You ARE who you’re with…REALLY???

starting it right

by Kenneth Justice

~Have you ever noticed the way your mood changes depending on the people you are hanging out with? If you know you’re going to spend the evening with your best friend; you find yourself a little bit more cheerful than usual…..but if you know you have a dinner obligation with cranky relatives; you find yourself turning into a sourpuss.

Of course, this is something we were taught as children; “if you hang out with the bad crowd little Susie they are going to turn you bad” our parents told us.

The Broadway show “Grease” had to do with external influences and peer pressure…didn’t it?

So when many of us look back at our childhood we see instances in which ‘bad apples’ tried to turn us to the dark side and at times we prevailed and in other times we succumbed and gave in. But now we are adults…..we are mature, we are strong, we are mentally able to resist peer pressure; we’re no longer little kids who can be corrupted by external influences and peer pressure….right???

I’m not sure that there is ever a period in our life when we are totally peer-pressure-resistant. Especially when it comes to relatives, family, and those who are close to us; because it is those people who know how to push our buttons…..

But this article isn’t really about peer pressure….oddly enough its about the media, because  if we are going to get down to brass tacks; the greatest form of influence in our lives here in Western Culture is the media.

I hate to make it sound like I’m attaching some kind of sinister Orwellian tone to the attention I give to the media, but lets be honest; whether bad or good the media influences all of us.

—) Commercials and advertisements are everywhere we go

—) NEWS is now 24/7 with numerous NEWS stations dedicated to round-the-clock broadcasts

In the past when I’ve discussed the subject of peer pressure and external influences, the stoic and stubborn announce; “Well I live life much of my life alone so I am not influenced by any person, religion, or philosophy…..I live life the way I WANT TO!” But lets be honest; unless you live in a hut out in rural Alaska with no electricity… never really get away from the media…do you?

Simply put, ‘media’ is defined as “mass communication” and includes, radio, television, advertisements, newspapers, the Internet, and more. Any medium that allows communication to flow en-masse is considered a form of media.

Like the black plague the media seems like it is everywhere we go; on billboards, in print adds, on the sides of busses…..everywhere. Whether it is intentional or not, the Media is constantly trying to influence our thoughts and actions. Advertisements are designed to influence us to purchase products, watch specific shows, and to motivate us to think a certain way.

—) When we discuss ‘what is normal’ we are often talking about the ‘standards’ that television shows attempt to convey

—) When we discuss ‘what is ethically right’ we are often talking about the ‘standards’ that politicians try to convince us of via Talking-Heads-Shows

—) When we discuss ‘what is relevant’ we are often talking about the NEWS stories that 24/7 NEWS shows throw at us on a regular basis.

So much of our lives is influenced by various forms of Media. At times we might find the head of some media conglomerate appeal to some level of virtuosity in their responsibility to the public; but more often than not the Media is motivated by money and viewership. The more viewers (or readers) the more money.

When we were younger, dealing with the ‘bad apples’ was a lot more simple; we knew that if we didn’t hang out with Jimmy and Jennifer than we wouldn’t be tempted to do drugs. We knew that if we stayed away from Mike and Michelle we wouldn’t be tempted to gossip……..

But what do we do about a Media that is everywhere? We can’t simply put our head under the pillows and hide from the influences of the Media. How do we deal with the fact that many of us think-a-certain-way…because the media has engrained it into our heads to think that way?

Let’s continue to be honest with ourselves; many of us are political and religious ideologues; we are not open to discussing the fact that our political, religious, or philosophical beliefs might be a bit foolish…..but its been drilled into our heads that we must hold to these beliefs with a tight fisted grip

We live in a culture where having civil debates over important issues always seems to turn into one big yell-fest. People get angry and hotheaded when someone disagrees with them…….

Is there any hope for the future of Western Civilization?

I really need another coffee this morning,















Categories: Culture & Society

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

37 replies

  1. Western civilization can only be saved by caffeine. Get yourself that coffee turn off the news and turn on the cartoons. They offer more hope.

  2. Depends on what you’re hoping for. We will always be different than we are/were. Nothing stays the same. Whether that’s better or worse, we won’t know until we get there. Every generation thinks the world is going in the wrong direction. But things just seem to keep going, no matter what we think. People thought Rock and Roll would bring the downfall of civilization. Who knows what the future will be like? I don’t like a lot of things that are happening but they are happening anyway. Corruption can no longer be contained or hidden there’s just too much to control any longer. Media rules, lies are the norm, manners are on the way out with handwriting…and on and on. But, we fly forward into the abyss and have no idea what’s waiting for us on the other side. Enjoy your coffee.

    • “People thought Rock and Roll would bring the downfall of civilization”

      what a great point. its pretty wild to think that so many people ‘back in the day’ really believed that Rock-N-Roll would totally destroy the culture… quote Larry David; pretttty, pretttty, pretttty wild

  3. Where life like a loose garment. The best discussions I have had with people are when I don’t ever defend my preconceived beliefs. I ask them how they came to believe.

  4. “I really need another coffee this morning”….ME TOO. 😉 Good post.

  5. I love food for thought for breakfast. 🙂

    Good post, enjoy your coffee. Monday morning coffee always tastes the best to me.



  6. As it stands today? Without a huge change? . . . . NO

  7. Is it bad that I almost want to scroll down to the bottom of your blogs just to see how you incorporate the word “coffee” into your sign-off? Don’t even get me started on the media, though.

    Right. Coffee it is.

    • The coffee thing annoys some people and others seem to like it…..for awhile I was getting some pretty nasty emails about how stupid they thought my whole coffee thing was…..since I havnt gotten any recently I am guessing they must have stopped reading; or perhaps they finally became enlightened and started drinking coffee w/ my articles each morning 🙂

  8. Amen!

    I think the social groups and media are the same phenomena; it’s all about social groups and the media is just a channel for greater transmission of social influence.

    Turning off the TV helps a LOT. I can say that one of the things that made me MUCH happier was abandoning the news. It also helped me realize that the news was completely useless to me; there was nothing it had to say that I needed to know.

    Another part of the solution is recognizing how media tries to influence us. If we’re attentive to ourselves while we watch TV, we can see how our emotions are pulled this way and that, and we can see how the media is pulling our strings. Keep that attention whenever thoughts arise, and some of them can be traced back to the media. Knowing how much they’re in our heads reduces their influence, perhaps because we’re on guard and know the consequences of being led on a leash by them.

  9. I notice depending on whom I’m around if I’m satisfied being a stay at home mom or not. With my professional friends I feel like I’m missing out not climbing the ladder. With my SAHM I feel like I’m where the Lord want me. It’s a vicious cycle!

  10. I HAVE to think there is hope for the future of civilization; I don’t know if there’s hope for the media. I think it helps to be aware of how pervasive and what those media messages are…..Which, of course, you are helping us all do with this post, Kenneth. Thank you.

  11. I think it is a great help to perceive that the media influences the way we think. Then we can begin to examine it critically. Then we can get up to some meta-level and ask ourselves: who or what do I want to influence my opinion on this question? Nobody just chooses their opinion in a vacuum; we are always influenced in the way we think; the only thing we can do is try to be more deliberate about it.
    I can tell you this: we lived on a formerly Amish farm for ten years without electricity, and with pretty minimal media input. Minimal but not none. You can’t get away from it even if you are Amish.

    • Well said. To be honest, writing about the media is one of my least favorite topics, but if I’m going to be true to myself than I have to write about it periodically because it is such a major area of influence in our society……’s post which I’m sure was self evident was to demonstrate that the media is no different than when we had “bad” friends as children….if we aren’t careful they will lead us astray

  12. I like your post because I am thinking about thinking.And who we mix with affects our thinking.If we mix with people who read the lower kind of newspapers and hear them repeat nasty ideas about the poor,sick,”foreign” it can make us think that way if we are unaware.We have to choose..

  13. Good post…thought provoking but I’m recovering from a nasty cold and thoughts are too fleeting to put into anything cohesive.

  14. I always leave your blog feeling I’ve spent a good morning in a café with intelligent folks discussing relevant topics – SOOO much better than Starbucks! When I was raising my son, I’d tell him to listen to the ads and consciously think about what they were trying to make him feel. We’d talk about getting our news from several different sources to be sure we didn’t get too one-sided a view. The same story told by CNN, FOX, and BBC read VERY differently – especially compared to how Christian Science Monitor tells it. We live in the world we’ve got – knowing how to maneuver and THINK makes a huge difference!

  15. Reblogged this on UNCURB ME and commented:
    Just glad there are others who share my feelings!

  16. Seriously! I cannot find many real life instances where I truly was able to enjoy an open, honest discussion that was also peaceful.

%d bloggers like this: