Saturday, July 15, 2017

When Blackness Was a Virtue

Graham Parker, decades ago, ranted "don't get me to fill up your empty lives" as the star-making machinery enclosed him in a Cocoon of Cool where real life was notional and, for all intents and purposes, fictional.

Ray Davies of The Kinks wished for "(A) fantasy world of celluloid villains and heroes." And who among us doesn't remember a Golden Child from our youth, some perfect specimen of the species, whose life was so wonderful it hurt our eyes to just look at them? And should we encounter them today and they have something other than that Happy Ending they thought was their birthright, tell me you don't smile just a little (Schadenfreude ist auch ein Freude). 

So what should we make of the examples of what we usually call media feeding frenzy that is so much a part of our lives we think it's normal? With all the bread and circuses and the 'Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee' aspect of our news structures, the day must be coming when reasonable human beings should ask, WTFO? Or, perhaps more elegantly phrased, how did we end up in this hand basket, why is it so warm and where, exactly, are we going?

Not only do we rely on too many dubious sources of information and distraction, we rely on them in order to live our lives through their reports. How many more synthetic celebrities from sports, music and/or reality TV  do we have to have before we can finally look away? What happened to last month's Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan or (you pick one)? If they're not on the cover of AADDd (Adult Attention Deficit Disorder Digest) does that mean they no longer exist?

Show of hands: do any of us shoe shop with any of the people we read about in the lifestyle sections of our local newspapers? That's what I thought. But more of us know about the escapades of someone from RHOBH than can name the Speaker of the House of Representatives. 

Is this stuff news? Is any of it news, and for whom? Who's to bless and who's to blame? We are--that's the short answer, which is good because surveys say we don't have the span of attention required to have a discussion, much less develop a strategy, for better separating the wheat from the chaff. No wonder our world is so screwed up-look at how we gather the information to attempt to make decisions. And if you're hoping all the tumult and head noise will get better with time, let me talk to you about buying a bridge in Brooklyn.

Three question exam, but you have to get all three right. Ready? Probably not.
Who is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?
Who is the executive producer of TV's Survivor
Why did so many more know the answer to the second question but not the first?
-bill kenny

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