Haloo my friends…
Halooo my friends, let me thank you once again, generous souls, for donating to Operation Smile. Having spent time with 3 special children who have had operations to gain the use of their facial muscles, I can say truthfully, if you save someone’s heart, you save their life. Lord it’s gorgeous in Tucson, and we met a man on the plane named Blaise (Anthony) who was quite brilliant about why people are losing their connection with authentic feelings, with individuality, with true expression, with each other. I asked him, “what do think could create jobs, independent of government, what could be the next wave, like what Bill Gates gave to the world?” “Take hand-helds out of the hands of children.” He’s an expert on rhetoric. Rhetoric, he had told me earlier, is stirring someone to action, it is not, as I had thought, a statement that begs no answer. Anthony was describing the atmosphere of working with young people at a successful marketing company of clothes and sound. The kids go to the lunch counter and, instead of taking the food in sensorily, making a decision about what they want to eat and sitting with friends, they text, abstractly, distractedly, superficial reviews.
The first reaction to anything is to text in fragments. We talked about why when a child develops his sense of self on the internet it is so easy to have that fragile construct destroyed. When I was bullied as a child, teased, mocked, as so many children are, I had to deal with my feelings and create a world that strengthened me internally. I sought my path not only to get away from insensitive people, but to go toward creative, productive people. I had to work hard on my weaknesses for years and years to earn the right to be around people of “my ilk”. I still do. If I had been seeking in cyberspace I would have gotten more and more lost. Every person needs a mentor, an imperfect teacher, an illadvised advisor to push them off the perch of isolation. To walk through life texting is like giving away pieces of your soul as you go, cutting off chunks and slices of your spiritual body and bleeding your creative wealth, your presence, as you drift toward your destination. No wonder kids are killing themselves.
Anthony said that although he is the music and visual designer for this huge clothing company, what they are really marketing are emotions. Young people have always been targets, no doubt, but there is no defense against manipulation if “your world”, “your generation” is a manipulated netherspace with no eyes to look back at yours, no facial expressions to try and hide, no heart beating to listen to. Anthony, a rather liberal eccentric grounded by Brooklyn Italian roots who prays every morning and parties at night with rock stars, (on the job), said, “that’s why this country is becoming socialist”. Because in order to be or even appreciate a “rugged individualist” or “pioneer spirit”, you have to struggle physically and emotionally, not just intellectually, against your own void, not just cast your potential into a collective void. He said the lack of critical thinking allows people, especially young people, to accept lies, a collage of life as someone wants you to see it, rather than how you view it. There aren’t qualifications that matter, in any job, just about. The bar is so low that competition has been replaced with self promotion, or worse, an attitude of, “so go ahead and fire me, I’ll sue you.”
When I stood outside the club in Austin friday night wishing on a star before my show, I listened to the wall of sound of the most popular show of the moment. I earnestly picked out the strains of melody or anti melody to follow, as one does, to grasp the memorable lines, to find the form in the mist, but I could only predict when the audience would roar. I knew nothing of the band, but I could say of the crowd, “they’ll hoot here, and now again, and …, hooting now” as if I were conducting the cheers from a block away. Eerily, I wondered if the cheering were programmed into the sound design, formerly known as music. And I know that’s to come. Because they are packaging emotions, not songs.
We have to be aware, like never before, of who we are allowing ourselves to become. I’m hoping this mind time suck of texting, cell phones and computer appendages is a phase, a time in our human history when we exclaim, “how could we have lived that way!” When we call the twittering for what it is, not social “cred” building, but social crud. I’m reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s the Beautiful and the Damned, it’s allot better than tweeting. But we are damned, if we don’t come back to our senses. See you soon,