I’d Like to Report an Assault

I love CNN.  If you added up the minutes, I watch more CNN than anything else on television, but they have to calm it down.  This is a screen shot from this morning, as you can see in the upper left, at 11:42 AM, eastern time.  If you’re someone with problems focusing, I recommend you avoid CNN because they’ve just got too much happening at one time.

1. There’s the time, and it changes about every 60 seconds.

2. There’s Kyra Phillips having a conversation with-

3. Kate Bolduan about a Congressional investigation.

4. Though you can’t tell, that box that says “news room” is flipping and flashing every 4 or 5 seconds.

5. Now we’ve got a news crawl with continuous but completely separate news items ranging from sports, world news, weather, entertainment, etc.

6. A headline and subhead describing the main story of discussion.

7. A video feed from Congress regarding the issue being discussed by Kyra and Kate.  In addition to listening to the discussion between the two lovely women, you can also hear audio from Mr. Lankford as he takes part in the committee hearing.

8. At the moment, this box shows the DOW industrial average, but it changes every 5 seconds to also show NASDAQ, Standard & Poor, and the current times in both the eastern and pacific time zones.

I’m tired of being told that kids or people today need this kind of multi-faceted stimuli because our brains are wired differently and we get bored easily by a straight-forward delivery.  I don’t believe it at all.  I believe that media have so many technological devices and capabilities at their disposal that they have over-saturated the screen and don’t know where to stop.

And if we want to play devil’s advocate and pretend for a moment that certain theories are correct, that our brains really have changed to the point of needing (instead of tolerating) the multi-multi-media form of information delivery, then I still reserve the right to ask why.  Our brains are still created the same way they’ve been for thousands of years.  We’re all cranked out of there the same way our great-grandparents were ejected from their mothers, so if there’s a difference in our cerebral wiring, it’s happening after we’ve been shot out of the cannon.  And if it’s post birth, then that means the changes are the effect, so what’s the cause?  The only answer I can see is that we’re parking our kids in front of the TV waaaay too much, and that’s what doing the re-programming.

61 thoughts on “I’d Like to Report an Assault

  1. I have an addiction to information. I don’t think it necessarily has to do with TV because I simply don’t watch much. However, I read constantly. I have a hard time just sitting. For example, in the car I used to read junk mail before I had my phone. It frustrates my husband because I can’t just sit…I have to read and often times will read while having a conversation with him. When I watch CNN I listen to the conversation but I am constantly reading the ticker. I also work more efficiently with music distracting my meandering brain. Like music is babysitting the part of my brain I don’t need for a project allowing me to focus. I used to do my homework to music and can concentrate quite well doing homework at sporting events. I often wonder if others are like me? I know my husband isn’t 🙂 Sorry, for such a long comment but your post obviously made me think!

    • apologizing for a long comment? oh, silly girl. i can’t work in silence. i used to fall asleep in the college library, face in my books, until i got a walkman (oh, how old!). you’re not alone in that respect.

  2. I don’t believe in multi-tasking…no. Multi-tasking means you do many things poorly. Focus on one thing at a time and do it right. I can’t write while watching TV, I can’t play tennis and read a book. I like to be in whatever moment I’m in without worrying about what I need to do next. It’ll be waiting for me when I ‘m ready to give it my attention.

  3. I once worked in Botswana in an hotel in the middle of the bush for six weeks. When I returned, my brain was blasted by all the sounds and visual information that I didn’t notice at all before I went there. I guess my brain just got used to the peace and soon after I returned, got use to the ‘noise” again.We’re very adaptable methinks.
    When we turned off our tv for good, my son and his friends formed a committee(architect, foreman,builders) and built a tree house.They also went bike riding, surfing, skateboarding and he’s learnt o play the guitar. so it was good for him. I miss it though, I love movies and especially the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff. Upside is I read and write a lot more. Wish I could watch CNN now ….

  4. I guess either I’m used to being overstimulated or I’m good at filtering things because the CNN assault doesn’t bother me. If I don’t want to know what time it is, I don’t look at the clock. I only really look at the section I want to look at.

    • i don’t try to look at the clocks, but it do feel the need to scan around to see what else there might be. and there are two clocks. how necessary is it to have two? thanks for reading.

    • you’re used to the overstimulation because you’re so young that it’s all you’ve known. you’re not old enough to have seen when tv was kind of calm. no blaring music and exploding footballs and fireworks – and that’s only to announce the score of the game.

  5. I don’t watch CNN (living in Germany…) but that screenshot gives me headaches already. I HATE websites that flash at me and move stuff around, too. And truedesignliving – you’re certainly right in your comment about us humans being adaptable! I’m just not sure if we should adapt to anything and everything. And certainly not without questioning.

    • oh, websites moving stuff around. oh i hate that. whenever i go into my e-mail, there’s a delay of about three or four seconds, just long enough for me to move the mouse over to the scroll bar so i can scroll down through my inbox. just then, the side shifts over, and an advertisement pops up right where the scroll bar was, and i end up on a travel agent website instead of scrolling through my mail.

      • GAH! I so hate that! The pop-up ads, and the ones with sound… when suddenly, some voice/music blasts out at you and you have no idea where it’s coming from. Normally just when you’re talking to someone on skype or listening to music.

  6. Wow that is a lot of media bling. There is no way people can focus on all those things. Please don’t do this to your blog I think my brain would frizzle. I knew a girl who wasn’t allowed to watch tv and she had a whole different thought process to the rest of us.

    • i’m hoping it was a better thought process. i’m trying to keep my blog simple but with a little extra on the side. if it gets too much, please let me know. i’ve always trusted your opinions.

      • It was a more simple thought process but also one more focused on the bigger issues as she was forced to read newspapers etc to keep in touch with the world.

  7. Simpler is better…the poor kids with ADD/ADHD are being assaulted in classrooms where “typical” students don’t even know where to look. Less is more….

  8. Actually, what they are finding is this type of stimulus is rewiring brains. My theory is within two more generations, males will no longer be able to sit and read. Then women will finally take over the world. You watch; you’ll discover women are creating all these shows and websites. 🙂

  9. The news screens like that just drive me crazy – I stopped watching channels like that a long time ago. (The craziness hasn’t subsided much but at least I’m not irritated)

  10. And this is why I have been TV free (seriously nada, zip..zilch) for over 2 years.. I felt like a hamster on a wheel I was on information overload..

  11. First of all, what bum me out the most of that your screen shot is that Kyra is limited to so little space – and that is a crime!

    I also have CNN on more than anything, but I don’t watch the ticket much – but rather listen more to the dialogue – well – unless there is a full screen shot of Carol, Kyra, Christine, Brooke, Zane, … or Robin and Susan at the HLN … just to name a few.

    Oh yes … too much TV for the young!

    • brooke might be my favorite. the one with the short blonde hair and glasses is kinda hot too. and allison kossick (sp?) with the long brown hair who usually is on wall street, probably my favorite. dammit. when will playboy feature “the women of CNN”?

  12. Goodness, that screen makes me think CNN expects all its viewers to be robots who can process stuff at milliseconds without blinking. I didn’t have a TV in my flat in Germany and it was great, got so many things done, wrote tons of stories and read more. Blast, why didn’t I stick to my TV-less regime…sigh. Temptation’s everywhere though…and the BBC does broadcast two of my fav. shows…

      • yeah, kids will do anything to drag their parents into the new millennium:) on the other hand, they could argue that parents should be firmer and not give in to pester power when it comes to TV sets, video and computer games:) Starting to grow more backbone right now…after I’ve watched the BBC news…

  13. An assault to our attention spans!

    I read an article not too long ago about ADD/ADHD and amount of TV a kid watches and grew up with. But it was on Cracked, so not very reliable. But it does make you question. I think the internet and all the tech in this “information age” is definitely altering our attention spans. I mean, not by a long shot or anything, but overtime, enough to rework and rewire bits and pieces of us.

  14. Ugh 😦 I’m old fashioned, and old, and I like being able to get into the nitty gritty of my news. Waaaaaay too much information at once. -runs away-

  15. Thanks for pointing that out. I’m always making fun of them for their excessive us of information overlays.

    Remember, when they had the Terror Alert up constantly? It graciously informed us of how panicked we should feel that day. It was always hovering around DANGER ORANGE. WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE. Mercifully, one day the graphic was gone.

    Another thing CNN does is get too dramatic. When JFK Jr’s plane was “missing,” CNN created a special graphic complete with somber music, and called their continual reporting: “The Search for JFK weekend”. As if he was just gonna pop up on some beach and go, “Hey, thank God you found me!”

    • search for jfk jr. weekend? wow. as if it’s a sporting event. “weekend.” like woodstock or something. i remember the event but not their coverage because i was on my way to a “reconnecting” weekend with my ex-wife. not ex at the time, but it was a weekend to figure out how to stay together. by the time we got back, we were sure we were done.

  16. Oh, CNN had continual coverage of the ocean around Martha’s Vineyard, where we would watch waves and occasional fishing boats for hours. The anchors would go to break saying, “And we’ll be back in a moment as ‘The Search for JFK Weekend’ continues here on CNN.”

    They turned it into this big event, where when a bottle washed up, the anchors got all excited, “A PILL BOTTLE HAS BEEN FOUND BELONGING TO CAROLYN KENNEDY! NO WORD YET ON WHAT THE MEDICATION WAS. BUT THE PILLS ARE APPARENTLY INTACT!”

    Like, hello. They’re dead, people. They crashed into the water.

    I remember it vividly, because like most hetero females I thought was hot.

  17. Good grief! Overload! Overload! Overload! When I was a child, there was only radio in Australia. Television only came in in time for the Queen’s Coronation and television sets were very expensive. The people next door rented one and my mother and I were invited to watch some of the Coronation ceremony – in black and white of course.

    We also had records – 78 spins per minute. I remember the new lighter vinyl ones coming in. They only went round 33 times per minute. After that, the even newer, smaller records with one song on each side that went round 45 times per minute. There was an Extended Play version of those that had two songs on each side.

    Transistor radios came in when I was an adolescent, along with battery-powered portable record-players, so music was able to follow us everywhere. It hasn’t stopped since.

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