Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Sunday, January 06, 2013

How to live in the 21st Century

Excerpts from The Journals Of A 21 Century Schizoid Man;

Technology, some good, some wasteful and useless

I remember a story of a man selling and then teaching farmers how to drive cars and trucks, shortly after the year 1900. Being used to using horses and mules, the farmers would yell “whoa” rather than hit the brake.

Apparently this was his main problem in teaching people to drive. Today our roads are full of cars and horse or mule driven wagons exist only for museums.

Like the man yelling “whoa” I’m still getting used to a whole new century, where some things are great, others suck.

On the bright side, I love computers. Blogging is one of my favourite pass-times. Using a word program is 100 times better than trying to use a typewriter to write things. The programs also allow spell check, which has really helped me. Now I can write way more than I used to and I really enjoy writing.  

I love social networking. I love that groups with blogs or web sites around the world are available to us. We can now keep in actual contact with an organization anywhere in the world. I like finding out that there are hundreds of US Marxists, just as myself, all over the country. I can read their web sites or blogs. I can leave messages, take part in discussions or take part in discussion sites. I have met a lot of Marxists on my Facebook page, where I can also take part in discussions.

I also enjoy social networking with all my friends. We can let each other know anytime something is coming up to do or just share information.

I have a regular size computer, but I love using my laptop in coffee shops and places that have Wi-Fi so I can sit and drink coffee, while I cruise the web, or check for e-mail or other messages.

Then there is my cell phone. I love being able to make calls anywhere. It really helps for emergencies. I love that it has a call log, so if I miss a call, I can look to see who tried to call me. My phone has a camera, which I love. But as with the old farts on the commercials, I’ve been watching lately, I just use my cell phone as a phone or occasionally a camera, which I have.

That’s my entire phone does and I suppose this is where I feel like the farmer yelling “whoa” instead of pushing the break.

I don’t understand the idea of standing in a line for hours to get a new cell phone that acts more like a small computer. Some of the stuff on these phones seems like nothing more than elaborate toys.  

If I already have a computer, why do I need all that other stuff? These new “iphone” or “smart phones” allow you to serve the web, download music, text with words and pictures to your friends and there is even an app that lets you know where you are at any time. No need to learn how to follow directions or learn how to get somewhere. A machine is doing that for you. I’ve been able to find my way through this town and others. Do I suddenly need a machine to tell me how to get around this town or most of the others I’ve been to?

Whoa, it took me a while to figure out what the commercials mean by app.

Music and culture

Then there is music. Most people just copy songs off their “smart phone” or computer. How many people keep anything like a collection of music, following certain bands or singers?

When I was in high school I used to buy albums. Not only did I get a collection of music, it had album art. The albums and record labels used to tell us who wrote the songs, the length of the songs, who played what instruments. There were also surprise songs that were great, yet never made the radio or got any air play.

A few years ago music CDs were supposed to replace vinyl and provide us with albums of the future. I liked CDs because there was still some artwork, and the disks usually had all the information I like. Now it’s getting really hard to find any place that sells CDs.

I’ve been told that all that information is available from music sites and the places where people download songs. But how many young people bother to look at any of that stuff or do they just ignore the details and look for a snappy tune to listen? And do they keep any songs for later or just listen to whatever they like at the time. I have an album collection and the music brings back memories for me. I love having that library. Some young people still buy CDs and keep music they appreciate. So I’m not the only person who sees the value in investing in a good album.

I heard on the radio that many bands and singers are using their music for commercials because they can’t make money on albums anymore, since so much of their songs can be downloaded for cheap or free.

Then there is the quality of music since the turn of the century. Thanks to shallow contests by useless hacks from such garbage as “American Idol,” all we get are people who can sing and dance, have no imagination of their own and over all they have nothing to really say.

No doubt rap and hip hop are more popular with the youth of today. Things change and that is the nature of things. Right now that seems to be the music trend of the 21st century.

Still, some of us like rock music and absolutely nothing new has come out of the rock music industry this last decade. There are no Frank Zappas, no Sex Pistols, no Ramones and no Pink Floyds. So far, trash TV has flooded out music pop music with such crap as Justin Bieber.

It seems like cheap TV shows such as “American Idol,” and economic conditions that force rock stars to make most of their money off of commercials, we now have a plastic (1970s lingo for shallow) cheap, meaningless totally commercial, 21st century music culture. Since fame and musical fortune are just a contest, no one is building audiences, trying new ideas or building themselves up the way the old bands did in the last century. 




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