The following poster series originally appeared in Sub Rosa’s biannual print publication La Petite Mort: Summer Solstice 2017 issue. To receive your own printed copy, please contact LPM@wearesubrosa.com. A digital version can be accessed here.
￼￼￼￼￼Every day you are bombarded with headlines. Radiating from your phone, flashing on the television while you’re brewing a morning coffee, splayed out on the newspaper the man seated next to you is reading on one very cramped train, repeated in conversations by co-workers or friends, integrated within the sidelines of social media platforms. They are designed to be impactful, inspirational, shocking. They are intended to synopsize, to encapsulate, to epitomize. Ultimately, however, they aim at driving traffic. Insufferable Upworthy clickbaits-with-a-conscience alongside thought-provoking NY Times headlines — all of them unified under a shared mission of attracting readers. But in a world inundated with news stories as addictive as the entertainment in Infinite Jest, how do we distinguish the bona fide from the bullshit? How do we sift through the first impressions and not be led astray by our biases?
It’s harder than you think. By the mere choice of manipulative phrasing, a headline can influence your perception of the article so deeply that after you read it, you recall (not necessarily true) details that coincide with what you were expecting. That’s over and above any pre-existing conceptions you may have about said article. As truth seekers we must maintain committed to thoroughly sifting through the bullshit and questioning all we read. Not on some Osama-is-still-alive-and-kicking conspiracy theory, but on a contextualized, curious, analytical level.