contemplate in comfort.

I might go further: instead of media noise, I'd say what we have is a constant stream (or streams) of media signals designed to stimulate our orienting response:

An aspect of responding to environmental stimuli attending in which an organism's initial response to a change or novel stimulus makes the organism more sensitive to the stimulation [...]

Basically attention is usurped by a constant stream of media signals to the extent that there is no cognitive capacity left for perceiving other stimuli.

But of course, IANA behavioral psychologist.

What is interesting in this situation is that the signal stream for Ike has been both broad and lurid: huge winds! 25-foot surge!! run for your lives!!! Responding to the media urge would be the rational thing to do - yet the stay-behinds reject it.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sat Sep 13th, 2008 at 12:39:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
this kind of media noise simultaneously diminishes and distances reality, while at the same time captivating attention so that there's no room for reality to creep in.

i was just talking about this with a friend today. we concluded that it works like this...

we are hardwired to snap to a particular type of attention when presented with tragedy or emergency, it's absolutely not an intellectual or contemplative state of mind, it's too adrenalised for that, just as someone mentioned here a few days ago, evolution does not favour those whose response to a mastodon attack is thoughtful rumination.

so we respond to the media's incessant predispostions and proclivities to harp on the negative by shutting down areas of our brains and allowing this sad parade of pain to raise our subliminal level of angst, which then makes us crave release through hoovering up more media, a vicious cycle that can only be broken by letting go and re-merging back into a premediated state.

it's quite surprising how after a few days cut loose from the firehose, one's state of mind becomes more peaceful, one's senses of perspective and proportion are restored, and even one's relationship with time re-alters.

we are also hardwired to be attracted to novelty, our pattern recognition is tweaked by anything out of the ordinary, so to be better prepared for potentially fatal surprises.

the media, especially teevee, is the hearth around which our minds crouch passively, gazing into its plasma for the flickers of meaning that once we would harvest from contemplating the fires that warmed and nourished us for millennia.

if people don't free themselves from this passive hypnosis and back off enough to see the forest, not the trees, unmediated reality becomes as intolerable as civvy street to many war veterans, the nervous system does not ratchet down as easily as it ratchets up, better to be a little neurotically jumpy, than dead meat...

this self-perpetuating tightening of the spiral had let us to the the brittle, jerky, glassy-eyed puppet people who shrilly tabulate the day's tragedies, new levels of epic monstrosity, swiftly followed by tidbits of equally epic banality, all served up with a chilling, vapid lack of any sense of appropriate juxtapositioning, genocides along with a side salad of stupid dog tricks, crashing economies tossed casually with croutons of kibbled trivia and sports scores, all schizoid fodder, grist for the phantasmagoria mill.

increasingly deskilled in human relations that don't have concrete agendas, we turn to the familiar, unjudgemental company of the toob, which faithfully squeezes out society's zits for our perusal, our jacked, jaded nervous systems accumulating more accretions of corrosive factoids as our brains become ever more stupified by the lowest common denominator amongst us, presented as titillating nonsense, while real life is going by as if in another dimension.

to observe it dispassionately, and try to better it are the most difficult challenges we face as a society, right up there with food and shelter.

blogs are the best aid to interactive discrimination we have right now.

sorry for the length...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Sep 13th, 2008 at 06:15:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...genocides along with a side salad of stupid dog tricks, crashing economies tossed casually with croutons of kibbled trivia and sports scores, all schizoid fodder, grist for the phantasmagoria mill.

Brilliant, melo. ET is on a roll at the moment.


"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Sep 14th, 2008 at 06:03:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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