I heard recently that the average Westerners is hit with 50,000 images a week --- if that is true, then someone out there is takin' part of mine. Not all of them, mind you, but some of them -- I get my own overload of the media without trying at all.
What I have noticed lately, besides the fact that I am on the Internet more now that I retired, is that I cannot escape the images, put forth by the media -- slinging at me what they consider news worthy --
Come on. Tiger Woods can't even be unfaithful to his wife in private?
I used to use a software program for my email. When I bought two new computers, a desktop and a laptop in the last six months, my brother convinced me to just use the email from the Internet.
Brother: Why do you need a program?
Me:I dunno. You set it up last time.
Brother: You don't need it. Just use the Internet. It's faster.
Me: Okay. I need fast mail. I do. I need to see quickly that you don't read my emails.
Brother: Don't mock.
My carrier is ATT -- so now when I open my email, there is always an advertisement and news from the Internet.
Sometimes it's as lame as "Look at what Sharon Stone is wearing," but sometimes it's a more impacting image --- a starving child in Africa, a bombing in Baghdad, or a video clip from some disaster. Those images hit me sometimes as many as five times a day --- when I check my email. Sometimes it's the same image over and over -- sometimes it's a different one -- but they all have one thing in common -- someone out there thinks that I need to read this, or someone out there thinks I should.
What do you suppose that person looks like?
These are the things I ponder.
Most of the images trash up my memory bank. I don't want to see these things, I don't like to see these things, yet I get to see them anyway.
Talk about Spam -- this is mind spam -- and there really is no Spam filter or delete button installed in my mind-- if I see it, it's burned into my memory hard drive whether I want it or not. Trust me, my memory hard drive is about full -- it's "bitten" out.
I know this is why all those years ago that my parents limited what we watched on tv. My mother had the foresight to recognize that she didn't want some stranger determining what images were embedded in my feeble brain. I have told you before -- one time, during the 1960s, our television was broken for two years.
Eh. It could have been six months, but I was young and exaggerated every thing.
Thirty years ago, there abouts, when I was first teaching school, I would chuckle with my students about the magazines and tabloids displayed by the grocery checkout lines. I would complain that even if you didn't want to read National Enquirer or People -- you had no choice in seeing what was featured in their content free publications.
BTW: A friend of mine from high school would sometimes buy them -- National Enquirer -- bring them over to my house-- and we would take turns reading the articles out loud. We would laugh so hard sometimes that we'd cry --- tears streaming down our faces, slapping our knees, having to leave the room to contain ourselves...
one time, Jonathan left the Enquirer at my house, and I thought my mother would have apoplexy over it. She did not see the humor -- she only saw trash. That was not fun trying to explain what we did. I can still see my mother, her face set frozen with disapproval, when I tried to redo it for her, and she would try not to see the humor. My mother knew I had a sense of humor, but she did want it to be a little more sophisticated, I guess. I'm sure she was not happy that they misspelled "inquiring." LOL
The phrase "enquiring minds want to know" used to bring Jonathan and me to our knees in guffaws and snorts of laughter. We would read an article like "Duck People Colony Found in Texas" and follow it with "enquiring minds want to know" and then fall over laughing at it all. I would laugh until my face and side hurt, and we would beg each other to "quit reading, quit reading!!!"Jonathan, my good friend, if you are out there somewhere, here's to the memory...
Here are some of the memorable headlines from the Enquirer that I remember:
"Moth Baby Eats Mattress"
"Mother Gives Birth to Baby with Moustache: Looks Like Hitler"
"I Was Big Foot's Love Slave"
"Statue of Elvis Found on Mars"
"Kennedy's Body Found in Housewife's Freezer in Tuscon"
The way Jonathan and I would follow the articles with "enquiring minds want to know" was ....
kind of like how my aunts, when they were children in the 1920s, would keep themselves from falling asleep in church: they would flip through the Methodist Hymnal and read the title of a hymn and then follow it with "between the sheets." For example, "Come Thy Fount of Every Blessing" -- "between the sheets."
My aunt Ava said that part of the fun was trying to stifle the laughter. My aunt and I had the same sense of humor...
I remember thinking this was hilarious, but not quite getting the innuendo until I was older. If you are seven and you think, "He Lives" --- "between the sheets" is funny -- wait till you are twelve.
Anyway, back to school teaching, I taught journalism in my first days of teaching.
I can't tell you how much trouble a newspaper and journalism teacher used to get into for the articles published in the school newspaper, the content of which was ultimately the sponsor's responsibility.
I was young and naive, and I had a marginal sense about what I thought was appropriate or funny compared to what the other teachers or administrators [some of them hating the school newspaper] thought was appropriate or funny -- and I spent many times with the principal defending my student's editorials, articles, or columns.
Each time the newspaper came out, I was sort of sick the night before with anticipation as to what was gonna "overstir the stew" of the readership.
Regardless, our newspaper had a funny edge, and the sales of the newspaper stayed in the black,[most of the student body loved it] which was ultimately more important to the principal than the fact that one student satirized the student's homecoming theme or spoke out about the double standards of the school's dress code and the length of the cheerleaders' skirts.
Good times. Only not. I still have nightmares.
Kidding. Sort of..
I actually did two stints as newspaper sponsor --- I loved the camaraderie I had with the students -- crazy late afternoons trying to meet the deadlines and dashes to the printer where one student would find random clip art and place it on the mock up of the paper at the printer's. It was the first time I had heard of a smelt. I did some serious laughing with those former students, but I also did some serious ulcer growing.
*waves to Captain Jay*
Gosh, did I get off on a tangent.
Meanwhile, to my former journalism students out there --- those were fun days -- weren't they?
And I won't even get started telling you the stories of Journal Ball or selling ads during class. I should have been fired....
NSB: This blog's for you.