Despite all the communication arts courses I took that suggested otherwise, I've always believed mass communications, particularly television and movies, can affect human behavior.
After all, in language, why else would slang or certain affectations catch on; in fashion, why else would something become stylish; and why does celebrity culture exist? (Teenage girls don't scream and lose their senses when a homegrown band plays at the small-town festival, that's for sure!)
It's difficult to count all the rap or country songs I've heard that suggest paycheck day means blow-it-all-in-one-day.
Nicki Minaj: "I'ma blow all my money and don't give two (redacted)." Toby Keith: "But I just punched out and it's paycheck Friday ... I'm gonna get drunk and be somebody." (That one really sounds like peer pressure; you're not somebody unless you're wasting your cash and drunk.)
Like the Michael Jackson hologram during Sunday night's "Billboard Music Awards." ("Slave to the Rhythm," the song played, is an eerily accurate title. The king of pop can't rest in peace, even in death.)
Or like a newspaper magnate's spoiled son asking an out-of-work black journalist to be his paid, live-in toy. (OK, I wrote this column while watching the 1982 Richard Pryor film, "The Toy." I will truly watch any film with the slightest journalism angle. What an inappropriate premise!)
Well, I'm happy to report, a number of Crestview residents get it. They know the value of hard work, enjoying the fruits of their labor and forecasting a healthy financial future because of it.
They're tending to more than 30 reserved plots at the Common Ground Community Garden, according to Catherine Ward, the nonprofit's organizer. I enjoyed meeting this visionary and listening to her presentation Thursday during the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce's Professional and Inspired Leaders of Tomorrow meeting.
The downtown garden comes at time when DIY — or do it yourself — is in demand. We've heard you can't have your cake and eat it, too. But DIYers who build their own luxurious furniture, create their home's artwork or cook, instead of eat out so often, do just that; they save money but still live comfortably.
Promoting self-reliance and resilience are Common Ground's objectives, and they extend beyond gardening, Ward said. Avoiding dependence on the government, paying in cash as opposed to a credit card and being a survivor, not a victim, make people self-sufficient.
And the more you can depend on yourself, the more others can depend on you, and the more the community thrives.
Makes sense to me; the DIY, good-things-come-to-those-who-wait — or plant — approach sends a positive message. One that, hopefully, will supplant the constant, toxic messages that tell us — to a catchy tune — to blow our money on booze because we're nobody outside a bar.
Learn more about Common Ground Community Garden at www.crestviewcommunitygarden.org.