Monday, July 25, 2011

The Triviality of Now

My friend Anna (who, coincidentally, you should be using for all of your communication needs) just started blogging, and her first post was a primal scream challenging our complacent acceptance of modern techno-culture. To start, she notes:
We know too much of one another’s mundane details: where someone eats, drinks, who they eat and drink with, who they like and who they don't like to eat and drink with, where they work, how they work, how much they hate their work (I have yet to see "I love my job" post that's not facetious). It is a variable "hot sheet" of the daily grind. TMI to the umpteenth power. It is The Age of Minutia.
Perhaps you've heard this gripe expressed before: social media is all surface and no depth, about the sad little performances we put on in the digital world for our friends. But it's worth thinking about exactly what we're putting on these sites, and how it appears in the aggregate: we are incapable of thinking about or discussing anything more substantial than our last meal or the funny/shocking story we just saw.

But my favorite point Anna made was this:
Idiots are allot more fascinating to watch than someone with a brain cell. It is like recess vs. school.
Watch the coverage of politics, including (and maybe especially) the coverage of the debt ceiling 'crisis'. We hear all about the dumb things people say, and the 'gotcha' moments, but no one tries to break down the options on the table and discuss what each of them will mean for the country. Our media takes the idiots in politics and makes them the most important figures, and attempts to make our wiser leaders and reduce them to idiots. And because each side knows the easiest way to score a point is to make the other side look bad, we see this sad jockeying take the place of debate, negotiation and agreement.

The technology is a reflection of the culture, and the culture is broken. And the worst part is there are no solutions on the table that would do anything to fix it. So, pray.


On a personal note, I'm expecting my son to be born any day now (so pray for me and my wife, too!) I'm sure this blog will go dark for a bit when that happens. And after, I plan to change up my approach, and include shorter, more frequent posts. So stay tuned.

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