AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for the Browns fans out there) is a lesson in who one pays attention to and who one does not pay attention to. The woman has consumed media in a way no one since Donald Trump did in the 2016 election cycle. I get why – she is utterly outrageous – massively good for a laugh. By being so outrageous she makes herself media fodder and hence she is everywhere…inescapable…ubiquitous. Unfortunately, a lot of people are not getting the joke.
We live in a sad age where simple media presence translates into credibility. Think about that for just a minute. The woman has an extraordinarily massive media presence for a mere House member. She has built presence with a series of incredible policy proposals. And yet those proposals have resulted in her obtaining credibility. Read those last two sentences again; I chose my words carefully. Somehow the incredible has resulted in credibility. That’s stupefying and perhaps a little frightening.
I am not one for restraining the media. I have always felt like the American people were generally smart enough to see through garbage like this. But….
Consider the smartphone navigation app “Waze.” I am addicted, I use it even when I am going places I have been thousands of times before. Why? Simple, In SoCal where I live, where traffic is such an enormous issue, it is an efficiency machine. My usual route could be backed up for any number of reasons, Waze helps me navigate around the back up. Less time on the road means more time doing more productive things.
But Waze has also made me stupid. There was a time I was quite proud of the fact that once I had been somewhere, I could always – always – get back there. My navigational sense was a bit legendary. But no more. When I am going somewhere I have never been before, because I am utterly reliant on the app, I do not learn where the place is in the greater scheme of things, nor do I truly learn even a route there for the app has taken me over dale and through vale to avoid jams 1,2, and 3.
I am beginning to wonder if social media has not had the same effect on our ability to consume information generally. Perhaps regulation is called for. Unless the media can exercise a little self-restraint.