Stop Kvetching and Start Being Accountable

Please stop kvetching about the elections. Instead, invest your energy into becoming more culpable for the claims that you carelessly trust. See, most of us fail to take into consideration how the encompassing nature of mediated communications undergirds our civic progressions as well as fortifies the essential qualities of those practices. We miss the mark on upholding our duty to the world at large when we put into play our unwarranted assumptions about the appropriateness of our media-led behaviors.

It’s not just politics that confound us given our culture’s overall lack of objective analysis. For example, we tend to place more emphasis on computer literacy than on library skills. Although, on our behalf, our schools tout the importance of reading and writing, they spend more reserves on hardware and computer faculty than on remedial accommodations for orality and chirography or on other means of expanding students’ typographical savvy. Whereas print connections transverse time, electronic ones, additionally, transverse space.

Notwithstanding any resulting Global Village metaphors, the mental representations manufactured by mass and convergent media are unlike those shaped by spoken or written discourse. The former overpower the relatively logical, complex images provided by the latter given the former’s cut-rate, fragmented nature. Besides, mediated communications inspire passive collective participation, i.e., they galvanize the worship of idols, viz., “the tribe,” “the den,” “the market,” and “the theatre” (Francis Baconian).

This eidolon, subsequently, is self-maintaining since the process and products of our judgements are partially determined by the channels of communication that we use. Our instruments impact the speed, the range, and the ease of transference of the ideas to which we become accustomed. Thus, our reality constructs and our communication conduits endure as interdependent.

Moreover, many of us dismiss communication alternatives as too antiquated or too innovative to embrace. The loyalty configurations that have been crafted by the media remain ouroboroses. To wit, we worry that authorizations of unmediated expressions or that any type of delegitimizing of mainstream systems might destroy our self-worth or lead to civil unrest. Hence, our ability to think for ourselves continues to be stymied by media-prompted fear.

Accordingly, we sanction restricted forms of language usage. Deliberate, for instance, the weirdness with which too many sixteen year-olds engage the “dating scene.” Mull over, too, how the oldest generation has been largely excluded from social media channels.

More specifically, per the first illustration, youths try to emulate the “norms” with which they have been edified by the media. Namely, gender roles have been questioned, gender identity has been presented as indeterminate, and, the necessity of dating for marriage has gone by the wayside.

In the second case, folks who are too old to have been suckled on merged media technologies and who have broadcast their frustrations with those mechanisms’ parameters, have regularly gotten locked out of those networks, else suffered transmitted mockeries of their appraisals. It’s not “permitted” to anathematize widely held views, e.g. on vaccines, régime practices, voter registration policies, abortion, etc.

What’s more, not only are dissenting views obstructed, but unpopular ones, such as calls for family purity, taharat hamishpachah, tend to be ignored or are barely disseminated by outlets that focus on very particular audiences. The status quo’s lack of ideological verisimilitude is reducing us to existing as a stupefied multitude.

Contrariwise, online chatters offering support for genital piercings or demi-sexuality regularly get featured on well-liked sites. Sound bites culled from their paragraphs are repeatedly echoed across the Internet. Likewise, exaggerated statements by would-be officials inoculate most of the masses with strange values.

If only we would call to mind the arbitrary nature of the gauges that the media insist that we employ, we could better grasp the ramifications of our validating any singular starting point for our resourcefulness. Until such a time, our reliance on mediated conventions will prevent us from moving beyond idealized abstractions to pragmatics.

Comprehend that our patterned arrangements of relationships, counting our doctrinal ones, are irregular, even disorderly. Heeding whimsy suits selecting ice cream flavors or music but does not necessarily suit choosing leaders. That is, allowing ourselves to be fryers regarding campaign rhetoric’s intentional confusing of words’ drift makes for poor governance results. Furthermore, our lack of willingness to question our sitting and prospective lawmakers’ assertions often results in sorry national conditions.

Essentially, the interdependence of our agencies’ parleys and of our morality molds our population as one that dissuades individuals from pushing past media-enforced prejudices and as one that leaves us vulnerable to incomplete links between people and institutions. Increasingly, our miscalculations underscore the assumptions we make about who we are and about how we ought to behave. These missteps do little to help us reflect upon the relationship among our beliefs, our words, and our actions, including and especially in the political arena.

All in all, our media-influenced impediments to making meaning bear on our configuring of daily life, limit our communications, and force us to rely on mimicry rather than on critical thinking. So, before you spend any more resources complaining about the elections, review whether you acted complacently by basing your decisions on the cyclicality of thought that’s advantageous for the media, but not necessarily for you and me, the general public.

About the Author
KJ Hannah Greenberg has been playing with words for an awfully long time. Initially a rhetoric professor and a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar, she shed her academic laurels to romp around with a prickle of imaginary hedgehogs. Thereafter, her writing has been nominated once for The Best of the Net in poetry, three times for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for poetry, once for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for fiction, once for the Million Writers Award for fiction, and once for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. To boot, Hannah’s had more than forty books published and has served as an editor for several literary journals.
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