Mardi Gras is over, and spring festivals are on everybody’s agenda: from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon to the Top Taco festival, Bourbon Fest and Bean Madness.
I’m kind of glad we’ve put Mardi Gras behind us because, for one, I’m tired of seeing pictures of debutantes, krewe kings and queens, and Mardi Gras ball photos.
Everyone certainly likes to see their name and photo in “the paper,” and it occurs to me that maybe instead of publishing a magazine about musicians, we should put out a magazine that’s nothing but photos of people at parties. That way, you wouldn’t have to really read or learn anything about the people who make the music and culture here; all you’d need to do is to look at eye-candy. The social scene is becoming more important than the news. If you don’t believe me, check out either of the local newspapers and see how many pages are devoted to the social scene versus news items.
Isn’t that what New Orleans is becoming: a place where you can drink to excess, party, not get too deeply into anything? Where and how do we put our efforts into educating people why New Orleans culture is important?
To be sure, American media is becoming more visual and less in-depth. Short blasts of information with photos or an accompanying shallow video are becoming de rigueur media. Who has the time, or will make the time, to actually read about anything?
We can watch as newspapers and magazines nationwide shrink in size and ultimately go online or go away altogether (trust me, there used to be a lot more music magazines!). And we can also perceive them devolving into advertorials or multiple advertising sections that have nothing to do with objective writing or journalism. Here’s a fact: No one cares if they get ink from a credible news source. After all, you can get mentioned in a friend’s blog or on a Facebook page. They just want to be a celebrity; they just want everyone to like them (thank you Facebook).
I bemoan the fact that there’s at least a generation and a half of people who don’t care about reading a newspaper, or a book, or a magazine; don’t know the difference between paid advertorial, journalism and “fake news”; or know they are being manipulated by “influencer marketing” instead of doing a little research on their own. Actually doing research on the internet is something the medium does pretty well, if you know how to sift through media, native advertising, infomercials, advertorial, blogs and social media.
Information overload has generated a generation of people who’ll believe anything they see or hear—not what they read. Does it take too much time to think?