Din-formation (1,159)

May 27th, 2011

Rhythm. In music, it’s the beat, tempo, pacing, and energy—often even a matching of the heartbeat to stimulate excitement.

Harmonics. The pitches that form chords—building a house around a great melody.

And of course, melody. The memorable notes that distinguish one song from another and provide the road to travel on, producing a familiar tune.

Without the melody, music can often be just din. And what is din? An alarming clamor of sound.

We have din in our society. That’s why they call it the news beat. The media pounds out stories in a rapid-fire rhythm designed to alarm us and stimulate our heart rate with ferocity of terror, wonder, confusion and apprehension over that day’s particular events. Occasionally they will have someone come in to comment—to add harmonics—but unfortunately, no melody is provided. There is no example of how we as a nation have overcome our problems in the past, the method used and how that might be put in place now to give hope.

Why the din? Why this distribution of din-formation, which is really just presenting the story in the loudest and most outrageous format possible? It happens because good deeds don’t sell hamburgers. Happy endings don’t make people want to go out and buy cars. Sponsors don’t back projects which fail to receive ratings and human beings often feel the need to be alarmed so they can feign being helpless and therefore not responsible.

Here’s how the news works—what I have dubbed din-formation:

1. Find an outlandish story.

2. Make it seem as normal and commonplace as possible.

3. Get in loud discussions about the controversy surrounding it.

4. Tilt the intensity of the message in the direction that your particular station’s philosophy or political party desires.

5. Increase the volume and drive the point home.

6. Then ask the audience to chime in with their opinions (since you’ve already told them what to think in the first place).

7. Report the din-formation in a poll of your own contrivance.

Meanwhile, the public is not being asked to reason, be logical, think things through or balance what is happening in our society by the element of frequency. In other words, does this happen often enough for us to even be concerned about it? Or is it just loud? Is it just din-formation? Is it just the rhythm of the story with the harmonics of public opinion, with no melody of solution and hope?

And finally, the news organizations, reality shows and entertainment industry take no responsibility whatsoever when the public is frozen in fear and calloused to real emotion.

I call it din-formation—because if you yell loud enough, people may think you’re crazy, but they still will most certainly hear what you have to say and may accidentally take it seriously. The old adage is: “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Now it should be: “the squawking media seems to get the ratings.” This is not limited to liberal or conservative, but to anyone who puts money, power and prestige above telling the truth. It seems that no one cares anymore about finding themselves currently accurate and historically honored.

Be careful. When you hear that it’s loud, develop a suspicion about the quality of the message. Listen for the melody. Is there a tunefulness that produces the potential and possibility of solution, or merely a ranting and raving over the problem itself?

Din-formation. It has deafened us to the still, small voice of God. Because after all, God is not in the thunder. He is not in the earthquake. He is not in the tornado. He is in the quiet voice of our own heart, urging us to better ways.

And if din-formation isn’t problem enough, then we come across tomorrow’s subject: sin-formation.

Epilogue: I just wanted to put a short statement at the end of this jonathots, and tell you that last night I was privileged to be in the presence of a wonderful crowd of people at Prince of PeaceLutheranChurch in Freeport, Illinois, sponsored by Pastor Mark. Folks came from all over, even different communities, so we could gather together to talk about good ideas with good consequences. It was really quite simple: Pastor Mark cared enough to do a good job of advertising. The local newspaper did a tremendous job with an article about the evening. The people got excited about doing something other than sitting at home watching the world go by. Janet and I showed up and brought our little dab of “whatever”—seasoned over many years—to distribute to a delightful audience.

And God took off his shoes, plopped down with us and joined in the laughter.

I don’t know. . . I think it was just a little piece of heaven.

Published in: on May 27, 2011 at 2:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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