Monday, 21 June 2021

How to Defy Weaponised Media Narratives

Posted by Jeremy Dyer

The 2000 Yard Stare’

A 1944 illustration by Thomas C. Lea III

depicting World War II.


It’s just bad news, it will pass, right? But why does it make me feel so depressed? Why does it eat away at my peace and happiness? Why do I constantly feel this uneasiness? Why can I not shake off this feeling of impending doom? You are mercilessly and relentlessly pressured to adopt one of the binary positions of ideological narratives.  Ideological violence is in fact a war, with real-world consequences. 

At this time in history, suicides are rising – I won’t post the references, but it is logical. So. For those people, the stress became unbearable. I saw someone have a major Coronaphobia freak out at the grocery store a few days ago. What is unquestionably all around, is:

Personal financial fear

Concern for the future of the world

Rampaging looting, stealing, and killing

Stress around lockdowns and regulations

Lack of normal outlets such as gym, restaurants, and social gatherings

A media onslaught of negativity

‘Doomscrolling’ 

You can look after yourself, stop watching the news – or schedule a time for it – eat healthy, start a plan for a better job, cut your social media time wastage, exercise in some other way, chat with positive friends ... yet in the face of the war, it is a daily effort and discipline, isn’t it? It is exactly like fighting a mental war every day. 

You war with the things you have to do physically. 

You war with the people you come into contact with (I was a teacher, so I know).

And then there is that fuzzy, insidious pyscho-ideological war. On this last point, I am referring to the tsunami of negative, emotionally-driven ‘news’ and more importantly the ‘narratives’ (ideological viewpoints) that inform such news. Memes, articles, sound bites, and so on.

What is going on?

It is this ideological war that drives most of the depressing news – 5G is killing you, you are a racist, the planet is dying, history is all wrong, magical love is the answer to everything, coconut and cannabis oil cure all illness, socialism is better than capitalism, the normals must worship the weirdos and awfuls, another virus is being created to kill us, a murderous Uhuru is coming, vegans are better than carnivores, BDSM is better sex, world food is running out, all GM food is poisonous, the government controls you, the media is all lies ... 

It’s a long list covering a lot of issues.

The thing to note is that each of these messages is absolute and crystalised – very little shades of grey in any of them. Each intrusive narrative is polarised, like the Dems and ’Pubs in the USA. You are mercilessly and relentlessly pressured to adopt one of the binary positions in each of these ideological narratives. They are now ‘weaponised’, and they seek to enforce compliance in you – join the riots, burn the 5G towers, boycott Chinese goods, buy a gun, eat only vegetables, stock up on food, hate men, hate women, wear a face-mask, don’t wear a face mask ...

Doubt, fear, uncertainty ... depression and anxiety. This is logical when confronted with ‘evidence’ from both sides of these aggressive narratives. The whiplash from the changing evidence of experts alone – on life, the universe, and everything – leaves us all in need of physiotherapy.

‘What is revolt?’ asked Albert Camus. ‘Simply defined, it is the Sisyphean spirit of defiance in the face of the Absurd … in that day-to-day revolt he gives proof of his only truth, which is defiance.’ What kind of defiance remains, then, which will not find you caught up in the war? 

One has to either sift through all these narratives, to find one’s position on any number of issues… (Some people are able to do this, but many are too ADD or incapable. Some choose to believe the fictions of conspiracy theories instead, because it is simpler and easier. Facts and science are irrelevant after all, only opinion matters in what you choose to believe. Wow, talk about dangerous.) 

Or ...

Cultivate an attitude of defiance! 

Look after your own wellbeing. Mind, body and spirit. Reject mental poison.

Do the things that make you happy.

Pursue your meaning.

Say to yourself :

Siss China!

Siss the face masks!

Siss the vegans!

Siss MAGA!

Siss Antifa!

Siss the 5G towers! 

Go fishing. Go swimming. Get seriously sceptical. Take a news fast. Find a lover. Get an awesome sense of humour – loads for free on the internet if you need priming. Be unconventional, meet cool people, do new stuff. Be cheeky, be awesome! Be a thought leader, not a follower. Hey! Find God, if that is what it takes!

Siss the news!

Siss the conspiracies!

Siss depression and negativity!

5 comments:

Thomas Scarborough said...

‘Siss’ incidentally means ‘to make a sharp hissing sound, as if to show disapproval’. I wonder whether it is related to the Afrikaans ‘Sies!’ -- ‘to express disgust, disappointment, or annoyance’.

It is a sign of the times. Weaponisation means normative, evaluative. Our opinions are no longer provisional, academic, searching, changing – if they ever were.

I am wondering whether this is really defiance. May it not rather be evasion, even resignation? And a second question, if it is defiance, may this not be a dangerous motivation?

Keith said...

‘It’s a long list covering a lot of issues’, you rightly say. The upshot being a staccato effect. Not sure where to let my mind land and take root. Each list hurries me along to the next; each item to the next. All items are equal in weight. I would have liked to see some ‘issues’ selectively built out. Well, I’m definitely too much of a news enthusiast to ‘siss’ everything. We may not be able to change the news, and may not want to turn a blind eye (certainly not in my case), but we can manage how we react to it. To avoid the ‘negativity and depression’ lamented here.

Jeremy said...

I think we are at a time in history when we need more than simple skepticism - like we have become used to when evaluating an advertised product. We now have to actively reject regular news and media - regard it as mostly lies, in fact. Thus the only answer is to proactively seek out our own news fees/ comentators and interests. Such as PI!

docmartincohen said...

I agree with Jeremy on one level, maybe the emotional one, but I also think society requires people to take an interest in "bad news" - it is about concern for others and also, surely, the only way to hold the powerful to account. If we turn away from the "doomscrolling", yes, as individuals we may benefit. But doesn't this risk turning our backs on those who my need both our concern – and our practical involvement?

Jayman said...

We all have varying capacity to deal with unpleasantnes (stress?) ... but needlessly imbibing negativity is plainly unhealthy. I would not be surprised if "the news" has helped tip some over people over into suicide. On the other hand we should always be open to challenges, be they mental or otherwise. Personally, many years ago I cut my "one-way" news from the idiot box and radio, and now only access it under my control - usually just whizzing over headlines, and drilling down to what sparks my interest. I think unfiltered news is a pernicious tank of different flavored poisons that masquerades as a sweet shop. Faux ideologues (pseudo-activist, keyboard-warriors) would also be better served by getting a life, and helping in the real world. I preach to myself, first and foremost.

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