At the local shopping centre today, a politician stood next to his sandwich board. Beside him, a homeless woman sat with her bucket waiting for donations. I was surprised to see the politician. And I was even more surprised to see his proximity to the homeless woman.
He held no pamphlets and there was no obvious reason for him to be there. On his sandwich board it said “Mobile Office”. He stood looking a little cold and a little bored but occasionally he would conjure up a smile and greet somebody with “How are you, mate?” or something equally banal. Being me, I couldn’t think of anything to say to him.
As I got back in my car, I thought I should’ve said “What are you standing for?”. I liked the dual possibility of this question. “What are you standing for? As I recall, your election campaign was all lies. How do you feel about that? Do you cheat your kids at board games? You’ve cheated mine.” Something like that.
Last night I attended an online business meeting with extended family. During the course of the meeting I owned that we are planning to purchase a Tesla. “Didn’t Tesla go bankrupt?” somebody quipped. When I responded with a criticism of the media, everybody laughed. I am discovering that I don’t like being laughed at and although I don’t always have an immediate response, I will usually take some kind of action. So this morning I wrote this email:
I listened to a Ted Talk yesterday about happiness. It pointed out that the human brain is more inclined to remember bad things than good things. For example, in a marriage, on average it takes 5 compliments to balance out one negative remark.
Therefore, if the media doesn’t like somebody/something they don’t have to do much to convince people that person or thing is bad. And that’s how the Liberal Party ran their election campaign too – in the negative. Pretty successful, isn’t it?
Next time you see a negative article about Tesla just google another car company on the same issue and you’ll probably find they are similar or worse (eg. cars catching fire, being bailed out of financial stickiness, etc) but they don’t get the bad press. And remember that Tesla has driven the other car companies in the right direction. They are the change-makers. If this planet gets through okay for our children, Tesla is one of the companies we need to be grateful to.
Elon Musk has attracted a lot of negative press, mainly because he has successfully disrupted 3 industries: cars, space & finance. On top of that, he’s not the best people person. But that doesn’t mean you have to buy the soda that the shorts are selling. People believing everything the press says about Tesla bugs me nearly as the way the election went.
And, if you’re interested in the manipulations of media, you should check this out: Carole Cadwalladr – Facebook’s role in Brexit…
Carole Cadwalladr’s Ted Talk is a terrifying glimpse into how companies like Facebook are interfering with democracy. They are publishing misinformation in very targeted and insidious ways. There are no public records and few controls. I guess it’s another situation where policy isn’t keeping up with technology.
Truth is becoming almost indistinguishable in our society. Woolworths sells bin-liners which claim to be “degradable”. But P found a paper from MIT showing that over 3 years in all sorts of conditions, those bags degraded no more noticeably than normal plastic bags. That false advertising is unforgivable. Not only are people paying more for a product which they can’t check the validity of, but that company is cheating our society of doing good. And if real bio degradable bags become available, how will we know that they’re real?
Recently, I also discovered that “free range” chicken meat can never be what I imagined it was. The demand for meat in our society is too great. We don’t have time to let chickens grow up with their Mums in any kind of natural way. They grow up under heat lamps in crowded barns. And then, at about 5 weeks old, if their feathers grow properly, they are allowed outside for a week or two before they are slaughtered. Illusion is a fine and comforting thing. Needless to say, chicken is off the menu. It’s my favourite meat.
I am getting to the point where I struggle to completely believe advertising or the media at all. It’s a scary way to live. But I think it’s essential. The news is hidden under layers of voices which, wittingly or otherwise, shape the way we respond to it. The truth is never obvious.