Today at one point when I was checking my email, the msn menu on one page offered these options for viewing, all in one list:
Hollywood’s most powerful funnymen
10 tips to a low-cost divorce
Making pretty pie crusts
Can Britney bounce back?
And Britney’s story was touted as the story of highest interest.
Those of us who use computers see these little headlines everyday, and I’m not sure why this hit me so hard today. But I was really struck with the following:
Making pie crusts was right there under divorce, as if they belonged on the same page.
The story on divorce was described the way you’d talk about saving money on buying a car or doing a home repair job.
Divorce was in the same phrase with “tips,” as if it’s just a normal thing people go through and might need some friendly tips on the best way to do it. And the emphasis was on saving money, not salvaging relationships or self worth or anything like that.
Two of the items have absolutely nothing to do with the real life of almost anyone viewing the page. They are about movie stars and a singer that surely less than one percent of the people seeing the page will ever be affected by personally.
Does this strike anyone besides me as madness?
It reminds me of Don McLean’s song, “Prime Time.” If you don’t know it, say so and I’ll provide the lyrics. What started out as the craziness of television, where you could watch video footage of the war in Vietnam and be interrupted by a commercial for toothpaste or deodorant, has spread beyond TV to all kinds of media.
I know other people think about this because I read their books and articles. But outside the field of sociology and psychology, do people notice that our brains are being taught to trivialize nearly everything? Does this bother you? Do you see how it affects the society we live in? What kind of effects does this have on you? Can we even know what effects it has on us?
I’m curious to know what you all think.