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Published:October 10th, 2008 08:07 EST

Media Is The Masses: something to sing about

By Sean Stubblefield

Apparently, American culture is so overexposed with modern technology and media displays, that most people have become desensitized to the point of cynicism.

 

We are so accustomed to the wondrous marvels of technology that we are no longer impressed by them. Normalized... integrated and made to seem ordinary.

 

It has become increasingly more difficult for us to be amazed by amazing things.

Sadly, our sense of wonder has been lost-- or at least substantially diminished.

Likewise, an appropriate sense of perspective.

 

Computers and cell phones we have now are taken for granted; whereas only 10-20 years ago, the things media & communications technology can do today would have been considered astounding. We don`t realize just how incredible such inventions and innovations are anymore. Nor their effects on us. Introduction of color TV was regarded as a big deal at the time. Now, a switch from VHS to DVD to blueray is no more significant than changing your shirt. We simply accept such change as if nothing had changed. Everything is taken with a grain of salt. A suspension of disbelief occurs. Therefore, what would otherwise be thought impressive has ceased to mean anything. The capacity and capability of current special effects and image manipulation is so extensive that each next development must be progressively enhanced for us to care.

 

What used to be stunning becomes treated with an attitude of "been there, done that".

This phenomenon resembles the effects of an addictive drug: the more we use, the more we need in order for the drug to have an effect, because the body gradually adapts.

 

It isn`t that the formerly impressive thing has changed and is now less impressive; our perspective has changed.

 

When illusionist and endurance artist David Blaine endeavored to hang upside down for 60 hours, people felt disappointed and lied to when he briefly stopped once every hour to recuperate. Many in the audience maligned and chastised Blaine as a fraud, or ridiculed him as a joke. Clearly revealing they have no sense of context for appreciating the difficulty of the feat, and thus its incredibleness. Let them try hanging upside down for merely 5 hours without a break-- or bodily harm--- and then tell me that was nothing.

 

The fact that Blaine could endure 60 hours of repeatedly being suspended downside up IS an accomplishment worth noting. It just didn`t seem impressive on the surface, visually. Because people don`t understand the intricacies involved in the stunt, and have been desensitized by his previous performances. Such people don`t recognize that the trick is not hanging upside down for 60 hours. The point in all of his death defying stunts is to DO them because they are difficult-- and without killing or seriously injuring himself in the process; demonstrating and pushing the endurance tolerances of the human body. Whatever Blaine did, used to be applauded with awe and wonder-- now we are used to it. Cirque Du Soleil? Meh. The Olympics? Peshaw! Sean Stubblefield? Yawn.