Sunday, June 20, 2004

Look! It's the Goodyear Blimp!

We pointed to the sky with happy surprise on our faces. It's what we used to say jokingly when I was a kid when we wanted to "change the subject" or distract.

Now we have other more contemporary references for the "distraction du jour". Like: Look! It's Osama bin Laden! Look! It's Weapons of Mass Destruction! Look! A terrorist! Look! A beheading! Look! A tax rebate!

" It was a slow day
And the sun was beating
On the soldiers by the side of the road
There was a bright light
A shattering of shop windows
The bomb in the baby carriage
Was wired to the radio
These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long distance call
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all
The way we look to a distant constellation
That's dying in a corner of the sky
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don't cry baby, don't cry
Don't cry"
Paul Simon - "The Boy in the Bubble"

I find myself sometimes longing nostalgically for the Goodyear blimp days, but you can't always get what you want, eh? And we don't have Mr. Peabody's Wayback Machine any longer. We do have the days of miracle and wonder -- instant "news" -- when we are directed to look at ourselves looking at ourselves... and encouraged to wonder what we look like to distant places and people and planets who are also looking at us.

Here are some heady psychological musings on dissonance, distraction and manipulation.
Here is TV News Lies, which is a pretty good regular read.

Mother Culture's loudspeakers blare at us daily and hourly to stay distracted. I see the challenge is to stay focused -- to filter out the obvious, purposeful and accidental distractions. Stay in the here and now. Feeling my feet on the planet. Sometimes distraction is a good thing. Hopefully, we'll come to know which is which, and when such discrimination is necessary.