Since most people I know are immersed in mass media, it’s always interesting to get an outsider’s perspective. This tends to come from my mother. And her view of modern media is not so rosy.
Mom was unable to sleep when 2009 came calling, so she decided to watch what ABC still calls Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve (albeit hosted by Ryan Seacrest). And she was appalled. While most of us are familiar with the wretched dreck that is infotainment, Mom was unprepared with the parade of vacuous so-called celebrities, the tuneless so-called musical performances, the celebrations of excess in a down economy. And seeing a post-stroke Dick Clark was, she said, downright depressing. (She wondered if he’d been replaced with a robot, and not a very good one.)
Moreover, she was repulsed with commentators gushing over the super-expensive Waterford Crystal Ball and its 2,668 crystals, all 12,000 pounds of it, descending for a mere few seconds of visibility. How many of those revelers are out of work or struggling to get by while millions of dollars are lavished on this sphere’s brief appearance? And the gaudy Times Square plastered with wall-to-wall enormous glowing advertisements looked nothing like the district she remembered from living in the city.
I found the phone conversation quite interesting and enlightening. Those of us who have watched the (de-)evolution of modern mass media wonder if it has become a vast wasteland. But those suddenly thrown into the 2009 media landscape *know* that it is.