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Posts tagged ‘sociology’

Entitlement–a surging sociological disease

I’ve moved into an apartment in downtown St. Petersburg, and I noticed something odd. Notes–lots of notes left on people’s car windshields about where and how they park. Yes, I’ve received these notes, and so have many others. ‘Please park farther up,’ ‘please park farther back,’ ‘please don’t park here,’ ‘please park there…’

Let me be clear, there is no assigned parking in this area; it’s just a bunch of people feeling entitled to parking a certain way in a certain place for whatever reason and feeling even more entitled to tell everyone else how they should be doing it. Maybe it’s a psychological disorder–people with surging grandiosity complexes who have hallucinated a seniority system in their own minds, where they are at the top, that they believe should apply to all others.

Most likely, however, it’s just another sad, vapid display of entitlement. America is nearly crippled with this disease of entitlement. Screw welcoming someone new to the neighborhood! Let’s try to push them around so that they understand just how important I am, and that I am entitled to act like a horse’s ass, and they are obligated to obey me and agree that I am entitled to my self-appointed bullshit.

These are the same people who stand in the middle of the supermarket with their cart jackknifed so that no one could possibly get around them. The same people who talk on their cell phones as they are going up to the bank teller, expecting everyone else to wait for their conversation to end. The same morons who walk down a sidewalk with a group of friends side-by-side headed right towards you, expecting you to either walk right through them or stumble off to the grass to get around them, because they feel entitled to have you move versus stepping to the side so that everyone can walk freely at the same time…

Here’s the thing, I’m not interested. No, I do not agree that you are entitled to anything more or less than anyone else. Not for any reason. No, I will not treat you with increased reverence or even fear because you throw an infantile temper tantrum or demand some sort of un-earned and ill-deserved respect. Frankly, you and your banal antics bore me. It’s not unique, you know–you’re common. Far too common if you look around to this national epidemic of entitlement.

Another very sad side-effect of this disease, it makes those inflicted with it look small and maybe even a little slow-witted. Though they think they look important or scary. Sad. Perhaps there will be some treatment, cure or immunization in the future to save generations to come. Meanwhile, we must attempt to arm ourselves with the only defenses available: kindness, graciousness, hospitality and generosity.

And so, in the end, I will leave this infirmed individual to that parking space in question, in the name of courtesy–a trait that is far too uncommon in society today. Not that I agree that anyone deserves a particular parking space for any reason, but because it is simply generous of me to let it go and move along. And so I will.

New Media vs. Traditional Media — new take on “the medium is the message”

While sitting on the sidelines of today’s Suncoast Tiger Bay Club meeting, listening to local panelists discuss “Traditional Media vs. New Media,” it became crystal clear that Marshall McLuhan’s prophetic phrase, “The medium is the message” first published in 1964 had become a reality far beyond anything McLuhan could have possibly imagined.

The panelists for today’s Suncoast Tiger Bay meeting included Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times, Jeff Houck of the, Mitch Perry of Creative Loafing, Noah Pransky of WTSP 10 News, John Romano of the Tampa Bay Times and Peter Schorsch of Saint PetersBlog.

Our experienced panelists discussed issue such as predicting whether newspapers will still be politically relevant in ten years, with most of the panel agreeing that yes, though it might look different. Schorsch was a striking voice of dissent on this issues, stating flatly, “absolutely not.” Schorsch pointed out that newspapers are not economically sound and that the on-line publications The Huffington Post and Politico were Pulitzer Prize winners this year.

Largo Mayor Pat Gerard asked the panel a pertinent question in the wake of local newspaper layoffs and marked circulation decline, “Will the decline of local newspapers lead to the decline of keeping an eye on local politicians? […] How do we know who to trust?”

Deggans responds, “Trust yourself.” He continues saying that while “there is downsizing in newsrooms, you have the tools to determine how valid, how real and how important a story is.” Deggans explains that this isn’t determined entirely by the source.

St. Petersburg City Councilmember Karl Nurse posed the question as to whether media is making people more educated or more opinionated. Schorsch stated firmly, “More educated” He said, “There has been a 400 percent increase in talking about politics since 9/11,” where Schorsch credits social media as a significant reason why. Schorsch also contends that through the use of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the volume of national dialogue about all issues has increased. Yet, Pransky was less enthusiastic stating that he believes overall people are more opinionated based on blog postings yet more educated from traditional media.

Willi Rudowski of the Poynter Institute asked, “What is the benefit of speed over accuracy for democracy?” Deggans first spouted off saying, “None.” Then, he follows-up with a more complete answer, “Imapct.” When you are first, he explains, it gets you noticed, and being noticed affects your bottom line, and that’s important if you want to stay in the game.

Yet, I suspect that Deggans meant what he said the first time, “None.”

Romano expanded on this saying that while this is true, he believes that “speed is often destroying good journalism. Good journalism is comprehensive, nuanced and thorough.”

Schrosch had more to add to this, however, and this point was my biggest take-away from this panel discussion where “The medium is the message” became the true topic of conversation. And I’m not saying that because Schorsch pays me, which he does, but because I believe it to be true. I’ve seen it in action.

Schorsch replied to the question of the benefit of speed over accuracy for democracy citing Twitter feeds to help organize protesters in Tunisia and other similar stories to help gather, organize and inform the public via social media tools. “It’s about getting people organized versus the ‘right people’ organized.”

At this point someone interjected, “The news is different from social media.”

But is it?

Schorsch said that the power of new media isn’t just to inform. “You can use it to overthrow a totalitarianism regime. I want to be able to help overthrow a totalitarianism regime.”

And here, the medium surely is the message.

What does that mean? “The medium is the message” refers to the reality that not only does the content the medium carries affect society, but the medium itself plays a significant role in the story and in shaping society.

Media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are as much a part of the story as the stories they tell just as much as the newspaper, television show or cable news station is. Moreover, whether we are discussing traditional media or new media, the storyteller his- or herself also is the message.

Via Daphne Taylor Street. You may reach Daphne at

Published first on Saint PetersBlog:

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