During the New Media Order conference, Tom Chatfield said, “When something is uncanny, we tend to rationalize instead of dealing with it.” The uncanny refers to what freaks people out. Anything that doesn’t seem quite right or not completely true makes us uncomfortable, and dealing with it may be harder than it seems. When we feel uneasy, we’d rather avoid the source of the awkwardness, instead of trying to figure it out.
As a matter of fact, the base of art and expressionism lies behind the same concept. “Art is made to disturb, science to reassure.” Georges Braque has eloquently put into words the understanding of uncanny and our reaction to it. Art deals with everything we don’t want to express in our daily lives, therefore it’s the reflection of all the emotions, thoughts and ideas we normally reject.
Ironically, we enjoy art and consider it as some sort of entertainment. This is also valid for violence, sex, and drugs because, even though we feel disturbed by them somehow we like their presence. If they worry us so much why don’t we stay away from them? Unless we fully accept something does bother us and that it is not right, we don’t want to get separated from it, thus we tend to rationalize it.
As for the media, the core reason we are manipulated by it is the phenomenon of rationalization of the uncanny. Just like Chatfield has said, when something doesn’t seem “quite right we don’t want to deal with it.” If we take the example of art, again it is safe to say that art is the creative way of dealing with what we always decide to ignore, therefore it sometimes may seem disturbingly explanatory. While rationalizing leads to nothing but more uneasiness, dealing with the source of discomfort leads to expressionism and more importantly the truth. When we, the readers and spectators of the media, know they (the organized media, media cartels, journalists etc.) are not telling the complete truth, we tend to rationalize and not deal with it. This is one of the most important reasons why the media manipulates us: we don’t want to accept the wrongness in it, all for the luxury of not dealing with it.