Dangerous Minds

To the utter bewilderment and chagrin of my peeps, I recently deactivated my Facebook account. If you’re asking yourself, “Why?” then this is for you.
     Now that we live in a five-second news cycle, I came to the conclusion that there is simply too much information, nearly all of which is complete bullshit. The unending updates to this flow of sewage also serve to reduce our attention spans to that of a 4-year-old after drinking a Big Gulp. Even the brave souls posting cute kitty pictures no longer serve as a bulwark against the idiotic memes lifted from InfoWars and Breitbart.
     It seems like a lifetime ago, but there once existed a land without social media and cell phones. “STOP IT! NO WAY,” say those of you under age 21, but yes, way. Facebook launched on Feb. 4, 2004. This was followed by the first iPhone on June 29, 2007. The PC has been around since the late ’70s, but the Internet didn’t really take off until the mid ’90s when Al Gore took a sabbatical from his job as vice president and worked out the kinks. Once he got that shit sorted out, Stanford University students Larry Page and Sergey Brin decided that world domination seemed like a really cool career path, registering the domain google. com on Sept. 15, 1997.
     Those of you for whom simple math doesn’t create an existential crisis will notice that all of this happened within the last 20 years. That’s right. 20 years. Of course, the billionaire geniuses that came up with this stuff never considered the idea that they might be opening Pandora’s box. Our brains evolved over tens of thousands of years, slowly adjusting and adapting in order to become what observant, intelligent, alien life forms regard as the stupidest species in the universe. Now we’re attempting a forced evolution, if you will: the ability to effectively process and adapt to paradigm shifts happening in near real time, when a mere 300 years ago family entertainment was watching each other’s toenails grow.
     The irony is the same folks that believe God created the universe 4,000 years ago and the first organized societies resembled The Flintstones also relish in floating Creationist memes using technology operating at near the speed of light. It never seems to dawn on them that they can’t cherry pick science. It’s an all-in kind of thing. So create a commune totally off the grid or STFU. Please.
     The same holds true for the logical fallacy known as false equivalence. Sure, it’s your First Amendment right to express an opinion by demonstrating your ignorance; however, this doesn’t guarantee your ideas will be given weight in any reality-based conversations. But try hopping into a “discussion” on Facebook sometime by pointing out, say, that Marxism and Fascism are mutually exclusive ideologies and see what happens. You’ll likely be greeted by something like, “You’re trying to suppress my freedom of speech.” No, I’m pointing out that you’re ignorant, and the fact that you can’t grasp the difference? I rest my case.
     Since going dark, I’ve been a one-man ratings killer. OK, not really, but it is a component of my approach to disconnecting from the crazy train. Has anyone else noticed that the news media that small-handed, orange dude accuses of being totally corrupt is having a ratings bonanza? In a way, he’s correct, albeit for all the wrong reasons. How else can one explain the utterly clueless David Brooks being constantly trotted out as “the sensible Republican?” I wonder what CBS shareholders will be saying to Leslie Moonves in January when our nation of hyperventilating news-media consumers returns to its normal state of apathy? Is he thinking about this? You bet your ass he is. Do I care? No.
     According to my calculations, I’ll be about halfway through season three of Mission: Impossible by Nov. 9, which means by the time you read this Steven Hill’s character, Dan Briggs, will have been replaced by Peter Grave’s character, Jim Phelps, as leader of the Impossible Missions Force. I must confess my preference for Graves. Hill seems like a throwback to tough guy G-Men from the ’40s to Graves’ cool, calculated Cold War-operative style. This was the days of Connery’s James Bond, after all. There was something about mutually assured nuclear annihilation that made for great TV and great TV theme music: The iconic opening theme by Lalo Schifrin never gets old. I’m guessing that was what really caused the downfall of the Soviet Union — the lack of quality TV escapism. The proletariat had too much time to notice life sucked and eventually tired of paying exorbitant prices for Levis.
     I wonder how long the postpartum depression will last once the shit-show leaves town. Will we be seeing an increase in Big Pharma ads for psychotropic drugs? Will NFL ratings return to normal? Will Santa be putting an extra fifth of bourbon in the stocking? Will Kanye stop talking? Will Chuck Allen return to Facebook? Who knows? One thing’s for sure, when the going gets tough, I can always turn to the Impossible Missions Force to win the day.

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