clicking & missing, lightning-speed rubberneckers & the dead-end hunt for wow

17Mar10

Let me set the tone by talking about the weather. Isn’t that what you do, though… talk about the weather? It’s safe, it’s a constant, we know it’s going to be there when we wake up in the morning and it’s one thing that we all feel in more or less the same way. (…Depending on the thickness of our blood, the density of our chub and on whether or not we are mammalian. [Is mammalian even a word??] Oh, and it also has something to do with the presence or absence of woollen underclothes…)

It is cold. I am home alone. I ate shrinkwrapped lamb shank for dinner (sans shrinkwrap, I mean). Then I discovered there was no milk in the fridge. Now I am thinking about a hot bath and a warm bed. Maybe I will go to bed and it will still be light outside. That never happens.

Maybe some of you know by now how much I enjoy Seth Godin as my morning coffee companion. His latest blog, Driveby culture and the endless search for wow, is Seth in especially fine form.

It made me want to dust off my shaky cultural theory knowledge from school days and conjure those frighteningly sage and complex French dudes – Lacan and Derrida and Foucault and whoever else they kicked around with. I think there may have been some German folk in the mix too.

I wanted to re-form a slightly smart opinion on mass culture and fragmented narratives, and the nature of entertainment. Or maybe I just wanted intellectual backup, a way of going WTF? and having some quippy thing at my disposal to help explain it all away. Why are we all so ADD-inflicted and so “time-poor”? Why do I have full-time RSI in my wrist from frantic clicking, and a goldfish brain, and a penchant for buy now buttons and shiny, shiny things? Why do I always want more? Why do I power up my laptop the minute I get home?

So I consulted Wikipedia very briefly, so to begin forming a case for how things are and then remembered I had work to do.

I recommend reading Seth’s blog. This particular post, and all of them. It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re a marketer by trade. I sort of have a slight problem with the ‘marketer’ moniker, anyway, even though it is officially my profession. That’s why I like Seth. He takes a wider view on things. His language isn’t marketing speak.

Seth says: “Culture has been getting faster and shallower for hundreds of years, and I’m not the first crusty pundit to decry the demise of thoughtful inquiry and deep experiences. The interesting question here, though, is not how fast is too fast, but what works?”

Do we mind fast and shallow? Does it matter? Do we, as Seth says, really need to focus our attention on turning a cheetah into a house pet? Or do we find our own true pocket within it all, stick our flag in the ground and try to tune out to the ceaseless flicker of distraction at the edge of our vision?

Oh no, it is nearly dark and I am nowhere near bed yet. So I will sign off. Before I forget, though, this picture is a montage of images I took in the weekend from the spectacle that was the Lady Gaga ‘Monster Ball’ concert. Talk about wow. We were given tickets and I had no real feelings for being there, either way. And I was transfixed and out of my seat for the whole show.

So fast, so shallow, so shiny, and I loved every single minute of it.

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