Friday, January 8, 2016

Sorry to interrupt.

You might, if you're cynical, call the last two decades the "Age of the Dead."

People in our industry--usually the fringes--have made careers out of proclaiming things dead.

TV is dead.

Agencies are dead.

Advertising is dead.

Brands are dead.

The most ugly of those so-called dead things to me was always "interruption is dead."

I think about interruption a lot because, it seems to me, that interruption is the currency of our age. As Fran Lebowitz once quipped, "the opposite of talking isn't listening. The opposite of talking is waiting."

Today, I'm afraid, people don't even wait.

In our interruption-is-dead world, all we do, it seems, is interrupt.

In fact, to get a word in edgewise I often feel I have to interrupt whoever's interrupting me.

The old Borscht Belt joke goes like this: "I haven't spoken to my wife in 30 years. I don't want to interrupt her."

I'm reading a book of short essays now by one of the premier practitioners of the craft, Roger Angell, former writer for the "New Yorker."

Angell is in his 90s and grew up when people still wrote letters. 

The thing about living in a letter-writing world is there was time for thought between input and response.

You might get a letter on say a Tuesday, chew on what was said for two days or three, and then respond a day or two after that.

Today, everything is immediate, instantaneous and, often, thought-less.

I'd like to think more.

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