Thursday, October 29, 2009

Crazymaker: Journal of American Media and Lifestyle

If you wonder why our society is so schizophrenic--look no further than Crazymaker Journal.

I happened upon a fascinating new online publication: Crazymaker, the Journal of American Media and Lifestyle. I have to say the content set me back on my heels; rarely do I see such an honest portrayal of the carefully mixed messages dished out as "news" and "entertainment".

Gregory Bateson addressed how a cognitive "double bind" could create a schizophrenic state of anxiety and dysfunction.

Their findings indicated that the tangles in communication often diagnosed as schizophrenia are not necessarily result of an organic brain dysfunction. Instead, they found that destructive double binds were a frequent pattern of communication among families of patients, and they proposed that growing up amidst perpetual double binds could lead to learned patterns of confusion in thinking and communication.

Human communication is complex; 90% of it is nonverbal (see also Albert Mehrabian) and context is an essential part of it. Communication consists of the words said, tone of voice, and body language. It also includes how these relate to what has been said in the past; what is not said, but is implied; how these are modified by other nonverbal cues, such as the environment in which it is said, and so forth.

For example, if someone says "I love you", one takes into account who is saying it, their tone of voice and body language, and the context in which it is said. It may be a declaration of passion or a serene reaffirmation, insincere and/or manipulative, an implied demand for a response, a joke, its public or private context may affect its meaning, and so forth.

This is an apt description of the craziness created by media/marketing messages every minute of every hour of every day in the USA. Bake a super-rich cake, and oh my, why are you so fat? Now you have to torture yourself with diets which don't work.

Girls: want to look hot and sexy? if you don't, you're a loathesome loser.

Guys: not ripped with bulging muscles? Too bad--you're a loathesome loser, too. Image and exteriors are everything!

The media profits from selling marketing/adverts. Marketing causes people to become schizophrenic. Adverts' meta-messages often contain mplicit sexual content or domination/submission themes, or the promise of "cures" for everyday living--or for the results of the very behaviors being prompted and encouraged.




Some of the conflicting messages are so painfully obvious, yet consumers are seemingly blind tot he paradox of a magazine thick of with adverts for more products being titled Real Simple:




Sadly, as a result we all have quatro-polar disease. Fortunately, there's a medication cure: zombiestra.

Yes, I am alive to the irony that this site runs adverts selected to match the content of the topic being addressed. Sometimes the "contextualization" is delayed or mismatched, and the irony is heightened.

So I cannot claim some blameless role; I too am part of the machine, accepting money to fund the operation of this site. Should advertising be banned? That might be an ideal for some, but the more realistic solution might be to work on teaching a healthy skepticism based on cui bono--to whose benefit is this advert running? Once that has been established, then the "consumer" is at least grounded in this reality: we are the target/mark of the con.

The other solution is to minimize exposure to the mostpowerful adverts, which are on TV. Thus minimizing exposure to commercial and cable TV is an excellent start to minimizing the impact of media/marketing crazymaking.

Permanent link: Crazymaker: Journal of American Media and Lifestyle

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