June 13, 2006

Middle of the road

Sitting in the pub, enjoying a glass of stout after Japan's defeat to Australia in the world cup match last Monday. The conversation was somewhat somber and for some reason or other it drifted towards childhood memories.
I made the comment that I was a "cusp Kiddie" and it was received with the same puzzled expression that you yourself are wearing right now.
I explained that Cuspies were born during the transitional period between analogue and digital societies.
I can remember a world where milk and soda came in glass bottles. Heavy as hell but better for the environment. A time when people carried re-fillable ( a retronym) cigarette lighters that weren't cheap plastic, played board games such as Monopoly, Scrabble and Risk and owned watches that had hands on them.
The digital era has brought us lots of advancements and allowed us to improve life in many ways, but much of it lacks any real style. No flair. No flavor. Very few social graces.
I think the turning point came in 1973. The BIC® lighter was released upon the world and especially to unsuspecting Americans, who were primed and ready to accept a plethora of disposable goods after a decade of mind altering drugs and the cessation of the war in Vietnam.
If you examine manufactured goods from the decade's following the 60's, you'll notice that there was an explosion in the use of plastic in everything from clothing to children's toys and even furniture.
Before ATARI® Produced the first home video game, my friends would get together and play board games or go out and have to be dragged back home for dinner. Lots of interaction. Today's digikid sits at home or alone with his Gameboy® oblivious to the world around him. Of course there are still kids at play, but there is a distinct rise in isolationism and a inability to carry on an intelligent conversation without the use of onomatopoeia in younger people these days.
Movies and many forms of entertainment now rely on computer enhancements and digital effects to fill in the blanks of inferior story lines or just plain bad performance.
I can't count the amount of times that I've heard people exclaim "Great effects", but rarely mention the plot or characters when discussing movies.
The good 'ol days are here and now. It doesn't change anything to wax nostalgic, but there are some negative sides to the modern world that I just can't abide with. We have become a disposable society to such an extent that I wonder where this attitude will lead us. Even the basic value of human life and the old customs that supported peaceful interchange between people and cultures has been so devaluated that we are no longer shocked nor outraged by news of violence, war, murder or deceit.
Look at the world around you, it can be a beautiful place. if we wanted it that way.

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