I have been back for about a month, and we had a nice, relaxing time on the Big Island. And it was truthfully a much-needed break for me as 2012 was a taxing year both physically, and mentally. I had, and still have some much going on in my life and its difficult to keep up at times. I know I am not alone in feeling this way as I have heard the same from so many others. Fortunately for me, I usually come back energized and feeling that I have gained yet another small amount of insight into who I am, and how I fit into this complex world we live in.
Normally I try to keep my personal views off any social media sites. However, today I am making an exception to my own rule.
My heart has always been true to the animals on this planet. The treatment of these precious beings can either elevate me into believing people are amazing, or far to frequently of late devastate me into seeing what the reality can really look like. This of course, can look differently to each of us. However this post is how it affects me, personally.
When it comes to animals in any form I cannot help but be greatly effected by the media. I consider myself an average person, of average intelligence, living an average life style. So I believe I am one of the average “consumers” that the media would be targeting. What I have an issue with, is what this media deems “necessary” to show me under the gist of “information”. Whether it is on radio, television, in newsprint, internet ads, spread virally through Facebook, or some other venue the message is always the same. They are meant to tug at my heart-strings to get a reaction. There are so many mediums today, and whether we subscribe to them or not we are constantly being inundated with this type of sensitive material that is meant to evoke an “emotional” response from me/us as readers, or watchers. Unfortunately, “they” (whomever they are ) have many studies to show what the response time is for them to make the most impact in advertising to get me/you “hooked” on the story. This usually means the more graphically sensitive the picture, and/or caption the better.
I, (and many others if reading many Facebook comments is any indicator) realize this is reaching epic proportions as the social media stage grows. There have been pictures posted just in Facebook alone that have caused me lingering anguish over the plight of dogs, cats and other unfortunate creatures existing in “our” world. And these pictures are only in my vision briefly. Just for as long as it takes my brain to analysis what the picture is, and process my “OH GOD! DON’T LOOK” response. Saying all this, I have done what little can be done to try to shield myself from this ongoing barrage of horrific imagery. I have done the Facebook friends “cleanup” yet even still with all my “top-notch security, unlike button, unfriend button, and hide posts” a wayward image can still find its way to my news feed! While some “well-meaning friend” or “friend of a friend” deem it necessary to “share” this information for all the world to see. Not realizing, or perhaps not caring, that some of us are so much more sensitive to these types images that is easily upsetting for days, weeks, and for some perhaps even years.
I’m not saying that there isn’t a place for this type of information in our society. Nor, am I saying that a person shouldn’t be “informed”. But what I am trying to say is for myself, how this information is presented is paramount. And presenting these poor animals that have undergone horrific acts of cruelty at the hands of humans is just being cruel unto itself. I realize there is a fine line in balancing the facts with images, and I realize as well that not all is as rosy as we would like to believe. But I do think the graphic photographs, or utube videos used under the premise of being helpful to their cause is detrimental in aiding the actual animal being portrayed. For example to present a picture of a tortured animal in my news feed and ask me to “LIKE” the picture if I am against animal cruelty is, in my opinion, exploiting the poor animal with no means of actually helping nor even knowing where the animal is TO help! I can tell you this much though… of course I am against animal cruelty!!! But by asking me to “LIKE” it, is an oxymoron in itself!
Sadly, I don’t have a simple answer to any of this. And we all know “they”, whoever “they” are, are not going to stop with these types of stories, and images. However, this type of media attention affects me in such a negative way, add to this it is not helpful to the animal or me.
I have pondered not just this issue, but many regarding the plight of animals on this planet. And what I can, and cannot do to help. I realize I cannot help in a huge financial way, but I can help in smaller ways. Where we live, we can only have one pooch so I needed to try to figure out a different approach and what I feel I can do to help. Okay, I said to myself maybe I cannot stop all of the suffering. But maybe, just maybe I can make a difference to one.
And with this in mind I put one foot in front of the other…. taking the first step.
next post… my first step