I was watching a show called Extreme Engineering and often there are unexpected problems. It is stunning how often major complex campaigns are held up because of a small oversight or fault. So I was thinking of how often the show pumps up a problem into a catastrophic failure when 100% it has turned out fine. I realized that either the people who watch the shows like the rush of emotions, or the media conditions us to like it.
Probably it is a bit of both. I like watching shows that show the technology or science behind things like Mythbusters, Frontline, Nova. I guess part of it is needing to fill the half hour or hour format of a typical show. I often feel that 90% of documentaries are just filler. Things that are not really important to the show or of interest to the viewer. I wonder why media feels it is necessary to take up space? I guess that some people don’t like silence or that silence doesn’t sell. Don’t you feel sometimes that media and those who use the media take a buckshot approach to life? Rather than focus like a laser on what is important to the audience, they try to please everyone and end up pleasing no one.
So I think we are drama junkies. No matter how much we say that we look to media for information I think that it is equally important that we vicariously live through the experiences of others. I think the reason that violence and tragedy sells papers is that we feel reaffirmed that our wise choices mean we have a better life. Perhaps its just as much chance that gives us a good quality of life than our wisdom or intelligence.