Friday, July 12, 2019

Nonsense and the Internet

A retired journalist writes in the Eyes of the Believers column of the Catholic Times on the nonsense that comes from the mouths of politicians. They fear to be unproductive in the eyes of the citizens so the continuance of the nonsense, one type of nonsense gives birth to another and it becomes a parade.

This nonsense talk just flows without much thought. Words in politics can give life and can also kill. That has been the case both in the East and West, past and present, and it is just the way things are.

What is the reason for this kind of talk on the part of politicians? Low-level thoughts in the minds of politicians come out of the mouths without checks. Thoughts are the house from which our words come forth. Of course, there are a lot of cases in which politicians with the slip of the tongue cause consternation. But such statements also come from a lack of refinement in speech.

Secondly, they often intentionally speak nonsense. Politicians have to gain access to the minds of the citizens. In polls, "popularity" (support) and "awareness" are clearly different in character, but this comes first before the work. It's necessary to make themselves known to the public, be seen and heard.

Intentionally calling attention to oneself with nonsense often comes after the start of new political programs or before important events such as the general election or the presidential election. This is because it not only increases the awareness of politicians and political forces but also is effective in the mobilization of support groups.

The third is due to the problems arising in human society recently based on the above two causes. It is a rapidly changing media environment. Social media as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. (as well as SNS in Korea) are all subject to more subjective 'customized' approaches than traditional media such as newspapers and broadcasts. Tastes and beliefs are more important than objective facts or truths.

The writer has mentioned a number of times in this column a fact we may tend to forget and that is those who are presenting us with the information are often more interested in getting clicks for that means more profits. And digital media users more than facts and truth are looking for what pleases them and looking for what will confirm them in their bias. England's Oxford dictionary calls this period as the era of post-truth.

YouTube is subjectively customized and global users will be focusing on YouTube in the future since it is the strongest of the internet giants. With the expansion of digital media, we will have more abuse of the media with false news and hate news

Digital media, a representative model of digital capitalism, brought new worlds to mankind with creativity and technology, but side effects came along with the expansion, fake news, and hate news. The adverse effects of digital expressionism surrounding race, religion, ideology, generation, and sexuality have already caused many conflicts,  violence, and polarization in many parts of the world.

Politicians' nonsense talk grows like poisonous mushrooms. In the past, we used to say people made books and the books made the people. We can change it today: we make the digital media and the media makes us. Today we make some efforts to complement and control the adverse effects of digital media, among which the consensus among experts is the need for media literacy, especially for the users. It corresponds to efforts working for world peace. And the writer concludes with the hope that the church sees the need for media literacy and gets involved with programs in churches.

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