The No Substance Concept (from the Bad Times; Onlin newsletter)

THE CONCEPT: Today, we live in a world that has lost sight of life’s meaning.
Our society is more superficial and un-informed than ever before. Most of this
can be blamed on the media because more people than ever have the ability to
turn on a TV or computer, or pick up a magazine than ever before. With the
explosion of media outlets (more magazines, more TV stations, more computer
networks for public viewing, more widespread news papers, these are the true
fabric of our modern world) the accuracy and thus quality of our information
sources has declined drastically in the last 20 years and have become devoid of
standards. Because of this, most major industries have also compromised their
standards and we are left with products and information that have no substance
and hence a public that has a warped sense of value and a desperate longing for
meaning. Congratulations. There are more people hungry than ever before also,
more people who work their hands off without receiving a fair salary either, and
more people hoping and wishing for a better life instead of working together
toward a more meaningful society. Much of this of course is due to the
logarithmic growth of the world population. It is easy to generalize about the
absolute number of desperate people because the world population has never
been bigger, and we’ve never experienced such a disparity between the
privileged and the needy. Those in the middle of these two groups, the working
classes, have been declining in America and Europe because of cheaper labor in
developing countries. Hence manufacturing, middle-class jobs are nowhere to be
found in the countries that used to set the standards for working-class values.
Interestingly, these are also the countries that have the most sophisticated mass
media. So there are fewer jobs, but more and more cable TV channels and
internet sites to choose from that pacify and hypnotize people into a dream state.
That is to say that our minds are thinking of ways to live better, but our bodies are
inactive. So there is no way we will ever achieve our fantastic goals because we
are forgetting how to work toward a better life. We have become a society of
torpid dreamers that have not the means to live the privileged life we fantasize
about while we slowly sink into a new style of poverty. Due to the sensational,
absurd nature of most media and so-called "news", new standards are evolving
that encourage selfishness, lookism, separatism, and above all else, profit.
Whether you observe the most popular internet sites or the hottest TV shows,
these values are constantly being reinforced. By focusing our efforts on these we
have become a hopeless, sad race. We shun the education and worldliness
necessary to form meaningful social interactions. We fail to develop a sense of
common good which is essential to maintaining a peaceful society during periods
of runaway population growth. We have become a people with no idea what it
means to be alive, a virtual race. Life has become all obsession with no
substance. How can we combat such a tragedy? Well, we can start by buying the
new BR CD on May 05th, then we will talk. After that, we can spend less time
pretending to be social in the internet coffee-shop chat rooms, less time watching
Jerry Springer, less time listening to the Spice Girls and Madonna, less time on
the psychic friends network, less time having phone sex, and less time reading
pseudo-intellectual treatises on self-help topics and the coming apocalypse. This
could be coupled with spending more time interacting with real people, having
real sex, reading scholarly works and discussing them in some sort of meaningful
chat rooms or coffee shops, more time organizing people into work-groups for
social action, more time protesting the low standards that the media industries are
heaping upon us, and more time fighting for the benefit of the common citizen.
These are just a few of the activities that need to occur in order to reverse the
trend of the last two decades and gain back some of the lost substance in our