I’m tired of sensationalism.
With the advent of social media and the internet superhighway it seems as though nothing is off limits or out of bounds. In approximately 7-10 seconds you can type anything–literally anything–into a search bar and get all sorts of results. These results that you receive can vary in format: video, pictures, or articles and can come from a wide variety of sources. These sources are hungry for your clicks and will do just about anything to attract you to their content.
You see it all the time–whether it’s a scantily clad woman (or man), a risque or explicit story, or a horrific act of violence, the media delights in acquiring various types of bait and with tantalizes us with attractive lures such as:
“You Won’t Believe What Happened To This Woman After Her Husband Caught Her CHEATING.”
“Ten People Who are Dumber Than They Look.”
“These Victims Passed Away In Gruesome Ways: Number 4 Made Me Squirm.”
Sound familiar? We often refer to these lures as “clickbait” but the truth is we consume and become fat with the fear, violence, and lust that comes at us from all angles through advertising, appeal, and the evil in our souls.
The most recent form of clickbait has come from the grave and the deepest darkness of a man’s heart. Yesterday on Easter of all holidays, Steve Stephens of Cleveland gunned down 74 year old Robert Godwin in cold blood and filmed it on Facebook Live. He then went on for close to twenty minutes talking about other people he killed as the feed rolled on and on. The video stayed up on Facebook for several hours before it was taken down.
By then it was too late. Hundreds of sources embedded the video and broadcast it to the masses, wielding attractive headlines such as “Shocking: Man Gunned Down on Facebook Live. Viewer Discretion Advised.” Of course this title was not meant to dissuade anyone. It’s as ludicrous as Budweiser telling its patrons to drink responsibly when we all know they want us to drink our guts out.
On cue the masses flocked to these sites to watch the murder, boosting revenues and feeding the hunger that rests in the darkest part of us all–the desire to see bloodshed, the thirst to explore the consciousness of a deeply disturbed mind.
It’s no different than the Romans and their “bread and circuses” mentality. Stuff the people with food, entertainment, and violence so that they forget–forget how to love, forget how live, forget how to feel. Nothing is sacred anymore–nothing is private. Gone are the days of respecting secrecy and silent mourning, gone are the days of blissful ignorance. Everything is now in the open for all to see and consume.
So what do we do in this open information age? First, it’s vital that we keep our eyes on what is truly important: our faith, our families, and our attitude towards others. Second, it’s necessary that we adjust our perspective on the world and understand the broader picture.
Don’t become a victim of sensationalism. Don’t flock to sex, violence, and the darkness of the world like sheep who consume whatever grass their led to. Be sober and vigilant.
Pursue the light.