The hollywood diversion

There’s a crisis in Ukraine, people continue to die in massive numbers in Syria, there’s a new web virus called “heartbleed” that can access your secure information, and over 190 recently passed away after a ferry crashed in South Korea.

But modern entertainment doesn’t believe important news like this belongs in the mainstream to inform people and foster a more educated worldview.

Sure, turn on the news (not eTalk or Entertainment Tonight- that’s not news) and you’ll get some facts.  The news is how I found out about the four items above, and is how I continue to ground myself in facts rather than frivolous content, like T-Swift’s new groundbreaking haircut.

People in North America are fed so many bits of information per day that the onus is on us to sort through and decide what is important.  So much of that information is irrelevant to our daily lives and distracts us from what we should really be concerned with.

Does the countdown to Kim and Kanye’s super wedding change how we see the world?  Unless you’re a superfan and have pillowcases featuring Kim and Kanye’s faces, I am inclined to say no.  Does reading “stories” about hollywood pregnancies and breakups offer us any information about government decisions and spending?  I really don’t think so.

I could go really far and say that governments use infotainment (the combination of real information and information used to entertain the audience) to divert attention from news that affects us as citizens.  When people are deeply concerned about the royal Prince’s recent outing and how he was considered a ‘bruiser’ by some in attendance, it’s easier to hide the facts.

But instead of calling hollywood a conspiracy, I’ll just say this: don’t let superficial, non-news keep you from asking questions and becoming informed.  Many Canadians still don’t understand the recent Senate scandal or know that Harper is providing 6 fighter jets and about 20 military personnel to a NATO operation in Eastern Europe.

If Canadians become complacent with being fed the “news”, we will lose our capacity to question what is real and what matters.  Don’t lose this skill, or we will lose our democratic advantage of an active and informed citizenry, and the government will go unchecked and unbalanced.

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