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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Why I will choose to be rationally ignorant

Often in our class discussions, we discuss how politicians often change what they say in order to appeal to their audiences. We have discussed how candidates often target the median voter. In the democratic primaries, a candidate would target the medium left voter. In the national election, the candidate would target the medium voter, trying to encompass right and left side voters. Since we, and the politicians, know that people are generally rationally ignorant or irrational, emotions must be appealed to. Not only do politicians appeal to emotions, but the news stations of the right and left appeal to viewers emotions for their own benefits. We have often discussed how emotional this last election was, and that it felt very “Hollywood”. Now the election is over but the emotions and the distractions they cause are as high as ever.
When looking for something to write about in this blog I figured I would see what Obama was up to. Unfortunately, I have not been up to date with the whole stimulus package as I would like to be. I figured this would be a good time to research it. While searching for Obama, using various methods, I kept coming across the same handful of articles.
My favorite article was one in the LA times. This article discussed whether Michelle Obama’s arms were too muscular. The article discussed whether the arms were sexy, or manly; whether they should be shown off or hidden. Needless to say, I sighed, and asked my self, “why is this news”. I kept searching for some actual news about Obama when I came across another article about how Obama liked to wear “aloha” shirts in college, he apparently liked to dress “Hawaiian casual”. Mmm, well he did go to college in Hawaii. As I continued my hunt for information I came across several other article titles like, “Obama’s inaugural dress may set tone for white house”, “Michelle Obama: Politics of fashion” and “Obama is in the gym almost everyday”. I also saw many advertisements for commemorative plates for Obama, I could even buy some Hawaiian shirts, just like the ones Obama used to wear.
Perhaps this information I’m coming across is just capitalism at its finest; News companies appealing to their audience, acting in their own best interests or entrepreneurs trying to make a buck by selling a product that someone may want. However, I’m starting to suspect that the people I have deemed to be rationally ignorant, the people who choose not to educate them selves in politics, may be the smartest one percent of our population. Rather than just being ignorant, they may be the first people to realize that Us weekly and people magazine have infiltrated the news networks and changed what the masses would believe to be “important” information.

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