Let me paint you a scene:
A man wakes up somewhere in America. It’s Monday morning, six a.m. Slightly groggy and irate at the alarm, he reaches over and shuts his phone. Like most of us, the man’s mobile device doubles as his alarm clock (and his camera, and his music player, and his calendar, and his notebook, and his television remote, and…)
He sits upright, rubs his eyes, yawns mightily. At some point he stands up, maybe puts on a short, and walks quietly out of his bedroom.
What’s the first thing this man does? Make the coffee? Brush his teeth? Relieve himself?
None of these. This man is a creature of the 21st century. He looks at his phone, fires up one of the myriad news or social media sites, and starts scrolling.
He reads mostly just the headlines, letting the ideas of others whizz by him and cast their hooks in his consciousness. A few bits stick, but not the specifics.
What he’s retaining is something different. It’s an idea, a zeitgeist, a narrative.
As the man scrolls, perhaps while brushing his teeth, he gets idea about what the day’s topic of conversation is supposed to be. What he’s supposed to care about today.
But the template is sinking in.
Maybe now he starts the coffee.
It’s a morning just like any other. Now the man truly wakes up, hazy gray slumber giving way to full-color alertness. Stomach rumbling, e wonders what to make for breakfast, thinks about what traffic might be like, goes over the workday’s tasks in his mind.
And then he sees it. It could be a tweet, or it could be a story, or it could be a blogpost.
Somebody somewhere, some politician or pundit or even a private citizen, said something. Something so wrong, so egregious, that the man can think of nothing else.
His mood is ruined. His focus is shattered and reconstructed, centered only on this one thing.
Someone was wrong.
Suddenly, his morning doesn’t seem so good.
This is not right.
This person must be answered.
He hits “Reply” and begins to write.
And if his mother, or his girlfriend, or his co-workers could read what he writes, they’d wonder how it could come from the sane, rational, decent man they thought they knew.
Does this sound familiar? Does this sound like anyone you know?
Or you? Continue reading “When Reality Just Won’t Listen”