Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I got a disease

I got a disease
Deep inside me,
Makes me feel uneasy, baby.
I can't live without you.
Tell me, what I am supposed
to do about it?!
Keep your distance from it.
Don't pay no attention to me,
I got a disease!
I think that I'm sick
(chorus from "Disease" by Matchbox 20)

So, I went to the Rob Thomas concert last Sunday night. Now, right up front I can tell you Rob Thomas is a hellva singer and had I known more than 1 or 2 songs I might have truly enjoyed the concert (oddly he played not one song from his Matchbox 20 days, not one). Frankly I was distracted through the entire show.

Distracted by what you might ask? Well, it was hundreds, perhaps thousands of little glowing screens. I mean to tell you Americans have a disease... I would guess that 30 to 40% of the five or six thousand in attendance never put their cells, their Blackberrys or their Iphones away. It was unbelievable. These people were so attached to being attached that they couldn't put it down for 2 hours and enjoy the show. One guy literally never looked up from Blackberry until his neglected girlfriend finally elbowed him. Why on Earth did he pay $50 to sit and stare at his little screen - and who the hell was on the other end of that thing? It certainly wasn't his girlfriend.

The 4 young girls in front of us danced, drank and texted all at the same time. Amazing actually. They did seem to be enjoying themselves.

What looks like a disease to me is reality to the younger set. Being connected in this fashion seems a poor substitute for actually connecting with people (I say this as I sit alone in my office blogging). In my day we had nothing of the sort and our reality was just different, not better, not worse, just different. WAIT WAIT WAIT - I can't really say that. I feel sorry for these kids. They know nothing of solitude, of useful self-reflection or clarifying introspection. They wake up in the morning and reach for their Blackberrys instead of the Pop-Tarts.

I wonder that in the age of Facebook, Myspace, blogging, Twitter and the rest of the non-stop deluge if there will be a backlash. In my day the hippies were advised to Turn on, Tune in and Drop out. Will today's culture ever Turn off, Tune out and Drop in? You've seen the commercials where the parents become "hooked" on Tweeting and Facebooking and disgust their own children. Funny stuff.

The enablers, the Blackberrys, Facebooks and Twitters as well as the Verizon's and The T-Mobile's are profit making corporate giants. Are they the modern day pushers? Do they have a responsibility for this potentially destructive and addictive behavior? Probably not, but don't be surprised when the do gooders get a hold of this concept. There will be blood - er I mean there will be legislation. And pray tell, somewhere in the bill there will be funding for "Crackberry Clinics". Mark my words.