Shock Value There are few things that turn me off more than cheap thrill seekers or sensationalists. I could not be less interested than I am in watching a horror film just to feel my hackles rise. For me this is like wanting to lie down on a bed of sharpened nails just to remind myself that I have blood that flows and a heart that beats. Do people forget these things? Are they bored? Is that why people watch the news, even though it’s been pre-filtered to include only horrific, disempowering stories (or interpretations of same), designed to up the public fear frequency? We all know this by now, surely. I think we watch TV and network news, and get hooked into facebook & reddit and other more horrific ‘stream of negative community consciousness’ sites because it feels perfectly safe. We can turn it off any time, after all. It’s just crazy people posting weird stuff. Facebook is the tamest of all – we each have communities of like-minded people we can friend and then unfriend if they post something offensive to our value systems. Republicans do not share daily space with Democrats, white Supremacists with Idle No More activists, Nascar fans with Greenpeace supporters, etc. Pretty safe, thanks to the facebook police, too (which is us). reference for new pieces – mirror work We choose what we want, and don’t want to see. This defines our system of values. I value positive interaction and creativity more than acts of cruelty – so I choose NOT to go to sites where videos of cats being ripped apart while still alive get millions of viewers. Over time I can actually convince myself that those sites don’t exist, since they don’t in my world. Over time, if I continue this way, I can make my world fairly comfortable. I might watch news or dip into current events on facebook, and see what’s spiking on any given day, but there are no serious shake-ups beyond the ever-growing rates of anxiety and fear and disempowerment we all share: elections are a facade, democracy a sham, our Country has been sold to China by a crook, we have systemic health, education and socio-economic meltdowns ahead of us and are well past the tipping point with climate change. If you put a frog in a bucket of cold water that is heated slowly to the boiling point, the frog will stay there until it dies. If, however, you put the frog into a bucket of boiling water, it will jump out immediately. I had an intense and deeply personal experience yesterday that I was not expecting at all. It hurt me and stunned me on every level. I jumped out of the bucket. Because I jumped out of the bucket I know that there was one, and why I was put there in the first place. Because I’m not there I know what my next project is. Frog-me. Alive and kicking.