If you want to boil a frog alive you can not just throw it into a pot of boiling water, it will jump right out. First, you put it in a pot of cold water and you slowly increase the heat. By the time the frog realizes that it’s in danger, it is already too late.
We live in an age where the news can be reported as it is happening, media agencies are expected to have the fresh scoop on a story immediately. While this may have seemed like a novel concept at the dawn of the technological age, the classic 24-hour news cycle is now an all-out media blitz where the American media consumer is bombarded by a new world-changing story so often that they start to lose meaning. I started with the metaphor of the frog because the flame of chaos has been increasing for years in America and we have all become desensitized to it, no matter how hard we try.
In my sophomore year of high school I woke up to the news of yet another mass shooting on American soil, ironically enough I do not even remember what the specific shooting was. When I got to school my first-period teacher described to us a scene in her office that morning.
Teacher A: “There was a shooting this morning in____”
Teacher B: “how many?”
Teacher A: “eleven”
Teacher B: “Hm”
And they all proceeded to go back to work.
I can’t blame them because I do the exact same thing. Everyone does. While it is horrible that such a tragic loss of life gets brushed over so quickly, the increasingly frequent amount of tragic incidents has forced us to boil them down to the number of lives lost in order to determine their value to our collective consciousness. I do not want to seem like I am blaming the media for all of our societal Ills, it is a combination of a number of things that have caused us to be so desensitized to these dramatic events.
Last week I spent 24 hours recording every headline that I felt was noteworthy. In what was a notably hectic day for American journalism, these headlines surfaced:
National guard occupies streets of Minneapolis
A black CNN journalist is arrested in Minneapolis, on-air, for no apparent reason.
President Trump threatens to shoot protesters in the streets in a tweet which is then flagged by twitter for inciting violence.
President Trump vetoes effort to ease restrictions on federal student loan forgiveness
President Trump ends special US relations with Hong Kong
President Trump suspends entry and limits visas for Chinese researchers and students.
President Trump demands Republican National Convention without masks or social distancing despite coronavirus pandemic.
Each one of these could be it’s own frontpage full spread headline if we operated within a traditional media cycle, and a traditional presidential administration, and not in the midst of both a Pandemic and a civil rights movement.
There is not a whole lot I can say about this other than just point out the problem because the truth here, is that there is not just one answer. A number of things in this country need to be changed in order for us to return to the America that for lack of a better term, has it’s sh#t together. The best solution that I can try and offer up is to be aware. By pointing out when something important is being washed over, we as a collective can try and move to a more competent society. The water has been heating up for a while, and it’s clear that it is starting to bubble, the only way for us to jump out, is to wake up.
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