Wasted Time

Time will go by no matter what we do with our lives, so we might as well do what we like, right? Easier said than done. Yesterday was a Sunday and my first wedding anniversary but I was stuck working for most of the day. Granted I was working from home so it wasn't so terrible, and the task at hand, though tedious, was easy enough that I enjoyed hours and hours of the House marathon - which was pretty ironic since my work was nothing more than counting the amount of positive urinalysis (pee tests) of prescription drug abusers.

Ever since I was a young latchkey kid/couch potato, I've been aware of the power of the media. I knew it made me want things we couldn't afford (or really didn't even want), and encouraged me to look a certain way that was supposedly more physically attractive. The media is so powerful because it's so huge - a few corporations own the hundreds of TV channels we watch, and nearly all of the radio stations (including satellite) and record companies that produce the music we listen to. The same goes for books, magazines, food, and news. One can't feed their body or their mind without being tempted by something not only unhealthy but toxic - it's becoming increasingly difficult to even have access to healthy options.

Take House as an example. It exists to entertain its viewers, not to educate on the travails of recovering from RX drug addiction. That the storyline presents many of the issues an addict faces is a byproduct; the show is not a useful PR tool for those who work in the field of addiction any more than it would be a way to prep med students to be doctors. But it reaches millions more viewers than, say a documentary on addiction. But it's just a tv show, you say. Well, the news functions in a similar way.

This morning as I finished up counting pee tests, I was listening to Counterspin on my local community radio station. It's one of my favorite shows because it asks (and answers) the question: Why is this lame issue taking up time on the news (Tiger Woods' affair) instead of another issue (like those wars the U.S. has going on around the world). One of the issues addressed in today's show was the height of Dennis Kucinich, as if his less-than-the-ideal-male-American stature of 5'7, epitomizes his power as a shrimp of a political figure. When it comes to standing for human rights, Kucinich certainly stands taller than most of the jerks in D.C., but you'd be hard pressed to find anything in the mainstream media that doesn't present him as a hippie loon.

Didn't we learn the danger of stereotypes in junior high? Yet the media relies on them and other short cuts to bring the public "information." Happily, I am not spending my time working for corporate media. I'd rather type away from my home computer, passing along these bits of truth to those lucky enough to be among the handful of my dear readers.

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