The Sociological Imagination (Todd Gitlin and C. Wright Mills)
– Highlight Loc. 639-42 | Added on Thursday, February 02, 2012, 06:20 PM
It is a long way from symbols to conduct and back again, and not all integration is based on symbols. To emphasize such conflict of value is not to deny ‘the force of rational consistencies.’ The discrepancy between word and deed is often characteristic, but so is the striving for consistency.
For as long as I can possibly hold out, I want to not have an iPhone. As far as I can tell it is a horrific gadget, socio-cognitively. I’m not even a Luddite or anything [kindle, Samsung cell & ltop sitting right here], I’m simple weary of the iPhone’s immense power at dehancing people into tools, twerps, cretins, lunkheads, sub-90s.
A, Whenever anybody calls you on it, that call takes precedence over anything else and you have to get it, no matter what [except, maybe, if you’re performing CPR on your mother/father].
Secondly, you can never just let an argument stand as is or take anybody’s word for it if you think there might be a slight possibility that wikipedia has some info on this. You whip out your trusty iP, connect forth and correct the faulty or incomplete info. Then you tell that specific person to either get their facts straight or buy an iPhone.
If there’s an App you sort-of like and it’s less than five bucks you have to buy it. Come on.
If you meet an old good friend for a cup of coffee and you know s/he has an iPhone too, you can get yours out any time and start…. surfing or whatever one does on those devices, no prob. You could perhaps in the way of an apology mutter something like “Sorry, I just…” and then let your voice trail off.
You don’t have to ever, ever read a book again. You can look the relevant info up on your iPad. It’s not only much more efficient, it’s more fun too. Yeah.
If you see somebody with a Blackberry you can snigger under your breath and shoot that person, that poor soul, a pitiful glance. They’ll know what’s up.
You don’t have to ever be sad about S. J. ever again. A small part of his soul is always right there with you, in your pocket, touch-screenable.
If you’re in a dirt-poor country like Mali, in the country-side, you can whip that thing out and just totally show-stop that bitch. You’ll need something to pass the time anyway.
I’ve almost unraveled all my interest in world news, in up-to-date political buffoonery and all other informational dross one is assaulted with on a daily basis. I am assaulted with, I do feel physically perforated by it.
By virtue of only just sitting down in the train for my commute, intending no physical or mental harm, by virtue of for-one-second not paying attention to not-paying-attention, my gaze glides onto the colorfully yelling cover-page of 20 minutes or BaA and is apprised of the irrelevant happenings of the celebrity-sphere and other gated communities: this starlet has died, that flashlet has won an award, this movie will be at the theaters soon [so you can once again reacquaint yourself with what explosions and kissing and shooting and car chases look like], these two people which you have never met and probably never will are now [for now] together, this is the person you should feel is laughable right now [and by dis/substitution makes you feel a bit better about yourself, though neither your appt nor car are big enough]. More generally: the world is getting even worse, we would suggest [at least if you don’t, as we don’t, consider any of the positives].
No matter how repetitive, no matter how negativistic, no matter how completely irrelevant to one’s own life, there is a fuzzy, free-floating info-dogma that one is supposed to be “up-to-date about what is happening in the world”. At least an extremely particular version of the world, with a few exclusive members, to which average citizens have only access via catastrophes and other spectacle.
Well, my friends, family and I are in this world in the more extended sense, and I am not too badly informed about all of them. [[Plus I’m a bit ingenious for argument’s sake: Harper’s and the NLR, at a month or two’s delay do keep me up-to-date but in a style that doesn’t feel like I’m getting dumber by the sentence, in a way that keeps the good&bad in balanced perspective, in a mode that is not shamelessly reactionary.]]
I have cut down on my informational throughput. FB is an ancient memory, good riddance [nobody that I’ve talked to lately has claimed to use it in temporal quantities that they consider sensible or responsible or proportionate]. NBA, this has taken me a long time, I don’t care about any more; I saw a dunk on youtube the other day, it was good but I couldn’t recall what it was that made me care so much about people jumping and running at the other end of the world; best of jumping to them anyway. Yahoo, the McDonald’s of info, is also no longer part o my clickosphere. Let me not make fake claims to some absolute informational high-grounds, where everything one sees and reads serves the betterment of one’s character, the perfection of one’s cognitive capacity.
But, but, but. All of the above diminished my life quality instead of improving it. Now I mostly stick with two lit blogs, occasional ted talks and dictionary.com, it’s not the informational alpha and omega but it keeps me on an even cognitive and emotional keel. It doesn’t give me the feeling that the world is going to bits by the click. Rather these sites supply creative, juicy texts, images and concepts for personal appreciation. This is what the human mind can produce in case of sustained effort and deliberation. Not something I could say of the earlier, above s[t]inkholes. I can only recommend it, not these sites in particular [though those too] but an honest appraisal of what b.s.–info diet you might be on and a ruthless re-boot.