Jimmy Scrimnibbler and How the Way We Exchange Information Changes Our Behavior

Hi. My name is Jimmy Scrimnibbler, and I like to bump lines of COCAINE every Monday morning. It really gets me on the right track, you know. A lot of people despise Mondays, but that’s because they have nothing to look forward to. Me? I have cocaine to look forward to. So, yes, Mondays could suck… but they don’t. Because I have cocaine.

Sorry, Jimmy got on my computer for a minute there. Okay so like three weeks ago I got high and had a bunch of really profound thoughts. I don’t remember most of them, but I wrote one of them down. I definitely should have written about it while it was on my mind, but it’s fine. Everything is fine.

Essentially, I was thinking about information and how the way we transfer information has changed over time and how that changes the society we live in. We can go back to the days when there was nothing to do for fun besides tell stories and finger blast your asshole behind a tree hoping nobody would notice. During these glorious times, the manner in which people transferred information was through word of mouth.

You would say something to Gladiator Jon, and Gladiator Jon would tell the Goddess of Grass, and then she would tell Warrior Willy and so on and so forth. Highly inefficient and highly unreliable. If you’ve ever played the game telephone, you know how things get twisted very quickly. In these times, you could only address whatever audience was in front of you. Your audience was capped at however many numbskulls could hear your shrill, barbaric utterances.

Then came the written word. All of a sudden, you could send letters. Whoa! Now you could write something, send it to somebody hundreds of miles away, and they could actually receive your message. More reliable, but still highly inefficient. And the audience was usually only one person at a time.

Then there was the telegram, which… okay I have no idea how a telegram worked. Or is it the telegraph? Whatever. People used telewhatevers to send messages through code or symbols or some shit. It sucked. We can agree on that.

And then… then there was the telephone. Super-duper efficient. You could talk to anyone across any distance immediately (assuming they also had a phone of course). The audience was only one person, though. It was you and your friend Dave and maybe his stupid wife, who never has anything nice to say about anyone, listening in on the conversation. It was pretty reliable, too. More so than a letter and probably more so than a stupid stupid telegram.

Next, came the television. Tele-this tele-that yippidy skippidy doo. The television is crazy because all of a sudden, a ginormous audience could be reached all at once. Somebody could get on the vision of the tele variety and broadcast their message, to be heard immediately by MILLIONS. Millions I tell you! No phone could compete with that. Imagine a million-way phone call… ha. Gross.

Anyways, I think the television was a huge leap in like… everything. The point of me going through all this, is… shit what was my point. Oh! The way information is distributed and received changes how we behave. All of a sudden, the word had become more powerful than ever. OH FUCK I FORGOT ABOUT THE RADIO. It was the radio that did it. Man…

Okay so I guess it was the radio that changed everything. I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about by the way. Just uh… just trying to work some things out here. Whenever things were able to be broadcast to an audience of millions, that… that was a turning point. Like whoa, man… Total shift in cultural dynamics.

The thing with the radio and the television though, is that the message is only one way. Someone is speaking to an audience, and the audience is listening. It’s not a conversation between people as much as it is shared entertainment amongst people. The important thing to recognize, though, is that the size of the audience is potentially everyone. Obviously it’s not everyone, but it could be.

This one-way dynamic and uncapped potential audience totally changed how people communicate and process information, though. I mean I wasn’t there to witness the change, but it definitely happened. Think about it. All of a sudden, one person or one network has the ability to control communication to millions of people. All of a sudden, whoever has the most broadcasting capacity has the power to change people’s perception of reality.

Somebody (or a group of somebody’s) is now controlling what people see, and what they hear. The television show is decided on. Somebody says, “this is what we’re going to show the people and this is what it’s going to say.” The authoritarian’s dream rises from the deviled ground. Our primal desire for shared experience becomes a play toy for the master manipulator.

Things started to become “mainstream,” acting as an integral part of the culture. The latest show becoming something used by people to connect with each other. Think about how many times you’ve met somebody who quoted your favorite TV show and you were like “Oh my God!” and then you bonded super hard before you got to know each other too well and realized they’re just as messed up as everyone else.

Okay I’m definitely going to write about this more but for now I have to go do life stuff so I don’t starve and die. I’LL BE BACK.

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