The world may seem grim, hoping for a pendulum swing to calmer days
In this age of Internet access, 24-7 television coverage and social media mania, on which I have become sadly dependent, it's not difficult to succumb to the idea that “the world is going to hell in a handbasket,” as my Irish mother used to say. Every facet of mass media hopes to be the first to draw clicks, viewers and posts and garner its share of the “Breaking News” ratings.
Communications in all forms have inundated our homes, our businesses and our mobile phones, delivering crisis reports of violence, anti-Semitism, family dysfunction or atrocities at the hands of the mentally deranged. Often, I find myself glazing over when it comes to alarming messages that make it appear that the entire world is dark and grim. I know that kindness is much more prevalent but sadly is not newsworthy in today's shock-and-awe environment.
Shock value is a powerful tool to emphasize a message, but I think it can also lead to message fatigue when it is delivered repeatedly by mass media.
For example, certain words considered alarmingly vulgar or forbidden in years past are now acceptable everywhere and met with a shrug. Graphic images of violence and mayhem seem to be more widespread; yet the shock value seems less compelling in a news-hungry milieu.
Examples of the tolerance bar being lowered are everywhere.
My personal desensitization meter kicked in during the dreadful Senate Supreme Court confirmation hearings. I eventually tuned out the ugliness and accusations and always wondered who had the time to research the validity of the scandalous claims.
It's been an interesting year on the Orlando Sentinel's Editorial Advisory Board. I've become more aware of local opinions on issues and have enjoyed discussions with my fellow board members. We are a multifaceted and multi-opinionated group and, thankfully, still friends.
My biggest takeaway from this experience in opinion writing is that there are many more good people in the world than bad, and I hope that the shock-value pendulum swings to the middle for those of us who crave confirmation of human kindness.
I've never considered myself to be an expert on any topic that stirred my opinionwriting juices this past year; I just know what makes my blood boil or my heart sing and am grateful to have had the opportunity to comment when the spirit moved me. Margie Sloane has an artistic photography business in Oviedo. This is her final column as a member of the Orlando Sentinel Editorial Advisory Board.