Saturday, January 29, 2011

Is the Media Making Us Numb?

Let's face it, we all know about the crisis going on in Egypt right now. Yet, have you consciously been affected to the point of tears or been emotionally moved by this violence. If you have no idea how ridiculous it's getting over there, take a look at the video.

The video is just one of many many other videos that show the current turbulence and chaos going on in the country. These people are fighting for all the marbles, man. They're putting it all out there because they're so sick and tired of an oppressive and authoritative government suppressing their lives. As ridiculous as this sounds, people are like eagles, don't clip their wings so they can't fly. Through this video, I see firsthand what is the result of pent-up emotion and frustration. These people had such few options and the enmity towards the government was so widespread that it has led to this disastrous calamity. Even the internet was shut down in an attempt to prevent further mass leakage about what is going on in Egypt. Yet, what are we doing about it? In fact, what is the U.S., one of Egypt's biggest supporters, doing about it? They are not even supporting either side, simply being apathetic and not supporting the need for democracy.

I don't support the violence, and I never will. The glorified aspects of violence seem awesome and fascinating until you experience it firsthand. That doesn't mean I don't play a bit of Halo Reach and Black Ops here and there or enjoy engrossing myself in the latest "Saw" film to come out. However, this is different. This is real life stuff, but most of us and most of the U.S. seems so apathetic. The media is making us numb with constant coverage about sickening acts of murder and crime that happen daily and the genocides and natural disasters happening all over the world. I'll admit it, the things happening in Egypt didn't convict me at all until finally I watched a video on my friend's Facebook of a man being beat to death (unfortunately, I can't find a way share that video with you all). Maybe even my indulging of this aestheticized violence through video games and movies is numbing me as well. It's a sad world isn't it?


  1. I agree completely with this post. We all know that we see the headlines for the crisis going on in Egypt, but most of us simply take a quick glance and then return to our daily routines. It truly is important to see these people as human beings, just like us. The violence that is happening over in Egypt is absurd, and until this problem is worked out we will continue seeing videos like this plastered all over the Internet.

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  3. Contrary to the idea that humans do not differentiate between real and fictional violence, a quick Google Scholar search turns up a couple interesting studies that show demonstrable physiological differences between viewing fictional and actual violent footage. The two abstracts read:

    Sixty male subjects were either attacked or treated neutrally by a confederate, after which each saw a videotape of two men fighting. Subjects were informed that fight was either real or fictitious or were given no explanation of it. Subjects who had previously been attacked and had observed the fight under a set to perceive it as real were subsequently more punitive in their treatment of the confederate than subjects in all other conditions. The combination of prior attack and observation of real violence also sustained blood pressure (BP) at near the level produced by the attack, whereas BP of attacked subjects in the other conditions declined during the time the fight was observed. Palmar sweat measures revealed that observation of real violence was more arousing than observation of fictitious fighting. The results are discussed in terms of the effects that the reality of observed violence has on emotional arousal.

    Of 96 male undergraduates, one-third saw a violent film which they were told represented a real event, one-third saw the same film presented as a fictional event, and the remaining subjects saw no film. One-half of the subjects in each group had been attacked previously by a confederate while the others had not. Each subject was then given an opportunity to aggress against the confederate by administering shocks to him as punishment in a learning task. Results indicate that subjects who observed real violence delivered stronger shocks to the confederate than subjects who viewed fantasy violence or saw no film. Subjects who were angered and saw the real film were the most punitive toward the confederate.


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