Sunday, 3 November 2013

Mass media-colonized small talk

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The domination of the mass media in modern society is seen in the fact that it has colonized casual interaction; and typically provides the material for 'small talk' between strangers and slight acquaintances - and in this respect small talk presents some of the greatest difficulties for a Christian who has made some significant progress toward curing his own media addiction.

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Small talk interactions are casual, easy, reassuring bonding-experiences precisely because they assume (without having to argue or justify) a common basis of fact and interpretation - we can flag-up a topic in a phrase, and then have a common basis for complaint, praise, concern or whatever as the theme of conversation.

Yet - because all the major mass media stories suitable for casual conversation have been polluted at source (indeed these are precisely those mass media stories which are most rigorously and coercively selected, filtered and seeded with lies) - casual small talk has become the most saturated with secular Leftism of all societal discourse.

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And this situation is irremediable, at the micro-level - because to attempt to correct the mass media perspective destroys the fact of small talk.

Such that if someone introduces a topic for small talk with a stranger or semi-stranger, then they do not want, and will be offended or repelled by, any attempt to 'correct' the bias, selectivity and lies which they have been fed and which they now believe.

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If you have ever tried to do this, you will know what I mean; and how counter-productive this generally is; the way that people - perfectly understandably and naturally - shrink away from 'correction' by a stranger, and are irritated by what they perceive to be subversion of the friendliness of small talk by 'preaching'.

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And yet, despite its poor reception - and despite its being often counter-productive, Christians are tempted to correct others in the context of small talk, since it seems so wrong to allow people to persist in dangerous or sinful misunderstandings and belief in lies.

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My feeling is that small talk simply is indeed a major arena of political correctness, and a major mechanism for spreading the sexual revolution, and the locus for the evaluation system of secular hedonic nihilism - but that all this bad stuff cannot be tackled by direct correction but only by exclusion of topics.

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I think we simply have to refrain from discussions of mass media stories in small talk; and that this is best done by genuine ignorance - but if (as is usual) we have indeed picked-up some awareness of current mass media big stories; then we must confess the truth that we don't really know anything about them and mistrust the sources - then (if possible) we try to deflect the small talk into the here-and-now: the weather, (non-malicious) gossip about friends and family, health, sports, travel experiences and holiday plans... the usual barber's shop/ hairdresser's stuff.

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There is, of course, an indirect (and more or less subtle) point being-made by gently but firmly refusing to participate in the ritual celebration/ condemnation stances approved by the mass media - and perhaps this point may be communicated to some people? - But most likely, most people will either be very mildly and temporarily irritated, or else will-not-notice that the conversation has been deflected away-from the mass media.

But some good has been done, however small, by each and every individual refusal personally to participate in the propagation and expansion of major mass media stories, and their always-evil perspective and implications.

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