For all the rhetoric that profess the virtues of our technologically infiltrated society – that we are all tuned in and much smarter because of this – it would seem to be having a detrimental effect on us all. Attention spans and simple comprehension have suffered with the advent of our motorised lifestyles. With the constant bombardment of increasingly useless information, actions and opinions, we are swallowing a plate of non-existence that is as dense as this tirade.
Well, okay – that’s some turgid stuff. But how did we get to a point where an artificial, electronic life replaced the simple pleasures of existence? Those who can recall a time before the internet will know exactly what I’m talking about. All of those born with a USB port in their skull will be mumbling “huh?” and clicking away from this preamble to the next piece of celebrity gossip. (Heck, I shouldn’t even be so arrogant as to think that anyone inclined to disagree with me would actually be reading this!)
So what are the defining factors of our modern existence? What are the influences affecting the moral decay of our society? What are the things – to use a phrase from yesteryear – that grind my gears?
1. Celebrity Inanity
Some time back, TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres auctioned a lock of Justin Bieber’s hair on Ebay. The follicles sold for around $40,000. The kid will certainly not miss the hair – he’s got more than enough to create wigs for his entire generation – and the money was donated to charity. But the question still needs to be asked… Who in their right mind would even consider bidding on this? Who would want to own Justin’s hair? To keep it sealed in a box? Let’s face it, this kind of behaviour is usually reserved for the Jeffrey Dahmer-type; the sort of person who likes to collect the personal and physical items of those citizens they stalk and watch through bedroom windows whilst dressed in black with one hand conspicuously buried down the front of their pants. We can only hope the winning bidder plans to donate the hair itself to the future Bieber Museum.
2. Loco Foods
Introducing the Meat Monster from Hungry Jack’s – a ‘delicious’ monstrosity recently available only in Japan, but surely destined for big things in the United States (and probably here in Australia). I would think even die-hard meat lovers would baulk at this beast. Two layers of bacon, two beef patties and a slab of chicken breast (plus a double slice of cheese, and oh, some salad for the illusion of nutrition). Why not take it to the limit, HJ? You wanna get crazy? Then let’s get crazy. Add some lamb, turkey, venison and maybe a bratwurst sausage to that bad boy. Don’t stop at just three kinds of meat. Pick yourself up any cream-laden treat from Gloria Jeans to go with this burger and you’ve got yourself a first-class, one-way ticket to Constipation City.
3. Technology Overload
Ipad, schmi-pad. As I sit here and write on my MacBook, I’m not thinking about texting or searching the web on my iPhone. Mostly because I don’t own an iPhone. In fact, I don’t even own a cell phone. That’s right – I’m plugged into technology without being consumed by it. Good for you, I can hear some of you saying. And I agree. Good for me. I can actually have a life that is not swallowed by an endless stream of contact with an ultimately disconnected cyber world. There is a real world out there, people. A world that has no use or recognition of technology. If I see one more soccer mom in the grocery store chatting on her iPhone to Monica about last night’s episode of Dancing With The Stars while her bratty, sugar-peaking kids run riot through the aisles, I think I’m gonna get violent.
4. Mass Media Madness
Once upon a time you’d need to possess some kind of talent to be on television. So can someone please explain to me why the Kardashians have a TV show? Actually, it feels like a new show every second week. Aside from a lack of talent, I’m still at a loss as to what their programs are all about. How were they pitched to the network? “Umm, we wanna like, do like, a show about, like, us. We don’t, like, do anything. We don’t, like, sing and like dance or anything. We can’t, like, act or anything. But we can, like, argue about like our new hair styles, and like, our boyfriends, and just, like, hang around the house, ya know?” I have a hard time believing that any network executive would have said, “Sold! That’s a fantastic idea!” And of course it doesn’t stop with the Kardashians.
The funny thing about reality television is that there is hardly anything on TV that is more contrived.
So many people want nothing more from life than to be famous (or at least to be recognized). It doesn’t matter what for, as long as others know their name. Some people deserve to be recognized; most don’t. But this is what keeps the juggernauts of Facebook, YouTube, MySpace and Twitter rolling unstoppably forward. Why is it that certain people cannot consider being happy without fame or more often infamy, even to the point of a delusion that could ultimately destroy them? Or is it really that life is boring and the ability to share yourself with the world stifles that boredom?
Food has been silently subverted for decades. A recent study suggested that eating organic food can lead to obesity, and that eating organic foods has no more nutritional value than the copious varieties of processed items available today. Firstly, are they kidding about the nutritional value? Secondly, eating too much food of any kind will lead to obesity – whether organic or synthetic. Those who consume organic foods (ie; fruit and vegetables) know that a healthy meal will fill your gullet more substantially than inorganic foods. You therefore don’t need to eat as much. Perhaps this is one reason why people on a diet of junk food eat more of it and become fat, not to mention unhealthy.
But of course, what do I know? Here I am rambling on, posting my thoughts on the internet and adding to the already infinite amount of information circulating in cyberspace. I’m part of the problem, aren’t I?
by Max Drake