Go with a smile!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


They started nicknaming blackberries as crackberries. (Crack is a form of cocaine which is smoked, and extremely addictive.) The constant need to check your email every 3 minutes is a pathological form of behaviour. But people still need it.

It’s hard to believe that I actually lived 19 years of my life without the internet. I can hardly remember what it was like, but back in those days, people were criticising television, instead of the internet.

I’m writing this because I had woken up from a nap while on leave. I turned my computer on, thinking that I was going to check my mail. Maybe somebody would have written back to me? Maybe I would have made a sale on my books? Then I found that the internet was down. I was pissed off.

I briefly considered taking the car, and driving down to the library to use the internet. But you know, what they said about climate change. I wasn’t going to put carbon in the air for nothing. (I know that at least 1 of the readers thinks that it’s stupid to worry about putting carbon in the air but I don’t agree.) I thought, I’d better train myself to be less dependent on it. No internet for you. Or at least wait until it’s up.

So I wonder what’s the real cost of our fast-paced life, where problems are solved so quickly, and so well, that you’re always expecting it to be that way. Businesses are always greedy. That’s the thing about capitalism: it works, because it forgives mankind for being impatient and greedy. But the cost is, if you keep on forgiving them for being impatient and greedy, won’t you make the problem worse?

The last 5 years of the millennium were the dawn of the internet age. At the turn of the millennium, our love affair with “the future” had the semblance of a teenage infatuation. Everything was going to be level. Anybody and everybody could be an expert at anything. Great achievements, and great art were no longer going to be the sole domain of experts. You could get video on demand. You could get access to anything and everything.

What happened? I see a lot of editorials decrying that the noughties were a terrible decade. I suppose you could compare it to the end of the 80s and 90s where there were great euphorias (fall of communism and dawn of internet, respectively). And part of it was the realisation that these great futures did not seem to materialise. Not for a lot of people.

When people talk about the great novels, we talked about the 19th century. It was the time of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Flaubert, Woolf, Dickens. It was the golden age for novels. The world hasn’t been a more interesting place in the 20th century, yet it seems as though the human race collectively failed to produce works that people acknowledged as masterpieces, on the same level as your 19th century greats. So was the problem that great novels were not being written, or that they were not recognised as such?

Was it that when life became more full of modern gadgets like the TV and the telephone, it somehow fatally affected the great amounts of concentration that you needed in able to produce a novel? Remember that one of the few 20th century novelists to have produce a work on par with the 19th century was Proust, and he was, because of his asthma, virtually a prisoner of a room lined with cork. So a 20th century man had to be locked up in a room for 10 years in order to be able to write like a 19th century man.

Movies have not been up to par in the last decade. Was it due to the fact that Hollywood is faltering, and the system simply does not allow you to produce great works of art anymore? You could never have a film that caters to people whose attention spans are greater than zero. It’s almost as though the internet has turned us all into zombies, and those zombies are now running Hollywood.

Music? I don’t know. A lot of the music in the 90s I’ve grown to like are those where I’ve had to be patient with it, and give it time to sink in. Is this possible in the age of iTunes, where if a piece of music doesn’t grab you within 10 seconds, it’s consigned to the dustbin?

Well, enough bitching about forebearance (and more importantly, the lack of.) I’m going to save this blog post in word, and post it out tomorrow when hopefully the local network is back up again.



Blogger Nat said...

The impact of avoiding driving to the Library is negligible in the grand scheme of things. But it is the right thing to do. One less car on the road means someone went home earlier, some cyclist did not get killed and some asthmatic guy breaths easy. You get your karma points :)

10:08 PM


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