You have a choice.

 

So, my little interaction with Jon Stewart, which fed into his opening monologue on the 13 June edition of The Daily Show, has gone somewhat atomic in the New Zealand mainstream media. At the time of writing it is the most popular story on stuff.co.nz and it’s on TV3 news here. I have journalists befriending me on Facebook. I feel like the prettiest princess at the party (the fifteen minute long party).

A number of people have noted with varying degrees of bemusement, anger, and frustration that the New Zealand media is lame! They are time-wasters! They are embarrassing! Gah!

Yes, the media going into a feeding frenzy over a satirical clip about… New Zealand not having a lot going on. The irony is not hard to spot.

I’m going to tell you a secret. Lean in close:

The media gives to you what you ask of it.

The media is a reflection of our own society. Why do fluff pieces get so much play? Because more people watch them, which means more advertising revenue, which is how these corporations work. We live in a corporatocracy. Sorry to break the news.

Those that are angry at the media, at the system? You have a choice.

You have a choice not to consume. You have a choice to go and watch another channel, read another paper, listen to another radio station. You have a choice to go and get your daily news fix and commentary from other sources. There are blogs, there is twitter, there is the ability to access anything that anyone decides to put up on the internet.

And if you don’t like any of that? Go and create some content yourself.

You do not have to be a slave to the system. Angrily ranting and waving your fist at the TV, the newspaper or the computer screen does not benefit anyone, except maybe the manufacturers of blood pressure pharmaceuticals.

I had this conversation with my Dad once. He is not a ranty kind of guy but he was apoplectic about his local paper delving unnecessarily (in his view) into the private life of some celebrity at the expense of ‘real news’. I told him that if he really felt strongly he should cancel his subscription. And you know what? He did and I was very proud of him. I should note that my Mum was less enthused about this turn of events and the loss of her daily news fix and started her own subscription shortly thereafter, leading to a zero-sum outcome. But he made his point, even if he sometimes steals the weekend paper after Mum has finished with it.

You may ask why I stoked the fire on the Jon Stewart Daily Show story by providing interviews to all and sundry about this “non-event”. I will tell you why!

First – Getting to talk to Jon Stewart was fun and awesome and I am excited about it and like to talk about it with other people. That’s why I put it on my blog!

Second – I like being the centre of attention and have been waiting for my 15 minutes of fame all of my life. It has arrived and I am going to milk this bad boy for all that it’s worth. I am shameless. But it is honest shamelessness.

Third – I have no job. Once I finish my travels in August, I will be returning to New Zealand to cultivate a career that includes working in media, performing improv (both independently and with the wonderful WIT) and kickstarting a business teaching creativity and collaboration and personal development using improv techniques.

On this basis, I welcome any and all readers to my blog.

Please feel free to comment.

 

 

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About maximumbrooks

Christine is currently based in Wellington, New Zealand. She improvises regularly at venues around town and dabbles in other things that interest her. She likes mango sorbet, monkeys and, apparently, throwing caution to the wind.
This entry was posted in Travel, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to You have a choice.

  1. Robbie says:

    You have a choice to go and watch another channel, read another paper, listen to another radio station. You have a choice to go and get your daily news fix and commentary from other sources.

    Got to stick up for my employer here: Radio New Zealand, a national public broadcaster without commercial imperative, wouldn’t have touched this trivial nonsense with a bargepole (not in the news programmes at least). Tune in any time to National or Concert, people.

    That said, it’s been fun watching this develop from blog post to programme to media reaction to blog post. Nice fifteen, Christine!

  2. Steven says:

    I have to say I agree with you on the Jon Stewart point Christine. He has long been my favourite comedian and also a fantastic source of information. Fact: I learned more about the global financial crisis from watching him than from any other news source.

    I have loved watching this story unfold for you. It’s great to see you getting interviewed enjoying your 15 minutes. On the other hand, I have also been a little embarassed by the coverage here, It reflects on our basic insecurities as a country to care so much about what a commentator says about New Zealand. Especially when our relative impact on the rest of the world is exaggerated.

    So I’m all about you and Jon Stewart Christine. I think you’re rocking it, and you should milk it for all it’s worth.

  3. I reckon you must be up to AT LEAST 17 and a half minutes of fame by now Christine!

  4. It is a truth universally acknowledged that “The New Zealand media is lame”.

    Do we have a choice about that? Yes we do. I don’t watch tv in NZ or read newspapers. I only know about this story because I have this really awesome friend in the US and she updated her facebook status about this comedian she had been bantering with. However, I’m still waiting for the collapse of the MSM entertainment empires in favour of what I want. As it stands, my news vehicle of choice (the NYT) is on the brink of bankruptcy.

    As for the question of whether it is in fact New Zealand that is lame as it drives the media, this has a nasty inevitable logic. I can’t imagine – even in the trashiest tv station in the farthest corner of the American MidWest -that they would run a story “Comedian sends up the US”. This does reflect who we are. Do we have a choice about that? Hmmmm.

    Happy trails!

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