Monday, September 07, 2015

Cynicism on the Cheap

A new Chrome add on was recently released that provides a unique service, turning the growing news filtering business on its head. Rather than only providing you with the news you want to read, as Facebook, Reddit, Fox News, Salon and a host of other sites promise to do, “I Haven’t Got Time for the ‘Paign” instead filters out any news related to that pesky presidential campaign that you might have heard something about. That’s right, this free application will allow you to ignore the most rudimentary function of citizenship, namely being informed enough to make rational choices come that quadrennial election day. 

The website attempts to entice you with the following three lines: “I haven’t got time for the ‘paign …;” “I haven’t got room for the ‘paign …” and “I haven’t the need for the ‘paign …” While this is certainly good news for the ubiquitous Taylor Swift, the attention-addict Kardashians, celebrity culture in general and click bait advertising, it also appears to be good news for candidates like Donald Trump and Scott Walker who rely on a population that doesn’t really pay attention to what they says. It’s also great news for Fox News and all the other skewed “news” sites that provide information with the propaganda-infused acuity of Pravda. The Koch brothers, who are planning to spend close to a billion dollars on the election, will also be happy to hear that a site dedicated to “ignorance is strength” and “freedom is slavery” is available to further dilute the truth.

Social theorists have been talking about the disengagement and apathy of Millennials for some time now, noting that they identify less with political parties, are less interested in politics and vote at lower rates. Even the young Americans who do consider themselves politically active often do little more than vote every four years, sign an online petition once or twice a year or unfriend Facebook contacts that disagree with their loosely-formed political ideologies. A Pew Research study in May of this year, in fact, found that Millennials are less interested in politics and talk about it less than Baby Boomers and Gen X, to a significant degree (Pew). All of this means that we are left with the older generations making decisions about the future while the younger generations adapt themselves to the new global economic order and virtual spectacle world and their incantations to self actualize and succeed at any cost.

But what of democracy, that bygone ideal that seems to be fading into the Kansas night like dust in the wind? It is a small price to pay for more news on Caetlin Jennings latest outfit choice.

No comments: