Tag Archives: Media

The day that everything changed

4af416d7e9966New-World13 years ago something changed in the world.

I remember arriving home (in Portugal) to have lunch and seeing the images of the attacks in the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, and I didn’t quite understand what was going on at the time (I was 11 years old). I remember having this feeling of sadness, the shivers down my spine. I understood that a lot of people died and a lot more were suffering.

As some of you know, both my Bachelor’s and my Master’s degree were in International Relations. It was almost impossible to be a student of IR and not talking about this particular event. I remember discussing how it affected the world, what changed. We analysed it, talked about it.

Unfortunately, I think it was the first time that the USA felt that it could be hit in its own territory. The feeling of being safe ended, and the war on terror started. Since then it has spread to other countries as well, however this expression hasn’t been used in a while and has been substituted for others more “friendly”. All of a sudden, terrorism was being used for almost everything, and I feel that it still is like this, at least a bit. Many wars were fought and many lives lost because of this. Are we any safer now?

This is a controversial topic, I know. And it will be for many years to come. My opinion is that many mistakes were made in past few years. But I don’t disregard the effectiveness of several decisions… What I often think is how many terrorists has this war on terror created? And how many has it destroyed? It is hard to know.

And I must say that it is one of those subjects that I honestly don’t know what to think about… What do you think? Do you feel safer now?

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The “why”, not the “what”.

I was thinking about writing something related with Christmas, since it is only one week away. Several ideas crossed my mind, but they seemed so over-explored that I didn’t want to be another person that writes about it. I also though about addressing the “Mayan apocalypse” and, again, it was so over-posted that I refused the idea. Then, I though about why I wanted to write about these two subjects and I realized: because of the quantity of information there was written about them. So I figured, why not join both? I want to address the “why” not the “what”.

Since many of my friends are leaving for their hometowns this week, I tried to meet them before they go. As a joke, I kept saying to my friends “Merry Christmas or happy end of the world, depending on the case”. Of course, they all knew what I was talking about: the 21st of December. Then, it crossed my mind: they all knew because of the media.

I ended up thinking about the influence of media on our life. The media plays a major part on the formation of our opinion, and it’s up to us to choose what is true/right or false/wrong. In the past few weeks, we either heard about the “end of the world” or Christmas. The sites about the two subjects are numerous, the TV programs are filled with stories about them and other sources of media are also referring them.

So, is it good or bad to have access to these huge amounts of information? Well, both. It depends of what you do with it. Being a non-believer of the end of the world on 21st December, pretty much everything that defends the “prophesy” passes me by without doing any harm. Sure, I talk about it, but it will be a day like any other. But, for some people, the amount of information can be overwhelming and can bring consequences. For example, it is believed that more or less 3 million of people (“preppers”) are preparing for the end of the world. And, of course, there is a TV show about it.

Well, and about Christmas… Every year is the same thing. The commercials start in November and the Christmas shopping follows. I’m a major fan of Christmas, but I consider that consumerism is over the top. In the past few years, the Christmas commercials stopped being only for kids and slowly started to introduce several products for adults. Again, even if not on purpose, people tend to more quickly buy a product if they already saw it on the advertisements.

So, Media. Yes, they do influence us. It is up to us to choose not to go down that path.

To finish, I would like to invite you to visit two very interesting blogs: http://ricardolopes.net/blog/ and https://ujhelpshimself.wordpress.com/

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