Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What If Nobody Listened?

Woke up to all the news on the internet. Can become a habit, a bad habit really. I try not to go there too often in the morning. Starts the day off wrong. Headlines screaming this disaster or the other. Fear mongering at its finest. The news used to be about ‘keep the people informed’ and maybe they’ll buy our cornflakes. Now it’s about ‘keep the people scared’ and sell them some more insurance. Make the people anxious and sell them some Xanax. Keep the people unhappy and sell them some Zoloft. Keep the people laying awake at night and sell them some Restoril. Keep the people feeling bad about themselves and sell them a Prius, or some Carbon Credits.

It would be a different world if the media screamed and nobody listened. I think that eventually they’d stop screaming. Call me an old coyote, but I still believe that we, the people, can control what goes on in our own world. Take, for example, the price of attending a sporting event, a baseball game, football, whatever. The prices are astronomical. The average person has been priced out of the games, unless of course he wants to see a basketball game instead of paying his rent, or mortgage for the month. The ticket prices are through the roof, the parking is an old fashioned hold-up, the concessions are triple and quadruple what they ought to be, the athletes are paid fortunes equal to the GNP of many small countries, and the owners make mega-bank off of our need for entertainment and relief from the realities of our media-driven unhappiness. My point is that it doesn’t have to be that way. If we just stop going to the games, the ticket prices get reduced, the parking becomes complimentary, and a hot dog and a beer won’t keep you from paying your Phone bill. The athletes can live on 3 million dollars a year, rather than twelve. The owners would still make more in a month than you or I would see in a lifetime. We’ve been conditioned, and convinced, that we need the game, we need more insurance, we need the Prius, and we need the medication. But we can control things. The problem is that we don’t want to give up anything to get anything. We’d rather pay $200 for a basketball game today than to boycott the games for a year in order to only have to pay $35. And in so-doing we say to the business owner “call me an idiot, just give me the game.” We live in a 30-minute world. If I want something I ought to be able to have it in 30 minutes, or less.

So the media will keep yelling at us, and scaring us, and we’ll keep listening. They’ll keep selling us the game, and the politicians, and the insurance, and the Xanax, and the Zoloft and the Carbon Credits. We‘ll remain too afraid to walk away, and too anxious to turn it off. And we’ll keep buying the $200 tickets.

What if we just stopped, and did something enjoyable with our families? What if everybody decided to be happy, to have some peace, and some peace of mind? What if the media kept screaming and nobody listened?