A Mormo made of glass

Whatever we choose to call the great-grandmother of the modern-day bogeyman, be it Mormo, Gorgon, or Empousa, the role of the female demon was standard: to keep children from misbehaving. It would be no exaggeration to say that the role private television has set itself is that of a bogey in a world of small children. A glass-made Mormo, an electronic Lamia which deems that the only way to mobilize, or rather captivate, its audience is by inspiring fear. No matter what the subject is, media language takes on a dramatic tone. Natural phenomena are presented as catastrophic even when they are predictable and controllable. Every rainstorm is a Noah-like cataclysm and the weather is Siberian when temperatures fall to minus 2 degrees celsius. Any earthquake, notwithstanding the reassurances of seismologists, is said to be the prelude to a new, more disastrous tremor; dozens of viruses are spreading across the country; our food is always unfit, and the human beings around us are evil-minded profiteers – and if they happen to be of foreign origin, then they are de facto criminals. In its televised image, the world (the outside) is evil, dangerous and hostile. The wise (i.e. those who expect guidance from the glass master) are advised to be deeply skeptical and unsociable – to strike back against the purported evil with genuine evilness. In order to survive, one must be worse than what is painted as the average human or stay home – after all, it’s not that bad in here. It is of little significance whether the professional scaremongers are driven by frivolous or commercial objectives. What matters is sidestepping the glass-fronted mine. The mythical Lamia, a victim of Hera, had only one way to soothe its constant tension – plucking out its own eyes so that it would not longer be able to see. Let’s hope we can find a less painful solution.

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