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  1. #1
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    Default Newspapers, Sensation, and Freethinking

    Newspapers, like fashionable shirts and sweet-smelling colognes, are carefully crafted to appeal to the sensational needs of its readers. Often, this is accomplished by constructing a paper that is presentable, uses large splashy fonts that get the reader's attention, has sensationally-luring headings, and pictures that are emotionally provocative. The content (if we can call it that) is also sensationally-rigged, riddled with catchphrases rather than careful critical analysis in plain English. This mastery of excitation, which is pursued by newspapers and critical for stimulating popular demand and consumption of its stories, is especially effective when catering to sensors who comprise 70 percent of the population. With the technological innovations afforded by the communications revolution, the shrinking of spacetime from globalization, and with sensors comprising the majority, the way in which ideas and stories are presented becomes more important than the ideas themselves, given that the newspaper is driven by the bottom line. Yet, at a more sophisticated level of society, a strata which is more cerebral and skeptical in nature, these adornments, with their appeal to passion, the senses, and emotion, become comparatively more superfluous, though by no means forgotten. What becomes increasingly important is the capacity to tickle the reader's intellect in a way that puts the newspaper ahead of its competitors who are targetting the same group. Here the sensation takes new form. The sensation may be in the way a pundit glues all the details together into a coherent whole that makes the thinker think: Aha! Still there is arousal and excitation, not in the form of an appeal to the senses and emotion, but to the intellect. But what about to the freethinker who is beyond any emotional, sensational, or intellectual seduction? Does such a god-like person exist? If so, what would be the newspapers' tools for getting this person to buy their papers?

    P

  2. #2
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Provoker View Post
    But what about to the freethinker who is beyond any emotional, sensational, or intellectual seduction? Does such a god-like person exist?
    No. If my type of perfection doesn't exist, neither does yours.

    Quote Originally Posted by Provoker View Post
    If so, what would be the newspapers' tools for getting this person to buy their papers?
    Sex.

    Last time I checked, N's and smart people like it too. (I love putting the hug smilie in the NT forum ...)

    Or maybe lots of crossword puzzles ...

  3. #3
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    PeaceBaby,

    That was a valiant effort. Unfortunately, it hardly makes it past first base (sensation), let alone to some of the higher appeals such as intellectualism and beyond. More sex appeal? I am less likely to buy Peoples Magazine or a Pornographic Magazine than I am The Economist, thus this directly contradicts your thesis that more sex appeal will be more effective for getting freethinkers to buy their papers. Crosswords? Not necessarily, the freethinker is likely to be indifferent to facts he deems not worth knowing, and crosswords are typically filled with such frivolous drivel.

    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    If my type of perfection doesn't exist, neither does yours.
    This is a thoughtless assumption. Different things exist for different people. Unfortunately, those who can't see past their own noses are slow to understand the perception of the other side, but such perceptions do exist. To put it bluntly, if I'm using a hockey stick and someone asks, "how do you like the curve on that stick?" I say, "it's perfect," meaning that it completely meets my standards of how a curve on a hockey stick ought to be, who are you to say this "perfection" doesn't exist? Maybe not for you, maybe you've never experienced it, but it does not follow that because you haven't experienced this perfection that it can't exist for others.

    Smiles. Incidentally, I was hoping from the original post that someone would make the argument that for the god-like thinker nothing would be new and thus news would be irrelevant.

  4. #4
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    You know just yesterday and earlier today I was pondering upon similar issues in regards to the effects of TV on in-depth public discourse; in wake of my light readings from The Daily Show and Philosophy.

  5. #5
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    The newspapers? They do target marketing...

    In other words, they don't try to appeal directly to the intellect, instead they tailor to our other needs.

    Imagine yourself opening a paper... which sections do you read? It should require no thinking... something that you can tell me in 2 sec because those are the sections you read... and the ONLY sections you read unless you're bored out of your minds and got nothing else better to do but read the rest.

    e.g. You buy the newspaper to get world news... you don't buy to "educate" you. The intellect doesn't feed on newspapers... you're better off with books or perhaps specialized magazines but not newspapers.

    Sensationalism for newspapers are very on the surface. Enough in the headlines to get you to buy. End of purpose.

    It's been so taken for granted that's what newspapers are that you wouldn't even know what is "a bad paper" unless the thing is full of mistakes, typos etc. Much like how conventional telephone services can be crappy as hell but nobody switches companies.

    Things need to start changing now though... because online free sources are taking over. Sensationalism isn't going to save papers.
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    I'm pretty sure there is a naked news program.

    Or we could have political pornographic cartoons. Instead of "OH GOD!" inject "OH SCIENCE!" or some such.
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  7. #7
    HAHHAHHAH! INTJ123's Avatar
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    I don't think such a person would bring in enough business for the paper company to care. If they lose 1% in sales for not catering to this type of consumer it's not a big deal. The main priority in the business should be geared toward appealing to the sensors.

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    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Provoker View Post
    That was a valiant effort. Unfortunately, it hardly makes it past first base (sensation), let alone to some of the higher appeals such as intellectualism and beyond. More sex appeal? I am less likely to buy Peoples Magazine or a Pornographic Magazine than I am The Economist, thus this directly contradicts your thesis that more sex appeal will be more effective for getting freethinkers to buy their papers. Crosswords? Not necessarily, the freethinker is likely to be indifferent to facts he deems not worth knowing, and crosswords are typically filled with such frivolous drivel.
    I was being somewhat facetious with my original reply. (Plus I was attempting cheekiness as NT's seem wont to do.) You took me too literally my friend!

    Let's assume your god-like person does exist - "the freethinker who is beyond any emotional, sensational, or intellectual seduction". Our current news machines feed off of the fears and desires of the masses and indeed rely upon it. And without a foundation of "seduction", your freethinker would be impelled by no outer force to participate in the dialogue of any news source. Since there would be nothing for them as an individual that needs satisfying, gratifying or placating. No motivation.

    But such a person does not really exist, and since intellectualism is not divorced from sensory seduction, we see all the Lexus and BMW adverts in the supposedly "higher thinking" newspapers ... clearly appealing to a certain elitism or income bracket.

    Quote Originally Posted by Provoker View Post
    This is a thoughtless assumption. Different things exist for different people. Unfortunately, those who can't see past their own noses are slow to understand the perception of the other side, but such perceptions do exist. To put it bluntly, if I'm using a hockey stick and someone asks, "how do you like the curve on that stick?" I say, "it's perfect," meaning that it completely meets my standards of how a curve on a hockey stick ought to be, who are you to say this "perfection" doesn't exist? Maybe not for you, maybe you've never experienced it, but it does not follow that because you haven't experienced this perfection that it can't exist for others.
    My assumption is not thoughtless as you assert nor is your explanation necessary.

    The gist of my comment, the essence, was that perfection cannot exist in an imperfect world. Regardless of your "perception". Unless you want to argue we live in a perfect world ... I'm game if you are.

  9. #9
    Senior Member LostInNerSpace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Provoker View Post
    Newspapers, like fashionable shirts and sweet-smelling colognes, are carefully crafted to appeal to the sensational needs of its readers. Often, this is accomplished by constructing a paper that is presentable, uses large splashy fonts that get the reader's attention, has sensationally-luring headings, and pictures that are emotionally provocative. The content (if we can call it that) is also sensationally-rigged, riddled with catchphrases rather than careful critical analysis in plain English. This mastery of excitation, which is pursued by newspapers and critical for stimulating popular demand and consumption of its stories, is especially effective when catering to sensors who comprise 70 percent of the population. With the technological innovations afforded by the communications revolution, the shrinking of spacetime from globalization, and with sensors comprising the majority, the way in which ideas and stories are presented becomes more important than the ideas themselves, given that the newspaper is driven by the bottom line. Yet, at a more sophisticated level of society, a strata which is more cerebral and skeptical in nature, these adornments, with their appeal to passion, the senses, and emotion, become comparatively more superfluous, though by no means forgotten. What becomes increasingly important is the capacity to tickle the reader's intellect in a way that puts the newspaper ahead of its competitors who are targetting the same group. Here the sensation takes new form. The sensation may be in the way a pundit glues all the details together into a coherent whole that makes the thinker think: Aha! Still there is arousal and excitation, not in the form of an appeal to the senses and emotion, but to the intellect. But what about to the freethinker who is beyond any emotional, sensational, or intellectual seduction? Does such a god-like person exist? If so, what would be the newspapers' tools for getting this person to buy their papers?

    P
    Oh, you mean like life? Or maybe the opposite of this place. Unless we get robots to tell the news there will always be a level of subjectivity and emotion. There are no decisions made without emotion. People would be so bored with robot newcasters/reporters that nobody would even bother to pay attention.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    The gist of my comment, the essence, was that perfection cannot exist in an imperfect world. Regardless of your "perception". Unless you want to argue we live in a perfect world ... I'm game if you are.
    I disagree. Perfection and imperfection are both perception-based. Thus, the world is neither perfect nor imperfect indepedent of human interpretation and evaluation. The world just is. As a result, inadvertantly your declarative statement, that the world is 'imperfect', is as much perception-based as the statement that the world is 'perfect,' since both imply that man is the measure of the world we live in. Therefore, my saying "the hockey stick is perfect in that it completely meets my standards for how a stick ought to be" is as dependent on perception as another's statement "that that hockey stick is imperfect because we live in an imperfect world." In this vein, perfection is comparable to other abstract ideals such as happiness. If you say, "I'm happy", am I in a position to say that this happiness cannot exist because I think the world is imperfect? That's about what your argument adds up to.

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