Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:October 3rd, 2008 08:45 EST
Media Is The Masses: Pagentry Of Pantomimes

Media Is The Masses: Pagentry Of Pantomimes

By Sean Stubblefield

It isn`t mother nature that abhors a vacuum, it is human nature. We resist a void, refuse emptiness. Our nature drives us to impose form, structure, patterns and the symbolic.

 

An image of Jesus only appears to be in a loaf of bread, as an illusion. We conceive shapes in clouds. Do we perceive a chalice, or two faces in profile? Actually, they are only tricks of light and shadow, assumed and imagined by our expectations. 

 

We contrive and assert symbolism over substance.

 

To our collective detriment, too many people lack the capacity or willingness for critical thinking and malleable conceptualization.

 

They can`t (or neglect to) think a premise through to logical conclusions, nor bother to dissect and analyze the meaning and substance of words and ideas.

 

A poem, a pseudo-philosophical monologue, a politician`s comments can say a lot without actually saying anything. And not in the good way of efficiency or symbolism.

 

A kind of prestidigitation occurs. There is an impression or appearance of something meaningful having been said. It "feels" as if something were said, but we`re not sure what, or exactly what it means.

Meaning is intuited or assumed or superimposed by the audience. But in truth, nothing logical or coherent was stated.

 

Afraid to be thought a fool for not seeing the Emperor`s non-existent cloak, many among us presume or imagine that what was said really made sense and was relevant.

 

We hear/ see what we want or expect to (or are expected to).

This is how George Bush and Bill Clinton can fool the masses into regarding them as legitimate Presidential candidates for a second term.

 

The Superman Returns, Iron Man and Pirates of the Caribbean movies presented a spectacle, gesturing so wildly and emphatically that they distracted attention from the fact that they were ultimately and fundamentally hollow, vacant, irrelevant.

 

A new online TV series called IQ-145 imagines and portrays itself as philosophically profound and thoughtful. And if you don`t understand, then you must not be smart enough to appreciate its genius. Yet, when deconstructed, the words and ideas are merely fluff; a faux-intellectual pretentiousness that gives philosophy a bad reputation.

 

Heroes, LOST and Lonelygirl15 suffer the same deficiencies-- despite being cult-phenomena. Much is said and done, but no one really says or does anything.

 

Iconoclast graphic novel writer Alan Moore is generally applauded as brilliant for his perspicacity and sagacity. But to me, his writing is often full of so much sound and fury... signifying nothing. An ephemeral display of astute concepts and imagery-- dazzling us like fireworks in the night sky.

 

And this is indicative of a social and cultural pandemic I want to expose. We don`t look beyond the surface level of our media. Accepting things at face value.

 

We tend to approach situations with the idea that as long as we`re doing something, then we must be doing something useful or meaningful. At least, it "feels" like we`re doing something, even though we are not.