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Editorial: Dessert for every meal

Peter Shokeir |

In the 2000 film Finding Forrester, the protege of the reclusive and titular author questions why his mentor is sullying his mind by reading the National Enquirer and not, say, the New York Times instead.

“I read the Times for dinner,” Forrester replies. “But this… (chuckles) this is my dessert.”

This exchange touches one of the main problems with media consumption today, mainly that a lot of readers opt to have dessert for every meal.

Even worse, many media outlets are drifting towards a fast-food model for disseminating information.

While topics such as the persecution of the Uyghurs remain underreported, Lady Gaga’s stolen French bulldogs dominate the newscycle.

Consider the average supermarket checkout aisle where rows of candy products and a small fridge full of soda tempt those waiting in line. It’s not coincidence that nonsense magazines fill the racks alongside this junk food.

As media companies lose revenue, they become more subjected to the basest of market forces. More money can be reaped in by stimulating the amygdala rather than the frontal lobe.

There is some merit to reading lesser material, as one gets a sneak peak into the id of our culture. As well, some of the best lessons on writing (specifically, what not to do) can be derived from hack publications.

But be warned that the more misinformation a person consumes, the more likely their mind will be filled with it.

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