February 25, 2009

Swimming in a Wading Pool


I have had a bit of dialogue with a few friends lately about the lack of quality journalism. The lazy habits of not just the readers, but also the writers. Last week, my local paper had the wrong name of the editor. They called him Tony, not Todd. One day, it had a photo caption about six people, except, there were seven in the photo. Misspellings and grammar errors are everyday occurances. Either nobody is paying attention, or nobody cares. I'm not sure which it is.
Huxley wrote of a Brave New World as his vision of the future. A world where the focus of life is pleasure and simplicity. Everyone is shiny, happy, and perpetually amused. Style is chosen over substance and nobody has to work for anything. Life is spoon fed from the day of incubation to the day of expiration.

We've slipped even more. Electronic media is increasing in popularity. Texting can destroy a teen's allowance with 15¢/per LOL or Wassup. Yet, very little is truly being said in these pricey exchanges.

I liken this phenomenon to trying to swim in a wading pool. It simply cannot happen. Imagine the wading pool at Boston Commons. The water is 6 inches deep; refreshing for hot tired feet at best. There is no opportunity to exercise or practice the backstroke. Swimming holes dry up, and fear of lawsuits has cities closing pools. Nobody really wants to get mud on their feet or dive from the high dive, anyway. It may be dangerous. We don't know how to tread water and our brains atrophy. We realize that we could drown even in six inches of water if we lay face down and never move. The wading pool fills with unmoving brains and bodies, completely lacking skills for any amount of depth.

We have forgotten how to swim. We are not prepared with lifesaving skills. We splash in the wading pool and feel refreshed, but not truly cleansed. Huxley's vision doesn't seem so futuristic. Perhaps the future is today, and suddenly, I'm not feeling quite so Brave.

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