Imagine what it is like to not really participate in pop culture. To not have cable or radio or even a television. To not go to movies or play video games. To use the internet only to communicate and for professional and business related purposes. To glance through a celebrity magazine and not know a single face or name, let alone why they are famous and certainly not experiencing even the slightest twinge of interest in what they are wearing or who they are doing. To have no idea why you’d want the iPhone version 5,347 seeing as how you just got your first one (coincidentally your first smartphone) a few months back and it already irritates you by being too fancy.
So you probably know, that’s pretty much me. I’m a pretty techno savvy member of the Luddite tribe; I admit. I run a blog, use Twitter to promote that blog, and work on the Internet quite a bit. Yet if there is a crowd or group element to anything, I’m pretty much out. I couldn’t care less what shiny thing the collective (un)conscious is tuned into at the moment; if you’re raving about it or it’s “trending” or it’s being turned into a billion different things on YouTube (the last thing I laughed at was the “series of tubes” remix and that was just funny back in 2009 because it’s relevant to me, an Alaskan), I’ve probably tuned it out just for the principle of the thing. Groupthink isn’t my style. It’s not that I don’t understand an iPhone, it’s that I don’t LIKE it. I don’t LIKE that someone is running around the Grand Canyon taking pictures of every inch of trail; I don’t LIKE that a very interesting-from-a-science-perspective endeavor is so easily turned into a Red Bull commercial and that a guy can’t even jump out of a hot air balloon in the upper atmosphere without at least five cameras attached to his body (surely he should have had a dozen; you need at least one to go to the store these days, I think). And I certainly don’t like that most people are more interested in their smartphones than the real live human in front of them at any given time. I think we are far too connected in very frivolous ways and every new little trend on the internet, with its gaggle of followers and overdone hype, is just a symptom.
However, it’s also possible that I don’t want to be a complete shut-in, so occasionally I peek out into the din of current events. Recently I tried to get engaged in society by joining the twitter cacophony during the last presidential debate. Admittedly it was pretty fun, so I decided to up the ante and actually watch a movie. Maybe I’d be able to complete one of those boring cocktail party conversations in which someone asks me if I’ve seen such-and-such.
Engage your imagination again, and think about what it would be like to choose a movie basically just from a title, if you haven’t seen or heard of any movies in at least a year, don’t recognize any actors or directors, and generally have no idea what anything is about. Add to that an inherent lack of interest in anything loud, fake, science fiction-y, or full of special effects, and see if you can real quick like pick out something that you might find interesting.
Eh. I think I’ll go outside instead.
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