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ARTelevision 04-20-2003 08:35 AM

Mass Media Mind Control
3 hours/day of tv =
3 hours/day of radio =
3 hours/day of exposure to billboards and product advertising =
3 hours/week of movies =
3 hours/week of magazines/newspapers =
3 hours/week of commercial Internet =
3 hours/week of talking about media subjects =

the stats are no mystery.
add to or subtract from the above. arrive at your own numbers.

thousands of hours each year immersed in media.
living in it. not in the world.
when not attending directly to it, we replay it in our heads.
rehearsing movie roles, tv characters.
thinking about them.
fantasizing. fixated on them.
pop stars. celebrities. rock and roll idols.
supermodels. news anchors. people in ads.

trying to look like them.
trying to act like them.
repeating their words to ourselves.
thinking their thoughts.
we like to believe we can resist their hold on us.

we'll explore the subliminal issues later.
for now just look at the surface.
look at what's obvious.

Gebbinn 04-20-2003 08:39 AM

Try 6 hours a day of video games, 1 hour of tv, and about 3 hours a week of internet... no radio, I only listen to CD's. Most of my advertising comes from driving, and being deluged with thousands of bilboard, storefront, and other types of advertising, none of which I need or would use.

sixate 04-20-2003 08:40 AM

So what you're saying is we're all just a bunch of puppets! :D

ARTelevision 04-20-2003 09:00 AM

sixate, I'm not saying that, yet.
I personally never put it that way, but I know folks do infer it from the things I do say.

What I'm looking for first - before I introduce detailed evidence of how we are manipulated daily - is for us to examine our lives, our involvement in media, and the nature and quantity of the messages that pass through us. Finally, I'd like us to consider how these messages may be influencing us.

It's my impression that there is a lot of denial going on.
People like to believe they think for themselves.

CSflim 04-20-2003 09:12 AM

ARTelevision, do you think for yourself?

sapiens 04-20-2003 09:22 AM

While I agree that the sheer quantity of time we spend absorbing media can have an impact on our lives, I'm a bit skeptical about a lot of the research on media effects (Watching violent media makes us more violent, etc.)

ARTelevision 04-20-2003 09:36 AM


Great question!

I try very hard to do that.
Do I succeed?
No, because it is not possible to think for oneself in the conventional sense.
I believe it's important not to be deluded.
With my conscious mind, I pose questions about thinking.
I use my thoughts against themselves because I do not trust them.

What I am able to do is to stop all thinking.
That's a hard-earned skill. I spent a lot of years working on it. When I am being myself I am not thinking thoughts.
When I am thinking, my thoughts are the type of thoughts that pose questions.
One of the most frequent questions I ask myself involves this topic.

How much of my thinking is controlled, influenced, manipulated by media?
My own personal answer is most, maybe ALL of it.

m0ntyblack 04-20-2003 09:37 AM

Does reading books count? I read probably 40+ hours a week, anything from stephen king to stephen ambrose.


sixate 04-20-2003 09:52 AM

Art, I think I know what point you're trying to make. We are all infuenced by media and our environment. There's no way around it. Some people try harder than others to stray in a different direction. Easier said than done though. Let's face it. How many of us are actually that much different than our parents? We are all a product of our environment. I don't have a problem with that.

sapiens 04-20-2003 10:16 AM


Originally posted by sixate
Art, I think I know what point you're trying to make. We are all infuenced by media and our environment. There's no way around it. Some people try harder than others to stray in a different direction. Easier said than done though. Let's face it. How many of us are actually that much different than our parents? We are all a product of our environment. I don't have a problem with that.
I agree that our environment must be an important factor in our development. I also think that our heredity plays a big role. Regardless, media does influence our lives.

More generally, do you think that that the media plays a bigger role in the lives of TFPers versus the average person?

BudTheSpud 04-20-2003 10:18 AM

Media helps us learn, understand, and open our eyes to the world. While it has its faults, there are still positive things that media gives us.

ARTelevision 04-20-2003 12:28 PM

looking at what's obvious.
occasionally, for a moment at a time, pay attention to your thoughts. how would you describe them? ordered? rational? do they sometimes seem to be a big jumble of adolescent rambling, low-level bitching, self-criticism, obsessive-compulsive spontaneous repetitions of pieces of previous thoughts, parts of old scripts, generally negative self-image-wise? what could be causing this?

many hundreds, sometimes thousands of commercial messages a day enter our minds. do we have nearly that many ordered, edited, professionally produced personal thoughts in a day? do ordered, edited, professionally produced, manipulative commercial messages seem more coherent than our normal thoughts?

imagine one's self-image being molded from an early age by commercial messages, bits of songs, lines from movies, etc. one's self-image is a pretty deep part of oneself, wouldn't you say? how about what we think of others? does what we think of others seem affected, colored, influenced by commercial messages of what is the ideal way to be? do the commercial representations of the ideal way to be seem to affect our self-image as they do our judgement of others? how about what we think of the world and our place in it? affected, influenced by commercial messages?

cdwonderful 04-20-2003 01:16 PM

now I'm not sure if I ever have had an original thought.........

ratbastid 04-20-2003 01:45 PM

This is fascinating, ART, though I disagree with your premise that it's the media that gives us the disempowering quality to our individual thoughts and interpretations.

That voice in our heads ("What voice?" it might have just said for some readers) is negative, bitchy, critical, repetitive, and generally unhelpful, I agree. But what is it THERE FOR? Evolutionarily speaking, it MUST serve a purpose, otherwise we wouldn't have it.

I think it's part of a self-protection mechanism that's deeply wired into each and every one of us. A simple demonstration is: what would that voice say if you thought to fire up a burner on the stove and hold your hand on it for say ten minutes or so? Just think about that for a second. That voice gets real loud, doesn't it? "Oh, that'd be bad. I'm not going to do that! I'd get hurt! This is a stupid example anyway! What point is this guy trying to make?"

Consider that ALL of that is because the "it" in the back of your head ALREADY KNOWS what will happen if you put your hand on the stove, and it'll go to ANY length to keep it from happening, including rationalization, begging the question, self-criticism, and character assassination.

And when it comes to hot stove burners, we WANT that mechanism in place! It's looking out for us! It's appropriate! That voice is what keeps you from leaning out too far off the edge of the Grand Canyon or from jumping from building to building. It keeps you safe, just as it was designed to.

Problem is, we operate like it's the TRUTH. And then we apply that same mechanism to our relationships with other people and to what we believe about ourselves. All that negativity and carefulness and bitchyness keeps us isolated and safe, and at the same time costs us affinity, joy, and love in our relationships and our lives.

In short, I don't believe it's the media doing this to us. I believe we're doing it to ourselves.

Johnny Rotten 04-20-2003 02:00 PM

I think it's impossible to know how much of our thoughts are affected by advertising or how much of our world outlook is warped/formed by cable news outlets.

I also think that original thought is not a completely positive result. Whatever ideas you communicate have to carry a certain degree of familiarity. And I think more people than you'd believe actually just settle for fitting in. It's the artist's job to adventure into wierd and woolly places, while the consumer is mainly concerned with things like financial and domestic stability.

So the more original the artist's thought, the less likely he'll be able to get it across. And just because the thought is original doesn't mean it's useful. Not neccesarily.

ARTelevision 04-20-2003 03:48 PM

that's a great way to move the discussion forward.
I agree with you.
I would add that because we are made this way,
media operate by exploiting these natural mental processes.

They have always been exploited by those who wield power.

It is the weakness inherent in human nature that makes us vulnerable isn't it?

ratbastid 04-21-2003 06:57 AM

I notice the battle inherant in the way you're speaking about it, ART. Exploited, power, weakness, vulnerable.... It's clear you see this as an assault on something. The freedom of your mind?

I'd say there's nothing to defend. Our internal "process" will use anything it can to disempower us and turn us into negative, whining, homebodies. I think for some people it's louder than for others. For sure, though, you'll be thinking on auto-pilot whenever you're <i>not</i> thinking on auto-pilot, media or no.

There may be environments that are more conducive to the no-brain state you mentioned earlier. Being in nature, for instance, it's easier than being in Times Square. Could be that media and advertising has an impact there.

oane 04-21-2003 09:25 AM

It is pretty obvious what certain sections of the media are trying to do. I hope everyone here has heard of Rupert Murdoch(sp) boasting about his "capabilities".

The media is not about reporting. You can't even take them seriously for factual-reporting anymore. It's more than a spin. Almost sickening.

Thank god there is Google news. balances out things nicely. Can't remember when was the last time I watched "experts" on TV. That's probably a good thing.

ARTelevision 04-21-2003 09:43 AM

ratbastid, yes we see eye to eye, thanks.
Well, this is all by way of re-introducing some interesting research I've been doing in the area of how exactly some of this media mind control may work.
I'll be posting that stuff here soon.

gov135 04-21-2003 09:45 AM

This is one of the more depressing threads I've read in awhile cause I really believe people are being led around by their wallets.

I also believe that journalism has significantly declined in quality over the past several decades. This is because, instead of striving for an understanding on the topic being reported on, journalists instead sensationalize tidbits and half-quotes to arrive at a piece. The pieces are no longer point-counter-point, but seem to have a real agenda to them. This scares me.

I am also surprised how much media members, that call themselves journalists, have become so eager to be in the story, rather than letting it speak for itself.

However, with the mass-media thing, people subject themselves to the stream. Some nice posts about reading here, and even time spent on the internet in places like this removes you from the stream. If you can't remove yourself from it and therefore think cause you don't drive a Lexus and look like the male model on tv that you are a loser, well, you are a loser. And worse yet, if you feel you need a Pepsi cause some 18 year old hussy is pushing it, or you can't form your own opinion on an issue cause Rush Limbaugh says its another way, then your helpless.

Each person has the ability to turn off the stream.

ARTelevision 04-21-2003 09:46 AM

oane, good to have you on board. I hope the rest of the stuff in this thread holds your interest also.

Johnny Rotten, good point there about familiarity of thought being necessary to social communication. I do agree. Where I take this, however, is toward an excursion into our manipulabilities. I hope it will be info-taining !

Peetster 04-21-2003 11:47 AM

I know for a fact it works, too.

In the late '60s there was a store in Philadelphia, "Krass Brothers' Men's Store". Their commercials were short, loud, slapstick, cheap and incredibly stupid.

Yet here it is, 35 years later, and whenever I think about suits I can hear "Krass Brothers' Men's Store" screaming at me.

arael 04-21-2003 12:07 PM

Well i watch about 2 hours of TV a week. But use the interenet constantly and game/watch anime constantly... does that make a difference?

Sun Tzu 04-21-2003 12:11 PM

ART do you think its a bunch of microcosms in an ocean of opportunity? Or perhaps microcosms that accept the fact they exsist under a macrocosm in which there is no going against?


Slims 04-21-2003 12:14 PM

Ultimately, I think mass media just gives the masses what they want, rather than controling them. Before tv became so popular people had, what were they called? oh yeah, books. Which, for me, are far more influential than a television show. I get caught up in a good novel and relate to the characters in a way that is just not possible with tv.

So in my opinion, people (who read) are probably more influenced by their books, than by tv, and influenced in the same ways.

ARTelevision 04-21-2003 12:15 PM

arael, as I hope becomes more clear, the best feedback on this stuff comes from ourselves. I'm really asking the questions that I ask myself. How much does this stuff really affect us?
As far as I am concerned, the effect is total.
The way I see it, this stuff replaces our thoughts.

ARTelevision 05-29-2003 04:34 AM

Here's a start toward a controversial sub-topic.

We'll start it in a fun way...

Check out the pic and tell us what you see.


~springrain 05-29-2003 05:13 AM

this is unrelated to the above picture... but it's an example of how the media influences...

i am a child of the "wonder years"... i was raised with television as my babysitter... my best friends and role models were the cast and crew of The Brady Bunch, Gilligan's Island, Leave It To Beaver, Little House on the Praire, A Family Affair, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, I Dream of Jeannie, etc. etc. the list could go on and on and on...

of course, in my child's eyes, i did not see the characters as actors and actresses... they were REAL people... and i compared myself and my life to theirs.... they were the "rule" in which i lived by...

that said, there was a Diet Pepsi commericial that started in the late 70's... i can still here the music in my head... "Diet Pepsi just one calorie, now you see it,now you don't" ANYWAY... i was a young teenager... and body image needless to say was a large issue in my life... the model in that Diet Pepsie commercial wore a swimsuit that was the white equivalent the the infamous red "Baywatch" bathing suit... i wanted to be that girl... i needed to be that girl...

in the months that followed, that commerical, as well as every magazine article i could find with a "perfectly" shaped, scantily clad model became my "grading key" so to speak... i contanstly compared myself to those images, truly believing that those pictures... those beautiful women with flawless bodies were the NORM... that was what i needed to strive toward... they were contact reminders of my inadequacies... and thus, i spent the next 15 years of my life in eating disorder HELL.

now don't get me wrong... eating disorders are complex... and i certainly don't blame a single Diet Pepsi commercial for my eating disorder as a whole...
but the influence of the media... and the power it had in my life at that time... GREATLY effected my self perception... not only in the ways i should LOOk... but in ways i should act, feel, and pretty much BE as a person...

i believe, that the media as a whole, greatly effects both our conscious and unconsious mind.
i am an avid NO-CENSORSHIP supporter... and i love the way in the which the mass media has brought this vast world closer together in the past few decades... but as so many people, young and old alike, are encompassed by the ever growing presence of the mass media in our every day lives... i would like to see more accountability... more realistic representations of people in general...

*kicking my soap box back under desk and sitting down with a Diet Pepsi*
*smirk*... some things die hard...

oneofmanymen 05-29-2003 08:40 AM

well with what the FCC is doing to change ownership of the TV stations..it can only get worse...


ARTelevision 05-29-2003 10:21 AM

Thanks for your comments.
This thread originally appeared early in v3.
the discussions ranged from dismissal of the material presented to downright alarm!
My intention is for us to consider these submissions and our reactions to them in the light of our contemporary socialized behaviors and thoughts.

ARTelevision 05-29-2003 10:23 AM


This image bears a striking similarity to the previous one.
I see the same thing when I look at them both. Do you?

Cynthetiq 05-29-2003 03:12 PM


Originally posted by ARTelevision

This image bears a striking similarity to the previous one.
I see the same thing when I look at them both. Do you?

since this was one of the first discussions I had with you Art, it is ever evolving. While it's less subconscious now, I think that it's more blatant with the quick cuts, and fast camera movements.

A really good example is to look at the advertisements of the SUVs and Marlboro cigarettes. Those were the ones that defined the product and sold the lifestyle to the buyer without all the headache of actually living the lifestyle.

thanks for reviving this article.

ARTelevision 05-29-2003 03:28 PM

Thanks, cyn.

These images are created with the purpose of grabbing our vulnerabilities and manipulating us. That's the best way I can describe the mission of advertising.

The first image a few posts above probes the perceptual doorway through which multiple messages may enter our minds. The same embedded word appears in the second image (The Gilbey's Gin ad).

Say the word...if you see it.

~springrain 05-29-2003 05:02 PM

saw the word right away in the first picture... (haven't said it because i hate to ruin it for people who are still trying to see it )

can't seem to find it in the Gilbey's Gin Ad...

did you know that that very word is "accidentally-on-purpose" constructed within the animation in the Disney movie the Lion King?... Simba flops down in exasperation (before he heads back to pride rock)... and a cloud of dust swirls above his head... before the dust cloud disappears... the word is extremely obvious... IF you're looking for it of course...

... even Disney is not immune... it's everywhere around us... makes you wonder doesn't it?

ARTelevision 05-29-2003 05:13 PM

check the ice cubes...
...in the glass.


Shokan 05-29-2003 05:17 PM

the word is sex, but i dont see it in the icecubes

~springrain 05-29-2003 05:20 PM

ART... i am assuming it is vertical... and the E is the most clearly identifiable letter?

those always take me a while... i can never see the "picture within a picture" either... *chuckle*... must be AGE.

Halx 05-29-2003 05:52 PM

It's funny.. I walked across the room to try to see if I could find the 'hidden image' in the first pic, and I couldn't, so I sat down again and I saw it immediately! Heh... Then the second pic was easy once I knew what to look for.

guthmund 05-29-2003 07:56 PM

I'm fascinated by subliminal advertising and commercial mass marketing. I believe that the sheer amount of advertising that the population is exposed to is creating an homogenous society, where everyone looks the same, does the same, and spouts off the same lame catch-phrases and slogans.

I don't believe that mass media can force you to do anything, but by constantly bombarding your mind it can certainly persuade you to change it. I also think all advertising preys on the personal insecurities of its' demographic.

But is the mass media simply exploiting innate personal insecurities or are the personal insecurities created by mass media?

ARTelevision 05-30-2003 07:05 PM

good stuff, thanks all!

here's a little "graphic" ad with a message or three...

what do you see going on here?


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