Our minds on media.

Musings on the effects of media on cognition.

New Word

Banapana, for the longest time, was just a nonsense word that a friend of mine and I used. We picked it up from an art exhibition of aboriginal art that we saw in which one of the artist’s last name was Banapana. It stuck and we used it to mean anything that was senseless. If I said, “Eternity is a ham sandwich,” he might reply, “Banapana!”—as in “That’s silly!” That was more than ten years ago. I used it for this blog because, admittedly, the subject matter of the blog tends to wander as I’ve tried to nail down what exactly I mean when I say, The Mind in the Media. And sometimes it definitely wanders into Banapana territory.

Needless to say, I’ve started to get a better handle on the blog’s theme, and one thing that occurred to me is that banapana, as a word, has actually come to have a slightly different definition for me then just silliness. In fact, the recent bridge collapse in Minneapolis brought this meaning into focus as I watched reporters gather information (some accurate, some false) and generally frenzy like sharks. ((By the way, did anyone else get an auto insurance ad before seeing the video clip of the bridge collapsing? Is that just me, or is that callous?)) So, I dropped in on Urban Dictionary, and threw up this suggestion for the meaning of banapana:

“The distortion of reality that results from the chaos of information produced by news media swarming on a story.”

The fact that the press is in a constant battle to get their headlines first because they depend on ratings for profit, oftentimes means they don’t get things right. I mean, have you ever read the corrections in a magazine or newspaper? The print medium is fairly well edited and they still get a lot of stuff wrong. But that bad information permeates through the noosphere and can sometimes hang around for a while, influencing decisions (poorly).

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