The world may seem grim, hop­ing for a pen­du­lum swing to calmer days

Orlando Sentinel (Sunday) - - OPINION - By Margie Sloane Or­lando Sen­tinel Ed­i­to­rial Ad­vi­sory Board

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.

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