Another Murder, Another Bar of Soap

By: Jon Henshaw, M.A.

When tragic events occur on television, people are often more titillated than disturbed. There is a degree of excitement that one experiences seeing and hearing about events involving rape, murder, and war. How else can you explain the obsession that many people have with CNN or MSNBC during a devastating event?

What is even more interesting than our obsession of tragedy played out over the airwaves is the constant transition between the programming and the advertisements. War in Iraq, buy our car, call our singles line, eat our cereal, rapist on the loose, buy our soap, feel better with our drug, lose fifty pounds, wash your hair (with our orgasmic shampoo), a village was just slaughtered in Africa, eat our greasy fries, look good with our makeup because you deserve it, and so on. There is a numbness that has set in; desensitized, passionless, confused, a loss of meaning.

We have an unhealthy relationship with television, consumption, and with mass media in general. We spend our waking hours going to work, eating, sleeping, buying, and info-taining ourselves to death. It would seem that very few of us take the time to pursue intimate relationships, read books, learn new things, and live creatively. Instead, we seem to pacify our lives by offering up hundreds of thousands of hours to counterfeit realities, exaggerated dangers, misguided truths, and empty (commercial) promises.

It' s my belief that many people feel stuck in their lives. They feel like they' re moving forward in time, yet standing still; even evaporating themselves - away from any sense of meaning or purpose. It is a place of having everything, yet having nothing.

I encourage you to rediscover life again. Get rid of your cable, turn off your television, and spend time with your spouse, your kids, and your friends. Hang out and drink coffee or tea, talk about your dreams, rediscover intimacy, and begin to think again. There is a veil of chatter and noise that keeps us from experiencing life, meaningfully. The first step is to wean yourself from the distraction, and to start to taste life again. Soberness will replace titillation, and clarity of thought will take the place of complacency. And no longer will murder and soap intertwine into a confusing, misleading reality.

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