Saturday, September 03, 2005

Scripting the Disaster

As I was reading this story, Kanye West's Torrent of Criticism, Live on NBC, I was struck by how managed our media input is.

The story says that one guy spoke his mind/heart instead of sticking to the script. And look at the fuss it caused.

Take that story to another level, to how the government and the PR firms and media spokespeople are responding to the hurricane and its aftermath with their normal, predictable drivel. I have been watching with great interest how this disaster is being played out through communication channels, and what that says to the big picture.

What I see copious amounts of is our being unprepared as a nation for handling bad stuff. The mind manipulators have done a massive and splendid job selling the war against terror (whare are those weapons of mass destruction?). People are so freaked out of their minds over all that fear, played out 24/7 in our media. A natural disaster comes along and puts us into overwhelm. In and of itself, a hurricane is a terrible thing to have to endure, but then toss it into a backdrop of a populace cultivated since 9/11 on a steady diet of terror mania.

The war on terror is a fear-based mind game. The Prez continues to sell the idea that some evil doers are gonna get us. And the cowboys will prevail if we keep on throwing money at the problem. The continual hammering on this theme (life as a Stephen King horror story) creates a mind set through which everything else is filtered.

As I listen to CNN coverage of Katrina nearly a week after the actual storm, I see blended into the news reporting a steady stream of soap opera semantics. We are not prepared for disasters like this in large part because we have no psychological preparedness.

I keep thinking about all the lessons I have learned from studying near-death experiences. This body of information contains a great big picture presentation on some of life's basic questions. I am convinced that part of the reason that Katrina has been so devastating is that so many people, including those who are sharing the story in our media, have no big picture framework.

Hurricanes are bad enough, but people who have prepared themselves emotionally for life's struggles can handle the huge hit much better. They are not as consumed by fear and can think more clearly about the needs at hand.


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