Tuesday, November 16, 2010

On The Inside Looking Out

I'm a moderately misanthropic guy. I complain about pretty much everything I can get my sights on. I complain about technology, music, mainstream movies, independent FILMS, Chicago sports, my knees, other people, wind...I don't need a list...EVERYTHING. The problem is, that, with most things that I complain about or make fun of, I'm completely involved with. Does it make me a hypocrite? Probably. Does it stop me from complaining or incessantly rolling my eyes? Absolutely not.

Let's take texting. The other day I wrote a cleverly sarcastic(not only hypocritical, but egotistical as well...and I'm single??) entry about texting among younger folks. My point with that was to say that new, faster forms of communication aren't going to speed up or slow down teenagers from doing what they do, just changes the way they do it. It seems that parents...some, not all, need to pin a target on someone or something when their children don't turn out to be like the Cleavers. Because it obviously can't be something they do wrong...which brings me to complaint #3482 about parenting practices.  Anyhow, my complaint with texting is that people are abusing it as they would the phone call of yesteryear. Complaint #1242: people call just to call. No agenda. No point. Sample:
Friend 1: "sup man"
Friend 2: "nothin. Sup you?"
Friend 1: "nothin."
Friend 2: ...
Friend 1: ...

I've been both Friend 2 and Friend 1. I think we all have. If not, congratulations. You are the most conversationally efficient human being I have ever met. Years of this sort of conversation, mostly in high school and early college, mind you, has caused me to pretty much hate being on the phone for period that crosses the 2 minute mark. Now, there are sometimes when a phone call versus a text or email are preferable, but we should all know the difference there. This is what I'm noticing texting is turning in to for most people. The complaint is, that people are losing out on the art of conversation and storytelling if they have to do it in 160 characters.

Now, there could be a flip side to that coin. I came across another article about texting. This one says, according to Bill Savage of Northwestern University, that the more writing you do, be it text. email, tweet, or update, the better writer you will be. There's a selling point for parents to get cell phones in the hands of their kids ASAP.

For me, while I do still tell plenty of stories using the medium of texting, it still doesn't beat doing it in person and creating subtle inflections of voice and witnessing reactions on people to see how my story of fetish porn, Irish whiskey, and a crack addict plays to a crowd of friends. Yes, those things went together one night, but again, would not benefit unless you could hear me tell it...or justify it. Although...maybe the story itself wouldn't live up to the tantalizing promise of that short description. Like how sometimes the tagline to a movie or the short byline of a book doesn't live up to the thing as a whole. Maybe I have to digress...

The same complaint can be made of Facebooking. #2349. Some people live their entire lives out on Facebook...good, bad, and ugly. Now with the Places feature, they are able to pinpoint with GPS accuracy where exactly all of this is taking place. Share pictures, compromise privacy, tell a joke, share a link, etc, etc...enough is known about Facebook for me to go on. Some of these things teeter into the eye rolling category, where things are little too personal for people to be sharing. Family troubles, people who wronged you, that drunk brunette girl that spilled vodka and cranberry all over your new phone that you picked up from Verizon that day because the last one got dropped in an alley while you were arguing with a friend over why he shouldn't drive home after he just tried to get into a vehicle that was definitely NOT his...for example. Some things are best left private, and if you need the rallying of some people, then call up a friend and tell them what's up in 2 minutes or less.

My point, finally is that I'm completely immersed in all of these things. I text every single day to multiple people and don't always have the most intelligent or useful thing to say. Sometimes I tell stories that drag out over three, four texts. I have a Facebook account, obviously, as well as the app on my phone, and am updating and visiting the site at least three times a day. I share ups and downs. Still no location though. You gotta find me the old fashioned way. I can't really explain or justify it in any valid way, except to say it's expressive and quite possibly making me a better writer. I really can justify anything.

Another one is a blog...#5790, respectively...people share thoughts and feelings about their lives and other things like what they are cooking, or where to find places that people didn't pick up their canine's feces. The internet is a very self indulgent bazaar full of neurosis and distraction. One would notice that I'm saying all of this in a blog, but we've already established that I'm probably a hypocrite, among other things.

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