Mixed Message

ttThis post will start as another jab at the editorial and proof-reading capabilities of the Moncton Times & Transcript, but it gets much more philosophical towards the end.  (This is one of the rare entries of mine where I actually know where I’m going to end up as I start to write.)

This is from the financial section (ha!  more like the financial 6 sq in.) of a recent T&T.  Many people nervously track the financial markets these days, wondering if they’re going to retire to Florida or live out their lives in a van down by the river.  So when they glance at the headline of the “At the Bell” corner of their paper, it’s not exactly reassuring to see that the markets are “mixed.”  I guess it’s better than “down,” but not as cheery as “up.”

But look closer – it seems that Murray Guy’s definition of the word “mixed” is different from, say, everybody else’s.  Mssrs Merriam and Webster think that “mixed” means, “combining characteristics of more than one kind.”  So there should be more than one kind of status for the financial markets covered in this report.  Yet the states of all of them are identical!

I’m not accusing the T&T of deliberately trying to frighten the populace; I’m sure this was just an oversight.  But it did draw my line of thought back to the topic of the last post.  The media, in general, prefer to report on bad, sensational, scary stuff, and even spin stories that might not otherwise be so, in that manner.  Not that I’m blaming them, either – they just, in the words of The Kinks, “Give the People What They Want.”  (Full lyrics appended.)

So why are we, “the people” like this?  Why do we prefer to hear about bad stuff over good stuff?  Is it some latent evolutionary thing where we are at our highest level of excitement when we are afraid?  In the book, Life of Pi, Yann Martel writes about how, despite the ideas of PETA, animals are actually happier in zoos because they’re not at risk of being eaten every single minute.  I’m wondering if this is true – perhaps people, and animals, PREFER to be constantly on edge.

Discuss.


Give the people what they want

Well, its been said before, the world is a stage
A different performance with every age.
Open the history book to any old page
Bring on the lions and open the cage.

Give the people what they want
You gotta give the people what they want
The more they get, the more they need
And every time they get harder and harder to please

The roman promoters really did things right.
They needed a show that would clearly excite.
The attendance was sparse so they put on a fight
Threw the christians to the lions, sold out every night

Give the people what they want
You gotta give the people what they want
The more they get, the more they need
And every time they get harder and harder to please

Give em lots of sex, perversion and rape
Give em lots of violence, and plenty to hate
Give the people what they want
Give the people what they want

When olswald shot kennedy, he was insane
But still we watch the re-runs again and again
We all sit glued while the killer takes aim
Hey mom, there goes a piece of the presidents brain!

Give the people what they want
You gotta give the people what they want
Blow out your brains, and do it right
Make sure its prime time and on a saturday night.
You gotta give the people what they want
You gotta give the people what they want
Give the people what they want
Give the people what they want
Give the people what they want

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4 Responses to “Mixed Message”

  1. CM Says:

    Ray Davies 1981.

    Never knew you were a Kinks fan too.

  2. CM Says:

    “One from the road” was my first (non KTel) record.


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