Now, too much of nothing
Can make a man feel ill at ease
“Too Much Of Nothing”
But it’s nothing compared to too much of everything.
I remember going to college where there was one snowy television station, one lame college radio outlet and one movie theatre, never mind no internet or cell phones. You had to talk to people for your entertainment.
I also remember being bored in high school. With the same damn records to play.
Now I’m so busy catching up that I constantly feel left behind and to employ the old cliche I frequently want to stop the world and get off. I used to be a connoisseur, I used to be comprehensive, that’s nearly impossible in today’s overloaded word.
Used to be you could watch the 7 o’clock network report and believe you knew what was going on. Back before TV news switched to cable in the eighties and then mutated into opposing views. Yes, you need to watch MSNBC and Fox to get a fix on our country. But each do little reporting, so you’ve got to go to the papers. The “New York Times” has boots on the ground, but it still doesn’t cover certain business stories, so you need the “Wall Street Journal.” Meanwhile, online you can check out the news of the world, never mind smaller outlets and opinions, because we’ve learned in the internet era that the big boys are last and they often miss things, stories start in the bulrushes. And we’re confronted with news everywhere we go, whenever we launch our browser, whenever we pick up our phone, and at first it’s thrilling, then it becomes overwhelming, and you think you know what’s going on but the truth is you might know less. And did I used to be concerned if the head of Pimco jumped ship?
Some people are building shrines to themselves on Facebook, others have six figures of tweets despite having followers in the triple digits, or the low fours. What makes them keep tweeting? They want acknowledgement. But for all the people posting, reading is a full time job. The news media above keeps telling us social media is where it’s at, but who’s got the time to read everybody’s feed?
They’re reviewed everywhere. And you can check them out in Zagat and Yelp, but our country’s financial condition is teetering, most can’t afford to eat out every night, and by time you check out a coupe of eateries the trends have changed and you’ve got to be a four hundred pound foodie to get a fix on the scene.
Then there are the food trucks, which don’t even stay in the same place!
Radio played the best of everything, the deejay was trustworthy. Now radio has very narrow verticals and there are so many options, like Pandora and Sirius XM and iTunes Radio and… And you listen to streams that are completely different from what others listen to, so you don’t feel integrated into society.
Meanwhile, you’re inundated with new album releases. Here’s Robert Plant! Here’s Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett! Here’s someone you’ve never heard of! And they’ve all got albums in the neighborhood of an hour long and your time is eaten up trying to catch up with everything else, so in most cases you don’t even bother. You want music to be bite-sized, maybe you’ve got time for an EP, but that would require the artist to believe he’s not that important, not deserving of all your time, and they feel otherwise. Just like the people posting on Facebook, since they’ve got the tools, they want to use them, and then tell everybody to pay attention. And if you’re making you’ve got little time to listen, so you end up behind the curve and without influences, or you’re so busy social networking your music ain’t great.
Maybe it’s important. But oftentimes it’s the ad from the corporation you interacted with once, spamming away. And then there’s the dreaded cc. And it’s an endless waterfall of information, and your job is to extract nuggets. And everybody tells you not to take it all too seriously, to have digital-free days, but they also tell you to pay attention and apply yourself and you’re left wondering which is it?
I could say I wish I was a millennial, so I could surf all this info. But I’ve learned from millennials they’re overwhelmed too. Then again, if information overload was all I knew, it would be easier to cope with.
And the truth is just like with income inequality, we’re shifting to a world of haves and have-nots, with those at the top of the pyramid getting all the attention, but this just causes those left out to yell and kick louder, demanding our attention.
And there seems to be no center. We’ve got government on the loose, beholden to the fat cats who think since they’re rich they know. And people don’t vote because they can’t grasp the issues and there are too many elections, never mind the underlying disillusionment. And really, you want me to get into my car and battle traffic to pull some levers?
I DON’T HAVE TIME!
P.S. Never mind too many TV shows and too much music at our fingertips and too many apps and…