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Space for Rent: The Problem with Normalization


Tweet of the Day: Race in Space: A Question

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This is the second post on the subject of what I call “normalization“. If you know of a better word, please let me know. I hate to flail in ignorance.

But what is “normalization” (at least in this context)?

Simply put is when a behavior, trope or act is repeated throughout the media (be it screen, the internet or print) that should at least arise some discussion (see link above) yet does not. That is in fact one of the two problems I have with the phenomenon. It stifles debate. Regardless whether or not you think the behavior is normal or natural, the fact that is so widespread means that the mass media has made the decision for you. It seeps into the cultural pores so to speak and becomes part of the fabric without nary a peep. So anyone raising an eyebrow is seen as being out of touch since it is so prevalent it becomes innocuous.

The second problem is that it distracts from actual arguments on the issue. The controversy turns on the widespread depiction of X, Y or Z and ignores the behavior itself. Thus we end up with attacks on the evils of Hollywood or the biases of media and not on the issues presented in said media. Not to say that there is no space for open discussion of media biases but is far too common to scapegoat the media instead of focusing on the underlying facts that are being “normalized”.

To be honest this is a extremely complex topic on which I just scratched the surface. Feel free to jump in at any time, your thoughts will be most welcomed.

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