Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Power of the Media

Switch on the TV for a moment... flick through the channels... pause for a minute at each channel and observe.... be patient and watch... what do you see?
How many programs depict violent acts?... killing scenes....fists colliding with jaws... bullets infiltrating skin and flesh... blood spurting... cats and mice choking one another... bombs, rocket launchers and tanks…
What about Video games? How many of those video games that we play or our children play show realistic images of people we have to shoot, kill, strangle, behead, pull their spines out of their bodies, or give a karate chop to get to the next difficulty level.... or unlock something or the other...
How many films/cartoons/games out there help to desensitize us and our children? The assailants/enemies/aggressors are becoming more and more realistic on video games and in films/sitcoms? Well, they are usually from a certain country or group of people… Russian, German, Arab/Muslim, Vietnamese and so on and so forth…
Granted that many of them are based on historical events and what is going on in the world right now… but many of those depictions are also subject to propaganda and are usually one sided. These depictions and views of the world do not teach our children the values, morals and behaviors that we are continuously trying to instill in them. These shows either  depict violence as something humorous or something to admire and be proud of and therefore does not teach the kids anything about consequences of such behaviors… it desensitizes them and helps them to become more tolerant of such acts no matter what the violent levels were. It starts with cartoon and moves on to something else...
These films also do not help adults either…they do not help us shed the stereotypes and hatred that we might feel towards a particular group or nation due to historical or current events. On the contrary, what they show in these films either brings back hurtful memories, increases the intensity of hatred, brings about the feeling of self-righteousness, divides the people into groups and labels them or increases animosity between factions.
I do not think that these film directors and producers know or understand how much damage they are helping in this world. They are helping the world divide instead of using such a powerful media to bring the world together… They need to be using the media to teach people about the admirable morals, values and ways of life of other countries/nations/religions. 
I am aware that there are many programs and films out there that try to bring the world together, one step at a time, but we need more of those.
I understand that there are films that try to portray a different side to all the other films, thereby revealing to the world that there are two sides to every event or story in this world… BUT we need more of those…
Maybe it would be better to paint the assailant or enemy black and never label them in films... or maybe they can choose one common enemy of the whole world... maybe that enemy is someone who wants to divide us... someone who does not have a distinctive mark, piece of clothing or facial feature…. A common enemy that would bring the whole world together…and have the heroes, who would save us from this common enemy, come from ALL countries of the world…

For example,  I allow my my son to watch Ben Ten a few times a week... I know it is still violent but first, there are not many other cartoons for him to watch and second, the hero is facing aliens and not other human beings. Many times we flick to nature shows which he loves watching but a kid is still a kid and therefore asks for cartoons from time to time.
I keep saying that enough is enough… I was telling my husband last night that it is exhausting having such a dream in my head that I know is probably impossible to achieve or make real… it is exhausting because it pains me every time I hear of a murder, a suicide bomber, an attack on a holy place, houses being demolished, people being forced to leave their homes, an attack on a school, genocide, ethnic cleansing, war, or any kind of robbing of life.
I am a dreamer and forever will be a dreamer… I dream that one day we can all come together.


Birdie said...

This song, by Kermit the Frog tells us to keep believing. It was written for children (about making wishes) but the message is there loud and clear. Keep believing! You and I, from opposite ends of the earth, with different beliefs are only the beginning.

Why are there so many songs about rainbows
and what's on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,
and rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we've been told and some choose to believe it.
I know they're wrong, wait and see.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Who said that every wish would be heard
and answered when wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that and someone believed it.
Look what it's done so far.
What's so amazing that keeps us star gazing
and what do we think we might see?
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

All of us under its spell. We know that it's probably magic.

Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices?
I've heard them calling my name.
Is this the sweet sound that called the young sailors.
The voice might be one and the same.
I've heard it too many times to ignore it.
It's something that I'm supposed to be.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Tabouleh said...

oh Birdie... this was exactly what I needed to read this morning... THANK YOU again and again for your lovely thoughts and your wonderful comments as always... human connection is amazing... it is an instinct to get along and bond... I believe it is... thank you my Cyber friend...