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What messages are in our media beyond the obvious?

American mediia is arguably the most powerful weapon in the arsenal of the USA. Here is a tool more versitile and more subtly influential perhaps than, the atom bomb and jet fighters. Is it used only to convince us what to buy and which political opinion to have, or are their subtler influences than, "plop, plop, fiz, fiz" and politically bent news channels? Is it just a coicidence that most TV programs are about law enforcement? What's not being shown in the news? Are zombies really that popular, or are we being desensitized, to killing the gaunt, desparately near- death, starving masses, pleading for help, as climate change reaches it's predictable conclusion? Is there really any debate about climate change, or are we being kept from panicking until the 1%, have their sanctuaries built? Should we all be moving to Portland?

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Closing Statement from Bradley Clark

Thank you all for your insights and participation. It seems that everyone agrees that individuals and corporations color media presentations to their own advantage. To do so, is seen as simple professionalism. It is acknowledged that, the mass effect can be unhealthy. Businesses are free to advertise and lobby and pressure their employees. The forces that seek to protect us from obesity, pollution, poverty and war for profit, are not so well funded. However beyond what individual people and corporations do, the general opinion seems to be that, no vast conspiracy exists as might remind one of John Carpenter's 1988 "They Live". China has a vast secretive propaganda ministry, and that ministry seems to appreciate the effectiveness of America's handling of events media, seemingly without any such ministry of our own. In conclusion, there is only our individual abilities to analyze information and its sources, to aid us in making our own best decisions. A well rounded and continuosly updated education is the best tool to optimize our own lives, the lives of those we love, and to protect the world in which we live.

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    R H 30+

    • +4
    May 21 2014: It's pathetic, isn't it? Another miracle invention of mankind absconded for control. The internet is going the same way. What started as a free holistic interchange of ideas with near-euphoric acceptance is becoming a controlled, content monitored venue to make us think we're free. It's a natural result of capitalism. The incentives are built-in. Those who invest in tech must defeat the competition. Those who are successful must control the market to their advantage. Soon there are only a couple of 'real' players in every market, where the incentives change towards a facade of 'competition' masking a cooperative arrangement that is in 'everyone's best interest'. The result is we see what 'they' want us to see... Now, as many have suggested, we can just stop consuming the product. So then we're right back to where we started before the miracle was created, as if it never happened, living in our little worlds, content.
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    May 20 2014: Nope, without a doubt you covered them all:)
    • May 21 2014: Yea, hindsight is already talking to me about what would have been a better way to go at this.
  • Gord G 50+

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    May 28 2014: It's not clear whether your question is about media or propaganda…specifically American propaganda.

    In regard to media: It's undoubtedly the dominate culture today. It seems to me broadcasting was at one time a small group of individuals determining what would influence the majority of viewers. Today viewers are simultaneously broadcasters and audience. Influence has become the domain of careful production of psueo-authenticity. I see it as a mastery of the produced image… to the point where the edifice is mistaken for reality.

    How this applies to environmental issues is debatable since all groups connected to the issues have mastered the medium. Unfortunately, I think controlled opinion has eclipsed informed debate.
    • May 28 2014: Yes, the question was meant to get people looking at media as a sometimes crude and in some ways highly evolved, tool of mass influence, for world wide political propagandas, for regional politics, climate economics and anything else they can think of. Even when masses of factual information are made available on any topic, money can use media to drown out fact with a baseless controlled opinion. Undisguised empty lies are presented so boldly, that many accept them without question, just as they did in Hitler's Germany, only the tools of influence have had 75 years to evolve and it would be ludicrous to believe that subtler methods are not in use.
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    Jun 10 2014: Mind-manipulation. Their target is the subconscious mind. Creating the illusion of freedom of choice and life in general while making you "a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that's being manufactured of the bones of a dying world.(-Terence McKenna)". We are not the consumers. We are the product, the consumed.
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    Jun 3 2014: Bradley, thank you for the broad stroke question. It leaves a lot of room for individual reflection. I immediately thought of Simon Sinek's Ted talk: How Leaders Inspire Others. The subtleties in and not so subtle media approaches give me pause to think. While generally the Media will claim not to have or exercise much influence; advertising, commercialism, and overt attempts to shape thoughts point to the contrary. I am forced to anallyze the affect on my own psyche. How much am I actually influenced? Do I need "This or That" thing? How do I define success? Do I measure myself by the perceptions of others? I'm thinking...........................................
    • Jun 3 2014: Thanks for your comment and thanks for the reference to Sinek's talk. It wasn't what I expected and I really connected with it. I'm getting a lot out of this conversation. I'm trending away from my original "big brother" conspiracy theories, (although I still think they're out there), and looking more at the hazards in randomness. Either way, the only answer seems to reside in the thinking you express. The willingness to question your own influences, to analyze how you got here and where its taking you. When you lose the ability to question yourself, you've lost control of yourself.
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        Jun 3 2014: When I stated that I reflected on my thinking, it actually went beyond my personal thoughts. I have two daughters ages 13 and 10. As a father I wholeheartedly accept the responsibility of reaering young ladies that will positively contribute to society. Therefore this responsibility fall on me. However, the responsibility becomes an onus when image after message after clip seems to want to narrowly define, beauty and intelligence. There is ample room for discussion. In an online article, Mary Jalongo states, "Research on the human brain suggests that powerful visual images grab our attention and stay in our memories, and these images are the mainstay of the media. Unfortunately, media portrayals of diversity, acceptance, and inclusion often are severely limited, and the potential for this to impact the world view of children is troubling." http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/todays-media-influences-young-children
        • Jun 4 2014: Thanks for the reference. It is a good article. I wonder how often parents can be relied apon to convey a better message and how often they actually reinforce those same destructive values.
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    Jun 2 2014: We've got all kinds of things happening in the world; and all sorts of people in the society.
    The power of the media is known to governments and businesses, so lifestyles and ideas are promoted for benefit.
    The influence could be subtle, but it is there. The media hardly expresses the real state of things because objectivity is not easy and hardly possible.
  • May 29 2014: Media are owned by a certain portion of people,they inherently promulgate for their masters. The news we are been exposed to are on difference to the talks we have,it obvious advocates for its own perspective,for its own interests.

    So don not be frustrated,Bradley. What we can do is exploring the event by ourselves,appreciating it through different channels of information,it can be various in the sense of language,political factors,region,etc. After all,we can never see the truth of what is happening unless we experience it first hand.
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    May 28 2014: brad, if you want more exposure to interesting ideas, one thing to do would be to attend a TEDx event. I haven't been to one, but I think they're quite interesting, they're quite similar to the two big four-day TED conferences a year that produce most of the "TED talk" videos, but they're one day. Here is a page where you can see all of them: http://www.ted.com/tedx/events. Then, if I put "Florida" into the search box, I get these hits: http://www.ted.com/tedx/events?filter=&autocomplete_filter=florida&when=upcoming&month=&year=&go=Go You can click on each event to see what it's about, but sometimes the descriptions are kind of vague or nonexistent on an upcoming event. In that case, if you want to know what it's about, you can email the organizer, listed along the right side. Or you can look along the right side and click on "see more (name of the venue) events" at the same venue. When it says "see more," what it means is you can look at past events at the same institution. Although they are in the past, they often will give you a feel for what the upcoming event is about. It sounds complicated, but if you play with it, I think you will get some value out of it.
    • May 29 2014: Woah, I had no idea there were so many and in so many countries! The next thing that struck me was how few are webcast. Are they shared in some other fashion? It would br great if they were recorded with translations and made available.
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        May 29 2014: well, if you go to the first link I gave you and look in the right corner, you see "TEDx talks." They have 30,000 videos of different talks given at different TEDx events. But the rub here, b, is that you won't see the entire TEDx event on most or all of these videos, I don't think, you'll only see one talk from an event. I think a reason for not webcasting more of these events is that they want people to turn up in person, and if they webcast maybe a lot of people would stay home. But wouldn't you enjoy going to an event live? If you go live, you can see all the talks given in a day. Plus you might have a chance to meet the speakers, or ask questions. Plus you have a chance to meet your fellow audience members, and I imagine the people in the audience at a TED event are interesting, positive people, one would imagine you could make friends there, maybe do a little job networking, maybe get feedback on ideas of your own, hear about others' ideas---a lot of good things can happen when you go to an event live.

        I don't know what it costs, if anything, to go to a TEDx event, most of them seem to indicate that you might need tickets, but I don't know if that means there's a cost, I don't know if you could get in if you show up without a ticket, and so on. I'd sort of think they would make the tickets a reasonable cost if there is a cost.

        Another option is to go to the actual four-day TED conferences that are given twice a year. Those are more pricey, costing several thousand dollars, plus your transportation, accomodations, etc. You can definitely watch those via webcast, I seem to have in my mind that it costs $75 a day to watch those webcast. But even with those, I imagine it would be more enriching to go live depending on one's situation.
  • May 28 2014: This is an important area for discussion, given the amazing influence the media has on people's mindsets without them even realising. Some very good points have been made here already - like the clash of fast food v look good industries, and how it's also important to bear in mind that the media is run by people too.

    Personally, one damaging message which our media communicates everyday is the exaggerated glorification of the showbiz industry. I think this is a bad thing as it encourages our children to chase careers as singers, actors and generally celebrities as the ultimate dream. Not to be disparaging towards those careers, but they shouldn't be the life ambition of EVERY child. It's not a good sign for society when more people would rather meet Justin Bieber than Barrack Obama.

    Paparazzi, tabloid papers, celebrity chat shows, gossip magazines, celebrity reality tv ... so much time and money goes into these things which really matter so little. My concern is that these only serve to distract people from the important issues, lead to more people knowing George Clooney's favourite colour than the name of China's president. Think of what our society could achieve if no one cared who Taylor Swift was dating.

    P.S. How ironic - in the length of time it took me to write this comment my sister burst into the room to announce members of One Direction had been caught on video smoking weed. The more you know....
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    May 26 2014: Overall, the media tells us what we want to hear or what we otherwise "vote" for by subscribing as consumers. If anything, we influence the media (more than the media influences us) through our choices or our general lack thereof (via complacency and mindless consumerism).

    That being said, the "not-so-obvious" messages broadcast by our media is that this is what we are consciously or subconsciously "voting" for. These are the choices that we are collectively deciding to make.
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    May 24 2014: "The critical task is to design our package of stimuli so that it resonates with information already stored within an individual and thereby induces the desired learning or behavioral effect." (Schwartz 1974, p.24)


    http://www.acrwebsite.org/search/view-conference-proceedings.aspx?Id=7148

    "To some extent, this is how any type of communication works, as educator E.D. Hirsch (1987) notes: "We know instinctively that to understand what somebody is saying, we must understand more than the surface meanings of words; we have to understand the context as well... To grasp the words on a page we have to know a lot of information that isn't set down on the page." (p.3) Advertising is merely the most extreme form of this process, as ads try to elicit the most meaning from the least amount of information."
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    May 22 2014: NO, Not Portland.... I hear you have a hard time getting health insurance there.
    And yes, American Media is a tool and I use that sarcastically.
    The constitution gave the "press" a pass with the intent of helping the citizens keep an eye on what was happening in the Government. I say it is good to have a barking dog to warn the citizens what is happening. But....
    Most of the media has become a propaganda machine of the government and have joined the government to yell out at the barking dogs left doing their constitutional responsibilities.
    I will also agree that the 1%ers are looking for sanctuary.... who can blame them. Most are hard working and successful who are being scorned, taxed and all matters of bad things.... I will also admit that there are a few.... a few too many...are guilty of bribery.... aka lobbying.... government officials for "favors" to help generate their success.

    But, a good looking person, well spoken, could sway most media into thinking s/he could do no wrong and use media help to get elected to high office. S/He could say the right things to the right people and that is mostly all that would be needed. One could say "but, high office needs complex skills and knowledge to perform adequately."
    I am not so sure. You could have watched a TV show called "West Wing" and gotten a lot of ideas about how that high office is run. If fact, I am not sure that I have not seen real live actions that mimic scenes in that program.

    I can also see crimes shows being popular, at least those criminals get caught and punished. Wistful thinking on the part of the public. Not that local crime is not being prosecuted. but national crime is rampant.
    The was a huge scandal where big banks were playing fast and loose with financial monkey shines and many people got hurt. Bad. But where were the government regulator's who were supposed to be watching the banks, they were watching porn on their office PCs. And the media? They were.....?
    • May 24 2014: No on Portland huh. Well maybe I've got the wrong conspiracy theory there. Maybe they're luring a certain set of people there, cause they know Mt St Helens is going to go real big next time...
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    May 22 2014: Money and entertainment are bigger motivators than truth itself. Seeking truth is now, by necessity, a personal quest. If information is sold to us, it generally cannot be trusted because of the sensationalised element required to sell it widely. This can easily morph into a form of bribery, when sensationalised DISinformation is used as a lever to enact change - or even perpetuate public opinion.

    As an example, women's, and to a lesser degree, men's body image has been 'normalised' and grotesquely distorted by the media into an anorexic shape and size that represents what they (the media) think all women should look like. Anorexia, as you no doubt know, is a serious and life-threatening illness. Yet in contrast to this, the food industry is making us fat by foisting unnaturally refined sugar on us, such that it is difficult to avoid.

    If there's one powerful industry intent on making us fat, while another is trying to make us thin, another very powerful industry is inevitably going to develop in between - dieting. Obesity is a big money-spinner, especially if aided and abetted by media opinion-formers telling us how skinny we should be.

    Maybe the only world we need to know about is that which can be gleaned through honest and direct personal experience, or the agenda-free experiences of trusted others.
    • May 24 2014: " honest and direct personal experience, or the agenda-free experiences of trusted others." Yes, yes, yes!
      Sugar is quite simiply, the most accessible and one of the most addictive substances around. Very soon women will be told they should have their breasts reduced and they will, and no doubt, stem cells will be usable to have men's penis's enlarged, and insurance will pay for it, and all objection to the use of stem cells will disappear.
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    May 21 2014: i think one of the best things i've done for myself over the past year and a half is to not watch TV/movies, just barely pay attention to politics, local/national news etc. You begin to realize that it's not really about the media trying to control us, or tell us lies to prevent us from causing chaos... is only your perception within those things and everything almost seems as though its just all a silly misinterpretation when you can focus on what lies beyond that.

    Maybe it is a naive decision to detach so drastically from "the world", but the result has given the most incredible amount of growth and clarity about what this world and life really has to offer.
    • May 21 2014: Cece
      Congratulations on your decision and it's results. I spent a decade with limited exposure to TV. It is incredibly valuable to free your mind and your time. There is a price, (well worth it), in losing touch with trends, especially as quickly as they come and go these days. On the other hand you could save yourself the price of a couple generations of new phones.
  • May 21 2014: I'm with you about 90% on tossing the TV, but I love the high end animation. Your son looks to be a happy man. I do not suspect him of being involved in any mass media conspiracies. (Though we can offer full immunity, if he's will to talk.)
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    May 20 2014: advertising media is about selling you stuff. health companies don't care about your health; education companies don't care about your education and so on. first and foremost, they are trying to get you to give them money.

    news media is about one of two things - 1) bringing an audience to the advertisements between segments and 2) pushing political agendas (whatever they may be).

    as long as people keep this in mind, the messages, both implicit and explicit, will be taken with a pinch of salt.

    as far as TV shows go, entertainment is a broad thing and i suppose lots of people like watching police shows or Joe Average cooking in a competition-style format. personally, i find these kinds of shows incredibly dull.

    while there may be some cumulative effect of constantly watching these shows - building a biased perception or perpetuating stereotypes - I think they are so common because they are relatively cheap to produce and there are obviously a lot of people who like this kind of entertainment.

    i also think that people are more media-savvy than they are given credit for although most advertisers and product-hawkers know that young kids are the easiest to target which is why advertising during children's television times should be stopped.
    • May 21 2014: I do hope your right about people being more media savvy than we give them credit for. There is entertainment law regarding children. It would be interesting to hear about the nuances that are discussed in the industry.
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        May 21 2014: while alcohol and such adult-related advertising is not usually screened during children's viewing times, it's my opinion that there should be no advertising at all. of course, that will never happen.
        • May 21 2014: Perhaps a DVR ap that records and delete's commercials. (Probably hard to sneek that one in.)
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      May 25 2014: it's kind of a depressing thought, Scott. So music companies don't care about the music or the listener, just the money? So if I bought your band's music, nobody cared about my enjoying or being improved by the music, they just wanted my money?
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        May 26 2014: i think that's true for big company backing of the really hyped musicians.

        frank zappa makes a good point about modern music industry execs vs the old guys (cigar chompers, he calls them) and how it has changed the music that is pumped around the world by these people.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZazEM8cgt0

        for bands like us, the money doesn't matter at all. this makes it hard graft for us but the upside is that our focus is entirely on the music and lyric as art/expression. it is not reverse engineered to appeal to a particular audience in order to maximise sales and we don't hire 6 professional writers and 4 producers to write the stuff for us in order to appeal to the widest audience.

        that is not to say that people don't get something from listening to beyonce or miley and it's not to say that you'll get anything out of listening to my band. but if you do, you can rest assured it is the authentic expression of a group of artists and not commercial fodder from a production-line muzak machine with a dancing clothes horse doing the singing.
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          May 26 2014: scott, are you saying that if something appeals to a lot of people it is commercial fodder? One hears that idea a lot, but does it hold water? Couldn't it just appeal to a lot of people because it's well-done, or good, or pleasing? In music we could think of the Beatles. In soap, we think of the major soaps, such as Dove, or Palmolive (well, those are big brands here in the states.) In computers, well, are there really any small computer companies, but I'm on Fujitsu, I suppose that's a big company. In food, well, you may dispute this, but is there anything wrong with McDonald's? Truthfully, I think McDonald's food is better than most little mom-and-pop hamburger stands where the operators may be putting more "love" into the food. Actually, Zappa seems to be contradicting you, doesn't he? Because he's saying better, more adventurous music gets released by the guys who are only oriented toward the bottom line?
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        May 26 2014: yes and no. i don't believe there is a cultural hierarchy - meaning classical music is no "higher" than pop music - so i'm not saying that something is rubbish just because lots of people like it.

        my problem is with the method producing music that is followed by pink or miley. it is engineered to push buttons and it is marketed that way. it doesn't generate music, it generates pop culture. many people won't even see that there's a difference but there is a vital difference.

        the beatles is a phenomenon that won't be seen again. they and their inner circle were freaks of the best kind.

        i think zappa was saying that ALL executives are motivated by money but the old guys were prepared to try stuff that was beyond their ken and were willing to see what would happen. these days, it's very much "here's the formula so if you want to make it, follow the formula".

        it's an old story in music and it's called selling out for a reason.

        although it's become a cliche, i like to hear something real in a song. i have such little respect for a singer who has their music written for them that i struggle to see the technical merits in their music. they can be amazing performers (dancing and writhing for all they are worth or hanging upside down from the stadium roof) but that holds no appeal for me.

        the flip side is also true - being hugely popular does not automatically bestow quality. the internet has proven that without a doubt.
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          May 26 2014: above you were saying, Scott, that people are more media-savvy than we give them credit for. So if you're saying that pink and miley's music is engineered to push buttons, would that show that their fans are not very media-savvy, that it's easy to "push their buttons"? Have you contradicted yourself here? I'm not saying you have, it's something that confuses me, too, how people can seem very smart and yet kind of dumb. Or maybe, like you say, the beatles are a rare phenomenon, maybe miley and pink is the best they can do until something really great comes along.
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        May 26 2014: well, I think that the contradiction stems from referring to large groups as if they were all the same in attitude, knowledge and tastes.

        I think that most of the kind of pop idols I mentioned have a rather young audience - easily hooked in with bells and whistles.

        in terms of messages in news media, some people have a growing awareness of the fact that network news is not objective. I think some people are also aware of the "subliminal" messages that exist in the presentation of the news - for example, interviewing two people about an issue and presenting one in a manner that helps them appear informed, intelligent and switched on (perhaps filmed in an expensive board-room) and the other to be less so (filmed outside on a busy road).

        I would love to see one of the One Direction boys to evolve into a brilliant song-writer. It would be awesome because would most-likely involve breaking away from the formula and then breaking the formula, a little like Lennon did after he quit the Beatles.
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          May 27 2014: well, I'm thinking maybe a young audience wants for the performers they consume to be young like them, and maybe a young artist doesn't have the chops yet to produce high-quality music.
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          May 27 2014: i think maybe the beatles had a strong work ethic, scott. I was reading that when the beatles went to record their first record, the production staff went to break for lunch, to walk down the street and get a burger. They invited the beatles to come down with them, and the beatles said no thanks, we'll stay in the studio and practice the numbers while you get lunch. The staff said that was something nobody else did, all the other groups would have stopped working and gone down and gotten lunch with them.

          Here's an interesting doc I watched yesterday on the beatles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbcHG7lL_T4
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        May 27 2014: like anything, the only way to get to the top is to work hard. the Beatles itinerary for for 1963, 64 and 65 is bonkers. they gigged almost every day of the year.

        if you know a little about their early days, the sets they played in hamburg were 5-6 hours long and they did two each day. that is why they came back to england and left every other band far behind in the live show stakes. it also happened that they had song-writing geniuses in the band, an outstanding producer, a gifted manager and talented PR guys in the form of Neil Aspinall and Peter Brown. the perfect storm of the pop world.

        lennon and mccartney also had a knack for brilliant writing and the best thing about them, in my eyes, was the way they developed. their early stuff is pretty throwaway pop (still brilliant songs) and George's guitar work gave them the unique sound (as well as the the vocals). in their later work, the songs became less glib lyrically speaking and it was mccartney's bass playing that is particularly stand out. also, the vocal harmonies are brilliant - lennon's voice is a near-perfect rock voice.
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          May 27 2014: yeah, when people talk about the beatles, Scott, they often mention the Hamburg sets and the long hours. But I've never quite gotten that, I presume if they were playing long sets that that was just par for the course, and other groups were doing the same thing?
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        May 27 2014: depending on their management, the "bigger" groups (Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, for example) would have had it cushier.

        obviously, some of their history is more myth than fact but the point is that a band doesn't get good by using computers and mixing loops and what-not. they get good by playing.

        more than that, they lived the rock n roll ethic which though authentic at the time has become something of a cliche or worse, another marketing gimmick.

        lennon's 'f**k you' attitude is very important (again, this is for me, not the entire music industry).

        i have long held the belief that the audience is not important to the true artist. there is, of course, the "if a tree falls in the woods and no-one is there to hear it does it make a sound?" philosophy. my answer is yes, it does.

        the worst thing when creating music (in my opinion) is to start with an audience in mind and then set that as the driver for song-writing/production. although that is a legitimate way to work for many people (the big pop idols in particular) it compromises the integrity of the song.

        it is what makes the difference between a great song and churning out more of the same.

        if the formula works, the business-person will continue to pursue it. the artist will deliberately set out to destroy the formula the second time around.

        neil young is also well known for this approach.
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        May 28 2014: apparently, there was a time when Lennon was grumbling about George Martin's treatment of his songs - how they never ended up sounding like they did in his head - and George Martin asked him "really John? All of them? Even Strawberry Fields?" to which John replied "Especially Strawberry Fields".

        McCartney was always keen to take Brian Epstein's advice and also understood the benefit of donning suits instead of the leather they had played in since hamburg. he was happy to make changes that would improve their commercial appeal.

        if you watch a lot of footage of them once they got big, John is often "untidy" - messed up Beatle hair, tie askew or missing. his little defiance of conforming.

        happily, i don't think my band will ever have to worry too much. we're too old and too set in our ways to change much. I, for one, will never allow my songs to be altered for radio play. i've had arguments with other band members in order to keep mistakes in my songs we have recorded and not clean them up using software.

        it may seem stupid to leave a mistake in that could be removed but they are not glaring mistakes and it keeps a human element alive in the song that is missing from so much popular music these days.
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          May 29 2014: well, in certain cases the arts might be different from other things, in the arts maybe you do want to see some imperfections because they are about the personality of the artist. Whereas when you buy a bar of soap from a big manufacturer at a big store, would you want to see an imperfection in it? I think in that case people might want the bar of soap to be perfect? I wonder why the difference?
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        May 29 2014: i think that if people are paying good money for a product, they are well within their rights to reject something they feel is not up to spec.

        art is subjective and all about taste. some people would listen to our album and think it to be sub-par while someone else might revel in the slackness.

        for me, i'm interested in melody and lyric. production value comes a very distant second.

        i guess that many people prefer presentation over content and others are concerned with quality of content over fancy facade.

        i think in the pop music world, presentation is just as important as content for some people.

        cheers Greg. i have enjoyed this conversation thread.
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          May 31 2014: well, I originally was responding to your statement, scott, that healthcare companies don't care about your health, and education companies don't care about your education; both just want money. What is your evidence for this, how have you arrived at this sentiment? When I deal with my healthcare company I feel like the people care about my health; when I seek out learning, I feel like the teachers care that I learn. I like to think that people are naturally empathetic, that only aberrant people don't care about others or only see them as dollar signs. What do you think?

          I am thinking that with many products we don't want to see the personality of the individual worker who produced the product. For instance when we buy a bar of soap, we don't particularly want to know about the personality of the individual worker who produced it; but we might be engaged by the "personality" of the soap company as a whole. Maybe this is because most workers don't have that good or interesting personalities? So I suppose an artist might be someone with a lot of personality?

          Around here we've been listening to Wolf Eyes, recommended by Henry Rollins. Here's a Wolf Eyes album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pU-74VXsVAM
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        Jun 2 2014: hey Greg. in the band, my nickname is Cynical Slack.

        my statements are frequently over-simplified and too black and white (a great problem across the internet, I feel).

        my point was that making a profit is as high on the to-do list as making quality products. it's the nature of the game.

        when I say education, I'm not talking about schools, really only the companies that provide resources - IT companies being the worst. the ICT trend in schools is, to my eye, over-stated, poorly utilised and largely unnecessary.

        I think you're right about music/art - a good band needs to have good songs as well as engaging personalities both on and off stage.

        there is the flip side where companies like coke and mcdonalds run healthy eating campaigns as if their words somehow offset the effects their products have on general health. breakfast cereal companies have been doing this for a long time.

        it's really only attaching positive images to their products but I think that many people see through these kinds of advertising tricks.

        I'll check out wolf eyes. thanks for the link
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          Jun 4 2014: yes, you're right, people would certainly like to make a profit, which I suppose means being strongly rewarded for the things they do. If they work hard and take positive risks, then they deserve to be rewarded, don't they? In fact, the promise of large rewards in my mind helps to drive hard work and positive risk-taking?

          I suppose if you divide commerce into goods and services, music-making falls in the service sector. In the service sector, I suppose the consumer might want the personality of the provider to emerge, to varying degrees, like, you might want your waitperson at a restaurant to have some personality. Then you also want a good product, good music, good food. I suppose in most instances they would go together, that someone who has an affable personality is more likely to produce a good product?

          on McDonald's I don't know. Growing up we mostly ate at home. Going out to eat was kind of a treat. Perhaps one didn't think about the healthiness of a takeout meal as it was only occasional. Even drinking a Coke was something of a treat. But I could see even the traditional mcdonald's meal of burger, coke, and fries as having some food value, I might give it a six on a scale of 10. If restaurants are attempting to move toward healthier food, it might be that they are following a trend, there is a trend now to be aware of eating healthy, to fight childhood obesity, etc. If in years and decades past restaurants weren't as into healthy eating I can't entirely fault them because there wasn't this trend, this awareness, of the harm of unhealthy food? Also, people may be eating out more, so restaurant food has lost some of that treat aspect, that it's-only-occasional aspect. On the other hand, one hears that cigarette companies rather mistreated the public, concealing some evidence that smoking is harmful. So I guess it's possible that restaurant companies did the same. But here's something weird, Scott, we now know cigarette smoking is harmful, and
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          Jun 4 2014: we now know cigarette smoking is harmful, and yet cigarette companies make billions in revenue. How does that work? Does that show that the consumer is partly to blame, that in spite of knowing about the harms, the consumer continues to buy the product?

          wolf eyes was mentioned by henry rollins, who i imagine you've heard of. Henry first became famous as a singer in Black Flag, now is a well-rounded performer who acts, writes, hosts documentaries, and gives live performances where he gets on stage and talks about his life and activities, mixing in some comedy. I'm aware of him because he writes a weekly music column for a free arts and entertainment newspaper here in L.A. called L.A. Weekly. I really love his writing, I consider him the best writer I've read on anything, and i'm including the greatest writers like homer, the bible, etc. i was glad to discover i enjoy the type of music wolf eyes makes, if i thought about it beforehand i would have said no i won't like it it is thought of as a noise band, but when I listened i actually liked it, although I can only take five minutes at a time but it is a welcome variety of music that is fresh for me.

          I have followed music in different ways for many years. once 30 years ago a rather famous musician named exene cervenka became romantically interested in me for about a year.
  • May 20 2014: Bradley

    A good question. I speak from a perspective of a 70+ year old who watched as television was born to what it is today, a tool greatly used for the spread of propaganda. As I remember news casts were 5 minutes, twice a day, and shows were live, what there was. wrestling and boxing were big things. There was no political or social bent, nothing that made an impact anyway. There was no flag waving, but this was in the late 40's everyone knew they were American, there was no need. The networks went to a sign off of a jet flying or flag waving with patriotic music in the 50's.
    For the most part, everything on television was a positive. That began to change in the mid 50's with the McCarthy hearings. It seemed that TV had turned a corner,
    A great deal of what is on TV today has to do with capitalism and 'what sells'. It is a matter of appealing to those human instincts that will garner viewers and sponsors. The appeal is now to a level of human baseness that depicts a population, as normal, that is awash in sadistic and an amoral conduct.
    That this is allegedly a Christian nation that such broadcasting is so popular speaks to the decline of the nation. The media has become the circus of Rome. That Washington is involved in TV and movie scripting is no longer a question.
    You speak of a man made climate change as a disastrous fact. The problems is that there are no facts, but the media says there is.
    The Bill Cosby Show was the last portrayal of a positive family structure. Now all are depicted as negative with the male as a moron or worse. Commercials show the same. Is the emasculation of the male and the breakup of the family scripted to coincide with a government redefinition of society?
    And you are right about the cop and disaster shows and the wanton and indifferent killing of people. There are 'no positives' all is a negative which leaves a young person with a, 'what the hell' outlook. All is a negative and there is no future. I'll take the 50's.
    • May 21 2014: Yea, is making a man an idiot the only way to give a woman a positive self image? What would you say is the driving force here. If there's nothing to climate change, what's the motivation behind all the to do? Well the 50s did have Will Rogers and Ray Harryhausen.
      • May 21 2014: Bradley

        Good questions, but Rogers died in the 30's. We could use a few more like him.
        I don't think it is about women having a good self image, if that were true there would be fewer in the slutty roles and characters that they are playing. If you wanted to destroy a society from within, without firing a shot. how would you do it? Men have an independent character and strength, women, historically, have been dependent on men. How to redirect that dependence?. If you denigrate, demean that strength by way of orchestrated public humiliation, as we are seeing, the effect becomes obvious. If women no longer need men the family unit falls apart. The bonds and loyalty of the family are now transferred to government through welfare or other protections allowing for a greater power by government and men become second class citizens, except for those who acquiesce into the feminist model of the male, passive and in their place. I guess I could continue with this scenario, but would like to go to Climate change.
        The motivation----money and power. I would suggest a thorough reading of the origins of these claims for foundation. If the full government of the US accepts this claim and sets out to stop the calamity. All fossil fuel operations, manufacturing, mining, to your kitchen will be curtailed and or taxed, Utility costs will skyrocket and possibly rationed. Millions of jobs lost. The use of cars (travel) will be limited or a mileage tax imposed or rationed. A global tax will be imposed and administered by the UN (already in the works) http://cnsnews.com/news/article/un-proposes-global-taxes-fund-global-challenges-such-climate-change
        Overall the government, due to this emergency, will have access to and control over every aspect of human endeavor in the USA with UN oversight abrogating US sovereignty.This however does not address China, Russia and India or the EU who contribute much, much more to carbon emissions than the US.
        Out of space.
  • Jun 4 2014: Today is a Reality Check.
    Can anyone explain why the Media glorifies politics
    by embedding their journalists in the White House.

    Take a walk through a Newspaper's archives.
    I've read that in 1912 the NYTimes reported on a
    couple of American men in a pacific island communty,
    who send monies to benefit a NY child's injury and
    rehab. I read in a Kansas newpaper of the1939 sinking of
    a large area of land in the Eloy, Arizona desert community,
    population 50+. I was reading a Los Angeles paper full of
    laid back California soft-news, while inflight to Chicago in 1972.
    Upon my arrival at Midway Airport, I grabbed a couple of the
    local Chicago "rags" that screamed from front page to last, of
    hideous murders and flagrant political graft. That was then.
    Now the 'hideous' wave has washed over California also.

    Someone, a successful someone, sold the idea that the Media
    needed to be sensational all of the time.

    I have news for you all. The Media is Gossip. Nothing more.
    Breaking news is gossip. News at 11 is gossip. Leaks from
    Obama's minions are gossip. Nothing is Reality.

    Excuses for War with Syria was Gossip. But the Ships are still
    waiting for the button to be pushed. All the War and Gitmo, and
    a 100 other things we argue about is Gossip. ONLY GOSSIP.

    Reality is turning off the TV for good. And getting a good night's sleep.

    Our goal should be closing the gap between our politician's perception
    of national security and the Reality that there is probably no reason for
    national security, dba: "Homeland Security", at all.

    For those who enjoy standing in line with your shoes in your hands and
    having your body inspected, before loading into your airline flight, go for it.
    Not for me. I think the Reality doesn't justify such nonsense.

    Doesn’t anyone remember the world before Osama bin (trained by the CIA) Laden?

    Doesn't anyone remember the Real World before National Security replaced Reality?
    • Jun 4 2014: If news sounds a bit more like gossip than it used to, perhaps that reflects the turn of media to focus on women. Women may only earn 80% as much as men, but in a family group, they make 80% of purchasing decisions. No offense intended with the word gossip here. I didn't choose it, but it does help describe a media trend. In politics women are also the battle ground. Men are more locked into their political camps. Women have traditionally followed their husbands in their political voting, but now that media is projecting new images for women, they have become the swing voters that decide elections. The side convenience in the gossip mode, is that it makes it easy to let the bad news out and then just move on to the next story, sending the subtle message that, the bad news is just old news. Your way too aware. They'd love for you to turn off your tv.
  • May 30 2014: I have friends in China, who feed me all kinds of conspiracy theories, most of which I ignore. But this one made sense. Housing prices have flattened in many cities. This effects property values, which regional government depend on. The construction companies aren't happy. Plus, most of China's state owned enterprises are losing money, and can no longer borrow from the banks. They've sold bonds, and now have permission to offer up to 30% of their companies in a stock sale. Have a nice day.
  • May 29 2014: There's a political struggle between the senior leaders of the CCP, between fiscal conservatives (The Party Leaders), and the opposition, who want to ease China's lending standards. The opposition wants an economic crisis in order to weaken, or replace the current leader. Negative news is their weapon of choice. Party leaders are retailiating with corruption investigation of people close to the leaders of the opposition. China has a housing bubble. When it bursts, the entire world will be sucked into another Great Recession, at the very least.
    • May 30 2014: This is interesting. Where do you get your updates on China?
  • May 27 2014: Wonderful !! Whenever something wrong happens then people put blame on the person and then the person is told to change himself/herself. But, In the case of advertising blame is being shifted to the advertising media . Why ?

    Media is not the powerfull Weapon, It is the PSYCHOLOGY which is the Powerfull Weapon. The religions use psychology. the terrorists use psychology and so the marketers use psychology.
    • May 27 2014: So, we should be looking to the advertising copywriters?
  • May 26 2014: Its difficult to know whats true in the media. Unless u work there....it duffult to know the biases that exist in the media
    • May 27 2014: And no media reps providing input here...
      • May 27 2014: What could I do to find out?
        • May 27 2014: I suppose you could do like Greg and call in to stations and ask. I'm not sure If you'd get the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I suppose you could go under cover. (Get a job in the industry that is...) Actually it's a good question.
  • May 25 2014: From the Ted talk below

    http://www.ted.com/talks/david_puttnam_what_happens_when_the_media_s_priority_is_profit

    David Puttnam asks if media has a duty of care to society.

    "Generally a duty of care arises when one individual or a group of individuals undertakes an activity which has the potential to cause harm to another, either physically, mentally or economically."
    "Lord Atkin, described it like this: You must take care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foreseewould be likely to injure your neighbor."
    "Marcus Aurelius's famous injunction: If it's not true, don't say it; if it's not right, don't do it"
    • May 25 2014: Thanks so much for the reference to David Puttnam's talk! He speaks of a classical morality and of the personal integrity required of all the citizens, for a democracy to succeed. Media today pays lip service to these values and yet fully participates in the lies and misinformation of politicians and corporations. In this conversation I've looked the otherway from Puttnam's talk and asked, just how far have the powers that be, gone to use media to manipulate. Hitler used the big lie. Are today's lies smaller, or just more professionally presented?
    • May 27 2014: Do not blame the Media Alone. Blame the society too . Media is not run by robots . it is run by human beings . And human beings need money to survive and live. Its a complex web.
      • May 27 2014: That so true...media is biilt by biases human feelings emotions feelings preconceived notions...andbwhats worse is that many people in a position of power get to run the show with sick twisted little prejdiced beliefs about people....
      • May 27 2014: I'm not "blaming" anyone, and I don't think David Puttnam was either. The whole point was what a duty of care is and whether the media (or if thats too abstract, the people that work in the media industry) has a duty of care to society.

        I happen to believe they do have a duty of care, what's more I think we all do, every person in a society has a duty to every one they share that society with.
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    May 23 2014: Is there a commandment or law or statute stating the specific role or roles of the media? Whose obligation is it to inform, educate, or enlighten anyone of us?
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      May 23 2014: In the USA, our constitution holds the media (press) free to address the activities of the government without fear of retaliation.
      As to your question of whose obligation for information, education or enlightenment... that falls to each of us.
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    May 23 2014: Folks, I believe there is only one agenda...money. The press will sell, tell, present, or narrate any kind of BS is we watch it and buy the products advertised.

    Face it, we live in a capitalistic society. Money is king but real news is seldom a big seller. Caveat emptor applies to our TV and media habits just as it does when buying a car or a pair of shoes. When you turn on the TV or media device you just became a consumer/customer. At least in the US we have a few more choices.
    • May 24 2014: I hope there's profit in an open mind. Is anyone selling that?
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        May 24 2014: There is always profit in an open mind. Though not always monetary.
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    May 21 2014: From Scott Armstrong: news media is about one of two things - 1) bringing an audience to the advertisements between segments and 2) pushing political agendas (whatever they may be). A+ Scott.

    That Hollywood directors and producers are extreme liberals is not a question. They present everything with a political slant to convert you to the cause. Cop shows demonstrate gun abuse and gun violance ... disaster shows tell of mans abuse of nature ... lots of shows/movies to promote same sex relations ... the poor are always beat down by the rich man .... etc ...

    I find it amusing that teachers unions and college professors are super liberal .. and that media is super liberal ... yet history tells us that when the communists, socialists, progressives, etc .. take control education, books, and all media are the first to be eliminated ... homosexuals are killed or jailed ... intellectuals are jailed or killed ... conform to party thought and philosophy are demanded or severe consequences follow.

    To stop watching is a choice but then you cannot see the message and be able to analyze the "facts" for yourself.

    I watched the Photo ops and speeches of Hillary and Michele ... then investigated and found that Hillary had the opportunity to name Boca Haram as a terrorist Group and did not because the President and her decided it was not politically smart in a election year ... His big push was Osama is dead and GM is alive ... meaning he killed terrorism and saved a factory. We now know the truth about both ... terrorism is alive and GM cost the taxpayer millions to save the union jobs and garner votes for the party.

    Unemployment is 7% ... we know it is 20+ percent by the feds own figures (see the National Debit Clock).

    Answer: don't ignore it .. face it .. challenge it ... do your own research ... or be a sheeple and follow.

    I wish you well. Bob.
  • May 21 2014: Bradley:

    Is there a conspiracy like organized crime. Answer is no. When Martin Luther said, Thou shall be known by thy fruits. Did he had deliberate maliciousness in pronouncing so. No. But was there affirmation of practices that were harmful to the least among us. Yes. Did Luther meant deliberate ill will to the peasants. No.However it gave cover to workers abuse through Industrial revolution.

    Media preaches welfare of all and perhaps they truly believe it. The former Treasury secretary Geithner said in his recent book that helping rich banks and not average home owners do not look from fairness point of view. However banks needed to be saved to have system work. To give money to homeowners to pay for the loans seemed right but was not realistic.

    So it goes. Average person like us find impossible to come out with winning definition and the way. Those in a power by shear strength of their position wins the argument as long as that gang holds the power. If I gain the power can I solve your major apprehension. Answer is no.

    It is well said observer changes the nature of the object observed by observing it. Second is that nature of the problem and perspective changes by change of vintage point of the person observing.
  • May 21 2014: It seems to me that the job of the media is to keep the public divided. If you turn the people against each other, they will be too distracted to notice the wrong doings of those in power.
    • May 21 2014: Yes, distraction is definitely a big part of the process. Go ahead and tell us the ugly truth, then just move on to the next story, as if it were no more significant that the one before it. Invade countries, napalm 100,000 soliers fleeing through the desert, drone strike around the world as we please, murder the occaisional inocent in the process. Suspend individual rights, torture people to death. Spy on everybody. Stuff happens. Could you pass the heart-heathly Cheerios please...