Once Upon a Time…
I had the attention span of a 6 year old.
The following comments will be typed out on the computer by Greg’s hands, utilizing his subconscious mind to provide a precariously fluid thought on the subject of today’s society. As seems to be a growing trend, Greg will not accept any responsibility whatsoever for any comments made here, as they will be made by his hands and not his consciousness. Any and all complaints can be directed to the Complainants Department of Complaints. On second thought, he will accept full responsibility for his thoughts on this post. Move along, nothing to see here. These are not the droids you’re looking for.
I’m reading blog posts this morning, and every time I click on one I get two or three sentences into it and just completely lose interest. I move onto the next. Same thing. It’s a pattern. Maybe because I woke up in a haze this morning I’m just not interested in reading, but I think I’m just going to accept the fact that I have the attention span of a 6 year old.
For me, really, it isn’t big news. When I was a teenager one of my goals was to write a novel. But with my short attention span (and a slight case of undisciplined laziness) I was never able to get past writing just a few chapters. So I turned to poetry.
Short and sweet
Easy to read
Was good for me!
And there I had it. I could write a story and express myself creatively in just a few lines. Perfect! I’ve been writing poetry ever since. As I’ve gotten older, my poems have evolved and gotten longer. I’m not Greek, mind you, so when I say longer I’m not talking about the Iliad. That would just be
Where was I?
Oh, right. Attention span.
Today when I was reading blog posts, I was wondering if my short attention span is still attributed in part to discipline and laziness or if it has a deeper meaning. As an adult I think it has a deeper meaning. There is so much on the internet vying for my attention (and A LOT of it is just crap) that I have trouble focusing on the stuff that might be genuinely entertaining, fun or good for my development as a human being.
Because, quite frankly, when I see headlines on the internet about a woman who dressed as a Boston marathon bomb victim for Halloween I just want to scream.
And then disconnect my internet.
And then bury my head in the dirt.
And forget I’m part of the same species as these people.
I won’t necessarily rant here about that particular woman. I think she’s gotten enough from the rest of the world, but it’s not like she’s an isolated incident. There were other costumes out there this year that didn’t qualify as “questionable”, they were just plain STUPID.
Sandra and I discussed this in part on Saturday’s show. I had read an article that asked the question “Is it wrong to wear makeup in your post birth photo?” Not that it is wrong, but we’ve gotten to the point in society where we have to Insta-Post all of our moments, the moment they happen, without regard to common decency or intelligence. And these are examples of the visual medium out there.
The blog posts and “User Contributed” material are just as bad. And what I find very ironic is that I’ve become easily offended by vulgar language on the internet. That’s ironic because I’m not above using curse words myself when I feel it’s appropriate. I can be quite the potty mouth, actually. Which, really, isn’t that surprising is it? I’m a guy, so there is a certain amount of vulgarity right there. And let’s face it; growing up the taboo nature of those words were just an invitation to use them whenever we could. But that was when I was growing up. I’m not 13 years old anymore. I mean, sometimes I still act like it, but there is a time and place.
Your blog post, every blog post, every other sentence, isn’t always the right time or right place. It just isn’t funny, and more to the point it distracts from what could be a thought provoking message you were trying to write. When Richard Pryor cursed, it was shocking and funny. When George Carlin came out with “7 Words You Can’t Say on Television” it was provocative. Vulgarity can still be useful and funny, but not all the time.
A little goes a long way people.
Now it’s time for me to drop my own F-Bomb!
It’s time for us to filter ourselves folks. Across the board, everyone, everywhere. Not censorship, but filter. A disciplined use of the “Shock and Awe” tactic that people feel they have to use in order to get attention and stay relevant in today’s 140 Character society.
That distinction is important, because I think some craziness and silliness and shock value can have merit in personal and creative expression. I’m not about to say that we need more censorship in the world, as that just puts us on an Orwellian road we don’t want to travel. If I wanted to censor every individual taste out there, Psy would have stopped making music a long time ago.
Which brings me to my point about filter versus censor. Psy makes horrible music in my opinion. I don’t mind saying so. But there are obviously people out there that like what he produces. And it’s not offensive in the grand scheme of things (my eardrums not withstanding). What do I care if other people like him? There is very little, if any, shock value in his music. He came out and said he was against the U.S., and that is personally a little offensive, but I also think he is someone who says whatever he says to get people to like him. He may not like the U.S., but he apparently has no problem coming here to make money. But I digress.
Sure, I could not read the articles or watch the movies or follow the Instagram feeds of those that think poor taste is okay. For the most part, that is exactly the practice that I follow. I like to surround myself with positivity and creativity and things that are going to lift me up, not bring me down. What’s that expression?
“If you want to be a millionaire, surround yourself with millionaires.”
I also like “Dress for success, always.” That’s a motto I’ve held for a long time, one my dad passed on to me. My point is; if I want to lower my expectations and live in an angry, resentful, sarcastic world then maybe I’ll surround myself with that material online. But I don’t, so I don’t. Still, wouldn’t it be nice for people to just have a filter without them crying “CENSORSHIP”?
For the most part, I ask myself these two questions before I post anything online:
- What will my kids think of me when they see this?
- What would I think of my kids if THEY posted this online?
My kids have seen me at my best, and on occasion, at my worst. That latter part I’m not very proud of, but I do my best to make up for my mistakes and move forward to be the best possible person I can be. I don’t think every move I make online has to be a richly rewarding experience, filled with promise and leaving followers feeling great about themselves. Sometimes I just want to say “Psy’s music is shit.”
But I don’t want to say it all the time, every time. So you know that when I do say it, I mean it. As far as the Halloween costumes with “shock” value? The only thing shocking is that these people are dumb enough to think of the idea, even dumber to put the costume on, and then just straight stupid to post a picture online of them wearing the costume. Seriously, are you SURPRISED the entire planet has come out to say you’re an idiot? It’s kind of nice to see people raising their voices to condemn such decision making. If there ever was a time for a true F-Bomb, this would be it. Imagine that this kind of thing might not happen in the first place if people just used a filter once in a while and stopped trying to “one-up” each other in the shock department? Not because they have to, but because the world might be a better place because they did.
Maybe then we could raise the bar on what is acceptable in our media (social and otherwise) and my short attention span would be captured by an intriguing