American Consequences - December 2018


“Baa, baa, baa!” But the communications we receive from the 21st century’s perfect digital connectivity are even less interesting than that. We’ve always had more ways to connect than there are connections we ought to be making. Now, however, we have the ability to broadcast our every thought every minute to everyone everywhere. And tout le monde returns the favor. I’m a person with lots of interesting thoughts. I’ll bet you are, too. But let’s be frank. There are (according to the latest UN estimate) 7,664,927,320 people on earth. And the other 7,664,927,318 are pretty much idiots. And let’s be honest with ourselves, too. How much time do we spend thinking thoughts like “Beauty is truth, truth is beauty,” and how much time do we spend thinking thoughts like “The f***ing Christmas tree lights are f***ing tangled up like f***”? I just Googled “untangling Christmas tree lights” and got 1,290,000 results. That’s the kind of communication digital connectivity gets us. Furthermore, I have tried – so far – 387,211 of the suggested methods of untangling Christmas tree lights and none of them work worth a darn. Thus, I send out my Christmas wish to the whole wide world and to you and yours and, for that matter, to myself...

To go through life with ear buds in is to bung the cork into the barrel of ignorance that is your skull. Every selfie is a mug shot of an intellectual felon. You might as well slap yourself silly while playing in traffic as walk around being Mr. Phoneface. The problem is communication. We have somehow gotten the idea that “communication” is always a wonderful thing. You might as well slap yourself silly while playing in traffic as you walk around being Mr. Phoneface. “ This delusion didn’t start with the digital revolution. Henry David Thoreau pointed it out 164 years ago in Walden : “We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas... but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate.” And yet... And yet... We insist on believing that life would be better if only we all were “communicating.” If children and parents just communicated ... If Democrats and Republicans communicated ... If Palestinians and Israelis... If lions and lambs...

“I resent you.” “I despise you.” “I’ll kill you.” “I’m eating you.”


8 December 2018

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