The Naked Emperor

23 August 2007

Societal ADD

For all of my ones of readers, if you have a short attention span, please tune out now.

Perhaps it is just my middle age talking, by we seem to have sped life up so much that it has lost a bit of flavor.

Here we are linked by the internet and satellites and cell towers that we are in constant communication. We're all ALWAYS busy.

It started with TV. We got used to the sitcom and the half hour or hour shows where a problem was presented, and always solved, within the alloted time.

We began to think that life imitated the art, rather than the other way around. Look at Iraq. You mean we haven't won by the 6pm news? Could you imagine the Hundred Years War now? Or even WWII?

It got worse with the remote control. If a show had a flat spot or advert, we'd skip around to see if there was something else that caught our ever shortening concentration. As a writer, it's nigh impossible to write an essay, let alone an hour drama or comedy without a few less than riveting moments.

Then came cable and satellite TV. Hundreds and hundreds of choices to surf, all with one press of your thumb.

Then came the internet. That's when our attention span got so short that we couldn't even stick around for entire words, IMHO.

And the process accelerated with text messages on our phones. Entire conversations were abbreviations. WTF?

I have a brother I get an e-mail from two or three times a year. The last I heard from him was a couple of months ago, and he didn't even send a word. Just "FYI" and some pictures.

I know he meant no offense, but some was taken. Not at him, but at where we've come in our communications abilities.

What he sent was correct for our modern society. We've reached a stage where, to paraphrase an old advert "you care enough to send the very least"

I mean this as no slur on him, we've all gotten that way

Look at your dining habits. How many times this week did you opt for fast food or take out or something from the microwave? Would slowing down just a bit cost you so much?

And look at what you gain. Better nutrition to start. We can add in MUCH better flavor. So you want a cheeseburger? Every area has at least one place for a really good cheeseburger. So it costs a bit more that WenDonaldKing. And it'll take a half hour instead of ten minutes. Is where you're rushing to so important that you can't enjoy a half hour?

Look at our modern media. People don't want to take the time to read a newspaper, and we've learned that they are about as trustworthy as politicians. Their readership is way down.

And TV isn't any better. When was the last time you saw a story on any news broadcast that was longer than five minutes? Generally they allot two minutes, no more.

So you might get a headline and a couple of sentences along with the most dramatic video. Car bombing with scattered body parts? That leads. Terrorist activity way down? No sensational video to go with it, they cut that.

Cable news is just as bad. Just in from Iraq goes to hottest summer fashions (like a middle age man needs to know this?) goes to the latest Anna Nicole/Lindsey/Brittany tripe.

As an aside, some of the celebutainment is quite funny. Just recall Chevy Chase on SNL doing the news from the seventies. "This just in...Anna Nicole is STILL dead...". Gets me every time.

And since TV news won't do in depth reporting of facts they have a bit of a problem. There just aren't that many headlines to read. So TV, especially cable, fills the time with pundits.

They have a couple of rude people who shout at, and over, each other.

That is one of my pet peeves. Not that I mind invective. But I do expect it to be clever.

The English, who invented this great language are still much better at invective.

""He's depriving some poor village of a desperately needed idiot"

"He's a sheep in sheep's clothing" Winston Churchill - the master

As an example of how we've degenerated, I must tell a wee story.

I bought my wife a car for Valentine's Day. It came with satellite radio, but she thought she had to call to activate it. Well in June we were on the road to a conference/vacation, and I discovered it worked. So I tried every station.

I wound up lingering for as long as I could on a liberal talk station called "The Left". Yeah, libertarian me. Apparently the host thought President Bush is "an asshole". She never stated why. She just kept repeating that charge about him. Others in the administration qualified for the same title. Again, no explanation. I got bored and switched.

So much for satellite radio. And we here in blogosphere are sometimes no better.

Few actually write essays, we just like to pen a sentence or two with a link to a news item or other blog. Can't we concentrate long enough to give a complete rounded thought?

And if you believe our invective has improved with the speed of communication, just look at the comments section of political blogs.

We see slogans like "bush lied", buzzwords "quagmire" "approval rating", and unsubstantiated charges "Nazi" "Communist". What we rarely see are well reasoned arguments either for or against the original authors position. And the invective that is used is, in almost all cases, pedestrian and boring.

It seems Paul Simon was prescient. " He says why am I short of attention, Got a short little span of attention" "There were incidents and accidents, There were hints and allegations"

So what do we do about this?

I've always been interested in emergency preparedness/ survival topics. NOT survivalism end of the world poop. But what do do for hurricane or plane crash or bridge collapse sort of thing.

The first response to any emergency is STOP. That acronym stands for:

Stop. Think. Observe. Plan.

We, as a society, rarely follow these simple instructions. Too often we rush to write a response or pen a comment before we have actually thought about the issue for a few moments.

I like listening to Neal Boortz. He tells his audience, frequently, not to believe him unless you know what he says is true or you are willing to do the research to prove him right or wrong.

Our first response should be to stop and think. Is the author reliable? Does your own experience or research verify or deny the conclusion? Is responding worth my time, or would I be happier doing something else? (the cheeseburger might come to mind now) And if I choose to respond, isn't it worth the time to actually reason out a position rather than just use slogans or insults? And to actually use words?

And if you don't want to be part of the solution, STFU. ROFLMAO!!

Until later,



At March 4, 2010 at 3:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think, you will find the correct decision. Do not despair.


Post a Comment

<< Home