Contrarian thoughts on the power of the media.

contrarianI am often asked how a Contrarian Thinker’s thoughts differ from those of the mainstream.

The recent death of Muhammad Ali or Cassius Clay as most of my generation would remember him is a classic example.

The media – conventional and social  – are full of reports glorifying the man and putting him on a pedestal of god-like magnificence.

Politicians and other celebrities are falling over themselves to elevate him to the status of a statesman.

Why?

I and many of my generation remember him as an obnoxious loud mouth, a draft dodger and inciter of civil disobedience. Some of his statements could be classed as hate crimes today.

I am not a huge fan of boxing or any individual boxers. It seems ludicrous to me that in an age when hunting with hounds and bullfighting have been banned, participants in human blood sports are celebrated.

However I do not believe boxing, wrestling or other forms of combative sports should be banned. Boxing has been shown to be a good sport for youngsters to get fit, learn discipline, gain confidence and build self-esteem. It just seems illogical that people can earn huge sums of money for beating each other’s faces into a bloody pulp and scrambling their brains.

I do admire Muhammad Ali’s skill and his rise from humble beginnings to become world champion.

I have no problem with people remembering him as a great boxer. However to ignore his earlier anti-social activities and now consider him one of the modern world’s great philosophers and a role model for generations, is the height of hypocrisy.

He was certainly not a Mother Theresa, Maya Angelou, Helen Keller or Albert Schweitzer.

That’s the power of the media, it has the ability to elevate sinner to saint, terrorist to nobel prize winner.  It can also destroy the lives and careers of those whose honesty and lack of hypocrisy ignore the constraints of political correctness.

Sadly the new, digital media is better than the old at both.

That’s my brand of Contrarian Thinking. What’s yours?

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  5 comments for “Contrarian thoughts on the power of the media.

  1. Tim Gibney
    June 11, 2016 at 6:46 am

    I find your blog very interesting. I write that because I remember him first as Cassius Clay who became Muhammad Ali. The media today is wrapped up in the celebrity culture, so why should we be surprised at them taking all the time they have to speak about him?
    You might be surprised to read this but he was not much different than you Peter. Yes, he was a contrarian who never agreed with what everyone else was saying. If you dig deeper he objected to the Vietnam War and was willing to forgo his boxing career because he didn’t agree with it. The one thing that made him unique as a conscientious objector is that he just had a very unique way of expressing his contrarian attitude.

    • Peter
      June 14, 2016 at 12:53 pm

      You are correct Tim, he did make a stand for what he believed. I just did not like the way he portrayed himself. I also think that many of his statements were irresponsible and would today make any one uttering them open to charges of hate crimes.

      As you say, the media is wrapped up in the celebrity culture so we shouldn’t be surprised that they now glamorise people that in an earlier era would not have been considered good role models.

  2. Julie
    June 11, 2016 at 7:48 am

    I like your objective point of view. I may not agree with your points but I can understand them. I’ve been long frustrated over Peter Robinson, and the IRA controversy. How someone that was a known terrorist become a parliamentary beats me. Someone that has instigated, killed and mamed cold-bloodedly with his bare hands and proud of the fact too. These acts were carried out against innocent families to get his point across, not with an army or man of combat. In time, he’s now revered as a hero. I understand time passes and people forgive and in these cases forget. I’ve suffered for many years at the hands of this war in London with the IRA. While I have forgiven and moved on. I’ll never forget. The media tries to convince us the way they want us to think. I have a brain and parents that taught me to believe in myself. Interesting and objective. Thanks.

    • Peter
      June 14, 2016 at 12:57 pm

      Thanks for your comment Julie. One of the mysteries of life is how the British government could fight the IRA and condemn it’s members for the murder and atrocities in both mainland England and Northern Ireland, yet support the same type of terrorists who were committing the same atrocities on innocent people in Rhodesia and South Africa.

      In many cases – especially in Rhodesia, against British citizens or descendants of British citizens who had fought in both World Wars.

      The hypocrisy of politics.

  3. Michelle
    June 15, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    So true!

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