We are devolving into a culture that lacks the capacity to be surprised. With the advent of the internet, highly sophisticated and relatively inexpensive communications technology, and the ever-increasing use of graphic and gratuitous images depicting soulless sex and random violence, we are bombarded on a daily basis with more sensory input than we can ever fully process. Nothing shocks us anymore. We’ve seen and/or heard it all. We’re jaded and cynical. Either that, or we’re completely sucked in by the cultural spew propagated by media moguls who think we’re all a bunch of idiots.
Donning my old-crank-iconoclast mask once again, I feel the need to rant mildly into this good night.
My reaction to the relentless media overload during the last 15+ years or so has been to:
1. Get rid of my tv. This immediately eliminated 2 – 3 hours of wasted time at the end of my day, spared me Madison Avenue’s crassest (word?) efforts to sell me thousands of things I never knew I needed or wanted and had survived without just fine, thank you very much.
2. Read as much as possible, whenever possible, preferably not newspapers or popular magazines, but novels, non-fiction prose, poetry, and quirky, lesser-known publications such as The Sun, Ode, and Utne Reader.
3. Boycott the cultural machinery that foists upon us (to name but a few) the movies of Jerry Bruckheimer; the over-hyped music of manufactured mega-stars like Madonna, Ms. Gaga, and John Mayer; and the explosion of books on the “spiritual” pathways to personal and financial “abundance” (think The Secret, The Answer, Ask and it Will be Given, etc., ad nauseum).
4. Defy the corporatization of our culture by shopping locally-owned businesses whenever possible to keep tax dollars in my community, and avoid further enriching those entities and individuals who control our government (and thus, the political landscape and our economy).
Dismounting my high horse, I will be the first to admit that I am easily ensnared in nearly endless repetitions of online sudoku, I can’t imagine life without Sephora, and I am a regular visitor of HuffingtonPost.com, the online politically lefty blog that has come more and more to resemble The National Enquirer. I am as tainted as everyone else.
But I struggle with it daily. This stuff doesn’t jibe with my burgeoning interest in and practice of mindfulness. Which reminds me . . . I haven’t meditated all day. No wonder I’m feeling so peckish . . .
. . . and so ends another day . . .
(stay tuned for the The Wonders of Gum Graft Surgery, coming to you almost live on Thursday, May 6th, 7:40 A.M. PST)