Monday, July 27, 2015

What's happened?

I spent the first 32 years of my career not having heard the following words that for the last five or seven years I've heard dozens of times a day.












Has that much changed in human behavior that we've needed to invent a new vocabulary to mark it all?

Or are we getting better at bullshit because that's what we get paid to do?

Over at the scurrilous comments section at "Agency Spy," I just read that a planner I once worked with is "a brilliant champion of digital truth. Baptized at the fractious crossroads of storytelling and technology."  

What does that even mean? 

What does any of this mean?

I, personally, am so alienated from the vapidness of our garbage culture (a culture where Donald Trump is a thought-leader) that I have practically left the ranks of the living. I don't watch TV. I don't go to the movies. I'm finding it harder and harder to listen to the nightly news on NPR.

And while I make my way through a fair portion of "The New York Times'" non-fiction best-sellers, that doesn't count as being in our culture. Because our culture is reading comic books grandiosely called 'graphic novels.'

As Neal Postman pointed out in his classic "Amusing Ourselves to Death,"

"What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. 

What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. 

Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. 

Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. 

Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. 

Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. 

Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. 

Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture... . 

As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions”. 

In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. 

In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. 

In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. 

Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.”

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