on Jul 8, 2009
Yesterday the news reached maximum saturation levels with stuff about the death of Michael Jackson. I know I said I wasn’t going to write about it, but the question is driving me crazy:
Do people really care this much?
|The CNN homepage. The main story, and the first seven top stories are all essentially the same story. Is this really a picture of what people want to know?|
I’ve seen this effect before, where the news is obsessing over something that doesn’t seem to interest people. In the past I’ve always assumed it’s because I’m part of an atypical subculture and my interactions are limited to people who are just as screwy as I am. But the delta between observable interest level (zero, or even negative) and actual news coverage (intense and sustained) is so massive that I’m starting to wonder if the “atypical subculture” is actually the people who make the news. In general, most of our mass media and news comes from New York and LA. Maybe those folks are just a lot more interested than the rest of us. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the world really is riveted by this stuff and I’m simply a member of a deviant nerd cult.
Do people really care this much? Is this the central conversation around the water cooler and the dinner table? Is this monopolizing people’s thoughts like a space shuttle disaster or the assassination of a world leader?
I apologize for bringing this up while some people seem to be grieving, and I apologize again for bringing it up if you’re sick of it, but I really am puzzled by this disconnect.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.