Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Changes in Attitudes Leading to Platitudes

arrogance

I’m seeing it a lot. I think we have all made note of how often friends and associates become silent “pasters” on their social media streams and pages.  They say nothing on their own. They post photographs with captions and quotes. They re-post the words of others. They have become apers, parroters, completely devoid of original thought.

plat·i·tude \pla-tə-tüd\
Noun:
A remark or statement, esp. one with a moral content, that has been used too often to be interesting or thoughtful.
The quality of being dull, ordinary, or trite.

Platitudes are dangerous. We live in a society of national attention deficit, in a world where everyone has the concentration skills of a gnat. Is it a product of the tv generations from which our parents, in some cases grandparents, came? Is it saturation?


Whatever the source, it has made us a significantly trivial and uninteresting generation. The ability to stick a photograph of a kitty onto one’s Facebook page isn’t particularly impressive. My own image (above, left) may reflect the tone of this post, but it isn’t my cat, my photo, or my own invention in any sense.  The words here are mine.  They required thought and originality.

Whither hast thou fled, critical thinking?

I love Pintrest. I love funny photographs. I love quotes from other people I admire.  But I’m getting genuinely frightened by how infrequently I see actual, original, human-interactive content on social media streams.  People post stories that have been de-bunked for months on sites like snopes.  They “share” information without checking sources, often information that goes viral with broken or completely fabricated content.  Friends, family, associates are tethered to a screen, fingers dragging and dropping as if they were children loosed upon an all-you-can-eat ice cream topping bar.

Stop. Think. Say something. I’ll listen. I’ll answer. I’ll be relieved to know we are still capable of communicating without a photograph of a kitty with a caption.

I promise to continue to post funny cats. I promise to keep laughing at the zombie apocalypse jokes. I promise not to burn my copy of Bartlett’s Quotations.

I just want to know you’re still in there… thinking.

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