Adventures in Dating Land

Revolution of the Olden Times

Posted on: August 5, 2008

Can anyone fill me in on the term “blogosphere”? I have to admit, even for a twenty-year-old, I feel extremely outdated when it comes to the internet jargin. I recently perused the website Urban Dictionary.com, a pseudo dictionary server whose purpose serves to keep the lesser informed up to date on any and all slang terms in our cultures and subcultures. I have to ask, do people really use the term “shuffle shame”? (Which is apparently what happens if your mp3 player is on random and someone walks into the room when you’re blasting “I’m Blue” or some other atrocious guilty pleasure.) I can’t ever imagine using that in a sentence without feeling entirely too postmodern, and thus succumbing my soul just slightly more so into the pop culture society of the new millenium.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the 21st century. Mp3 players alone, this age has given us some wonderful gifts. But maybe I’m an oddball nostalgic, but I for one see a major problem in the way the world is turning. Any science fiction movie that depicts androids taking over the world will show the same themes, and while the properties of robotics keeps me from ever fantasizing that particular nightmare into life, some of the futuristic principles that have a hand in such films are beginning to shed their own light in reality.

I’m an avid reader of the New York Times; other than New York being my quintessential center of the universe, I feel most connected with the Times. The arts section alone is enough to make me drool, and although the journalistic bias of many of the writers seems to shine through on an almost revolting level, to me it is the end-all, be-all of information. As I was keeping up to date on my ’08 campaign news yesterday, I saw an ad at the top of the screen, flickering merrily over Obama’s smiling, large-eared head. (Anyone notice, by the way, that Obama is sort of a more handsome, African American version of George W. in the physical sense? This is no bash on either one of them…but their heads and bodies are very similarly shaped.) Anyway, this ad was one for the New York Times itself…”All the news that’s fit to click.” Taking a spin on the modern cliche, I have to admit I was a little put off. I took a history of communications course last year, and most of what I heard in that class was how all mass media was moving forward into the technological internet world…that books and print were becoming more and more obsolete. It honestly scares me how much this notion seems to NOT scare people. Books are a vital, interactive part of our society. There are studies that indicate that people who read material from the pages of a book, rather than off a computer actually retain more information. A slightly less logical argument is the romance that the written word possesses. I am nothing short of astounded when I interact with people and find that very few read for pleasure anymore, instead filling their minds with “True Life” and whatever box office drag has hit the theatres lately. Not only does it lower the interest level in these people for me, making them less interesting and harder to converse with, but I notice a serious difference in the intelligence levels of people that do read for pleasure, versus people that don’t.

There is also a third group of individuals, those of which I like even less. These are the people that do not read for enjoyment; they do so solely to advance themselves in their lives (career). There is no thirst for knowledge, no enjoyment at the clever turn of the phrase or appreciation for the witty musings of the great artists of literature who have come before us. It’s all about the grade, all about the next step. It’s the world we live in, driven completely by moving up…all width and no depth.

I know I’m spouting information that’s been said a thousand times before, but it really bothers me. At times I feel like a ninety-year-old young adult, the twentysomething that’s out of touch with the new age. And frankly, I’m okay with that. I’ve got my Facebook account, my blog, so technically I am part of the “blogosphere,” whatever the eff that is. I post the pictures and write on the walls and even send the bumper stickers. I, at times, indulge myself in the mindless dribble of reality TV. So, in some ways, I should have nothing to say. But, (and I suppose this is my point of arrogance against most of the twentysomething society) I do strive for knowledge. I do read…I spend hours in bookstores, perusing the works and smelling the musty old pages of old volumes, wondering about the owners who came before me, their passions and their lives, whether or not they cared about width of life rather than the depth. And I know that there is a following of my kind, a minority of young adults who want lives filled with substance and passion and meaning. And we are the voices that need to speak out now, in whatever medium we will be heard.

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