Willingly, consistently traumatized:
Why do some like having 'the news' shouted at them?
vol. 4 issue 15
Here’s an observation:
Millions of people in this nation, and elsewhere on the globe, who routinely tune into a certain infotainment network, are tuning in, ostensibly of their own free will, to have information SHOUTED at them. Why?
All that shouting is most certainly causing a cortisol and adrenaline stress response. And although allopathic medicine doesn’t observe that hormones have elemental properties, traditional medicine does, and cortisol would be bitter. So, I figure it’s like marinating one’s brain in piss and vinegar.
And if the “attuned” are hard of hearing, like so many Americans of a certain generation that starts with Boom and ends with -er, increasingly are these days, then the shouting affect is amplified, as though attending an infotainment concert in an arena.
If you think I am overstating things, you can try it for yourself; I’ve made up an exercise to test it. If you’re not a regular audience member of this screamy network, you will need to spend a few minutes watching it so you can hear what I mean.
Once you’ve gotten that out of the way, there’re two parts to this exercise. The first is to pitch your voice loud and the second is to imitate the pattern of just about any of the hosts while reciting the alphabet. If you faithfully attempt the exercise, you will probably scare yourself. You will sound like the worst Harry Potter villain ever. You could dispense with the alphabet and see what happens if you compare the delivery of both “Hi, how was your day?” and “I hate your guts you ass sucking mamma jamma.”
The message is irrelevant.
It makes me wonder…
Why do we need to shout at anyone? Why can’t we trust people to turn up the volume if they need to? I can’t think of a single reason to shout at people if all we’re doing is offering them information, unless it’s to create fear, or otherwise suppress a person’s senses. I guess you might argue it’s to warn of danger, but I have listened to what is being discussed, and most of the time it’s nothing important, which is why I thought of the alphabet exercise as a way to test my theory.
Listening to this network and the like, you’d think all their presenters are put there to do is to tell you your hair was on FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
After all, shouting and blaring 24/7 loud music is what we do to torture our detainees at Guantanamo. We aren’t yelling at them how special they are, more like what pieces of shit we want them to think they are, but the yelling and shouting and unrelenting noise is calculated to cause stress and breakdown so that the detained will turn into assets for our intelligence agency, which if you’ve forgotten, is what informs our military, which of course is what we deploy when we want to occupy a nation, I mean defend it, or free it, well, whatever.
So, there’s that.
But, why would Americans who are free and brave choose to be shouted at? What would make folks choose to do such a thing?
Surely, it’s not to be told they are pieces of shit. But what if the experience of marinating the brain in angry words was not actually bitter, but sweet, like the rush of dopamine or oxytocin that happens when we drink alcohol or make love? What is it about all that shouting that would make a person feel such sweetness? I reckon being told you’re special and you deserve special treats and perks would do the trick.
That might explain why folks who could get their information from so many other outlets that don’t YELL AT THEM choose over and again to be blasted with anger while receiving information.
I don’t know…it’s an observational theory. Any of you clinical data freaks out there, feel free to arrange a study of the brain using imaging when people are watching their “favorite” networks, and see what happens. I wouldn’t be surprised if the data would point to all major infotainment networks having a statistically significant effect on how we think, but that one network in particular would stand out for its astoundingly low P value.
Well, it’s a theory anyway.
But that’s not all I am wondering about.
Why would someone want to shout?
I mean, surely they are exhausted after all those hours of yelling at folks. It takes a lot of energy to be hyper, and especially to be hyper angry. Their adrenals must be toast by now.
I’m just tossing out ideas here. Overstimulation, just like of our detainees in Guantanamo, is a proven way to shut down not just a person’s defenses, but their will power. It’s a way to cause a person to feel defeated, hopeless, and out of options. That’s why they are so much easier to manipulate. They don’t have anything left that makes them care about fighting back.
So, is shouting at people by design, in order to make them feel hopeless, easy to manipulate? But instead of telling them they are pieces of shit, tell them they are special and deserve all the access to resources, so they will keep letting themselves be shouted at?
Why distract folks with hatred and vitriol? We’ve surely proven we will give our attention away to just about anything – cats who can type, puppies who can predict Superbowl winners, and waterskiing squirrels come to mind. There are so many ways to make money off of our attention.
Last issue, I addressed that there are those who are profiting off of making us hate each other, off of making some of us think we deserve more access than others to limited resources, and who profit off of keeping the lie going that the resources are actually limited, when that is not always the case. (Decent healthcare, for example, is not accessible by design. But I promise, that is for another day.)
I am just asking. I don’t have the answers. But it seems to me that there has to be a purpose to all the shouting. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section.
Meanwhile, all this thinking about being shouted at so that only one refrain is able to resound in lots of people’s minds, has me thinking about the irony of a fistful of so-called “orginalists” on the Supreme Court. They, and the ones who appear on the shouty network, claim to want nothing but hard, cold, pure original Constitutional law, that this nation must be returned to its original condition, the way the Founders left it, by golly, by gosh, I mean God.
So, where is all the shouting about how we should flip Congress’s McCarthy-era switch of our nation’s motto from E pluribus unum (from many, one) to In God We Trust? I’ve covered that before, too, so to quickly re-cap that, members of Congress – many of whom we actually do consider our nation’s founders – in 1782 didn’t choose God as our patron, they chose the people. To reflect that, they kept God’s name out of things. And besides, some of our fathers of democracy were themselves ambivalent about God, Thomas Jefferson among them.
But, no one is hollerin’ for that one to be overturned.
I’m not digressing. A lack of commitment to “out of many, one” might be related to wanting to shout at folks. If you’ve given up the will to hear anything else but what is being shouted at you, then you don’t have the energy to think along anything other than the one-track mindedness you’ve been acculturated to think within. A plurality of voices? Oh, please. Don’t. It hurts. Kills the hierarchy buzz, man.
Well, that just makes me “SAD!” as a former president used to like to tweet, all caps, ‘cause y’know, shouting.
What dries up with all that exhaustion is curiosity. Without that, laziness and atrophy, which in civic life amounts to apathy, sets in. It’s too easy to just ascribe to whatever branding you’ve been acculturated to. Exhausted, bored, uncurious, essentially detained and living in captivity in front of their screens – sounds like a perfect population to manipulate, to turn into assets of some kind.
If by chance curiosity does penetrate the fog, then there is always FOMO – fear of missing out on being special and having access to what is only going to be available for a limited time. What might be so in demand as to be too precious for folks to miss out on grabbing now? Well, gosh it seems like everything, given the volume of the shouting. Last chopper out of Nam, folks! Better not go too far from the message or you won’t know how and where to get what’s yours.
I’ve got one more thought to lay on you, but I’ll whisper it.
The American Dream. Have you noticed how large it figures in all that shouting? Why are we shouting about a dream? Shouldn’t we welcome in something so big and fluffy with a cuddle?
Maybe it’s not a dream at all. Maybe it’s just branding.
Maybe we need a myth instead.
The difference between staying on message with a brand and exploring the world with a myth is curiosity.
Myths can be shared at the level of behavior. You know, it’s all gods being human like or humans being like gods, engaged in escapades that are tinged with the supernatural. That is to say, myths are not literal. They cannot be adjudicated, they can’t be one-tracked, and they can’t be dissected into cause/effect pieces. I also do not ever recall hearing anyone shout a myth at me.
What good is a myth if it can’t be made into right and wrong? It’s exactly that! Myths can breathe just enough to both instruct an entire group of people so as to shape them into a community with shared beliefs not acculturations. They become like-minded, not brain-marinated. Myths leave wiggle room for interpretation, and offer inspiration. There is life breathed into existence, and thus promise and potential. The folks who share in a myth have oodles of curiosity, lots of creativity, and an impetus to use those features to innovate and go where the mood takes them.
If I were a media mogul invested in shout trains, I might find that rather bad news.
Of course, that’s only if the media moguls and the money folks who love them have even bothered to think this through. What are the odds? I am curious.
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PS: Don’t forget, you can now listen to this post. Click on the right-directed carat above to hear me read it to you!