The Thinking Viking has been …thinking.  I know, I know, there’s always trouble when this happens, but I just can’t stop myself. I was going to weave this into my other post “Kill Your Television” – but decided that my anger at television was distinct from my thoughts on manipulation via sex, lies, and video clips.  I chose the title deliberately (It pins my age if you remember the movie I refer to) – pretty much everyone now understands that  using sex to distract while you lie is effective, and that manipulating video can make almost anything appear to be true – tie this with some sexy propaganda, perhaps a viral meme, and bingo – new “truth”. I think most also know that these are just a few of the tools used to influence people.   These are the things you still get when you kill your TV.  The top youtube videos, email from internet groups,shared facebook postings, movies from Netflix,  all the websites with free content, don’t be fooled into thinking these sources are not also affecting and manipulating you.

….and damn are there a lot of websites and chatrooms, facebook groups, twitter tweeters.. (yeah, I have a twitter and facebook account. ) and …um… blogs….oh gods, what can I say. You gotta be careful – just as the Big Media is controlled by a handful of companies, the reverse is true on-line.  There is no real oversight, no censors, no one authority dictating content. just the web itself evolving. Which is fucking awesome, and also terrifying.  Many people will trust these “authorities” precisely because they are not “Mass Media” – they feel as though they have found some secret truth that others are too ignorant to understand.  You have all seen it.  It’s behind 90% of all conspiracy theory websites. Yes, that means that I think some of these crackpots might be on to something.  But I digress.

The line is increasingly blurred, with TVs at gas pumps not actually showing television, but rather a corporate “station” designed to look like broadcast TV.  Countless websites invite you to “create an account”” and they notify you when they have new content.. and these notification pop up as text messages on your goddamn phone, instantly. Impressive, but…wow  So in effect, you are choosing what to allow yourself to be brainwashed by.

By odd coincidence, I just received a text message about an event in Oakland that needs…shall we say “volunteers” (free tickets are involved), and it wound its way to my phone from via a free email service…one of perhaps five email addresses I technically have.  Hmm.  Somehow this maze of chosen connections I use  tastes better than Mass Media, but it comes with some dangerous side effects for some.  Such as championing a cause that doesn’t exist, this gave us the fraud that was Kony 2012, or convicting someone of a crime via viral memes online, without legal due process (which is where my only sympathy for George Zimmerman lies). Or convincing yourself that the entire aviation fuel industry in spreading psychological chemicals across the nation.  Or that the world is ending in 2012.

So we have entered a new world of information, for better or worse. I think it’s working.  But it is sometimes as sketchy as a skateboarder on crack sliding down a 100 foot railing into a pit of bear traps..

Think about it.



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