“Towns turn into motels, people into nomadic surges from place to place.”
“The bigger the market, the less you handle controversy.”
“It didn’t come from the government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, we did it to ourselves.”
Those are some of the phrases that popped out of our Fahrenheit 451 passage today. I’m haunted by it – the notion of image over substance, of soundbyte (he predicts a nation mobilized not by a phrase but by a word “change.”) I’m not sure what to make of all of it. I sometimes feel that I’m rationalizing my entertainment addiction with the concept of being “relevant.”
In Jonestown, the people first volunteered. They gave up their freedom for a dizzying utopian dream. It didn’t start out with armed guards and poisoned Kool-Aid. It was the promise of convenience and happiness as long as someone else could think for them.
The cynic in me worries about the culture of mass media. I’m seriously considering ditching my digital identity. When I think of a tweet, I want it to be a real bird, not a one-hundred icon soundbyte on Twitter. When I think of my friends, I want it to be flesh and bones. When I want to connect, I want it to be over a pint or a Venti coffee. Yet, I also realize the need to live within the culture and participate in it – to be in a monastary without wall. I’m pulled toward the cloister of a non-digital identity but I’m also feeling the need to be relevant.