Brave New World meets our world

For this blog post, you will discuss either the PBS NewsHour’s exploration of junk news and how it relates to Huxley’s novel,

OR

make connections between the novel and the Time.com article: “How Learning New Words Could Make you Happier.”

For both of these you will make text to text, text to self, text to world connections.

If writing about the video, you can ask yourself – for what purpose is “junk” created and shared?

Who decides how much untruth circulates, and who is responsible? (They may not be the same entity.)

 

If writing about the Time article, be sure to look at the issue through the novel’s characters (John, of course) and to consider this in your own life. Do you agree? Is this idea “hippie-dippie” or sound?

73 thoughts on “Brave New World meets our world

  1. rebeccam3

    A major problem in our society is the spread of misinformation and an overall distrust of news and media. In the series of clips from PBS Newshour, this major theme is displayed. Through a series of interviews with both producers, consumers, and workers at Facebook who use artificial intelligence to limit the spread of faulty articles, a news story has been produced to prove and explain how information is spread and why, as consumers, we believe it. We are in a particularly contentious period in our country’s history, and it is necessary to understand the risk that believing everything we read can have. During the past presidential election, a series of faulty articles were spread across facebook, and although propaganda is a big part of the campaigning process, there comes a point when it leads us to question who is responsible and when enough is enough. In Aldous Huxley’s novel, Brave New World, the citizens of the World State are strictly manipulated by their government. They undergo strict emotional engineering from a young age and are conditioned to be disgusted by things such as books, flowers, love, family, and individuality. They are essentially brainwashed through hypnopedia and undergo strict amounts of conditioning such as death conditioning. Misinformation is designed to target our emotions, and the authors of articles target information to spark outrage and increase engagement. This relates to the World State in a sense because we are essentially being manipulated in the same ways. Writers know what we want to see and write what we want to read and believe. As a teenager living in this time period I am also faced with this internal dilemma, why do I read and believe these things? Why do I buy into the emotions writers want me to feel from their articles? If I was a citizen in the World State, would I be completely brainwashed by this manipulation? After watching these clips and seeing the faults of others and the intentions of nonpartisan writers, I know I need to be more cautious with where I get my information and what I choose to believe.

    1. elliotc

      There is a very evident lack of validity in most people’s information; we as consumers do not care if our source of information is valid or not, we just assume it is true. This assumption leads to a lot of misinformed people starting arguments and conversations, spreading more lies. The false news on big websites cause this dangerous information to spread, but the consumers also allow this misinformation to spread as well. Like the citizens of the World State, I sometimes feel that media sites treat their consumers like cattle; they only care about attracting the most attention, not informing their audience with important news. Currently, the relationship between news media sources and their audience is incredibly undefined. I believe it is on the news media to report valid, evidence based news. However, it is important to realize that there is no one keeping these news sources in check. There does not seem to be a regulation and supervision of news validity. I think it is important for this type of administration to exist and for fake news sites to be required to notify their audience that their articles are not evidence based and merely entertainment or opinions.

      1. Ryan Thomas

        I totally agree with you here Elliot. I remember I was watching a video on youtube about multiple news sources citing the same exact falsified article, word for word, and this wasn’t a one-time thing; It happens all the time. The news is a literal middleman between the person and the article. As a people, we don’t go out of our way to double check the validity of a source, because we believe that the news is always right. This has been a major cause of the uprising of fake news.

    2. lisag2

      I agree that we are essentially being brainwashed by false information. The questions you ask yourself are very relatable. I think we read and buy into these articles because we are so used to believing what we read on the internet. Anytime we are unsure of something we automatically are conditioned to go onto google and search the answer. Therefore we are used to believing everything we see, even if we know that it isn’t always true. For the elderly, the internet is a new source of information. Oftentimes they are even more intrigued by it and often do not understand that there are hackers and false information all over.

    3. anthonyb7

      I agree on the idea of it is in the best interest of me to take a cautious approach to articles emotional and crazy titles, being gullible to such propaganda could definitely negatively effect the nation if read by the mass. It is interesting to picture how far brainwashed one can be, if you are living in the world state would you be able to revert the states propaganda? Would you have any free mind? How truly strong is your mind. The closet examples we have are various regimes and dictatorships, in which most of the population has a god view of the leader. If you fall for click bait on Twitter consistently, would we fall into this category?

  2. kayliek1

    In the modern era of advanced technology and social media, people have the power to manipulate facts and then share them with the world. In PBS Newshour’s exploration of junk news, we are exposed to the simple ways people can create junk news, and how social media outlets like Facebook are working to combat it. As a person who uses social media and is interested in politics, it is worrisome to see how easy it is to spread false news now. Many people, particularly during the 2016 election, are being coerced into believing certain things because of extreme headlines and fake articles. This is very similar to the “emotional engineering” that is performed in Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”. The scary difference between the 1932 novel and present day is that currently, fake news is generated by greedy people trying to gain money or votes by manipulating people for their own benefit. But, at least in Brave New World, the government’s only intention was to make people happy.

    1. christinak3

      The amount of false news in today’s society is mind boggling. I thought it was really interesting how you exposed the motivation behind the emotional engineering in our world vs. the World State. Being a victim of false news, I never thought about it’s negative, selfish purpose. It sort of makes the world state seem righteous for being concerned with peoples happiness.

    2. roberts5

      Kaylie, you bring up some good points during your blog post such as it is worrisome that people can just post whatever they want on social media and there is no censorship of what they can say. False news is spread so easily this way, and the example of the @016 election was a great way to show this idea. The term “fake” news has been associated so much with this election that people do not know what to believe is right or wrong anymore with our president. The intention of the the government in the World State was to make the citizens happy, but it was only what they thought was happy and there was no input from the citizens. In our world, the people creating this “fake” news are only concerned with how people will react whether the story is true or false and it is very sad,.

  3. kaitlynd1

    I believe learning new words can make you happier, because you will be able to better identify feelings and emotions experienced in everyday life. If you are not educated with words for unfamiliar experiences, you will never have the chance to understand them. After reading the article, I can see how other languages have more diverse vocabularies compared to the English language. I agree that our thoughts and actions may be limited because of a small variety in our vocabulary. In the novel Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, John’s familiarity with Shakespeare’s works aids him in many ways. John’s knowledge allows him to express his emotions and criticize the World State. On the other hand, citizens of the World State have trouble expressing their feelings and opinions of the society they are living in. This is because of their lack of vocabulary and access to written works in World State. Throughout the novel, John experiences much sadness and confusion because he is educated; he can understand what is happening around him. Johns ability to understand sadness allows him to experience happiness. Knowledge is power. Citizens of the World State are sheltered from learning new words, so they cannot gain power within their own society. The World State regulates society’s interaction with the outside world to maintain artificial happiness.

  4. lisag2

    I believe that knowledge is power and knowledge allows for increased expression of ideas. I never had thought about it prior, but after reading the article I realized how our language limits our thoughts. We are only able to describe things and feelings which we have words for. Much like the World State, english limits us, while other languages have more words to describe different emotions and feelings than we do. For instance, the Creole word tabanca translates to “the bittersweet feeling one has when left by the person they love”. Anybody may be familiar with that feeling, but they are unable to simply describe it in english, they would describe it as lonely, heartbroken, sad, etc, which all have a slightly different meaning than the exact translation. In Brave New World, John was the one who knew more “languages” (Shakespeare) and therefore was able to express and understand emotions the other citizens of the World State weren’t able to. Although John’s knowledge was arguably the reason for his death, throughout the book he was able to express true happiness while the other citizens were limited by the World State.

    1. gracec6

      I totally agree! I never really thought about this concept either but I think that language limits how we are able to express ourselves and our thoughts and feelings. This concept perfectly ties in with how John felt in BNW, and how once he discovered Shakespearian language, he was better able to express himself.

    2. rebeccam3

      This is very interesting, and the way that you analyzed the article is also very deep and important. It is interesting that the article displays the happiness associated with learning new words; however, the World State, limits this acquisition of knowledge therefore limiting happiness. I like your take on why John ultimately decides to kill himself.

    3. michaelc27

      I think it’s very interesting that you said that we have limitations, just like the citizens of the World State. I had never thought of that before, but it definitely makes sense.

    4. karen

      I agree that we have limitatio s with our language. I rhink it was an i teresti g point that you brought up that language brought John geeat joy, but is aso what killed him.

  5. elliotc

    Language is one of the simplest forms of expressing one’s own feelings, ideas and opinions. No language is perfect; there are times where some things feel indescribable or there just isn’t a word to explain something. The New York Times shows how different words and different languages are needed to express oneself. This article helped me understand why our world will not agree to a single global language: so much culture would be lost and so many words of expression will be lost as well. In Brave New World, it is evident that the World State prevents their citizens to freely express themselves. Instead, the citizens’ expressions are controlled. The World State forces their citizens down one path, to follow the World State or to be casted out. When reading about John the Savage, the age old phrases “knowledge is power” and “The pen is mightier than the sword” comes to mind (although John is pretty violent). In the Savage Reservation, John was able to experience complicated art and literature when he read the plays of Shakespeare. He was educated and used phrases and lines of plays to express his own emotions throughout the entire book. John is an excellent example of how learning new words can bring happiness. The World State finds this form of happiness and expression as inefficient and a waste of time, banning from their citizens.

  6. karen

    In today’s age of technology, social media is prevalent and allows for a faster spread of information. Unfortunately, this also leads to a spread of misinformation and what some call “junk news”. In the PBS clips, the creation and spread of junk news is explored, specifically the use of junk news on Facebook and its involvement in the 2016 presidential election. Like in the novel, fake news sources will use emotional engineering; however, they use it to gain attention and have their fake articles spread around. This junk news is designed specifically to invoke strong emotions, particularly anger or outrage. In Brave New World, the fake information and emotional engineering by the government was used to keep the citizens happy, and not to upset them. In the World State, the citizens are brainwashed into believing anything that the government says. I would like to believe that people now are not being brainwashed to blindly believe anything that they see online; however, I think for some people this is unfortunately the case. These junk news sources have taken advantage of these people who believe anything they read online and do not check to make sure that the things they read are really true. I think that my generation and people who have grown up with technology are more likely to realize that things on the internet are not always true and that you need to check the source of information than generations who did not have technology. I think that eventually the creators of junk news might be able to manipulate our emotions and minds more than they already do, which could lead to negative outcomes if people are not careful about checking sources and being aware of the huge problem that is junk news.

    1. michaels13

      I agree with your analysis with fake news and the connection to the novel. In both the book and in real life, news is spread to evoke strong emotion. One thing worth noting, however, is the overall intention of the people who spread it. In Brave New World, the World State spread propaganda to keep society happy and maintain a sense of utopia. In our society, fake news is made solely for profit rather than emotional manipulation. People who publish fake news see which political side is more profitable to exploit- the right or left wing, often experimenting with both. Money is made with each repost or retweet, generating ad revenue to the publisher. The talk of “Russian interference” in the election is not entirely true – most of it was in Macedonia and Romania, where people made fake news for profit. The same concept applies to “trolls” in Russia. However, the link between “trolls” and Russian government is still in question…

  7. melissae1

    I believe that learning new words isn’t a “hippie-dippie” concept, but one that solidifies our lives. It grounds us in our beliefs and actions. New words give us power to convey how we feel in an accurate manner and connect with others, as well as ourselves. In the article How Learning New Words Could Make you Happier, Tim Lomas says that learning new words is “almost like each one is a window onto a new landscape” We see this in Brave New World when we get a glimpse into the process of John how John learned new words. By learning new terminology via Shakespeare’s work, he is opening new windows to help him fully be able to understand himself and the world around him. We see how words motivated him, albeit in a negative way, and how he is able to find a new purpose and self of sense. But in the World State, we see how the society handles the learning of new words. When hearing John say “God” for the first time in the middle of a large group, there’s a noticeable change in their demeanor. They all get extremely confused and very upset. Instantly, they have to be distracted in order to keep a riot from developing. The World State disagrees with him knowing these words and unintentionally spreading them throughout the society. By limiting this new knowledge, the World State is keeping its people from discovering their true selves and getting in touch with their emotions.

    1. kayliek1

      I completely agree with you about learning new words! This article was very interesting because it taught me new words I had never heard before. And you make a great point that the World State is keeping the people from discovering their true selves.

    2. ryanb3

      I totally agree with you on the importance of words. I think that words are the most powerful tool humans were given. Without them, there would be no communication, and barely any contact with each other. And I totally see how this idea comes up in BNW. We get to see a true example of the impact of words. It is interesting to see how something so simple can have huge effects on us as humans.

  8. Ryan Thomas

    After watching the PBS Newshour’s bit on the spread of junk news, it really opened up my perspective of how easy it is to create false news and grasp the attention of people that believe this news. Even the largest media outlets, such as Facebook, are victimized to this trend of trolls creating fake news, displaying how easy it is to post anything on the internet. This junk news is somewhat similar to “Brave New World”, because between both, there is a group of people trying to manipulate the minds of others who are oblivious to the situation, one being the government in the World State, and the other being these people on the internet. However, in the novel, they use hypnopaedia and “emotional engineering” in order to give pleasure and happiness to the inhabitants of the World State. On the other hand, in our reality, this fake news is created to cause a larger divide between people, in terms of political beliefs and ideals. It’s pretty unreal to believe that regular people on the Internet have the power to sway others’ everyday thinking, but that’s a testament to how advanced technology has become. Maybe Huxley does have the right idea about what will happen to us in our future. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    1. maxd2

      I argue on what you’re saying Ryan, social media is very similar to the how the World State manipulates their people. It’s crazy to believe that everyday we use social media but very rarely do we fact check what they are writing. There are people whose jobs it is to manipulate readers to believe what they have to say similar to how the government of the World State manipulates their people. You may have a point about Huxley predicting what will happen in the future.

    2. matthewl12

      You make a good point, Ryan. There are people out there like Cyrus Massoumi who spend their whole lives manipulating society with untrue writings in an effort to steer readers’ perspectives while making money. And there are people (much of the population) like Mr. Hickey’s grandmother, who fall victim to the writers’ deceptive ways. Our emotions and opinions are often indeed “engineered” by the unreliable sources seen everyday online.

  9. gracec6

    A general definition of junk news is information that is spun to directly correspond with and reaffirm peoples’ beliefs. One reason of many, why junk news is created, stems from the want or even need to spark a reaction. In PBS NewsHour’s piece, we are introduced to one of the people behind the spread of junk news. Cyrus Massoumi, who has made a living off of creating and spreading junk news; he takes breaking news stories or events and spins them to fit what his readers want to see. I think that specifically talking about Facebook, both the users and administrators of the site are responsible. It is because of users who reblog articles without fact checking that junk news is spread. But also the administrators, who simply can’t keep up with the huge amount of fake news that is being circulated. In Brave New World, World Controllers are the only people given full mental and physical capability and access to history and knowledge. As they are the only ones with this information, they can twist and alter history to support or denounce certain principles. Along with making their citizens believe what they see fit to believe. Both the World Controllers and spreaders of fake news, twist information to elicit certain reactions and enforce the ‘beliefs’ of their audience.

    1. kaitlynd1

      I completely agree with this. I never realized how similar the World Controllers and spreaders of fake news are. It is scary to think that spreaders of fake news will have the power to change history and people’s ideals using false information. I think it it morally wrong to spread fake news. I think it is even more wrong that people make money off of it.

  10. noram3

    I like your point of connecting how the world controllers distribute information to our own world. The information the controllers give out are hyper biased and use emotional engineering to make the citizens of the World State think a certain way just like the articles we see on Facebook.

  11. michaelc27

    In today’s world, social media is so prevalent in our lives and despite all of the positive impacts, not including foodporn, there are negative results from it. Similar to in the novel, there are aspects of “emotional engineering” with the spread of fake news stories. Using inflammatory statements that use language to “pierce” and garner a reaction from the reader, usually one of outrage and disgust, is one way that this holds true. In doing so, this makes the reader read and share the news, prompting more views and awarding the website more ad revenue. In Brave New World, Helmholtz seeks to make people emote, but I do not believe that he would spread false news to further an agenda, but rather just make them feel some type of way. The news stories on these sites are not even verified or factual in most cases, but it has become so hard to tell the real ones from the fakes and some people do not even put forth the effort to fact check. I can say that I do not always do so. Sometimes, I see things on Twitter and can’t tell if they’re real or not. Honestly, I do not go on Twitter for news, I go there to see stuff and laugh, but if I do find myself reading an article, I almost never fact check the article. I usually just read things that are coming from verified accounts and nowhere else. This is probably not the case for everyone as I am someone who was raised during the age of technology, but some people like the elderly woman in the video may not be the most technologically advanced users and in their case they probably take whatever they see to be a somewhat reputable source as the truth.

    1. faithq2

      I agree that a lot of times on Twitter I believe stories that may not be true. It is very hard to differentiate sometimes! In addition it is absurd to me how news sites can just spread their own fake stories all day and make so much revenue based on views. It makes it harder for all of us to keep sight of whats true when these sites are gaining so much popularity.

    2. kellyh2

      I agree that I never have fact checked or would think to fact check things I read on Twitter. Whenever a news story is developing or there is breaking news, I immediately log onto Twitter because I believe that it has the quickest updates and it is quick and easy to read. However, on Twitter, anybody can post about the topic. We could be reading legitimate news from reporters or witnesses, or we could just be reading opinions from celebrities, athletes, or an average teenager like us. There is really nobody filtering anything, however we still read Twitter and believe it. This makes it difficult to know what is true and what isn’t.

  12. faithq2

    The video was very interesting and informative on the ways Facebook has been trying to manage all the junk news being posted and spread. Junk is created to feed into the interests of online users and to pull them in based on key words they are interested in. Although a post may include false information, people may still share it if they agree with the ideas in it. This is how false information can rapidly spread on the internet. I believe that many people are at fault when it comes to the spreading of junk news. First, the person who created it is responsible. Then, everyone who spreads the information is also at fault, because they could’ve fact checked the information. On the contrary, when so much fake information is being spread, it can be hard to differentiate between real and fake. This connects to Brave New World because the people in the world state blindly go along with all the “normal” things they do like orgy porgy and taking soma. The propaganda in the novel influences the people to an extreme measure, and makes everyone worship Ford. I sometimes can not differentiate between real and fake news myself because the stories seem so real, and many news outlets post the same stories, which makes it seem more true. Our world today has an issue with the large amount of fake news being spread and believed, and it is both the person spreading it and the creator’s responsibility to try and limit it.

    1. rhenb1

      I agree that multiple people are at fault for the spread of fake news. It should not just be up to us to know what is real and what is fake. People exploit our curiosity to make profit. I feel like society has strayed far away from what news should be. It should be to inform and to educate others. We need to get back to that but with corrupt minds chasing a bigger pay check it may not be possible.

  13. noram3

    Tim Lomas’ stance on how “positive lexicography” can affect a person’s overall well being is, in my opinion, not “hippie-dippie” at all. I used to look up interesting words and definitions from ours and other languages all the time because I liked them and it felt cool to be able to describe such niche feelings with a single word. I agree that being able to identify these feelings can make a person happier overall. We can derive pleasure from this, just as the citizens in the World State, but the main difference is that we have these words to define them and the power to think about these pleasures on a deeper level. While we can have chryslism and hygge, the characters in Brave New World experience pleasure and only pleasure. In a time where technology, stress, and other distractions can draw one away from the simple pleasures in life, practicing positive lexicography can open us up to different experiences and better us, as a society, as a whole with this sound idea.

    1. melissae1

      I completely agree with your viewpoint about the niche feelings of new words and the pleasure we get from them. A large majority of people living in the World State will never get to experience those feelings. That made me wonder about how different the World State would be if more citizens were educated and allowed to speak their minds.

  14. rhenb1

    Misleading news or “junk news” has become very apparent in today’s society. Social media has become an expressway for junk news to arrive right at our fingertips. All it takes is one “like” for our news feeds to be filled with false ideas, which strays many of us away from the truth. It is extremely easy to quickly spread the wrong information to users because of social media. People’s fake messages are being shared across large masses of people quicker than ever. Facebook has tried to help us differentiate between real and junk news, but it is impossible for any algorithm to detect every bit of fake news. People will always be exposed to false ideas, and it can be hard at times to tell what is real and what is junk. Instead of junk news popping up on someone’s timeline, in the World State people are conditioned to believe and follow false ideologies; the truth is not honored in their society. They are conditioned from birth. Their brains are suppressed from knowledge, and they are trapped into believing ideas that we know are not moral. In the World State they broadcasted John the Savage going mad because he did not follow their culture. They did not tell the people of the World State all of the details that led up to him lashing out. The World State makes the people believe what they want; there is no choice because only false information is given to them. Both relate to the concept of people being fed false information and that causes them to think differently. Sometimes I do not know if what I am reading in true or no. It is hard to grow up in a society knowing not everything I read is credible. Anyone can alter the truth, and we are left with the burden of uncertainty.

    1. baileyc1

      I agree that social media has impacted our lives with false ideas. Having social media has made it hard to find out what the truth really is on any topic. People are so quick to follow celebrities’ viewpoints and can’t even think for themselves. In Brave New World, people can’t think for themselves either. They are conditioned to follow anything they are told.

  15. roberts5

    The world that we live in today, has multiple avenues to share and create “junk” news or “fake” news as our President says. News is easily facilitated to the world and it grabs the people’s attention whether the information is true or not. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are the biggest media outlets on the social network, and they further prove the point on how easy it is to post anything on the Internet. Cyrus Massoumi, who creates and spreads junk news for a living, breaks news events to the public, but he spins them in his own way. He even has it set to post events that fit what his viewers want to see. Massoumi creates junk news so that his viewers can react to events, but it is because of bloggers that make articles without fact checking that junk news is spread. It is not only the bloggers or authors of these articles, but also the sites they put them on are responsible for junk news to be spread. If the media outlets censor the use of junk news in articles, then many “fake” news articles would not easily be spread. In both PBS Newshour’s bit and “A Brave New World,” because there are groups of people trying to manipulate people’s minds and tell them what to believe. The government in the World State used hypnopaedia and soma to give the people in the community pleasure and happiness. The “fake” news created by people in our society causes people to disagree over their beliefs and ideals. No matter if what they are writing is true or not, the people that write these articles have the power to change people’s opinions.

    1. thomasg5

      Do you think some of the responsibility is on the readers? For many of these articles it is easy to see if it has actual content or is a made up story to grab your attention just by looking at the title. People can help stop the creation of junk news by ignoring clickbait titles to avoid giving them ad revenue.

  16. michaels13

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  17. ryanb3

    After viewing PBS NewsHour’s video on the impact of junk news, it is clear to see just how damaging false information can be. At the end of the video, it is easy to be mad at the companies and people who create these fake news sites. They are seen as greedy and only in it for the money. It seems that they forget just exactly what they are doing. They are unintentionally manipulating the minds of innocent people just to make a profit. There is a clear parallel of this idea in Huxley’s novel, Brave New World. The government of the World State literally conditions and manipulates the minds of its citizens. Why you ask? Because it makes life a less difficult. No longer is there true sadness, grief, or guilt. All the citizens enjoy themselves, there is no fighting, and everyone belongs to everyone else. It reminded me of a kindergarten classroom, where there are no winners so that no one gets upset for losing. And in real life, that is what fake news is doing to us. It gives us a glimpse of reality, merely because it is easier that way, and actually reading onward and doing research is just too much work for the average person. The sad truth is that most people are fulfilled by reading a few sentences on a topic and getting the gist of it. These fake news companies understand this, and use it to their advantage. They know people will not read onward, so they can practically say anything they want, without anyone turning their heads. These companies and the World State are entirely the same idea. Feeding off the ignorance of the common man is a lot easier than digging into the truth. In a world where levels of laziness have grown to an all time high and everyone is driven by money, there is no surprise that this is happening. The only way to fx it is to change our mindsets and be aware of what is truly going on around us.

    1. melvinb

      I like connections that you used in comparing Brave New world and fake news to kindergarten. I also agree with you that people don’t necessarily read the whole picture these days. They take a few words from an article and develop their own opinions on what is happening. People are no longer putting in work to research topics and the punishment is that we are all becoming victims to junk/fake news.

  18. baileyc1

    I believe learning new words has the power to change lives. Words give people the ability to express their thoughts and feelings. From reading the article, I have realized how words have a such a great influence on our everyday lives. Surprisingly, the English language has a lot less words to express happiness compared to other languages. The more words we know, the more emotions we can express. John exemplifies this in the novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. From reading Shakespeare, John has the knowledge to speak out and communicate his emotions. Everyone in the World State is conditioned to be happy and take soma if they start to feel “weird” or “different.” They are very limited in their vocabulary because they are kept from learning words that mean any other emotion but happy. Words change our thoughts, beliefs, relationships, etc., so everyone in the World State is restricted from learning many words. When John is sad that his mom dies or when he throws the soma out the window, it is because he understands the meaning of life and what the World State is doing to everyone. He has the vocabulary to express his feelings. The meaning and value of words have major impacts on people’s lives. They can control people’s emotions. The fewer words you know, the less you will be hurt. The saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is difficult for people to accept as true because the more words you know, the greater knowledge you will have. You will understand those mean words and most likely be affected by it.

    1. jessicab7

      I agree! John is a great example of how language influences a persons’ awareness of both self and their environment. Many ways people act, behave, and interact comes from observing it from others. A lot of behaviors are learned just like words. In learning new words, gives you the ability to feel new emotions and thoughts you might otherwise wouldn’t feel or understand. Language is such an important step in the development and growth of people, as well as the relationships one has with others.

    2. emmak2

      Words have always had such power behind them. It really does influence the way we act as human beings. I really enjoyed your blog post, and agreed with every point you made. Learning new words has helped me understand the world around me, and in the World State it keeps people from learning the truths about their world. I believe that we are shaped as individuals because of words. In Brave New World we noticed a lack of identity partially because of their lack of vocabulary.

  19. maxd2

    The PBS NewsHour’s exploration video on juke news shows us that the news we consume from social media outlets can be manipulated to appease a certain audience. Many times when we read articles on Facebook or Twitter and we never bother to fact check. By doing these we are ignoring the facts and choosing to trust what the articles has to say. I blame this on the fact that we live in a society where news is delivered so fast, news outlets are trying their best to grab the reader’s attention. Recently many social media outlets have been exposed for allowing fake news articles to exist on their app or website resulting in push back from the media and everyday users. However it is impossible to control every article written because everyone reads what they want to believe regardless of the validity. It is shocking to see how similar the manipulation of social media is to the novel, “Brave New World.” In the novel, the people are controlled through ways of hypnopaedia and other methods in order to control their emotions and personality. There is no individualism in the World State unlike in our society; however, what social media is doing is making people believe in things that may not be true. The people who write these articles have the power similar to how the government of the World State does. As a society we need to be cautious on what we read and justify our sources before we start to believe it.

  20. melvinb

    Whether or not you choose to believe it, most of us read fake news everyday. Whether its scrolling down posts in Instagram or reading some article online, a majority of us have been exposed to fake news. PBS NewsHour video depicted just how damaging fake news can be. They tend to amplify one’s belief by telling you what you want to believe. For example, if you hate President Trump and read about a post saying that he kicked a dog(I do not think he has) than you might believe it. People create fake news for a variety of reasons from making some cash to getting more followers to follow your perspective on a situation. The downside that these people may not realize is that they are in a way manipulating innocent people and swaying their minds. 9 times out of 10 the public will not be able to recognize fake news. So once they hear about President Trump kicking a puppy(An example), they are going to start hating him or hating him more due to a false claim. The society in Brave New World does something similar to this. They condition children at a young age to believe certain things or to hate and love certain things. They are manipulating kids for their own benefit because in their eyes, this is the perfect society. Some kids are conditioned to hate nature, presenting some kids from having the chance to experience the greatness of nature. In our world today it’s hard to identify whether or not news is fake. Most people won’t check to see if what they are reading is true or not. The people who write these fake articles know this as they keep expecting you to come back because these outrageous claims are interesting even if they are not true. Fake News is becoming a serious issue and a powerful weapon as it is fooling thousands of people everyday. It is important that we develop skills to identify fake news so that we do not become manipulated and conditioned to believe certain things so easily.

    1. erinh2

      I agree! People need to be more aware of these fake news, because they really are manipulative. It’s so hard to avoid them when they pop out at you/are advertised on social media. If people want to believe in something they read, they will, despite it being true or not.

    2. jays2

      I agree that fake news has unfortunately become common in today’s media. Many of us have fallen victim to it at least once. As a society we’ve become more like consumers buying a story than a concerned citizen learning and forming an opinion on today’s issue. Many will still fall for fake news since they want to believe it’s true.

  21. christinak3

    In PBS’s news hour on junk news I was disappointed – although not surprised – by the fake news in today’s society. Knowing what I have learned, the videos changed perspective on emotional engineering in Brave New World and our world. The World State is so determined to create a mass of identical or “Bokanovskified” people to avoid conflict. Although it is artificial, their happiness is stable. In our world, junk news is created and targeted to specific audiences to spark emotions, good or bad. With erupting politics such as the 2016 election Facebook became an outlet to reach out to people and spread this junk news. The difference between us and the World State is that we are aware of what is going on, we have free will but do not do anything about it and just “hope the problem is solved”, while the World State is conditioned and does not know any better. It is interesting how we are similar to them in such aspects, yet we may criticize them when they are unknowing.

  22. albya2

    Language is power. This notion is expressed in Katy Steinmetz’s article “How Learning New Words Could Make You Happier”. In the Brave New World, Shakespearean language represents expression for powerful, indescribable feelings. “The strange words rolled through his mind…they gave him a reason for hating Pope; and they made his hatred more real; they even made Pope himself more real” (Huxley, 131-132). When John begins reading Shakespeare, he discovers the power and pleasure of words that influence his emotions and even create people around him more real than before. Similarly, Steinmetz elaborates that “words give us a greater ability to differentiate feelings” and “we become more capable of understanding” these feelings. Language becomes a means of finding one’s identity; it becomes a way of rebelling against conformity and of seeking both truth as well as art. While for John, Shakespearean language becomes his individuality, for Helmholtz, his sense of human passion is writing. Helmholtz says that though he’s good at writing propaganda, he has the feeling that he could write something more piercing and more powerful. As Helmholtz plainly dismays, “I feel I could do something much more important. Yes, and more intense, more violent…make words really piercing…that’s what it finally boils down to. I try and I try”, yet I simply can’t find that power anywhere. Life for the World State citizens is always the same, always happy, and always stable. No strong emotions interfere with their conditioning. In the World State, ideas, thoughts, and words like “passion” are “whisked” away along with history and relationships.
    Learning different languages does not only widen your “borders” by allowing you to describe more of your emotions but also gives you the possibility to consider “infinite perspectives” and take in-depth comprehension of the world. Steinmetz notes that language is useful not only for expression but also communication. For young people of different nationalities, along with English, learning a second language is a necessity in our competitive job market as well as a way of cultural expansion. Today, a majority of the youth in the United States learn Spanish as a second language to better their job opportunities. Likewise, growing up in an ethnic community surrounded by my grandparents and my relatives, I have expanded my language culturally. Speaking my South Indian language, I have felt the pleasure of ethnic words rolling through my tongue. Language is an expression, communication, and culture to me.

  23. emmak2

    Knowledge is a means for better understanding one’s self. This was true of John the Savage and the findings of Tin Lomas. Lomas had found that sometimes our languages are not extensive enough to capture the hundreds of emotions we feel everyday. And according to Lomas, if our language does not have a word for an emotion, we likely are not aware of said emotion. This is why learning new languages and cultures can unlock new levels of expression within ourselves. John had said that once he had read enough of Shakespeare’s works to get a firm grasp of the language he acquired reason for hating Popé and his hatred grew. The new language enhanced his emotions towards Popé. Also since John went out of his way to acquire the knowledge in a world lacking knowledge, it also changed his view on those around him. John was the only one in his reservation to understand the old language of Shakespeare. It gave him an extra feeling of being a unique individual. He had talked down to the rest of the people on the reservation for their lack of knowledge and that they lacked the gift that he had of language. This is also true in our world. From my experiences, those who know multiple languages or generally those who seek unique knowledge tend to be “know it alls”. They see themselves above those who do not have the same level of understanding as them. This was basically John at the reservation, even though he had a real reason to be a know it all.

  24. matthewl12

    The idea Steinmetz introduces may sound a little “hippie-dippie” initially, but when digested, her point is indeed quite sound. We often gravitate towards things we are familiar with; it is not uncommon to fear the unknown. But this is exactly what the World State’s society does: they do not branch out, and therefore live a life of ignorance with little to no risk. It may satisfy their needs, yes, but fails to produce the sensations that come with learning and growth. John, for example, is unique in Huxley’s world– he has absorbed himself in ancient readings and advanced literature. These sources provide an invaluable key to infinite perspectives. He grasps a larger understanding of history, language, and behavior. He knows grief, but can consequently know genuine happiness. This knowledge opens doors, and though I cannot directly relate to the gaining of happiness though words, I completely understand the foundations of Steinmetz’s ideas. There is a satisfaction that comes with learning new things– you can recognize your growth and reflect upon how you have learned. This holds true for most things in life: exploring the unknown is often beneficial, as risk often pays off. Unfortunately, there are few characters in Brave New World who explore the unknown, but because John does, he can experience true happiness.

    1. thomasz2

      This is a great and interesting perspective of the Times article, applying something small like the joy in learning new words, to the big idea of exploring the unknown, and taking risks in everyday choices. It has kind of a philosophical feel to it that I didn’t necessarily experience upon reading the article myself, and I’m glad I got to hear that perspective from you on your post. I have now experienced intellectual growth and I will “reflect on what I have learned” as you so eloquently and truthfully put it in your blog post.

  25. jessicab7

    Both Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and “How Learning New Words Could Make You Happier” by Katy Steinmetz, address the power of language and learning. Language is an important step in the growth and development of a person’s personality. Language is how you choose to express yourself. It’s an extension of who you are as a person and . There is a power in spoken word and in being able to articulate your opinions to others. It’s important in communicating and influences the people you surround yourself with. In the World State, people’s thoughts, words, and voices are not their own. Through soma and hypnopaedia, the World State is able to control the masses. Helmholtz wishes to harness the power of language to bring about change, instead of doing it to manipulate. As an Alpha Plus, he is able to learn things other castes do not. This gives him a better understanding of the potential words can have. John also knows the power of language. Growing up outside of the World State, he was able to learn to think for himself and read books that were not available to people of the World State. By reading Shakespeare, he learns about emotions and feelings that people of the World State do not comprehend.
    In today’s society, companies and social media uses technology and language to manipulate people. They social media is heavily ingrained in every day life, giving these companies more access to people, specifically children. Children are very impressionable. They see their favorite stars or influencers promoting and endorsing companies that can greatly impact them. The constant rush of advertisements can be compared to hypnopaedic sayings of the World State. While words can give off or remind you of certain feelings like joy, the power of language can also be used to control.

    1. albya2

      This was an interesting post to read! I liked how you made the connection of language and one’s own identity. As I elaborated even in my own post, I felt there was a relevant connection to how language affects an individual’s character and personality. The words and ideas of an individual speak out a lot of his/her attitude. Though, what about actions? For instance, a person who anonymously donates his/her money to charities and organizations; or, a person who does not stand as a bystander and rather acts to help a struggling victim. Do you feel that actions can show more of a person’s character and attitude than words?

  26. erinh2

    Let’s face it, nobody really reads the newspaper anymore. Most people find out news by scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or even Snapchat. With social media being so prevalent in this generation, it is very easy to access fake news. Tactics such as clickbait are used to grasp people’s’ attention and are often exaggerated. Whether the source is valid or not, the idea is still going to stick into your head once you read the article. Junk news are created to try and impact people’s viewpoints or to simply just make money. Similarly, in Brave New World, the citizens are conditioned to believe certain things. Reading junk news that were created to make us think a certain way, is being conditioned. However, in the World State, the government was trying to protect them by fully controlling them. The thought that the citizens didn’t experience real emotions or have their own thoughts can be uneasy. However, could that potentially be happening to us? Fake news is a way to change our opinions and get us to believe a certain way. We are actually a lot more similar to the World State than we think.

    1. albya2

      This is completely true to our modern society. We all know that the news that we get from Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and even Snapchat, are exaggerated to catch our attention Yet we still fall for it because the news manipulates our emotions. Most kids today are not going for the “real” news; many kids simply want to escape from their daily school and work life to social media apps for stories that make them laugh or peak their interests like an upcoming movie, music, or sports. Though we have a vast amount of technology and books of knowledge in a hand’s grasp, we simply have become ignorant and less motivated to acquire this knowledge. I feel that it is not just enough for knowledge and literature to be out there for us, but there has to be motivation and interest within each of us to actually want to learn something new and accurate. New generations just seem to not care as much anymore about how “real” the news are, and no one cares enough to check the credibility of their sources.

    2. amandad4

      I completely agree. It is very important to be aware of the fact that junk news exists, and that social media can manipulate users to believe things that are untrue. It can be hard to avoid, but as long as people are aware that this tactic exists, they can be mindful enough to decide for themselves what to believe.

  27. jays2

    We live in a society where each side of the political spectrum attempts to slander one another. This is achieved by each side spreading misinformation, leading to many discrediting opposing news outlets and media and deeming them distrustful. The PBS Newshour clips illustrate the multiple sides of this epidemic. “Junk” news that has been circulating is unfortunately starting to become a mainstay in the media because of the consumers who choose to accept the “news” as truth. Many of these false news sites only advertise what a consumer wants to see. For example, those who lean towards the liberal side of the political spectrum will be shown only news that appeals to their views. False new has diluted the truth and has made its way to mainstream media. For example, there was a conservative news podcast that believed that the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in 2012 was a government hoax, which lead to many harassing the families of the deceased children. Diluting the truth is a common practice in the World State in Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”. The World Controllers spread propaganda such as claiming that families were terrible, or that thinking on your own is wrong. The World Controllers spread these lies and alter history to fit with their views on how the world should be. I believe that it is hard to hide how much untruth circulates and that someone will always have an opinion opposite of the truth and will try to make their voice heard. It should be the media’s job to determine how much of the truth is diluted, as they are the ones covering stories 24/7 and delivering it to us as consumers and citizens. I believe that as consumers we are responsible for how much untruth circulates. We are the ones who choose to believe what we want to believe and it is up to us to be cautious of where we get our information from and to determine whether the news is false or not.

  28. taylors1

    In the world we live in today, it is challenging to decipher whether the information we’re provided with is true or not. The PBS NewsHour exploration discussed the surplus of junk news in today’s society and why we are being provided with all this false information. All the social media outlets in today’s society serve as linkage institutions between the government and the people. This makes it incredibly easy to expose the people to junk news and pick and choose what we are made aware of. We read false information all the time whether we know it or not. Similarly in Brave New World, the community is only allowed to access certain information. They are controlled by emotional engineering that makes them hate books. This was done strategically by the World State so the people cannot and will feel no desire to read and educate themselves. In the World State efficiency is valued more than anything and with no knowledge comes no distractions. In both scenarios, information is being withheld from the public or it is being tampered with. Facebook has recognized this problem and has made us aware of the impetus behind those releasing junk news. Money and publicity is the reason behind all of the false articles we see on social media sites. It is hard for me to decide what and what not to believe on a daily basis when there is an overwhelming amount of clickbait and junk news being thrown our way. People tend to believe what they want to hear which causes a lot of controversy involving politics. When we read the novel we often judged the characters for how they behaved or what they would say, but in reality we are influenced similarly to how they are and we have little to no control over it.

    1. mirandal2

      I agree about the difficulty of deciphering real news and junk. I believe the biggest issue with this ‘junk news’ in our society today is that it is so hard to realize what junk is as you are reading it. Also, because of how hard this is, it is just as easy for people to accuse correct information of being false when it makes their side look bad. I relate to you in the sense that I struggle on what I should or shouldn’t believe on the internet. You make a good point about how we have been influenced so much from the internet that we have almost lost control over the amount of truth in what we read.

  29. mirandal2

    The PBS NewsHour’s exploration of junk news is comparable to the dynamic of the World State in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. The lack of information shared with the citizens of the World State paired with the misconceptions that the Controllers portray to them are an extreme variation of the spreading of junk news in our society today. There are different motives for spreading junk news, including money, power, popularity, or even experimental purposes. The Controllers of the World State share many of these motives. While money does not seem to be a top priority in the novel, power is certainly the overarching theme. The Controllers gain their power from the false illusions that they create for the civilians of the World State in order to build a reliance on the leaders. Almost all of these illusions, just like much of the junk news we read, are easily accepted and believed by the intended audience. Although most people in our society are aware of the concept of junk news and the idea of false information being spread, we still believe most things that we read. While journalists and editors may be the ones circulating the untruth, our society shares responsibility for spreading it and believing it. I personally do not ‘fact check’ any of the articles I come across on the internet and social media, but I am sometimes skeptical of these things I read. The issue is that I do not know when I should be skeptical or hesitant to believe what I’m reading, and when I should consider what I’m reading as the truth.

    1. CrisD

      I agree how the motives for those in the World State and the journalist who spread fake news are different. One spreads it for power and the other just for money. That’s why I feel that if we find a way to cut them of making money off their fake news, they problem could seemingly go away as that’s all they seek. I also agree that it is hard to always fact check everything we hear as that’s basically wasting double the time in fact checking, which is just inconvenient. Hopefully in the future there won’t be any need to fact check everything we read, and we will be able to take everything we hear as the absolute truth.

    2. taylors1

      I agree that it is very challenging to know when we should be fact checking an article. It is very difficult because you feel as if you need to be on the look out at all times. We all know that being provided with junk news is very typical in our society today, but we still tend to simply accept the statements made in whatever reading we seem to come across.

  30. thomasg5

    The world we live in is scarily similar to that of the world state. Citizens of the world state constantly consume soma to feel instant gratification and escape the world they live in. This is comparable to the way people consume junk news. Throughout the NewsHour we realize that millions of people are reading these pointless articles that appeal to people’s emotions to take advantage of them. They have little to know content and feed false information to readers in order to gain ad revenue. The curator of these articles boasts about this fact because he knows people will not change. They have an addiction to the articles. The citizens of the world state are taken advantage of in the same way. Emotional engineering is a parallel to the way clickbait titles grab facebook user’s attention. Their addiction to soma and feeling of instant gratification is the same feeling readers experience when reading junk articles. The way the world state completely ignores the point of John’s purging is the same way people will not stop reading junk news.

  31. amandad4

    The PBS NewsHour’s explanation of junk news expresses how social media is manipulated to cater to each individual user. Fake news is constantly spread throughout Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. As I scroll through my social media feeds, I constantly see articles and advertisements that have to do with my interests. Whether the news posted on social media is true or not, many users believe it without paying any mind to where it came from. Comparably, in Brave New World, people are conditioned to think a certain way. They are trained to believe what is right, simply because a higher source tells them to do so. Members of the World States live’s are chosen for them, and they don’t even know it. People are brainwashed through emotional engineering, for example being conditioned to hate the beauty of nature and the sight of books, similarly to how individuals can be fooled to believe junk news seen online. In today’s age, companies manipulate what is put on social media to what they want people to believe. The fact that we are unsure of what we can believe online is frustrating, and it’s hard to decipher what is real. Many people are quick to think that it is all truth, which is what is believed in the World State as told by the controllers. When it comes down to it, the way social media manipulates users is very similar to the way the World State exists, and it is important for people to be aware of this to live their lives as they want to rather than being fooled by the media.

  32. thomasz2

    Different people find joy in different things, some enjoy playing sports, some enjoy singing or dancing, and some may also enjoy reading; these people in particular seem to enjoy actively seeking to broaden their knowledge on the world. One common way people go about expanding their understanding of their environment is to learn new words, whether it be ones from their native tongue, or untranslated words from different languages and cultures. This may seem rather out there, how can someone receive joy from simply learning a new word? Personally, I have found on multiple occasions a certain sense of satisfaction after learning a new word that I either find useful for everyday application, or just one that is funny sounding or has a funny definition. One example of this was learning about the Defenestration of Prague in European History. I had learned that Bohemian activists in Prague had staged a revolt against their ruler, where they eventually threw the ruler’s representatives out of a window. I assumed defenestration was just some fancy term for a revolt, but upon researching it, I have come to find out that the word defenestration literally means, “the action of throwing someone or something out of a window.” I found this to be so humorous that I have begun to integrate it into my everyday language; for example, jokingly threatening to “defenestrate” my friend, or my homework, or whatever the situation calls for. It has been a hilarious (at least I think so, my friends may disagree) change in my daily life, and I have grown fond of my new punchline. In more of a universal context, this phenomenon of finding joy in implementing new words in our vocabulary happens every day, and it happens even easier with social media. Many brand new slang terms spread like wildfire throughout the nation’s youth, with words and phrases seemingly coming out of thin air, terms for emotions and situations we never realized we ALL experienced, and it brings our generation closer together with these relatable terms we all use so frequently. In Brave New World, John is immersed in old art and literature, most notably the works of William Shakespeare. This enables him to feel with more passion than the citizens of the World State, therefore he has a larger understanding of the world around him, and he is more capable to realize the many flaws in the World State’s “utopian” society based off a false sense of happiness and a true sense of ignorance.

  33. jaysonm2

    In today’s world the infestation of fake news and news altered to “fit” individuals views has become a major problem, in the PBS clip that we viewed we saw in depth at the affects and motive behind those that publish these fake news. The biggest reason to publish fake news is to generate money, by generating more clicks than some real articles these fake news sites are able to gain higher monetary value through ads, but the quest for money hurts those that fall into these fake news stories especially the elderly who see things on facebook that they may think is true however they are being manipulated into clicking those links. We can draw similarities to the people in the world state who haven fallen victim to the mind numbing drug soma in order to persuade an entire population in order to think one way. Through this drug the world state was able to push propaganda and mold the world they wanted and gain max monetary profit having bodies that don’t think on their own.

  34. CrisD

    The PBS Newshour segment on junk news showed how easy it can be to use misinformation to control a large group of people. When this concept was shown in Brave New World I had believed that sure it could work in a society like the World State, but no way it could actually work in the real world. Sadly, PBS exposed how wrong I was and how easy it was done in our world today. In the World State, the truth and all of the past were hidden. All books of history were not made available to the masses so that it would be easier to teach the people the “truths” that they wanted to instill. That’s why the society complied so easily with the values and set of rules of the society; they had no other reference of freedom or values of past societies. They were programed to not have emotions regarding death, to not know what love ever was, and to never encounter a struggle in their lives. The World State created their own “Fake News” to control their people easier, something that apparently happens across the United States everyday. PBS exposed that on facebook millions of people follow accounts that spread completely fake stories about politics solely to get clicks. The truth does not matter to them as long as they get their clicks, and in turn, get their money. The issue with this is that if a large population is following these fake stories, they can easily become mistaken for the real news, and that information will be the only information tons of people go by. This gives these accounts spreading falsehoods the same power as the people of the World State. It’s a dangerous amount of power that does not belong in the hands of those people so as a society we have to learn to be able to distinguish the difference between real and fake news. I do not simply believe that we can hope to hide the fake news from our society like the segment suggested. I think it is too big of an issue now and that no matter how hard we try to shield our society from it, it will grow through the cracks. The bigger problem we need to tackle is how to teach people to simply not click on the fake news, because if they are not getting any clicks, they’re not making any money, and then have no reason to continue.

  35. kellyh2

    The term junk news has become a popular term between politics and society. Junk news is defined as news that can be misleading or deceptive and does not acknowledge the other side. Cyrus Massoumi, a marketer with a love of politics, runs two junk news websites. He recognizes that most people are one-sided and will not change their views, but rather would like them reinforced. He makes millions of dollars from people visiting his website, but can we blame him? In the end, we are the people who are clicking the misleading titles and talking about the website, giving him more of a platform. This video relates to Brave New World, because the World State uses similar methods in their conditioning process. They use hypnopedia to educate their citizens about their caste and how bad the others are, without acknowledging the other side. They also do not teach the citizens new information, but rather reinforce existing knowledge. Fake news is also extremely prevalent in today’s society, especially relating to this past presidential election. Misleading headlines were often released about both President Trump and Hillary Clinton on many different websites and social media networks. While people knew the articles were just click-bait and lacked real information, people still chose to click on them and read them to make themselves feel better about their own views. I can even relate to this video directly, by my family and I choosing to watch only one specific news station. Only watching one news station can be biased, because we only hear what we want to hear, however many people do not want to be challenged and will not change their opinions, therefore these junk news outlets gain massive audiences and millions of dollars. We, the viewers, clickers and readers are the people who circulate the fake news. While we do not personally write it, we repost it, comment on it and discuss it, which leads to it being viewed even more times. I am not sure how anyone could ever stop or filter the spread of fake news, being that it is on almost every social media platform and all over the television and internet, however if it starts being regulated and controlled we may have a society similar to the World State.

  36. anthonyb7

    The last presidential election was the first time junk news saw the spotlight in an election. With extremely left and right articles posted, they would remove any information that doesn’t help their political perspective, this was demonstrated by Cyrus Massoumi’s websites. This election made people question the media as you didn’t know if it was real, fake, Russian, or American. This form of journalism is very dangerous for democracy in any place as it displays how egotistical people truly are, they would rather hear exactly what they want, and always be right, then getting the real story. This makes both parties back into a corner and incorporates more radial viewpoints to counteract the opposing party. The last election was the first election in decades having centrist/non aligned view lowered in poles, this display the black and white pick a side mentality in today’s age. This is similar to how regimes and authoritarian governments can be seen an acceptable form of governments within a country. Propaganda is how the world State become how powerful it is. The World State using hypnopaedia would have everyone under its control. I think it is important to really check articles for reliance before truly trusting them from now on. Will junk news continue to wreak havoc on US politics in the coming future? Is it on Social media to enforce such article? Will radicalized parties become more centrist in the next election?

  37. mdisavino (Post author)

    Posting for Michael Sluchevsky: After viewing the PBS NewsHour clips, it is clear that the topic of “fake” or “junk” news has taken the media by storm in the past two years. Modern day fake news entities and “trolls” are prevalent in our society, and comparisons can be made to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. The questions of why junk news is made and who is responsible for circulating it all come down to the point that we are simply over-analyzing this issue. The truth is, fake news has existed for centuries. Whether it be yellow journalism or propaganda, fraudulent news has circulated to capture the emotion and attention of hundreds of thousands of people throughout modern history. Whether it be American anti-Spanish propaganda to gain public support for the Spanish American war, or vibrant, attractive posters of the Soviet Union to secure Stalin’s position as the new people’s God, fake news and propaganda has the same goal: to win the attention of society through emotional manipulation. Nowadays, internet “trolls” have taken this old technique and revamped it through the use of social media and the internet. A large enough “news agency” can create hundreds of articles in only a few weeks that are seen and shared by thousands of people. But who and why are they doing this? What are they trying to accomplish? If we look back at the 2016 U.S. election, fake news was everywhere. The truth is, most of these fake news pages and websites were traced to a small town in Macedonia, known as veles. A town of 50,000 with high unemployment and an average wage of $4800, Veles was responsible for over 100 sites that were pro-Trump. Most of the people who run them are internet-savvy teenagers who experimented with both left-wing and right-wing sites. One 18 year old who runs a site stated how over 300 people in Veles wrote for fake news sites. He has accumulated more than $60,000 of ad revenue in six months, more than both of his parent’s earnings, combined.

    Having this evidence, we can start seeing why fake news is made. It is a gold rush! Macedonians don’t care about our elections, they care about clicks for ad revenue – a lot of it. The ones responsible for circulating fake news are in many impoverished towns throughout Macedonia, Romania, and Russia, and most of them really need money. Social media giants like Twitter and Facebook have the means to suppress fake news, and are partially responsible for circulating it. In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, we see the “Bureaux of Propaganda” and the “College of Emotional Engineering.” We don’t see the exact details or examples, but we know that propaganda is prevalent in the World State through hypnopaedia. The novel’s mentoning of propaganda reminded me of my parents’ stories about propaganda growing up in the Soviet Union. Every day in grade school, a class period was devoted to watching propaganda films and watching generals speak about the glory of the U.S.S.R.. Thankfully, such a place does not exist anymore, but the novel can easily make a connection to today’s fake news. Both the novel and current day fake news both work to capture the emotions of the people. In Brave New World, the propaganda agencies work to keep the population under control, maintaining stability in society. In today’s world, the sources of fake news are motivated by money rather than controlling its readers.

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