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Desensitized, But Still Caring

Desensitized, But Still Caring

Don’t use 3rd world kids to advertise, please.

By Joseph Ellis

“People just don’t care anymore.” I’ve heard this a few times, usually a reference to my generation; and I suppose that on some level it is deservedly so. I’m of a generation that came after an age of people caring a whole lot, working hard to make life better, and more equitable. The 1960s saw the anti-war movement, hippies, the Jesus crowd, and the Civil Rights Movement. In contrast, my generation hasn’t really done a whole lot. Instead, we gave birth to Jackass (tv show), MTV, Rap, coffee hipsters, myspace, facebook, and texting during conversations. I profoundly realize how unremarkable we’ve been just typing this!

However, I think people my age do care. I think most care a whole lot! We just hide it under a layer of desensitization; and we’ve had to. We are the generation that grew up with disturbing images being thrown at us from every direction. Come home from school, turn on some afternoon cartoons, and you knew you were going to see a few commercials starring starving kids in Africa. It’s shocking for a child, and I can tell you the end result was to become completely numb to them. Over the years, kids my age saw pictures like this all the time, and I think most of us learned to not have any emotional reaction to them. If you didn’t, you’d likely live in continual emotional turmoil!

Anyway, despite this, I think most of us are not apathetic. We really care about what is going on around the world and the suffering of human beings. But if you’re an advertiser working with a non-profit, here’s some advice: go easy with the images, because we’ve been programed to change the channel.


About Joseph

I live in Heber City, Utah with my wife and family. View all posts by Joseph

1 Comment to Desensitized, But Still Caring

  1. Dan

    Joseph, I couldn’t agree more in regards to being desensitized by the media. It’s a constant struggle to remain sensitive to issues when our natural tendency seems to be to become calloused as a means of protecting our emotional well being.
    I’m from the generation that made all of the noise in the 60′s and 70′s and gladly I have retained the emotional tolerances for feeling and addressing disturbing scenes on the news, activities and behaviors observed in our culture, our political leaders(current event), and the continuing ignorance, evils and hatreds that plague mankind.These disturbing emotions are still allowed to have a voice in my heart and in my mind and in my prayers and sometimes there is good news, when one of these horrible events or activities becomes exposed and some correction is applied whether it is a faulty political system, an erring congressional leader or the horrendous abuse of children throughout the world. We observe, we feel, we pray, we wait and we hope and in some cases we may be called to do more.
    I think that is what I saw in those turbulent years; people who were willing to make a sacrifice of their well being to make a change. It’s always good to see that. I am encouraged by what I am seeing in Mexico and in India in regards to the trafficking problems in those countries and hope to see more change in all of the problem areas that I am willing to feel for and pray for.
    Thanks for the compelling and thought provoking nature of your blog. Please keep it up.

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