Think Twice, Pollock: Newquist Says Electronic Media Will Kill You

Dang it! Just as I declare that instant mobile voice and data communication is a basic utility, my neighbor Dr. David Newquist says electronic media have become lethal to humanity:

Cases of bullying among school age childlreln and among adults involving internet posts have resulted in numerous suicides. The internet has become a huge force in the human environment through computers, tablets, and cell phones. Many people devote the better part of their day to being online, so that the Internet becomes a major influence in their communication and thinking, in fact a dominant part of their consciousness. My colleagues who are still active professors note that the occupation of students with Internet sites is a formidable impediment to the development of critical intelligence. Students are so caught up in the blizzard of information that they are dysfunctional about separating accurate, verifiable information from the misinformation and disinformation. Cable news, talk radio, “reality:” television, and tabloid journalism have created a population that has lost the capability of critical thinking, of distinguishing between truth and falsehood. In fact, many people no longer care and simply fit into the trends of their electronic environment with no regard for what is intellectually and morally defensible [David Newquist, “How Electronic Media Became Lethal to Humankind,” Northern Valley Beacon, 2016.06.06].

As usual, Newquist’s full essay is worth the read, connecting this technological phenomenon (which is a big part of who I am and what I do) to “the softening of the mass mentality,” a resurgence of racism, and the rise of Trumpism.

Maybe Pollock is better off without that cell phone tower.


15 Responses to Think Twice, Pollock: Newquist Says Electronic Media Will Kill You

  1. mike from iowa

    Excellent article by David Newquist at Northern Valley Beacon. Well worth reading-if you aren’t a Drumpf#$k supporter.

  2. Roger Cornelius

    Another excellent post David.

    I would add that digital communication has also produced a genration of anonymous cowards and dumb people.

    People don’t have to own or claim responsibility for their opinions or the opinions of others, they just start typing.

    And we also have the really dumb asses like Eisenbeisz who publicly proclaimed his White Pride Day. There seem to be more and more Eisenbeisz’s everyday.

  3. Lanny V Stricherz

    Dr Newquist is absolutely correct. That bullying is the reason that I discontinued posting on Facebook and any site that requires using your Facebook information to post on their site, such as the Argus Leader.

    There is another part of that bullying. Some folks post using a pseudonym and say things that they would never say if they had to put their real name with their posting.

  4. mike from iowa

    Lanny-for the record(and for the last time) my last name is McClaren and I rilly do exist in Obrien County,iowa. You can address me however you want.

  5. Roger, I take Dr. Newquist’s observations and concerns very seriously, but I’m not as pessimistic as he is. Do we really have more racist lunkheads today, or does the Internet just make it easier for us to spot them, as their words, instead of being lost in barroom noise, are now recorded on the searchable Web?

  6. Roger Cornelius

    Cory,
    That is a tough one, I’d like to think that we have more honest and good people that we do rats and racists.

    Social media has done some real damage to Americans and it won’t ease up anytime soon, it will only get worse.

    There are times when I feel that the rats and racists really do want a civil war and the internet will help incite it.

    We should all hope that there are fewer racists haters drowning out the voices of the decent.

  7. Roger Cornelius

    And, how ugly and vulgar would these lunkheads be if they had to use their real names?
    It remains of the bakeries that don’t want to serve gays, but won’t put up a sign saying so.

  8. Jack Shaftoe

    caheidelberger writes:

    “Roger, I take Dr. Newquist’s observations and concerns very seriously, but I’m not as pessimistic as he is. Do we really have more racist lunkheads today, or does the Internet just make it easier for us to spot them, as their words, instead of being lost in barroom noise, are now recorded on the searchable Web?”

    I prefer anonymity and is up to me to act responsibly. Cory knows, or could easily find out who I am and that is fine with me. I’m nobody anyway.

    As someone who grew up a long way from here, a long time ago – I well remember 4th grade in school in Northern Virginia and the Supreme Court decision from the Madeline Murray Ohare case. Civil rights legislation soon followed and those two things enraged the working class southerners almost uniformly. It was pretty much a rule that if you were from a family that had a good education, that is, a parent – who passed the importance of this on through encouragement, reading and help with homework, you were much more likely than those in less educated surroundings, to hear “n****r” etc., all the time and the rage many had about the government forcing this issue and no more prayer and Bible reading in school on them.

    In my experience in my youth, the Army, a federal government facility in Maryland and locations in a few southern towns and cities is that the mentality was and is shamefully very widespread, but most lower educated white southerners just learned to keep mum about it. I even have seen, on occasion, parents (relatives) tell their kids – on most occasions – that certain words and so forth, are wrong (this, even though they less than whole-heartedly believe it themselves). The south and this attitude is slowly, but definitely changing. But, you will never get rid of all of it. Like a “war on” or social campaign against anything, say stealing – you will always have a certain percentage that will never change. Sadly, these are those, also, like Dylan Roof, who will sometimes, descend to action – multi murder, or could be active in influencing others who have this mentality. They may not even learn it from close family, but learn it they do and it infects them.

    I have a couple tea party haters in my family and know of some more in my extended family. They were not the good students and form ideas, etc. according to how they “believe” and facts and data be damned. Anything they don’t agree with is tl;dr, if it is longer that a meme or a couple paragraphs. I have heard the phrase “Well, I just feel that information is liberal”.

    If you met my father – a three war veteran, buried in Arlington Cemetery, you might think he was well informed and perhaps possessed a comprehensive view of the world in general. He had a very complex job while in the military, but, like so many, he never had the discipline involved in a rigorous university education that required him to read things he didn’t agree with and consider them. Same with my other relatives. They have technical jobs, have succeeded in business, yet sill feel threatened by “outside” minorities and ethnicities. They even might have friends from these groups, but they (relatives and these minorities they know) always have the same income levels and pretty much identical values. They could live next door to one another and would be OK as long as the Black or Latino picked up the trash, repaired the house and were not loud and boisterous at all hours. A great deal of the ire is for people in the lower part of the spectrum, so to speak. They are morally weak, probably criminals and deserve no assistance – no matter what, at least according to tea party true believers.

    I moved here (SD) after my service and became acquainted with the attitudes of various people about reservations and those who live there. It is interesting that those same people – my tea party family, have different opinions about Native Americans. When inequality is brought up about black people and the heritage of slavery and Jim Crow, inevitably you hear, “well the Indians . . . “.Their thinking is in the “noble savage” realm and they use Native Amercians as a conversational debate item “yea, but how “bout . . ?” It is hard to say how far their largesse for Native American issues would go when anything is proposed that costs any money.

    This relates to the hate radio people who crysrallize their thoughts for them. Rush, Glenn, Sean and others, are guys who never had any or very little association with anything scholarly or in the higher education realm. Limbaugh dropped out after a few weeks because, he said, some liberal professor tried to tell him something he didn’t like and he dropped after 3 weeks or so. I think it is more likely he was flunking and could recoup his money still and so in order to rationalize his inability, came up with this narrative. They have no experience with an education that includes any discipline (humanities) – so pick and choose, and tell themselves they are the smart ones, while that PhD (climate, sociology, economics etc. – just not medicine) is a dum-dum etc. My relatives and millions just like them go “yup, yup, ditto that Rush”. Even those like Laura Ingraham, who did get a degree, shuns it, because it brings her so much money to adopt the lower class uneducated mein to her broadcasts.

    So, back to the optimism that Cory expressed, I see things in the east and south changing – albeit, slowly and I suspect the same is true here for average people, but so many decisions here in SD are mostly made by wealthy, conservative businessmen (as they are elsewhere) and as someone who did not grow up here it is something I have less of a feel for. We can hope, though.

  9. Douglas Wiken

    Schools are failing to warn students of all communication forms and failing to instill any idea of proper time management. The electronic media is not the problem. It just makes other problems more obvious.

  10. Jack Shaftoe

    Quoting myself:

    “you were much more likely than those in less educated surroundings, to hear “n****r” etc., all the time and the rage many had about the government forcing this issue and no more prayer and Bible reading in school on them. “Should read “less likely than those . . . ”

    Sorry about my failure proofreading.

  11. John Wrede

    Newquist makes a good argument that would be a lot stronger if he presented some facts or data to support the contention. CAH also makes a legitimate argument that the detection rate of shallow, group thinkers has likely increased substantially with greater participation in social media and digital broadcast. It seems the statement is aimed more at generational youth than adults; which raises yet another issue; are youth and millennials actually that culpable for their slide into mindlessness or are parental and adult responsibilities in arrears. After all, it isn’t young people and gullible adults publishing all the factless, hyperbolic, intellectually insulting trash on social media, talk radio, reality TV, and tabloid journalism. Not only are we drifting away from criticial thinking but we are also watching as innovative thinking and problem solving disappear into a political sink hole.

  12. Lanny V Stricherz

    Great read Jack Shaftoe!!! A lot there to chew on.

  13. interesting to see where this leads

  14. Jack Shaftoe

    Thanks Lanny. I do go off tangents in my comments – the above was just a response to something Cory wrote, but I think certain things are important to state (for me) and this is the most astute place – of many I have been to – some where I have gotten “banned for life” for asking impertinent questions (never for rudeness or language and usually religious or social issues policy).

  15. thx js-

    “but, like so many, he never had the discipline involved in a rigorous university education that required him to read things he didn’t agree with and consider them. Same with my other relatives. They have technical jobs, have succeeded in business, yet sill feel threatened by “outside” minorities and ethnicities.”