This post might be hard for me to write because I have to talk around a subject. You see, I don’t want to call attention to it anymore than it has already had. I hope that in writing this post I don’t perpetuate the cycle I am hoping to help break.
It’s the cycle of negative attention. The idea that any attention is better than no attention and therefore any attention, negative or positive is good.
Humans are social creatures, and we seek each other out. When a person seeks negative attention they are trying to compensate for a lack of positive attention. How do you stop the cycle? You ignore the negative attention seeking behaviours and praise the positive. I know it’s easier said than done, but the idea is to condition the individual to crave positive attention.
Our world is broken. Yesterday David showed me a video by an individual I have heard a lot of people discussing recently. I have avoided discussing this person as much as I can, and I have not contributed to the number of views for any of this individuals “stunts”. I was annoyed that my one view was added to the billions of views this individual has received. The fact that the person is being discussed, and that videos of them are being watched and articles are being read means that right or wrong, positive or negative, they have been successful. People know who they are. They are filling that need for attention.
On youtube people can get paid for views whether you’re watching it to show support or watching it with disdain, it makes no difference. Objectification sells. Stupidity sells. Controversy sells because both sides are paying attention. Attention equals money. And it’s all about the almighty dollar after all. Artistic merit, self respect, intelligence, and a host of other virtues fall by the wayside in a world where you get more attention for vices than for virtues.
So my challenge to you is to go listen to some Adele songs on YouTube. Check out a Jennifer Lawrence acceptance speech, find a clip of Mayim Bialik on What Not To Wear (she refused to take their credit card and bought all her clothes on her own, making sure they adhered to her strict Orthodox Jewish traditions of modesty). Watch Lindsey Stirling play the violin like an amazing musical elf. Celebrate the virtues in these individuals and IGNORE the crap others dump out in an attempt to get your attention.
Positively reinforce the type of entertainment you want to see. Your attention, positive or negative keeps the subject in the foreground.