Opinion: Peace sells, but who’s buying?

Andrew Paulsen

Andrew Paulsen

Andrew Paulsen is a senior electronic media production major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

I imagine that as a college student, you’ve walked into at least one loud party before. The next time you walk through one of these shindigs, I want you to pay attention to what you listen to. Do you focus on the house music? Do you eavesdrop on one of the many conversations happening in the room? Or, does all the noise flatten to become a background to your inner monologue?

Regardless of your preference, you’re able to separate different sounds through a process called auditory scene analysis. Basically, your ears and brain work in cooperation to hone in on a sound source and separate it from the rest of the din. So, if you’re in a crowded room with people talking, you can listen and speak to one individual and drown out other audio with relative ease.

I bring up this idea to serve as a metaphor to how we mentally focus on “noise” in our lives each day. “Noise” for my purposes in this article would be the images, messages and sounds that barrage our senses every day whether we want to acknowledge them or not.

There are some noises that we pass every day on our way to class or work, whether it’s billboards, advertisements, train horns, radio static or strangers’ cell phone conversations. Some of these noises grab our attention right away and we divert our efforts to observe the distraction. However, other noises become so commonplace or annoying that we begin to relegate them to the back of our scenery where they become part of an ignored audio-visual garbage heap.

While it takes some work to slowly identify the things that you fail to identify each day, there are certain noises that you will begin to notice, if you really pay attention.

One of the noises I’ve been tuning out became painfully apparent Sunday during the Super Bowl halftime show.

No, I didn’t have an epiphany about Madonna’s performance — rather, I noticed a message at the very end of her performance.

That message? World Peace!

Scrawled out in a pretty, gold font on the Lucas Oil Stadium turf.

Don’t get me wrong, but between Ron Artest’s name change to Metta World Peace, Miss America contestants wishing for World Peace, the Black Eyed Peas singing about World Peace, Christmas music about World Peace, religious leaders asking for World Peace, every celebrity ensemble reiteration of “We Are the World” and “Feed the World” — who really pays attention to the banal phrase “World Peace” anymore?

Did any of your friends decide to devote their lives to caring for starving African children after watching Madonna’s performance Sunday? Did Israel and Palestine (let alone Lakers and Heat fans) come to terms after Mr. Artest changed his first name to “loving kindness?”

I’m not trying to say these messages are meritless, but when the world is oversaturated with common overused terms, these once poignant messages lose power, fail to induce a reaction and become background noise. The only thing that can back up “World Peace” is ACTION.

Gandhi’s action, Mother Theresa’s action, Jesus’ action, Martin Luther King Jr.’s action — that is what’s needed to bring about World Peace. Not cheap words. Not marketing ploys to make people feel better about themselves and the world around them.

Without action, there’s really only one song that World Peace brings to mind: “Peace Sells, But Who’s Buying?”