Welcome to Deniable Plausibility, an informal exploration of the world of “pseudomedia,” how its destructive power is becoming increasingly pervasive in our society and how it is shaping how we think and behave in our daily lives. In other words, I’m going to use this blog as my medium for calling “bullshit” on the lies, semi-lies, half-truths, twisted truths, twisted lies, bent truths, irrelevant truths, relevant lies, misdirection, misinformation, sleight of hand, faulty logic and sheer idiocy that we are inundated with on a daily basis. I’m talking about the kind of lazy, ill-conceived, poorly researched non-news “news” stories you see on the Web on sites like Yelp or TMZ or even CNN.com. Or viral “news” stories or photos that the entire world is on fire about for a day or two before they find out it was all a hoax. The burning “controversy” that disappears the moment a new one arrives. Hours and hours of yapping to cover five minute subjects. Pseudomedia is also the robotic, uncritical parroting by supposedly “trusted” mainstream news sources of political doublespeak, corporate press releases, and public knee-jerk piffling from both sides of the aisle.
But it’s not just news media. Pseudomedia is also entertainment, comprising blatently fake “reality” tv, inane talk radio punditry, insulting tv commercials, infomercials for useless stuff no one needs, infotainment that is neither “info” nor “tainment,” edutainment in a similar vein, and pompous Oprah-esqe pedagogy.
In other words—pretty much everything you see and hear these days is “pseudomedia.”
All this idiocy is presented to us matter-of-factly as “real.” As “true.” And we buy into it. We love it. The trouble is that more of us used to recognize when politicians, PR wogs, Hollywood blood suckers, and other third rate con artists were trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Now the majority of us don’t even care. We purposely grow wool over our own eyes so we can have it there all the time with less muss, less fuss. In only half a century’s time we came full circle from believing what we were told in the nineteen fifties, to questioning what we were told in the sixties, to not believing anything we were told in the seventies, to believing in money in the eighties, to believing our own bullshit in the nineties, and all the way back to believing what we were told in the zeroes.
Now we’re in the “tweener” decade, though, and a new stop has been added to the cycle. Many of us no longer even know what a lie is. Or what truth is. All information is the same to us now. Everything’s debatable. We’ve gone past concepts like being “naive” or “cynical,” past “right” and “wrong,” beyond truth and lies. Now those are just ways to pass the time, roles to play, behaviors we imitate from TV shows. But they are roles we don’t even know we’re playing anymore. We’re just actors cold-reading dull dialog in the service of cliched plots. Who writes the plots? Who’s pulling the strings? Well, it’s not Vance Packard’s “Hidden Persuaders” anymore, the Mad Men of the 1950s who ushered in the age of public relations, behavioral market research, subliminal advertising and mass control by seduction. Those guys went from subversive threat to party conversation to glue of modern society in less than two decades. But now they’re invisible, impossible to find because we have long since ingested and digested them into our societal soul. Their influence exsts only in the same way that the breakfast cereal you ate this morning still exists. They are us and we don’t even know it. (or if we do, we don’t care).
The call is coming from inside the house.
In short, many of us have a deep seated desire for lies to be presented as truth, fiction as reality, sales calls as love letters. And this acceptance and denial of everything is turning us into something less than human. We are becoming domesticated livestock, prefering to have our milk squirted into a bucket by roboatic hands than suckled by our own young.
And to tell you the truth, the only way I can cope with the oncoming Idiocracy is to explain it to you as I see it. Bit by bit. Randomly. As it comes.
I didn’t choose this subject because I think I’m smarter than everyone else. To be honest, I chose it because the sources of inspiration will be virtually limitless—pseudomedia has become so blatantly stupid that pointing out the stupidity will be like shooting fish in a barrel with a sawed off shotgun.
And I’m all about the easy.
Gotta run now. That DVR of “Jersey Shore” ain’t gonna watch itself!