Thursday, June 2, 2011

Work More

     I happened to catch a report on CNN the other day about how Americans are workaholics.  The report began by comparing the U.S. to countries such as France, where a greater number of vacation days are available (and government-mandated) and people actually take full advantage of them.  In the U.S. by comparison, the commonly allotted 14 days of vacation a year are not even completely used on the average.  Just when it looked like they might be suggesting that Americans could benefit psychologically from being less work-obsessed, CNN comes in with location reports from Japan and Korea, where the people seem to be far more work-oriented still.  Apparently there are fewer vacation days offered there and even those fewer days tend not to be used by 50% of the population because it can be seen as dishonorable not to leave those vacation days on the table.  The conclusion left one very much with a sense of "hey, don't feel too bad, America, there are places that have it much worse.  In fact, maybe you're not working quite enough, after all."
      Now, granted this is my reading of it and maybe I tend to look for hidden messages where none are intended.  But it did get me to thinking, if their are hidden messages in what is treated as a light weight human interest report from a respected new source, is there any kind of media communication that doesn't have something riding beneath the surface?
     I wrote a book and, without a doubt, I'm trying to send a message with it.  And, sure, I hope that I can change people's minds, get them thinking about things in a way which (I believe) could improve their lives, society, the future, etc.  But am I trying to manipulate readers?  My story is certainly weighted to help prove my point, but is my message hidden?  Would some people who disagreed with my point of view consider the message to be hidden within ostensible entertainment, somehow insidious?
     A person can start to sound a bit paranoid (especially if the person actually is, as people have assured me I am, a bit paranoid), but all I'm really trying to get at is the idea that there's a difference between intentional messages that you're meant to see and intentional messages that are meant to reach you without you knowing about it.  The line is fine and the less you agree with a given message, the more blurry that line may become.  My point, as always, is that it's good to pay attention to what you're seeing, hearing and is happening around you.  And you can be sure it's no accident that that's the same message I tried to put across in my book.

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