What You Hear Is All About Who You Are

Posted on 09. Feb, 2012 by in Uncategorized

The surprising flap about Chrysler’s Clint Eastwood’s Super Bowl commercial “It’s Halftime America” should remind all of us that the messages we send out in all forms of media are always subject to selective perception (and interpretation).  Psychology and the real world furnish numerous surprising examples:  the “Mr. Bigott” cartoons of the World War II era were created to demonstrate how wrong bigotry was, instead many bigots interpreted them as reinforcing their bigotry.  Archie Bunker (of TV’s All in the Family) created as an outlandishly overstated working-class conservative, surprised his creator Norman Lear by similarly giving some conservative viewers company for their less than egalitarian  thoughts.

And so Clint Eastwood’s “It’s Halftime America” can hardly be expected to be viewed in unequivocal terms…it, too, is subject to the same selective interpretation as all other communications.  Consequently some Democrats are welcoming Eastwood into their company, seeing the commercial as an endorsement of President Obama’s leadership.  Many Republicans (apparently, correctly) viewed the commercial as a common call to action… but other more rabid Republicans are characterizing Eastwood as a turncoat and traitor.

Unfortunately human nature intercedes in the way we listen to messages we’re presented with.  People tend to interpret things in a manner that’s consistent with their own values and beliefs.  That’s why it’s so difficult to change opinions.  Messages inconsistent with current beliefs tend either to be ignored or selectively interpreted so as not to be as challenging as they may have been intended.

Too bad we can’t just all hear the real message, let’s pull together America, we can reclaim our role as a world economic leader…it’ll just take hard work and coming together…setting aside political bickering for the greater good.

 

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