It’s interesting that during Katrina what the world media saw was not the pain and suffering of the people impacted as much as it was the people looting anything which was not nailed down and even if it was they were seen trying to pry it up. However when we look toward the triad of Japanese tragedies which have befallen the populous there, why don’t we see the same? No one is running down the street with another person’s big screen TV or smashing out store windows to get at the latest athletic footwear or trendy purses which everyone needs to survive a disaster.
Here many of the news organizations are reporting on this fact (lack of looting) interestingly enough as in the absents of something to talk about (like looting), one has to create something right? This seems to be the goal of an advertizing based media as if it doesn’t take up air space it can’t attach banners as who couldn’t benefit by the change from Comcast ™ to AT&T U-verse ™ cable as I don’t know about you however that’s foremost on my mind when reading something about the plight of the poor folks in Japan who have had their lives crushed. In fact this was not made up as part of poetic license, however a real example of the news page which I was reading. Don’t get me wrong, as everyone has to make a buck as servers and internet access cost money, however the point to this is, is the cart in front of the horse?
As the media outlets are all touting the “honor” of the Japanese people and there is no question this is an embedded anthropological aspect of their culture and in context a good thing. However is this the sole driver of the action or a result of another cultivated attribute of their society? For example can we Americans lack that much honor, as Webster says honor is “a showing of usually merited respect” so in our case is respect not “merited” and honor therefore lacking, could be. None of these are easy questions to answer; however there is a lot to be learned from the dignity and honor displayed by these people who have been involved in this unfortunate set of events and how they handled themselves.
As above, the point with the tongue in cheek comments about the media’s filling of space for the sake of just filling it, while the “message” takes a back seat is in my mind a potential driver to create this problem. As in the information age we are creating more and more space to fill at a frightening rate and as with Parkinson’s Law where “work will fill the time allotted”, Campbell’s Law says “Information will fill the space allotted”. As with “work” where the quality could be considered subjective when measured against time, the same will hold true for the media and the “space” we allow it to fill.
In fact the interesting thing is we are creating ever more and more space for the media to appear from our gas pumps, to above our urinals, public restroom mirrors and our cell phones the space grows. So in turn is it really only “honor”, or is it the message driven by our media which needs to fill space as Marshall McLuhan was fond of saying “the message is the medium”…