Well, it is May 5th. However, other than acknowledging the date, I have no great thoughts on the matter. But no doubt, as May the Fourth Be With You comments abounded on social media yesterday, today we’ll be bombarded with pictures of sombreros and margaritas. And somehow this massive regurgitation of frippery will make us feel more connected.
I don’t blame social media for our reliance on visual sound bites as it would appear twitter et al, are more a symptom of peoples’ lowered attention spans rather than the cause. And cultural topics like Star Wars, celebrity deaths, National Cat/Bacon/Hug Your Second Cousin/Pastfarion Days all give people something other than intolerance and hatred to bond over.
What is scary is the reliance on social media and electronics to fill the void previously filled with physical social interaction. While we used to have much fewer friends, limited mainly to the ones living within walking or bike-riding distance when we were kids and expanding as our modes of transportation improved, now our friends can number in the hundreds, spanning the globe. And yet we probably have never, and will never, actually meet many of them. And due to the amount of time spent with our virtual friends we have less time for friends we can actually see and touch.
But it is exciting that through internet connections, we can meet and exchange thoughts with vast numbers of people from differing backgrounds and social stratas. This should help us develop more empathy and understanding towards other cultures. It should open our minds to new ideas and ways of viewing life and morality. And maybe it does. But mostly we seem to gravitate to others already sharing our worldview and use their beliefs to bolster our long-held prejudices.
And people are becoming more polarized, me towards others railing against tea party/conservative/gun-toting knuckledraggers, and others favoring these same regressive slime. (It’s my blog, I don’t have to give equal time to various ideologies) And as religious fundamentals of all ilks strive to repress women in almost every country, and the wealthy rulers of the world buy more politicians to cement their exalted positions, technology is wielded as a weapon to combat dissent. Meanwhile, us mindless plebes continue to isolate ourselves behind computer screens anesthetized by adorable kitty videos and made-up celebrations.
Oh, and by the way, Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!