You have to wonder who’s in charge of deciding what the public want to know. Is it the media? The reading public? Academics? Advertisers? Does the capitalist, patriarchical, military industrial complex decide what’s splashed across the front pages of the world’s newspapers? Are the stories on tonight’s news really what people want to know?
If you are an average schmuck like me you probably believe that what you read or hear is more or less what you want to know. You don’t really think about it, just accept the fact that any time, day or night, if you want to know what’s going on in the world you only have to turn on the television or take a few swipes on your iphone, and there it is - the most important issues facing the world at that exact moment.
At this exact moment, of course, the most important issue facing the world is the birth of some chubby kid in London. No, it’s not the second coming of the Messiah. It’s not even a Baby X-Man, or Iron Man, an Avatar or Harry Potter, Jr. who might have a chance of saving the world from aliens, rogue asteroids, or climate change. It’s this century’s version of the Immaculate Conception. Immaculate, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, as: “clean, neat and tidy or free from flaws or mistakes.” In other words, boring and unimportant.
And yet, if you measured importance to the world in column inches and air time, the birth of William and Kate’s hefty bundle of baby royalty, is more important than the fact that Syria may be using chemical weapons in a civil war that has killed 70,000 citizens and forced children to live in underground caves to escape the bloodshed.
Or the fact that guns kill more children in the United States than cancer. Or that 800,000 children in Thailand work as prostitutes, with girls and boys as young as 12 forced to have sex with 10-15 men every day.
It feels as if we live in a word that is increasingly out of balance. The most inane, ridiculous, unimportant things preoccupy our valuable time, while all around us real issues are ignored. I don’t begrudge the royal couple a healthy baby. They are fortunate to be able to afford a $15,000 private suite complete with satellite TV and a chef. It doesn’t even matter that the new Duchess had her stylist visit the hospital before she appeared on the front steps with the baby bundle.
But do we have to hear about it every second of the day? Are our lives so barren and uninteresting that we choose to give our energy and attention to the one child who will never want for anything, instead of the child next door whose parents don’t have enough money to buy hockey equipment. Or the child in Arizona who just lost her father in the Arizona wildfires. Or a child in India kidnapped, raped, then left to die.
If each of us wakes up tomorrow determined that we will no longer let others decide what is important for us to know, we will change the world in that instance.
For a look at news and views not typically seen in the mainstream media ... visit the Alternative News page on the Pass Herald website.