Tired of the Hate-filled Rhetoric

I have grown weary of the current rhetoric: me good, them bad.  I’m disgusted with the media as a whole, and after reading this article in Politico, I’m doubly upset.  I think most of us know that the media does not necessarily represent the Average American.  To the contrary, media outlets cater to a particular audience, and that audience thinks like the media.  So, for example, the New Yorker, obviously, has an East Coast philosophy that does not translate well to the West Coast sensibilities.  The Times are each biased by location, and those locations are all large cities (Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Miami, etc.). The rest of the country, apparently, does not really matter.

Some may think that that is just fine. “I live on the West/East Coast, so I’m content,” seems to be the feeling.  The media bubble mentioned in the above article makes complete sense when taken in context with the demise of actual paper news, loss of newspapers. It’s a money game (always follow the money).  Paper publishing costs a lot; paper, ink, printing, journalists, distribution.  The advent of the internet certainly changed all that. Hundreds of thousands of jobs were lost, and with that, coverage of more localized news has nearly vanished.

What does that mean? It means the media is biased to their location and staff, not the people they purport to represent.  We end up with the nonsense of rhetoric, and by virtue of 24 hour news channels, we get sucked up into believing it.  And what is rhetoric? By definition it is: “language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect on its audience, but often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content.”   Lack of meaningful content.

We need to start thinking for ourselves, and not let the media play to our fears and biases. Bias/prejudice mean a strong inclination of the mind or a preconceived opinion about something or someone. A bias may be in favor of or against an idea or person or people. Prejudice implies preformed judgment even more unreasonable than bias, and usually implies an unfavorable opinion: prejudice against people of another religion or race. 

Everyone has bias in some form or degree.  It’s only human to base one’s beliefs and morals on one’s own personal experience. However, this leads to prejudice against ideas outside of our personal experience, reality and world. Prejudice that is not easy to shake. Only way to remedy this is to open one’s mind to the infinite possible points of view. The media helped us do that once upon a time. Now it is up to each individual to learn how to open their minds to ideas they might normally be opposed to.  Wouldn’t you like it if the Republicans and Democrats cared more for the country than party?  Personally, I see no reason to have political parties.  I’m a registered Independent for the last 25 years or so, but I still have preconceived ideas and a deep dislike to changing my mind. I also have a deep desire (now) to open my mind more, and possibly even change it.

This is where Free Thinking and/or Critical Thinking comes in.  It helps to take the emotion out of the equation, which where we all go wrong. It’s our emotions that get in the way of critical thinking. Think like a scientist; take a theory and set about to disprove it.

I don’t think using critical thinking will make me change my mind about the fact that Trump doesn’t belong in the White House, but it may help me understand how he came into power, and why the media did not accurately report on what All Americans wanted, just what the Average American wanted.  Not the same thing at all. The average American makes $65,000. I make half that with my and my husband’s income combined. Nothing average here.

So. No more rhetoric for me or from me (I may slip now and then, but I am trying).  Ted Nugent promised that he would no longer engage in such talk. If he can, certainly I can. It hasn’t been a month yet, and since his announcement came only after a Republican senator was shot and nearly killed, I’m having trouble buying it. I checked his FB page and website and don’t see anything hurtful or hateful. But neither do I see his denunciation of hateful rhetoric.  I’d never gone to those sites before so it may be he never posted the rhetoric there. For now I’ll give him benefit of the doubt. I want you to believe the same of me.

I know advice is worth it’s price, but my advice? Stop talking only with the people who already agree with you. Stop using only media sources that favor your preconceived ideas. Expand your media horizons and you may find out some very surprising things. What I’m trying to say is, try to keep an open mind and think for yourself–don’t let the media do it for you.


Or lack thereof, is a problem, and here it is New Year’s Day.  A time to promise to live better and control expenses, write that novel, shop that novel, find an agent, not live on credit cards, get fit and somewhere in all that you remember to be grateful and enjoy each monotonous, lonely day.


And year after year we find a dozen reasons not to live better; I don’t have to live by society’s standards, I am who I am, I accept me as I am, extra weight and all.  Right? Isn’t that what it’s all about?  Who will care if I don’t finish that novel. Take up Yoga? All that getting up and down at my age-ugh. TaiChi? It will take me years to get the hang of it, plus there’s the problem with my ankles.  The very idea of getting dressed, climbing into my car, to drive to a gym where I pay someone yell at me that I can do ‘one more’ is too terrible to even think about.

I think it’s something innate that leads us to self sabotage.  Maybe part of the Survival of the Fittest sort of thing?  Self defeating people would tend to thin the herd.  (‘We’ being the un-physically fit, socially awkward type and less likely to reproduce.) So it’s built in, this self doubt and the media plays on those very insecurities.  We see only perfect people on television, and we expect each other to be perfect and we make celebrities out of random odd people who keep getting married to thugs or having plastic surgery.  Definitely a ‘thinning of the herd’ type of thing.  And the way I see it, it’s our jobs as humans to break through the self doubt to change our lives.

We’re getting ‘dumbed down’ instead of ‘smarted up.’  We don’t teach our children to think.  We teach them what to think.  And only our schools teach our children, not the family, no society at large.  And outside of Sesame Street, television is getting dumber and so are we.  And less social.  We use ATMs and self checkout stands at the grocers so we don’t have to deal with other people.  Most people don’t even know what a paperback is anymore.  We have ereaders so we can play games while we’re on the toilet.  We get 300 channels on our televisions and are entertained by endless news casts, reruns, and ‘reality’ shows.  We have 52″ flat screen plasma televisions (with HD) and watch football games on the 5″ screen on our cellphone.  We shop online and wonder why it didn’t feel like Christmas this year?

Yet our motivation to better ourselves seems weak, if it is there at all.  Are you unmotivated

 Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

because you’re depressed, or depressed because you’re unmotivated?  How do you stay motivated?  With the pride of accomplishment?  What about love who you are now?  I don’t need to wear the “right” fashion to be accepted.  I don’t need to drop 20 lbs.  Plenty of women are carrying far more than that.  Who’s looking at me any more any way?  This summer I bought a bikini for the first time in years, extra 20 lbs and all and went to the pool.  I figured, plenty of women go to the pool wearing less and weighing more.

How do you stop your brain from asking, “‘none of this will matter in 50 years,’ so just relax, slow down, enjoy your life, don’t stress about running marathons and eating gluten-free, polyunsaturated fatty foods.

I find it hard to maintain a healthy balance between things I should do and things I’d like to do, and things I have to do.  My motivation in all three is down to nil.  I just can’t work up the interest to care.  I like writing my blog, doing genealogy, and now I’m volunteering for other things at the dog shelter, like photographing the animals and keeping the animals updated on the website.  But after I volunteer I regret it, because I don’t know if I really want to.  You know, get all involved with people and rules and other weirdness.

I feel restless, like I’m letting my life pass me by.  But I am content to write my blog, read others’, Tai Chiexercise as much as I do, running errands, and in general being a housewife.  Though I am not content every day.  I’ll stick with Tai Chi.  Something I’ve always wanted to learn.  I understand it takes years to become expert and I’m not doing too much else with the rest of my life.  I’m trying to treat everyone with kindness and we know that’s not always easy.  I’m content right now–well, close to it– but will I become discontent next year, or next week?  Disappointed in myself?  Yes, and nothing will change.

At what point does contentment become acceptance?  And how much should I accept?

The News

The news media here in SoCal are going overboard with the manhunt for an ex-cop, ex-military man who’s gone berserk and shot several people, including two cops.  While it is an awful story, I think the media is overplaying it.  The cops found his abandoned, burnt out truck and seem to be certain he is still in the immediate area.  Those poor cops are out hiking in the mountains in a snowstorm, searching door to door.  At least that’s what the media would lead us to believe. 

For two days this is the only story playing, every hour on one channel or another.  Why is this a bigger story than another?  Ah the mysterious media makes that call and we’re drug along in its wake.  I would think there are plenty of other news stories the media might inform us of, but I would be mistaken.  Is it just here?  I’m pretty sure not.  CNN ruined the news for us by bringing us 24 hour coverage of any of a number tragedies.  Now we have to sit through endless hours of no information.  48 hours later and the media doesn’t know one iota more than they did in the first hour.  Leaving us with hours of of badly adlibbing news anchors.  I hear there’s a big snow storm hitting the East Coast.



I Hate the Media

All of the media, from CNN to commercials.  The commercials I hate most are the ones that run in loops on screens in the grocery store and at the gas station.  We are bombarded constantly by ads telling us our teeth are yellow, our hair is gray and that we are fat.  These are portrayed as negatives and we don’t want to have yellow teeth, so we buy the latest product.  We don’t want to look old, so we buy hair coloring.  We don’t want to carry around that extra weight, so we’ll buy into the pill that allows you to lose weight eating whatever you want, without that bothersome exercise.

I think advertising is fine, but we have to be conscious of the tricks the advertiser play.  They way they make  us feel inferior for not owning a Mercedes, or not buying a Cadillac for your wife for Christmas.  Ads play to our basest desires: to have what the Joneses have.  To have more than the Smiths.  Just to have more or better or bigger.

I don’t understand this.  I mean I understand how marketing works.  It works amazingly well as our retail outlets can attest.  But what about the rough times.  When money is tight do the adverts about buying a car as a Christmas gift make you feel somehow a failure?  That’s what its supposed to do!  They use sex to sell everything from linens to  sugarless gum, and we buy into it.

Buy this expensive car- you will be successful

Buy your wife diamonds-she’ll love you forever

Buy this toy for your kid-he’ll play with it for 5 minutes

Why do we buy into the hype and the garbage?

I had a discussion once with a friend about how I didn’t feel influenced by ads.  She disagreed, she insisted there was no way I wasn’t influenced by at least some advertisements.  I told her the biggest influence over my buying practices was price.  I might try a new product if it were cheaper than my usual brand, but I’m likely to try the other product only once.  So do ads keep me going to the same preferred products?  No, I buy them because they are a reasonable price and do the job I need them for.

What about you, are you influenced by advertisements?  Will you buy something just because you saw an ad for it?  You have a great phone you bought two years ago.  You know everything about it, and can use every feature.  It’s completely paid for.  Then they come out with a new phone, it has better picture quality and a 30 second video capability, and it does everything you need a phone to do.  It costs $500.  Do you buy it?  What if it was only $100? CNN

CNN was the first 24 hour news source.  They spoon fed us the Gulf War in the 90s and we fell in love.  News all day long.  Except it’s all the same news all day long.  They just repeat it every hour.  Sure they have all the talking heads with their own shows.  All worthless.  Before CNN we were able to make a decision or understand a concept without having to listen to a bunch of so-called experts.  Do we really need experts to tell us how to solve the problem in the Middle East?  We are intelligent, thinking people (at least most of us are), why do we need experts to tell us how to think?  There has been fighting every few years since the state of Israel was created.  What is to understand the hate of that place.  No arguments I have heard on the subject have ever convinced me of a reason to go to war, and yet we listen to experts.  We let the experts tell us how the world operates, while it’s really only one person’s (educated) opinion, nothing more.

The bottom line is there has always been fighting in that part of the world, and until  people stop explaining all the intricate ins and outs and realize the truth:  Israel and Palestine will never be friends until they have two generations of peace.  We could use the media to create peace, just as they sell a car.  We’ll pay $500 for the latest cell phone, why can’t we bombard people with messages of peace.  Especially in the Mid East.  Why not use television screens for something positive?

Handicapped Media

Pistorius looks like he’ll win some gold.  I can’t imagine the hope he gives to someone who has lost a limb.   I love watching him, and you can see all the work he has done.  He deserves to be there and I don’t know how anyone considers the loss of both your lower legs as having an advantage.  I hope he wins big.  Encourage more “handicapped” to try out for the games.

In fact, why are there TWO Olympics, one Special, one not so much?  Why are they separate?  There may be things some to change, like adding wheelchair basketball, wheelchair racing.  I’m sure there are a lot of practical reasons for keeping them separate, but it stinks of “ism” to me.  Like racism, only keeping separate but equal for the Un Normal ones?  Not sure if it’s a word, but I suggest we use disabledism.

Have you ever seen the Special Olympics on national TV?  I haven’t, but I don’t watch much of the Regular (?) Olympics.  The separatism of “our” world and “theirs.”  Why don’t we hear about these Little Darlings of America?

Did I ever mention how I hate the media.  If you think you are in control of your life, think again.  The media (CNN) dictates what you see, when you see it, and whether or not it is “clean” enough for you to see it.  Big Brother might be watching me, But who’s got an eye on them?

The media make or break a person, not their PR.  It just depends on if “the powers that be” like them or not.  The media can convict a black man of murder, even though there is blonde hair at the crime scene.

The media (CNN/Times) decide which stories to report.  Based on what they “think” we are interested in seeing.  So what’s tonight’s lead story?  Man murders woman, or hundreds killed in Syria?  NO.  Kim Kardashian just launched a new color nail polish.  That is their lead story.

I could go on, and I did, but I tried to add a graphic and had to revert to a previous saved version and had totally forgotten all the great stuff I said.  Rats.  You, dear bloggers, would have liked it too.

I Have a Role Model

Six months ago I had barely heard of Rob Dyrdek.  Then I retired and have watched his shows on television for the first time.  I discovered he is the most inspirational entrepreneur.  He seems caring and concerned, has a charity that builds skate parks for kids.  He decided he wanted to drive a race car.  So he did.  He decided he wanted to train to be a jockey.  He won his race.  It seems he can’t fail.  He’s inspired me to step outside my comfort zone and I’ve gathered info on all the nearby comedy clubs.  My problem is the nearest comedy club is 35 miles away.  I know it’s enough to stop me.

So how does Dyrdek do it?  He doesn’t take No for an answer, for starters.  He talks his staff members into doing some of the most ridiculous things, just for the laughs.  He has his hands in several different businesses and I have trouble imagining him in a suit at a board meeting.  But he apparently knows his stuff.  He inspires me to try harder, to push myself a little more, and get out of my comfort zone.

How can I be so impressed by some guy I’ve never met and only known for a few months from his reality shows?  Did I need a hero in my life right now?  Is “hero” too big a title for a man to carry?  Even a man with the energy and drive of Dyrdek.  Kids involved in Make a Wish want to meet him.  That impresses me.

He’s like a loud Buddhist.  He likes fast cars, loud music, and faster skateboards.  He has a wild circle of friends and seems aware of living in the moment.  He’s having fun in his life and he’s showing me how it can be done…if you have money and a name to back it up.  Still, I am becoming more determined to step out of my routine and shake things up, maybe not Dyrdek style, but in my own unique style.

Do we need heroes and idols and role models?  It seems we do, they hold Jesus up as a role model for Christian kids.  And what do we do to our role models when they digress?  We watch the media rip them apart and defile their very memory.  We burn their records and their books.  We promise to never watch his movies again.

What would’ve happened to Jesus if he had made a mistake along the way?  Say, he stole a mule or a slingshot or something.  He was only 12 and really needed that sling shot, he couldn’t seem to make himself one.  If Christ did something would the people rise against him?  I mean, he was supposedly at least half human, it seems logical he’d get himself into a little trouble.

I’m not putting Dyrdek on the same step with Jesus, I’m just pondering our need for heroes and role models.  And who’s more of a role model than Christ?  We apparently need someone to look up to to grow into a better human being, but we hate it when our role models turn out to be human.  It makes us angry, because we want to be that person or be like that person, and when they show us their human side we despise them for destroying our dream and our excuse to continue living vicariously through them.  Because that would imply that you could also fall from grace.  Something most of us won’t even consider.  Dyrdek among them, it seems.  Never say no, can equate into, failure is not an option.