Thursday, November 4, 2010

The genius of stupidity.

One of the prominent features of Facebook is that it makes things devastatingly simple. It's easy to keep in touch with "friends." It's easy to be "friends." It's easy to make "friends." It's easy to have "friends."

It's also easy, of course, to express yourself. And why bother with hierarchy and order? That's too complicated, nuanced and "elitist." Simply divide the world into two: Those things you like and everything else.

So I like:
Anti-Leprosy efforts.
Over-priced coffee.
American Idol.
Saving Darfur.
Witches in politics.
Jenn Cook's photos.
Puerto Vallarta.
Air Safety.

Orwell, that prescient seer, warned us what would happen when the Thought Police and their accoutrement were successful at limiting the number of words people use. Words are symbolic representations of thought. Our thoughts have become simplified to the point of banality.

As Christopher Hedges wrote in "Empire of Illusion," Our world is being divided in two. "One, the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world, that can cope with complexity and can separate illusion from truth. The other, a growing majority, is retreating from a reality-based world into one of false certainty and magic. In this “other society,” serious film and theatre, as well as newspapers and books, are being pushed to the margins."

I like that. And Skittles.


Kelly said...


Agreed, agreed... except where I'm not so sure.

"... The other, a growing majority, is retreating from a reality-based world into one of false certainty and magic. In this 'other society,' serious [stuff is] being pushed to the margins."

Like you (and Mr. Hedges, obviously), I believe everything human's in precipitous decline. When I'm being flip or knee-jerk with my answer.

But when I think about it hard I wonder about things like:

My parents, with modern art swirling all around them, decrying it as too newfangled and the basis of all (intellectual) evil...

My parents' parents hating The Beatles because they were loud and tuneless and haircutless and meaningless...

Jefferson not really wanting all of us voting, because most of us are a bunch of uninformed finks, and

Shakespeare, in his day, being accused of pandering to the lowest common denominator with his humor and filth.

Is false certainty and magic (BTW the witch lost, down here in no-sane-man's-land) and the decline of everything for the masses new? Or isn't it always with us

as we decline in our perception of what constitutes a decline?

Sure, Twitterishness and Facebookification bites. But it wasn't so long ago when Buster Keaton was decried because he saw that the people enjoyed slapstick more than... Shakespeare...

This is just this generation's way of creating devastating simpletons of the masses, but it'll happen anyway.

My (slightly rambling) 2¢!



P.S. I like peanut M&Ms, anti-domestic violence efforts, cheap diet Coke, rain coming down in buckets, anything on the DIY channel, Obama, thinking really hard about complex issues, Montreal, peanut M&Ms in double-chocolate ice cream...

and laughter. Never enough of that.

george tannenbaum said...

Kelly, you're probably right. But if you read the Hedges book, you'll see a dark underbelly of America.

But you are a woman after my own heart....

george tannenbaum said...

Oh and Kelly,

KL said...

Jefferson was on to something.