365 Days of Random

Random musings about nothing at all

Today’s Media

Ok…so today I think I want to talk a bit about the craziness that can be news media in our culture. And before I really get started this is by no means based in any amount of fact it is simply 100% my own opinion of the impact news and media has on world events in today’s society. If you feel the need to argue a different point please do so but I probably won’t engage with you. It’s not that I don’t see your point of view, in fact i am sure that you’d raise some very valuable points. It’s just that all I am attempting to do here is lay out what I see and what I think based solely on impressions and not at all in fact. So I don’t feel the need or desire to research anything to attempt to support any of my statements or refute any of yours. But I am always happy to read your thoughts and comments in any event.

Now that all that disclaimer stuff is out of the way here is what I think. This week in DC we had both an earthquake and a hurricane. Both ‘events’ were what have been labeled as historic for the area by one media outlet or another. Against the world scale of these kinds of events both were EXTREMELY MILD in comparison. Sure North Carolina experienced a great deal of damage from Irene…. but here in the DC area it was what most people would refer to as a bit of a lame ass storm. I mean come on.. so it rained all day and got a bit windy. We didn’t have any thunder or lightening and the loss of power that people experience (while insanely frustrating I am sure) has more to do with the pathetic services that exist in some parts of the area than with any ‘major storm damage’.

That said… the media spent the entire week hyping up both events. The earthquake was disastrous and the hurricane was setting up to be the storm of the century…. or at least that’s what you’d think if you watched some of the news coverage or read some of the reports that were circulating around. One really good example of this ‘media induced hysteria’ comes from my family. Some family friend saw some inaccurate news report up in Canada that said that the storm was going to hit DC full blast and that everyone was being evacuated. Since my parents (especially my mom) tend to worry like crazy about me down here all by myself they went into just a bit of a panic because I hadn’t called to tell them I was being evacuated and where I was going. In fact, I was in my shower when my mom called and since she got my voicemail the worry in her voice increased a notch or two as she left her message to call her back and let her know I was safe.

I can 100% appreciate my mother’s concern – who wouldn’t be concerned about their daughter being evacuated from her home because of some expected national disaster. Here’s the thing that gets me… she never would have been worried about it or concerned at all if someone hadn’t seem some over dramatized news report about how bad the storm was going to be. If that hadn’t happened she would have known (had she been thinking rationally at all) that since I am completely terrified of hurricanes if one was truly in my immediate vicinity that I’d be on the first flight back to Canada in total avoidance mode…and of course since she’d have to pick me up she would know exactly where I was and how long I’d be staying at home.

I think the increase in media coverage and in providing information to the masses is, as a whole, fabulous. But, I think there comes a point in time where you do nothing but insite panic is us ‘little people’ by telling us all the gloom and doom of what COULD, MAYBE, POSSIBLY, happen. Rather than just saying the facts… it’s a big storm, might hit your area, try and prepare as best you can but it’s likely to mostly just skirt around you and you’ll really just get some rain and wind… nothing major. Sure, it doesn’t make for as interesting of a TV spot… but it’s much less likely to have people freaking out and expecting the worst from every possible situation.

Things were much more peaceful in our world when we didn’t have every possible negative impact for every possible event going on everywhere in the world thrown in our faces every second of every day. Again, it’s GREAT to know what’s going on in the world… but the current media plan focuses way more on the bad things in the world and the things that can scare and harm humanity than they EVER do on the joyful and peaceful and FUN things going on in the world that could bring some light back into our society. We should be able to focus on living our lives… not always running around scared waiting on the next ‘big bad’ being blasted on every media channel there is.

Ok…that’s my two cents done.

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August 29, 2011 Posted by | Personal Theories, Random | , , , , | Leave a comment

Holy Earthquake

This afternoon… in case you’ve been living under a rock and didn’t notice… a 5.8 scale earthquake hit the DC metro area….ok really it was centered somewhere down around Charlottesville but hey… close enough… we certainly EXPERIENCED it.

For me it went like this…. I’ve been EXHAUSTED and up to my eyeballs in various work projects the last couple of days. I was on the phone with my director talking about a project I am trying to help rescue…wanting to get her approval of a compromised implementation of a feature she’d been requesting. As we were talking I started to feel the building shake… I thought it was just big truck or something going past and so didn’t think anything else of it… to be honest I thought I was just going a bit crazy with all the exhaustion and all that…. then it just started to get stronger… you could SEE the buildings moving… the ones across the street when you’re looking out the windows. My office mates all started to raise there heads asking each other if we’d felt that… it just kept shaking… I told my director (who is currently out in San Francisco) that the building was shaking… I stayed on the phone a few mins longer and then basically told her “think we’re having an earthquake… gotta go bye” and I hung up. People were congregating in the hallways talking about where best to go and wait it out. Then it stopped… we waited a few more minutes and all started heading back to our desks. I called my director back and told her what had happened. THEN they asked us to evacuate the building. We got back in about 20 mins later and really no major issues occurred.

Having lived on the East Coast basically my entire life I have never actually experienced an earthquake… can’t say that I am a fan. I know in the grand scheme of things this was really not a bad one at all… and apparently down where it was centered it was actually quite bad… but still not as bad as some places in the world… but still, it’s not an experience I care to repeat. I think if the shaking had been any stronger I may have kind or freaked out. As it was I mostly thought it was an interesting, slightly scary, yet kind of cool think to have gone through… once. I am very very glad that noone was injured and that it was relatively mild.

It’s also interesting to realize that something that was relatively minor (compared to other world earthquake disasters) was still felt hundreds of miles away from here. I mean my family up in Canada felt the tremors. Of course then they all started to call me to make sure everything was ok and got just a tad freaked out when they couldn’t get through… People… when everyone tries to use their cell phones at exactly the same moment the system fails… But I understand the need and the frustration. Within minutes of the event I was texting my BF trying to make sure he was ok and at least touch base. It took almost an hour for us to actually connect… would have been faster for him to walk up the couple miles from his office to mine….

I find it very interesting to see how people react in situations like this. Some office stayed open and kept working (ours), some closed completely and made everyone go home (my BFs). Some people started posting to twitter and facebook (myself included) with the obligatory ‘earthquake survival’ posts. Almost everyone reached out to family and friends to make sure everything was kosher.

So, for my first (and oh God I pray my last) earthquake experience it was kinda tame… but still something to write about and something people will be talking about for at least a few more days.

August 23, 2011 Posted by | Life, Random | , , , | Leave a comment