Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Calling Out Controversy
Why are some unpleasant words, topics, and behaviors labeled controversial, while others are not? Who is truly in a position to define what is, and isn't? Controversy is simply a method of stimulating & directing interest – i.e. public attention – towards a particular subject. In the wrong hands – minds, I mean – what's considered controversial becomes nothing more than a form of propaganda, and a tool to re-program the thinking of the general population... usually to sell a product, concept, or belief.
I'm not advocating an anything-goes approach to social customs and behaviors. (Not that it matters either way how I feel in that area!) But, looking at things honestly, without any agendas to push, there seems to be a frequent double-standard regarding what is controversial, and when. Also, hard-labeling any specific word, phrase, or activity as such mostly serves to increase, rather than decrease, its appearance. At the same time, our shared understanding of it/them diminishes, magnifying the air of confusion that surrounds so much public opinion.
Instead of calling things controversial – essentially telling people how to feel – it would be interesting if the media simply reported on things as they were, and allowed the public to freely come to their own personal conclusions about the subject(s). I'm not focusing on any particular “hot topics” for a reason. Racism, feminism, police, politics, profanity, so on, and so on. Whatever form it takes, controversy follows a common thread: its favorite food is ignorance, and its existence is sustained entirely by the consistent, and continued, submission of attention.
Let's pay more attention to what we're “paying” attention to!