By Mike McMahan, LPC
Before I start here, let me say that, despite the window dressing **THIS IS NOT A POLITICAL POST!!**
Still here? OK, good. Let’s proceed. Nothing in our recent history has changed the landscape of everything from pop culture to politics like the rise of social media, especially Facebook and Twitter.
While the nation continues to argue and rant over assorted opinions on this November’s election, perhaps there is one thing we can all agree on: your pre-existing political opinions heavily influence the way you hear news and what you choose to believe. A fascinating article from the Wall Street Journal takes this one step farther, demonstrating graphically that our political opinions seem to influence where we choose to get our news from and vice versa. This interesting demonstration will allow you to compare the news feed you might see if you are a liberal versus if you are a conservative. The results are striking—it’s like looking at the news from two different countries. In a way, maybe it is.
I have previously asserted that we create narratives about our own lives by picking and choosing what we choose to include in our own stories. If we feel that things that are going well, we may choose events that reinforce this general feeling (“I really had a nice date night with my spouse,” “I’m always there for my friends when they need me,” “I’m doing a good job sticking to my diet” etc.). On the other hand, if we perceive that things are going poorly in our lives, we may choose events that reinforce that general feeling (“the car is broken down,” “I’m no good at my job,” “my kids are always mad at me” and so forth).
So, inspired by the WSJ graphic demonstration above, I’m suggesting an exercise that may help you see how this works.
Mike McMahan, LPC is a psychotherapist based in San Antonio, Tx.
Therapy Goes POP
Perspectives on therapy and mental health as viewed through the lens of popular culture