Can you read the above?
You better learn fast.
Because in the next century we’re all going to be speaking this language.
As we have moved from a print-based culture to a video-based culture, what we have failed to do is to inject any intelligence into the content of our video. (or hardly any).
Our society does not read. But it watches a hell of a lot of television (or video online). The average American (who, if you read yesterday’s blog does not read at all), watches an astonishing 4.5 hours of TV a day. If we read 4.5 hours a day, we would be a pretty intelligent nation. But we don’t. We watch TV. And TV is pretty much endless dribble.
We have done this for almost 40 years now, and we are going to pay a price for this.
The New York Times reports that we have pretty much debased the intellectual content of the country.
That, among other terrifying bits of information, an astonishing 1 in 5 adult Americans believe that the sun revolves around the earth.
Now the news out of Iowa that Mike Huckabee, a man who does not subscribe to the ‘theory’ of evolution is poised to become the next leader of the Free World. Well, this is hardly surprising in a nation in which half the population (and a breathtaking 70 percent of Republicans) believe that the earth is about 10,000 years old. This apparently puts us on an academic grounding with Turkey.
For anyone who watches a great deal of television, it should come as no surprise that the medium is pretty much content free. What is disturbing is the long term effects of spending 4.5 hours a day watching this thing. We have created an idiot nation. And now we are going to pay the price.
Television did not have to become the ‘boob tube’ that it has become. It is a powerful medium, filled with potential. But we elected to turn over the most powerful medium mankind has ever devised to a handful of people whose primary interest was the maximization of profit and nothing else.
This is fine, but it is hardly in keeping with the spirit of free enterprise. What we did was create a monopoly. ABC, NBC and CBS effectively decided what would get pumped into 300 million brains for 4.5 hours a day, every day, for the past 40 years.
This is like inventing the printing press and then turning it over to the Trappists, the Jesuits and the Benedictines and saying – OK, now we have a competitive market for books and ideas.
The best writing did not come out of the Trappist Monastery, and the best television will never come out of CBS.
The ‘democratization’ of video (cameras, laptops and the web) has the potential to revolutionize the content of video and television – but only if we act fast.
The Guardian is reporting that Details Magazine has named Kevin Federline as one of the 7 most powerful men under the age of 45 on the planet. Bad news not only for Youtube founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley, who finished at #13, but also for the rest of us. But then, what can you expect from people who believe that dinosaur fossils were actually put on earth to ‘test our beliefs’, or are ‘remnants of the flood’.
So with President Huckabee firmly in place in the White House and Kevin Federline firmly in place as one of the most powerful men in the world, and the rest of us firmly in place on the livingroom couch screwing with the playstation or watching Access Hollywood for four or five hours a day, it will be good to know that at least someone is taking care of the future of civilization. Of course, the fact that they live in Shanghai should be of some concern to us.. but not too much.
Oh…and the Chinese characters above? They say ‘destiny’.