Tuesday, February 13, 2007


If I could sing the title of this blog to you ~ which unfortunately I cannot ~ you would hear my one-woman rendition of the blended tones of the cast of White Christmas heralding nature's greatest winter gift ~ that's right, SNOW!

Today finds Leon and I tucked in at home enjoying an inside view of the white powder drifting down ~ and it's still coming!

It was one of those excellent days ~ 8 hours of productive time in the home office, challenging yoga practice, soothing hot chocolate ... and now, time for blogging before preparing dinner.

What am I thinking about this evening? (Aside from wondering why Katie Couric's eyes look so bizarre on tonight's evening news ...)

In my current graduate class, Media & Culture, this week is George Gerbner week. You might be familiar with Gerbner as the "media violence guy" ~ he has been tracking television violence for decades and is the creator of a theory known as the "mean world syndrome." Good stuff, provocative and worthy of chatter.

I just finished reading an article by Gerbner, Reclaiming Our Cultural Mythology (http://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC38/Gerbner.htm) in which he discusses how the systematic "homogenization" of media has caused a loss of the central story of society.

I am not entirely sure how I think about this ... just the other evening I said to Leon ~ and not in the positive way ~ "what would we be doing without the Internet?" By that I meant, would we know our neighbors better? Would we have our families over for longer, lingering meals? Would that stack of "must read" novels be conquered more rapidly? Gerbner suggests that we used to gather our sense of issues and society from many sources ~ and now he says we rely only on media that exists to sell things. He suggests that the effects on our future will be profound.

But what if the new media IS telling the cultural story? It certainly is different ~ and unlike anything that has gone before ~ but is it really that far off base?

Or is it that we are learning to share, receive, and respond in new ways? Without blogs, would I know as much as I do about my sister who lives hundreds of miles away? Would I care about the daily status of my friends if not for Facebook? Without new technologies, I would mindlessly learn about presidential candidates, whereas now Barack Obama's site asks me to create my own blog to respond to his platform ...

As with every age, we need to proceed with caution, but perhaps our cultural myth is alive and well ~ just online ... I don't know. It's a careful balance, I suppose. And there are times when I wonder about our common pulse as a people ... in my class forum I wrote,

"Does society WANT a story-teller? Or does society equate a central story-teller with a loss of diversity? How do we tell a grand, sweeping cultural story in today's America that (seemingly) demands total devotion to concepts of diversity (and by association) autonomy? Do we have a cultural meta-narrative yet to tell?I think we do. Disturbingly, perhaps media IS telling us the story of our culture. Do we like it? Are we content with it? Those are different questions."
Just the musings of this wintry night ... I think I'll go prepare that supper ...
Onward & Upward!

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