Tweeting, phoning, posting and coasting through globalization’s “communications revolution,” we’re stuck in the rut of a Bumper Sticker Stone Age.
Naturally, when time is short so is communication. Long ago, when God’s grand plan put our ancestors upright on Earth, humans’ heated need to communicate advanced from coquettish panting to cave painting. Lacking a nearby Staples store, writing materials and the time for primitive scribbling were equally scarce. Consequently, when combined with their time intensive "Homo Erectus Do" list, chores of hunting and gathering, questing for fire, mating and dying, our saber tooth tiger dodging, fur sporting forbearers’ pictorial epistles were necessarily terse.
Yet as time and man meandered on, technological advances improved our writing implements, thereby increasing the ease and our time to communicate. Possessed of more time to think, scribe and opine, humanity communicated enduring historical testaments with chisels and tablets, resplendent sonnets with quills and parchments, and literary masterpieces with ink and type face. Importantly, by not being sufficiently “advanced” to permit instantaneous expressions or replies, these technologies afforded a person (if they chose to use it) ample time to consider the contents of their received and sent communications.
But such time was running out. The Industrial Era’s advent of mass visual and audio communications, such as movies, radio and television, and personal communication innovations, notably the telephone, were curtailing individuals’ time to receive and send communications. While most heralded this change, T.S. Eliot noted the danger:
Where is the life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Bring us farther from God and nearer to the Dust.
Today, in our Internet Era, we are besieged by communications. Armed with iPhones, laptops and Blackberrys, we incessantly struggle to chat, post, tweet and text in retaliation. Scant time is available to ponder or produce our expressions; and an irony arises: our ubiquitous time to communicate trash compacts our missives that litter this Bumper Sticker Stone Age.
Here, laden with the modernity’s unending demands while marooned in cubical caves bathed by a computer’s lonesome gloaming, we spot a tweet; in seconds we slip our mundane existence to traverse the vast expanse of Earth and convey to strangers our ideals, insights and intimacies in 140 characters or less. Thus ensnared by our communication innovations, we find ourselves culturally back at Four Square one.
But do not despair – yet. Soon, I shall peek from my cyber-cave to sift the communications miasma befouling our Bumper Sticker Stone Age and explore its debasement of etiquette, culture and politics. Until such time, my faux fur sporting, facebooking friends, beware spammer-toothed tigers!
What's that you ask with your curt, 21st Century cyber-hieroglyphics? "WTF????!!!!*"
Au contraire – FTW!!!!!!!
(“WTF” means “What the funk.”)
Thaddeus G. McCotter, U.S. Representative (MI-11)