Sunday, November 18, 2007

Information Overload


Has any literate soul on this planet been spared the torture of reading about Paul McCartney's divorce? How many oceans must I cross to not have to read about Sanjay Dutt's daily diet in prison?

This is something that has been troubling me since quite sometime now. I seem to be reading ("flipping through" would be more appropriate in retrospect) the newspaper every morning more as a matter of habit rather than in the hope of gaining some valuable information.

I grew up in an era when our teachers drilled the importance of reading the newspaper daily into our heads. An era when newspapers were considered as essential as a dictionary or an encyclopedia in the educational system. Present day scenario: I would seriously think twice about advocating the benefits of reading a paper to a child. Unless of course they're short of cheap novels and would rather read about Paris Hilton's affairs than a (perhaps less graphic) Mills and Boons.

In a country which seems to leave skid marks on the roads of time owing to its phenomenal pace of development, the regression of our media reporting surely does take me by surprise. I mean please spare me the liberal lashings of the words hook-ups and break-ups and kindly tell me what is actually happening in the real world!

Having said this, I am not oblivious to the fact that this unceasing supply of gossip is only catering to the all consuming demand for the same. The common man does seem to derive sadistic pleasures out of seeing a distraught Britney knocking down her ex husband's door. The question I ask is this: How is this a news item? Would this piece of news interest us had it been just any bald mother going ballistic to meet her kids? Are we subconsciously trying to feel good about our mundane lives at the cost of snooping into the less than perfect lives of celebrities?

Our fondness for trashy media is what has brought us down to this day when one really cant tell the difference between the Times of India and a Stardust. While most people seem to be enjoying this roller coaster ride of daily scoops and scandals, I am beginning to get really dizzy on this particular "joyride".

7 comments:

Sandeep said...

'too much is too bad'

Initially the celeb news would have got more readers but now its there even if you are getting dizzy!

mITHUN said...

wow,,,what irony....
well highlighted!!

Abhishek said...

Cmon b honest !!! isnt the voeyueristic pleasure orgasmic??? it sells and somewhere fills up the vaccum of unfulfillment of not being a celebrity yourself!!! "Make love like a pornstar" gets the adrenaline flowing at much faster pace than "India Unbound"..its somethin we fantasise...nd inherently a part of human nature. Accept it !!!!
Coming to the importance of reading a newspaper...technology has made this world a village..choose ur own stuff from TV,newspaper,internet..or whatever..coming to the real problem for the part of country that is learning to read,develop and re writing the rules of the game.It is a problem...nd somebody has rightly side " their is an oppurtunity"
so honey ..think how can we make a difference to people say belonging to villages ..importantly children from that part of the country...who needs a guidance in form of a newspaper.somethin having what they should read and connect them to this world intellectually..i think ..i m thinking ..so do u...!!!! come out with a new one with a solution and we can work on it..a revolution in media that can make our villages think...

salman said...

Lets get this out of the way, newspapers write about what people want to read about. The sheer subjectivity of human experience comes to mind. The same newspaper would almost seem intresting to a person who enjoys the information overload that is britneys life. On the flip the same person probably gets pissed off reading about the recent primary results or the genocide occuring 5k miles away. Probably sad to say this but a good majority would prefer britneys life. You might call this escapism, stupidity or even a permutation of the two.

persis said...

Yes Salman, that is exactly what I've tried to highlight in this blog. Esp when I wrote: "I am not oblivious to the fact that this unceasing supply of gossip is only catering to the all consuming demand for the same".

We all live our difficult lives and reading about someone else's troubles somehow subconciously helps us feel good about ourselves. However, the point I wished to make was that the differentiating factors between a serious newspaper or a gossip weekly have somehow blurred over the years as both pretty much report and cover the same things. This is something that I find disturbing as a reader, as also the very fact that it is us- the readers who have brought this upon ourselves.

libertyyne said...

Sure you did make the point but the problem is there is a finer distinction to be drawn. Its that sensationalization of news, the marriage between news and entertainment is a financial necessity. That may speak to a trend in society, but we always claim society is going down the drain. Plus the rate at which we claim it is going down the drain we should have been a bunch of sadist screw ups right now without any altruistic thoughts( or maybe not). Yet altruism still exists, but i digress. But this stems from different trend in my mind, it think with a dwindling readership for most news papers and the explosion of other mediums. Plus it also speaks to the centralization of the medium in a couple of hands cough cough murdoch cough cough. Therefore it has been a shift from journalism to tell the story to more of a what makes more money paradigm. Going from the days goodnight and goodluck to E news. Gonzo comes to mind as an exception that somehow stays in both worlds yet maintains a sense of credibility in both. salman

Gour@v said...

What you have written Persis is absolutely true and I agree with it..Te showbiz world of today is really having a vast effect on our lives...