Nothing's Shocking 2013

Jane's Addiction released the album Nothing's Shocking in 1988, and on it was the song "Ted, Just Admit It".

Ranging from sombre to foaming at the mouth in attitude, with a bass line and drum beat that penetrates the soul, this song continues to have strong and very relevant meaning twenty five years later, and that is upsetting.

Of course everyone can interpret any lyric in their own way and fine meaning and relevance but for me this is a great example of what we are currently and sadly still experiencing in regards to the media and press.
Camera got them images
Camera got them all
Nothing's shocking...
Showed me everybody
Naked and disfigured
Nothing's shocking...

Thought to portray the link between the desire and gratification of both sex and killing (including the then topical story of serial killer Ted Bundy), it also speaks of the constant barrage of obscene and indecent imagery and account of events that leaves us desensitised to horror and tragedy.

The T.V.'s got them images
The T.V.'s got them all
It's not shocking!
Every half an hour
Someone's captured and
The cop moves them along...
Well, it's just like the show before
Now the news is
Just another show
With sex and violence...

My first question is when did it become necessary to not only allow this type of journalism, and second who was asking for it? I would love to spend time going through archives of major papers and news reels and get a feel for how we used to be given the facts, without the sensational titles and images best left to our imagination.  We live in a time where everything is available in less than a second online and nothing is left out. However we are not getting only the facts, already this information is tainted with what we are supposedly asking for in addition to the news. I mean I am guessing that is why it is supplied with pun ridden headlines and full page photos, not to mention online content of videos from mobile phones.

We used to be protected from the horrific and traumatising images of things like the recent beheading of a soldier in Woolwich. This story has come long after my decision to cut down and if possible cut out the news I digest. I think back when the papers had photos of Gaddafi's corpse on the front page I felt I'd had enough. This was not something that would benefit me in any positive way, nor enable me to change events. It did not make me feel safer or joy at the thought this dictator being dead. It also did not make me feel anything towards those who killed him or ordered the action. All it did was make me feel equal amounts of anger and sadness at society and what we allow ourselves to be shown and told every single day.

I had been working on another post related to my disgust at the associated press and media outlets, specifically on how it is up to us to make them change. I am not at all convinced we ever asked for this level of detail and blatant avoidance of fact and evidence in favour of popularity through shock value and entertainment.

I don't want the story of an event like the Oklahoma tornado to be followed by who is dating who in Hollywood, or plot spoilers from Eastenders. Tabloids both in print and online should be ashamed. I have chanced upon some of the worst attempts at journalism and reporting in both paid and free publications. I remember being in awe of people who could capture a story and relay it in a way that was enthralling and without bias. Briefly in my school days I toyed with the idea of journalism, and it seemed such a difficult area to get into. This was over twenty years ago. Now every other article printed or posted is often guilty of spelling mistakes and copy write infringement of some form or another. Who is hiring these writers, and who is applying for a job for which they cannot possibly be satisfied with what they produce?

I am not that simple to place the blame for society's moral downfall on the media alone. It is clear we are to blame for more graphic movies and TV programs, be it through special effects or dark story lines. Even to the point of remaking what was once a novel/movie that allowed use of your own fears and imagination to now display in detail every drop of blood, strip of flesh and scream of terror you may have not thought of first time around.

In the last twelve months I've actively sought out a better use of my time than simply watching what was on TV. Most of what I used to class as my favourite shows I know avoid. I have times when I want to collapse on the sofa and stare blankly at the screen, but that needn't call for drivel and trash. There are so many skilled writers and producers making very good programs. I know I may be called a hypocrite for the fact that I loved Sons of Anarchy and The Walking Dead, my answer to that is show me any other same style program written as well and as thought provoking as those shows. That's even before I point out the acting, vision and even music behind them was outstanding in comparison to much of what constitutes entertainment currently. Obviously people have their personal tastes and can vouch for other shows in the same manner, and I would probably agree with them. However I cannot agree with anything that only promotes negativity, hopelessness and struggle. Why would this be something we would desire?

I can't stand the majority of TV advertising, I can't stand un/miss informed views and bias in anything. If I ask for news I don't want someone else's interpretation of what has happened. We give too much power to celebrity and 'faces' on TV. These people do not speak for me. I'm sorry but I have integrity, morals and want the best for humanity. We all have emotions and as people we do need to feel empathy, sadness and fear, however we should not be force fed it. We should be left to feel these emotions on our own, through using our own beliefs and souls. The same goes for positive news. I would love to only hear of new inventions, breakthroughs in science and medicine, schools being built, people being saved etc. but we should also not be force fed this either. We should have publicly appointed press outlets we can go to for specific news we require. It may seem like we have that now, with so many options available to us but I argue that much is actually the same in content and how it is handed out. I can't even watch a football match without being told what I am seeing and should be feeling. Leave me to my own thoughts and conclusions.

Our values and level of acceptance have basically bottomed out, possibly through neglect, laziness or just indifference. It's up to us to take the power back. Stop reading shit that in any way makes you shake your head at not the story but the way it's been put across. Little things that are disappointing should be fixed, or over time we will accept far worse on a bigger scale, as we do now.

I believe the blame lies with the government, big corporations and the wealthy. I find it inconceivable that the working and lower class can make a change though anything other than complete rejection of what we dislike or fail to agree with. We are told we are being given what we want, what is at our level of understanding and importance. Bullshit. All our silence does it allow for future generations to be less opinionated and thoughtful, and more subservient and accommodating.

I could rant on and on, but instead I give you lyrics from another track by a band who always promoted thinking for yourself, having a social responsibility and being accountable for what you accept in this world.

Rage Against The Machine - Take The Power Back


I wouldn't be happy had I not also had this video as part of my message.

Lupe Fiasco - Words I Never Said

Good people are being kept from prosperity on a spiritual, emotional and financial level. Good people are being kept in a corner, kept quiet and manipulated like puppets. Good people are failing to do anything about their situation. I ask you to become more aware, make a difference, take the power back.

My colleague has begun a journey of A Year With No News and is sharing this via his blog. I am really looking forward to reading this and exploring where it takes him and how it makes him view things. I am not yet ready to close off all avenues of interaction that may allow news to filter through, but with that small fragment I can make my own decision on whether or not to pursue the details, and more importantly I can decide where I get those details from. Initially my list of 'news' sources has been small, but it has opened the door to reading new and previously overlooked publications like Frank151, Juxtapoz and the like. I choose to follow only people I believe to be positive and a good influence on my life via the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Often our views are the same, but I'm just as excited when they differ as it allows me to seek answers and obtain a greater understanding.

I've not re-read this post as is customary, instead I wish to leave it as raw emotion and expression and hope you can appreciate what I am trying to say and if possible ask yourself the same questions and more. Peace.