Avoid All Media

[Note: This is not something I wrote for publication. I wrote this in August 2005 for MMC 1004. The professor, Professor Hornoi-Centerwall, came up with this assignment: Try to avoid all forms of media for one day. Then we were to write a paper on it.]

This assignment is nigh impossible in today’s world. With advertisements and other mass media accouterments literally everywhere, the only way to escape them is into flee to space or retreat into complete seclusion. Either way, I did my best. When I read the list of media to avoid, I felt empty inside, my life is dependent on all of the media outlets listed. I knew that I could do without television, video games, and magazines for a day. I work at WOSP; UNF’s radio station, so it would be hard to avoid exposure to music, though, one of the stipulations to this exercise said that media for work was alright.

When I awoke on Media Abstinence Day (MAD), I was greeted with a radio commercial for “The Most Important Meal Ever Created.” Great, I hadn’t even made it out of bed and I was already a failure. Though, I decided that all was not lost and tried again with this Great Experiment.

I encountered a few advertisements strewn on cars such as “Ask me how to clean your car without water” and managed to avoid turning on the radio. I generally like having the radio play, it creates a disturbance that allows me to focus on something other than letting my mind retreat back into itself and return with an idea for a story involving a homeless guy in Seattle’s quest for a sandwich.

I arrived on campus and went directly to my first class, Spanish 1. Fortunately, there was no one there playing music. So, I got through an hour in there fine. After that class, I had to go to the radio station and hang out and try to figure out what music to play on my radio show. So, yeah, I had to listen to music. But it was work related.

I encountered advertisements almost everywhere. Various people wore T-shirts that said “Nike” or “Rolling Stones” and other bands, items, and things. I went to eat lunch and was met with the words “Sbarro” on my box of pizza.

It was hard to go through the day without resorting to mass media. My main forms of recreation are mass media based. My main forms of research are mass media based. Heck, back in Middle and High School I was known as the guy to go to when it came to information. I could find anything out. So, over the years, my life has become more and more dependent on the mass media, though, I do try to use back door methods to research certain topics.

In the end, I was able to avoid all forms of mass media except for advertisements (which I did do a good job at after the initial failures) and music. The reason for this is that ads are everywhere. I can’t look at my arm without seeing the word “Armitron” and remembering that they made the watch on my arm or the “Pentel” on my pen. And music, well, the reason I gave in on that is because I know a pile of musicians who like me to listen to their music and play it on my radio show, and I rather enjoy music. Then, to further fail this part of the assignment, I found the soundtracks to Xenosaga episode II, and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.

I am anxious to get back to reading like I did before this assignment. I have a few novels I’m in the middle of reading, I like to read several newspapers a day, and I’m a core member of the OneUp Studios message board. I’m sure that joe_cam and the others have missed my presence today.

Overall, this was a very fun, and very different exercise and would not mind trying it again a little more deeply. In the meantime, I’m gonna see how important this meal is.

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