Friday, April 28, 2006

Thee Will, Thee Will Rock You

A friend and I were commiserating about the current ADD generation -- the young people who can't withstand a second without some sort of sensory assault that they define as "entertainment." You can't attend a baseball game without being bombarded with mascots sliding down water chutes, scoreboard races between electronic subway cars, and thunderous snippets of inane rock and rap songs. God forbid that during a lull in the action, the idle spectator -- who has his choice of trying to analyze the pitch sequence, study the defense, and any one of the other hundreds of nuances of the game -- be abandoned to the crowd noise, ambient sound, and worst of all, the stirrings of his inner self.

iPods are another manifestation of our involuted narcissism. Why need people listen to music 24-7? Especially atrocious pablum that they'll discard in six months? It's as if it's not an MP3 player but an IV or oxygen line, instead of just a portable device for listening to music and tuning out their immediate surroundings -- and their fellow man.

We're raising our children to live in a completely mediated environment. Work, home, in traffic
-- kids must have TV, video games, cellphones with cameras, and a DVD player in their parents' gas-guzzling SUV.

This obsession to be perpetually distracted from the here and now comes with a price. But before the society realizes it, it will continue to insinuate itself in every corner of our lives. Classrooms, doctors' offices, even churches...

MINISTER: Uh, today's sermon will be from the Book of Isaiah, book one, verses one through twenty-two...

As Minister flips through the Bible to find passage, we hear pounded over the church loudspeaker: "We will, we will rock you!"

And courtrooms:

Jury: Your honor, we find the defendant guilty.

Exploding scoreboard shoots fireworks into the air while a neon image of Justice points an accusatory finger at the defendant.

And the last thing you want is to be lying on an operating table and have your surgeon bouncing in wearing an iPod.

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