Sunday, August 28, 2011

We have lost our memory.

Living through Hurricane Irene, not the actual storm but the banality and ubiquity of the 24-hour coverage, leads me to the conclusion that as a culture we have been stricken with societal Alzheimer's Disease. We have no memory of anything that's happened before. Everything that happens is happening for the first time.

Such memory-myopia leads, of course, to hyperbole and bombast. New York--which just endured a mild summer storm--has shut down its mass transit system for the first time in the city's history. 370,000 people have been evacuated. And the city's famous retailers--Bloomingdale's, Tiffany's, etc. have shut down.

As if we never had a major rainstorm before. Or 35-mile-per-hour winds.

The same societal Alzheimer's effects the advertising industry, of course. Minor advents, like Twitter, like iPhone apps, like Facebook, are hyperbolicized into the newest news and the biggest discoveries. Facts, data, common-sense are all ignored. The "old" ways are declared dead in the wake of these "enormous" changes.

The truth of the matter is this: we live in a dynamic world in which things change all the time. The introduction of something new does not mean that everything else is dead.

What's more, that something new, probably isn't even new. It's probably merely a permutation of something that happened some years earlier in some different form.

Relax the hyperbole.

Read history.

Get in touch with your dormant memory.

The world might be better for it.

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