Contemporary paradoxes

Publish date 21-01-2024

by Michelangelo Dotta

And in the end, due to tiredness, due to indifference or simple boredom, the invasion of Ukraine, Putin's special operation, fell off the information radar; after more than a year, pity and curiosity have dropped to zero, confirming that monotony is the worst enemy of television viewing. For the world of hit-and-run information, that war front, however tragically current, has entered oblivion together with Yemen, Sudan and those zones of more or less declared conflict that characterize the world map of the third millennium. The armed confrontation between Hamas and Israel and, by immediate extension, between Jews and Palestinians, due to closeness, cruelty or greater empathy for the duelists, has taken absolute precedence over any other news and, as Christmas approaches, the story of the hostages relegated to tunnels far from their loved ones is more suited to the lazy palates of users in cathode ray tube slippers.

But we are talking about television, the official and famous news programs, those of the family gathered for dinner in front of the screen, a true cliché that now belongs to another world; today social media is the main means of information for a large portion of the population, generation Z first and foremost (those born between 1986 and 2010) who increasingly demonstrate a clear disaffection towards traditional media. Tik Tok dominates the market unchallenged, especially among young people aged 18 to 24, but there are many platforms that are also gaining ground in the more adult segments of the population; the simplification of themes and the fragmentation of opinions are at the basis of the enormous diffusion of social media which disintegrate the old balance of communication and representation of reality.

So even the tragedies of a war inevitably pass through this phase of decomposition of the facts and events, while the order, scope and proportions of the same change depending on the author of the post while the individual user, always less interested in the global picture, they look for useful voices and information more to strengthen their theses than out of a real desire for knowledge. The impact of images, both static and moving, is enormous and has long surpassed the weight of words; the clips of reality immortalized by a banal mobile phone that bounce and multiply in the ether give the viewer the clear impression of witnessing an event "live" and, even more, give him the power to judge it in total autonomy. Without any type of filter, verification or censorship, everyone builds de facto the design of a reality that perfectly matches their ideas, their beliefs and their profound convictions. Thus, in the world of infinite supply, information and news are selected and used only when they perfectly coincide with one's feelings and beliefs, without any type of contradiction and in total solitude. No more comments at the table during dinner, comparisons and contrasting opinions, discussions and positions taken; the all-Italian family/television combination seems to be in deep crisis and, after more than 50 years of happy marriage, the two institutions have entered into crisis... and social media is watching.

Michelangelo Dotta
NP December 2023

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