by B.J. Delas Armas on 8/29/2003 01:42:00 PM 0 comments Print this post

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Biting Sound Off on Sound Bites

I hate sound bite advice.

I bought and watched Roger and me The documovie centers around General Motors in the 1980s and its decision to pack up and leave Flint, Michigan, leaving 30,000 umemployed, which has since ballooned up to 75,000 unemployed and 87% of the children below the poverty line according to the latest Bowling for Columbine figures. It helps to make Flint one of the crime capitals in the United States.

Whenever Mike interviewed a celebrity or some type of big shot about the people losing their jobs, the common response was sound bite advice to those job-losers in the form of "be optimistic, there's plenty of things to do." Even though the advice may be true in hopes of accomplshing anything, general advice like that shit makes no connection to the person, other than acknowledging that the recipient of the advice is going thru a rough time. It gives no comfort. It doesn't listen. Advice is easy shit to give when you're riding high. Giving general sound bite advice to disadvantaged people is like trying to give flyers for a rave or a keg to senior citizens. The advices of "be positive and independent" generally goes out the other ear and probably even ends up steering people towards the other direction because of the sheer ignorance and arrogance. It's like some other person knows better than you. In a way, it takes someone's dignity and own character away. General sound bite advice like is just stupid.

But sound bite advice is the platform on which this country's ideals are based. The United States' ideals are based on the advice of "being independent", being your own man. In its historical context in 1776, "be independent" was a phrase championed by the rich farmers and something general which people could not argue. People at that time just wanted to be left alone as most of them were farming.

With much more varied professions, the high in society from evangelists to CEOs are still championing that people be independent and positive. But while it may be true that to achieve something positivity and independence would be keys, these high-class motherfolkers need to keep in mind that some people just want to survive and get by, they don't always want to achieve something. "Be independent and be positive" is goal-oriented advice. What those head honchos have in mind when they give this goal oriented advice is stuff like "make over 1 million dollars this summer" or "sell 200,000 of [useless product here]".

And goals are generally something laid out and lived if people are settled. Goals are something extra. Sound bite advice is geared towards getting that something extra. But goals are made a necessity. Goals are not what people need in a time of need. They resort to their necessities and look for emotional support. So then if that's true, why are necessities made a goal for disadvantaged people in their time of need ?

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