Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chocolate and Media

Today is 9/11.  As much as this will probably irritate people, honestly, I don't feel much today.  Yes, I remember the day it happened and I remember watching amazed as the scene of two planes crashing into two huge towers replayed over and over on TV.  I remember where I was and I remember everyone's reaction.  But I was miles away.  9/11 didn't happen to me - I wasn't in the towers, I wasn't in New York, I didn't have any family or friends affected by the tragedy.  So how did I understand that it was tragic?  By the media.  The media sensationalized this event - replaying the scene over and over.  They dragging the event out and blowing its significance up by millions, especially today on its 10th anniversary.  Time magazine printed out a commemorative issue filled with pictures of smoky faced firefighters and children who lost parents.  Even the comic section of the newspaper was full of 9/11 - Baby Blues featured a single square where Baby Wren stacks building blocks into two towers.
The one thing I would think an enemy of the United States would love to see is the country being shattered by their deeds.  Think of a terrorist group like a baby - it will shout when it knows that you will pay attention to it when it does so.  I fear that the media has fallen right into the terrorists' hands in this way - by sensationalizing 9/11 and making it seem like it impacted more people than it actually did.  Won't they be inspired by this?  Won't they repeat it?  They already found our weak point - knowing that we would make a big deal out of a significant anniversary (10) the US were tipped about yet another threat in New York on the same day.  Suppose the news had been quiet.  Trust me, we would all remember still - the event would be written in history books, would it not?  But I would see the United States that is able to grow and mend; one that is incapable of being broken so easily; one that gives no media 'fame' for disgusting terrorism acts and therefore discourages it altogether.
Perhaps I have now alienated three quarters of the American population.  But I write about this for a reason.  I am angry at the American media.  9/11 is one example of its mistake.  Another example is something that shook me to the core - my own personal September 11th, 2001.
I was teaching a class of young boys ages 7-10.  They were working on a project to create a game with a certain program I was teaching at the time.  We went through step one which was deciding the theme of the game they wanted to create.  I went around to each student asking what they would like to do.  Most of them were normal - a maze or a pacman sort of game.  And then I was blown away.  One youngster told me that he wanted to create a game where there is a person who goes around shooting people and then at the end, he kills himself.  He then laughed.  The boy sitting next to him overheard and started laughing as well.  He asked me if he could change his game so it was the same.
At the time, I was so shocked that all I could do was tell another instructor and have the other instructor go and talk to them about this.  I honestly believe that they wouldn't do such a thing in real life, but you know what, I couldn't know.  They were good kids.  At this point, I believe now that its all because of what they see on TV.  Please tell me which kid doesn't want to be famous...  when kids see that people who do that kind of stuff get TV time, they think nothing of it.  The media is to blame for making events such as these seem so important and so relevant when in reality, most of us don't cannot understand the emotions that actually occur for those who are first hand witnesses.  So it makes us immune.  And for little kids, these events are misunderstood to be important.  What happened to the good old days when kids played with see-saws and swings?  Why must life revolve around guns and bombs?
What we really need in this country is a media revolution.  Let media be the parents and the American public be the kids.  Don't feed us what we want - candy and marshmallows.  Feed us the broccoli and spinach.  Give us happy news and emphasize that.  Give us educational news that makes us smarter and more prepared to lead the nation.  Don't you feel embarrassed broadcasting crap about the latest Kardashian outing?  Is that reflective of what we want to be?  As a warning, we will scream.  We will be begging for that old stuff.  But you know what's best right?  Think long run, not short.  I conclude with a small metaphor:  I used to love white chocolate and milk chocolate, full of butter, sugar and milk.  But after reading articles I found the benefits of dark chocolate and started eating it.  My god it was bitter.  But now what has happened?  I cannot stand white or milk chocolate.  Dark chocolate grew on me over time - its bitter taste is now pure and wholesome to my tongue.  Teach me to love wholesome news.  Ditch the sensationalism, once and for all!