Tuesday, November 01, 2005

More discussion 

A comment was left on one of my earlier posts, the one in which I went off on the local news and all that. I thought it a good idea to clarify my comments/thoughts a bit. The comment left indicated that perhaps the meat of my beef with the news/media was not very clear (surprise surprise).

I took umbrage at the top stories on the local news being, essentially, celebrity news. Reports on the life events of sports celebrities (Broncos, Avs). I realize that the local news will reflect the interests of the local community and that they can't be expected to deal much with international news. I can accept this, though I adamantly disagree with the notion that international news is not also relevant on a local level. But that's another topic I won't touch on now.

Local news. Fine, report local events that are important for the community to know about. Such as serial rapists; a referendum that affects how much money will go to roads, schools, etc.; construction updates; traffic reports; violence in the community; gang activity. That sort of thing. There isn't a dearth of topics to report on, nor a minimal number of occurances to report. But to have the top story be about a rich man getting into an accident? A celebrity? That's fodder for rags like People and other such drivel. Not the local news. If I, or some other non-rich person were to get into a bad accident would it make the news for days in a row? Would family members coming to visit be interviewed? Nope. it's celebrity worship, and I can't see the relevance to the community. That is what I didn't like.

Furthermore, the comment aptly described local news as a vessel for reporting what's of interest to the community. Agreed. But if a sports team is of the most interest to the community...that's sad.

It's about priorities. Priorities are screwed up these days, in my opinion. That, also, is a different longer post.

Another point brought up was that people in places such as Cambodia are not up to date on current world events and their local news probably doesn't report any more internationally stuff than our local news (this may or may not be true. I can't read or understand the Khmer language)(I had to bust thru the sarcasm to reach this point, but as that is a language I'm fluent in it worked out).

However true this may be, about however many countries, it doesn't matter. Do the actions of the Cambodians affect countries the world over? Who is the most powerful country in the world (for now)? The US. As such, our country needs to accept this responsibility and realize that it is important for to know what is going on around the world and take an interest in it-on a personal level. Accept it or not, the beliefs of the people do still hold some sway over politicians (all they want is to get re-elected) and if we are clueless about the goings-on in the world then these politicians can do and tell us what they see fit; will we know any better? There is no parity between Cambodia (or Laos or Belize or Greece etc etc) and the US. We can't expect others to be on the same level as us; a level playing field is unrealistic. Expecting others to know as much as the US and "taking our ball and going home" when they don't accept as much responsibility as us is silly. And spoiled. The claim is that the US is the greatest country in the world. If this is believed, how can we expect these 'lesser' countries to be as accomplished as us? A bit contradictory, I think.

Another bottom line is this: interest in the international community is quite lacking (or so it seems to me). And the rest of the world knows this. I met people from many different countries and most of them wanted to know how we could take such little interest in what's going on outside of the US. It is tough to have a great interest in a place you've never seen, and in a people you've never met. This has to be gained. If for no other reason, to stop pissing off the rest of the world.

See my earlier post about the bumper sticker seen on a Denver road today: "Think Outside the Box"; the word 'box' is over the US. We are not an isolated country, no matter what our politics. That has to be realized. Think of it like being an older brother: your mom cusses you out for misbehaving because not only is it bad for you but your little brother mimics you. The rest of the world is mimicking our actions, desires, attitude. Not only is that not sustainable, but what if one day (soon) we are treated as we treat others? I.e.-China taking over and forcing their way of life on us and around the world. Same justification could be used-they are the most powerful so their way of doing things must be the best, right?

Food for thought

And time for me to get back to cleaning the bathroom

I've got to leave a comment...this is it. It's interesting to have been back into the US for 6 months, reading your blog from a slightly different perspective than I had when I jumped off the plane in May. Reading you blog gets me fired up, motivated to do my reading..search our news desperately for international news. And get more fired up about our political outlook in this country. Don't loose this perspective. We need this perspective here!
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Name: Corey
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I'm on a journey with no destination. The path is constantly changing direction but there are always adventures to be had. "Never" and "always" have left my lexicon.

WWW http:/www.jimspeak.blogspot.com