Friday, 4 September 2009

Consuming media...

by Eilleen
Consumption Rebellion

Photo by Aaron Escobar

I don't watch commercial TV. Well, at least I don't watch adult TV. I *do* watch some very carefully chosen children's shows but that's more for my kids rather than for myself. I haven't watched commercial TV for adults for almost 6 years.

I don't listen to commercial radio either. My radio consumption is limited to the government-owned talk-back/news channel that I listen to for 15 mins every morning on my way to work.

So perhaps, my limited exposure to commercial media is the reason why I am truly shocked by what is classified as "entertainment" these days.

It seems that almost everytime I turn to commercial media, I am exposed to programs designed to manipulate and exploit people's emotions. Many "Reality TV" and commercial radio "stunts" shows seem to consist of unhealthy dramatisation of people's lives. There is a cruel undertone in many of the write-ups - a heartless anticipation that perhaps one of the people will actually breakdown.

The cruelty behind these segments astonish me. If it was a physical act, it would have been deemed assault. And worse are the implications of such actions:

- that sacred life events such as birth, mating and death are now fodder for mindless entertainment;
- that life is only a game; and
- that entertainment is of such priority that it is above dignity and compassion.

Are we now so emotionally stunted and detached from our fellow human beings, that we can pick off others' sorrows with cruel glee??

So how does this relate to ethical consumption (and this blog)??

Well, I believe that consumption happens on so many levels. Going through my "no-buying-brand-new for a year" challenge has made me realise how much I was using the physical act of buying things as a way to "prop" my ego. My consumption habits fed my craving for acceptance (within myself and my peers) thereby creating an unhealthy dependence on those things.

When we consume we take into our lives the good and the bad of the those things. In the end, I try to ensure I consume more good than bad.

Consuming entertainment that is geared towards being cruel to people means I would be taking in the energy of anger, hatred, sorrow and violence. Consuming this entertainment will mean that I would become more and more comfortable to discuss others as if they were not deserving of respect. Consuming this entertainment feeds my negative side - the side that tells me it is okay to judge people without compassion, the side that tells me that I am entitled to be let into their lives without having to show them kindness.

So in light of that, why should I foster the negative seeds of my soul?

I wish you all a weekend free from negative consumption.