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American (and others') sensibilities

  1. Dec 29, 2009 #1
    What does it say about our nation's cultural depth when http://tv.yahoo.com/blog/obamas-in-reality-stars-out-in-desirable-neighbors-poll--886" [Broken]the two most desired neighbors are the President and a talk show host? Are we Americans really that shallow, that we know of no more interesting or desirable neighbors than a man and his family who would be gone nearly all the time, or if he is in town, wouldn't be taking casual knocks on the door? A talk show host wouldn't be much more available.

    Has TV simply become our social reality? Are most of us socialized primarily by the media, these days, rather than though interactions with others?

    I can think of ten people who I know personally and interact with regularly (several times a year to several time a month) with whom I'd much rather be neighbors than President Obama or Ellen Degeneres. I certainly wouldn't shun a meeting with either, and would find it quite interesting.

    But I'd rather have neighbors whom I find interesting on a day to day basis, with whom I could and would interact regularly.

    Perhaps if the poll were simply a write-in poll... Even then, most people might be selecting their friends and family, but only those widely known by many would rise to the top.

    Thus, I think this poll is greatly flawed, as are many (most?) polls done by the media, and misleading.

    I think this would be a better poll:

    Who would you most like to see as your next door neighbor (pick only one):

    1. A friend, good friend, or best friend.

    2. A total stranger.

    3. An actor or actress.

    4. A talk-show host.

    5. A writer or author.

    6. A director.

    7. A race-car driver.

    8. An member of our federal government.

    Would you rather this person be famous or not famous?

    1. Famous

    2. Not famous.

    If this poll would have been given in place of the one used in the report, I strongly suspect neither option 4 nor option 8 would appear in the top 5, much less the top 1 and 2 spots.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 7, 2010 #2
    In my own introspection I conclude that within a "tribal" mammal society one survives on Earth via the "skirmish line" of mammal bodies against nature and other species. The males for example would hunt, fish, forage, defend in groups and the females would also find increased individual/social resources within groups. Other mammals still rely primarily on the presence of members in the group for increased survival ability.

    Humans would form tight social bonds in such circumstances, and in our society something like this occurs in childhood, but it is not served especially well through television, media, and modern methods of education that focus on the intellect but neglect the nature of emotional development. When rich emotional experience is impaired one's body forms a kind of "filter" that prevents such experience from being a payoff (source of pleasure). Since humans need enrichment via others to develop we seek what is lacking in fantasies and iconic substitutes, i.e., worship of the iconic male or female figure, celebrities, presidents, etc.

    Personally I desribe Ronald Reagan as a "myopic optimist" who failed to help the Country plan for a long term energy independence strategy, and promoted idealized policies based on "free market theory," yet many regard him as some kind of political hero. I see hero worship and celebrity worship as the result of a kind of abandonment issue in the culture which fails to understand our profound emotional nature as a mammal species.

    Edit: I regard iconic reasoning as natural to childhood but poorly integrated in adults (self included) due to prevailing cultural patterns. I spent much of my early years watching cartoons in front of what my Aunt called "the idiot box." Looking back on Bugs Bunny, the humour and content was much more mature than the cartoons children watch now!
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2010
  4. Jan 8, 2010 #3
    You should also note that it was a Celebrity neighbor poll, by Yahoo TV. Not just a random poll of who you would like to live by, so of course all the answers will be a celebrity.
  5. Jan 9, 2010 #4


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    Ellen and Pete Johnson in Boston would like Gayle Rowland as their future neighbour, as she also is today.

    Unfortunately, not enough individuals know about Gayle, so Ellen and Pete's first choice doesn't make it to the top of the list..
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