Sunday, October 25, 2009

In the Beginning was the Word...

...but the Word didn't mean shit because no-one was listening.

If a tree falls in a forest and no-one is around to hear it does it make a sound?

I've read/ heard/ experienced that our word is the most precious thing we own. The only thing we can be truly responsible for are the things we say - so it goes. It would seem as if talk is cheap - everywhere we seem to be surrounded by examples of lots of hot air. I think politicians are the best example of hot air. Watching the (now infamous) episode of Question Time on iPlayer was an example of cheap talk.

But maybe their talk is only cheap because of how we listen to it?

Surely without listening, the words people speak mean nothing? That idea seems pretty simple.

But I think there's a more complicated situation: when someone says something, people hear it, think something - but say nothing back.

It ends up being the 'elephant in the room.'

I've outlined my reasons for writing a blog in a previous post. I have all sorts of opinions about everything (as anyone who knows me knows). Whether people are reading it or not is irrelevant. If no-one was reading my blog or whatever I was really wouldn't mean much. The more people read it, the greater the effect. Of course what's wonderful about the internet is the unfettered freedom. I have my own little place on the internet!

What's even more wonderful is that if people don't like it - they don't have to read it.*

That's not to say I don't like to know that people are reading the things I write. That's part of the reason for encouraging commenting etc. as I would do on a regular basis in earlier posts. (Even being deliberately offensive - perish the thought - check out my Surfacing post for further evidence) The integration with MyFace is an easy way to encourage commenting - and as evidenced by the last few posts - quite effective.

Or perhaps the stuff I was writing provoked a response?

Most of what I write is designed to provoke a response and get people thinking. Actually most of what I do and say is designed to get some sort of reaction. Hence my profession of choice.

But it's so hard to predict what strikes a chord with people and what doesn't. I can rant and scream at the top of my voice. It's mostly what I do on this blog. The seven words crop up regularly!

But it doesn't mean shit if no-one's listening.

Which is what makes the whole political/ mass-media thing even more interesting.

I mean Nick Griffin was being listened to (regardless of how he came across and what people thought). His words were being allowed to breathe in the oxygen of listening. That's what we have in a democracy right? Freedom of speech? And the BBC was doing its bit for this democracy by allowing him to appear on Question Time.

Right on!

But is that how the mass media works? Some guy called Noam Chomksy co-authored a book called Manufacturing Consent. He outlines how the mass media is used to actually intentionally create consent in a so-called democratic society.

The stuff that's spoken into being by the mass media is given life by the oxygen of our listening.

Never mind the shit that's actually being spoken!

I've always wondered what percentage of the electorate vote in X-Factor or Big Brother versus the General Election? And even if there were much more during a General Election, you can bet that the age profile of voters would be different on both.

So it's not actually what's being said that's important. It's whether it's being listened to. And if the media is controlled does that mean you control the people? I'm not sure if people are that easily influenced...all that money spend on advertising can't be that effective? Surely the amount of money someone has couldn't influence something major? Could it?

I mean is it a coincidence that the Presidential Candidate with the most money during the last election in the US won it?

I don't know what to think about what people say. I don't personally know these people I see on TV or read about in newspapers. Is what I'm seeing or reading about what they're really like? Is Nick Griffin really like that in real life? What does he really think? Can I judge that from seeing him on television for an hour?

Going even further, can I listen to what I hear/ see from the mass media like it's the truth?** Is consent being manufactured like a mass-produced product? Do I take it as gospel or do I question it?

I know which option to choose for an easy life.

I've noticed from my own experience that when I do what I say I'll do, life tends to work pretty well. I've also noticed that when people think what I'm saying is a bunch of rubbish or can't take me seriously (even if they don't tell me directly) life tends to suck.

My word is precious. And so is my listening.

If a tree falls in a forest and no-one is around to hear it does it make a sound?

* They can fuck off. I mean go forth and multiply.

** Were there planes that crashed into the Twin Towers on September 11 2001?