Friday, August 27, 2010

Of trinkets, widgets, images and disconnects!

The latest stock quotations continue to crawl across the bottom of the TV screen; the news "anchors" (as if they could provide some stability in a cataract of floods, oil leaks, wildfires, derivatives, booming unemployment figures and bombing home sales figures), detail the latest medical advance, perhaps into the potential of stem cells to cure some serious malady offset by another legal ruling that stops an executive order to permit such research. And the news chatter is interupted frequently for more 22 second commercials to sell another miracle drug whose negative side-effects far outshine the positive purpose for which it was engineered.
We are, all of us, locked in a constant, continuous and seemingly unstoppable river of current, extrinsic data about some drama or other, happening to somebody or other, in some part of the world we may never have heard about. The data flows through our eyes and ears from our blackberry, our radio, our TV screen, our newspapers and magazines, and our fragmentary snippets of conversation about the latest in this or that criminal investigation: a former military officer charged with murder and other offences, a premier charged by an opponent of fixing judicial appointments, a Prime Minister dancing in the Arctic, while a block of ice drops off Ellesmere Island, making denial of global warming a little more difficult for a PM in denial, another burp of insidious hate from the mouth Limbaugh calling the President, "Imam Obama" with impunity in the land of free speech, another voice of another pundit predicting another outcome to another "primary" race, as if there were no "secondary" ones, and as if all this static actually meant something, over which humans had a modicum of influence.
Short-term fixations on this or that widget, on this or that game, on this or that movie, or party, or dinner or...all substituting for human connections, and all of it commiting everyone to a dance of Eliot proportions... "In the room the women come and go talking of Michaelangelo" and "shall I part my hair this way or..."
and the dance, itself, is like a drug in its scintillating attempt to drown out the utter depression that we don't give a damn about 20 million people being left homeless, starved and without hope as monsoon winds and rains flood over one-fifth of a country (oh, that's right, they're Muslims and we don't trust them!) while we find millions for psychiatric counselling for the victims of Katrina, and BPslick, not that they don't need such support, but there is no, absolutely no connection between any of the responses to these flash points of trauma.
We see the world and the events and the people and hear their words as some kind of "black noise" without real meaning, rendering each of us a little more meaningless in the process...and each of the presentations of each of the stories is grasping for our attention, like another barker in another midway, in another bazarre where the trinkets are the thing, or now the "bling" ....another hotcake in another syrup, for another warm fuzzy moment of inspiration and modelling of how we came out of poverty to riches, or how we overcame failure to be redeemed, or how a family rift over a "crack in the perfection" was "healed" through an off-hand intervention....
And even the clerics are barking for more money, and for more peole to convert to the "right" religion...in another vain attempt to legitimize our (their, everyone's) existence...as if our extra efforts could achieve such a goal. And we wonder why the kids are covered in tatto's and died hair and wearing empty faces as they walk empty streets looking for some way to find themselves, and to make themselves meaningful, and to make their families proud and happy, with another "story" of success...in a universal sit-tragedy of images, both visceral and digital...like billboards passing along the highway each seeking another purchase and another sale.

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