Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
My mood’s been dark the last week or so, and about an hour ago I was grousing away about this phony resolve the nation has been showing about being unified. The substance of my complaint is that the words used, do not describe the intent. Tradition is a poor lodestar here — it says when we unite on something, we agree on a plan. In the 2007-2008 election cycle, though, being united has something to do with all of us feeling the same stuff. Being jovial, morose, amused, suicidal — it is a state of one emotion being decided-upon with pinpoint accuracy, and everybody feels whatever it is all at the same time.
Which inspires a very low quality of leadership in our leaders, or so says my recent concern. We unite in some meaningless emotion, our “leaders” articulate that for us, and then they go off and do whatever they want. Not a recipe for success or freedom in my book.
But that’s the kind of trouble we bring down upon ourselves, when we go through the motions of communicating without actually doing it.
I was given cause to think about this on Sunday. It all started when my lady went to work that morning and forgot to take her lunch with her. Being her Knight in Shining Armor, I volunteered to bring her some. So I grabbed the kid, loaded up the car and scrambled off to the restaurant to pick up some chow.
Tight timeline. But my gal’s food order was precise, and the reputation for service is above average. So in we go, and…uh oh. Language barrier. Not a trivial one. A big, thick, intimidating one.
I can handle language barriers, usually, but this one really got in the way for two reasons.
One: Whenever I was forced to ask the gentleman to repeat himself, he would do so. LOUDER. As if I had a hearing problem; that is all he would do. He would not enunciate. He would not s-l-o-w – d-o-w-n. This is not good. It sends the message that your motives are to make sure if there’s a screw-up, you the service-person cannot be blamed because you’re not the one who did it. You aren’t really trying to connect.
Two: It seemed to me as if there were a great many questions for a relatively simple dish that I’d ordered before. I wondered if I wasn’t on the wrong track. But after the third question that had to be repeated three times, I had begun to just say “yeah, that sounds like a great idea” without having the foggiest notion of what I was doing. Hey, it’s food. Yeah, it’s for my special lady and everything, but her expectations have been lowered in this department. Anyway, I figured my chances for getting everything p-e-r-f-e-c-t were already scuttled.
While this more-complicated-than-need-be order was being filled, the boss saw things weren’t going well and took over. Good business decision. But why was it necessary? And did I get that guy in trouble? I hope not. I was really trying to have a smooth conversation with him, but throughout most if it I had no idea what he was trying to ask me…and he acted like he just didn’t care.
There were another seventeen miles to go between the restaurant and the place where my girlfriend works. En route, the boy’s mother called. The day before she was emphatic that, due to the weather problems we had and the things she had to do, sorry but she had no idea what time she’d be able to pick him up. So she was calling to firm up on a time.
She had a bad cell. A bad one…or I did…or she wasn’t paying enough to have real cell phone service…or I wasn’t. Here it is ten minutes later — and again, I’m finding myself neck-deep in this swamp of “Huh”s and “What”s and “You’re Cutting Out”s.
Finally I screamed into the earpiece. Perhaps that wasn’t a good thing to do. But God damn, it felt good…and hey, we were able to figure out where she needed to pull off the road to really talk on her phone. I know — it was just plain rude. Shouldn’t do it. Well, it was that or run the car off the road. I’d reached my saturation point. I simply couldn’t handle hearing that dreadful word “What?” one more m—f—ing time. I am SO sick of that word “What?”
From that, and from this phony Obama phenoma, I have come to realize something.
I think it is vitally important to the future of our society, that we come to an abrupt stop in this thing we do. You know what I’m talking about, by now: Pretending to communicate. I think we should stop doing it.
I think when we fail to communicate, usually by communicating all half-assed, we should simply admit we aren’t getting it done.
To pretend to communicate, and not do it, injures us in all kinds of ways…ways in which we are left relatively intact, if we just abstain from the whole pointless exercise.
This kind of fits in to my complaint about technology lately. What is technology in the 21st century? Apart from this music-listening fad that’s going on, it’s pretty much all cell phones. Now, really: A generation ago you left work, maybe hit the store on the way home, and until you showed up on the doorstep ready to kiss your sweetie hello and ask each other how the day was, you had no way to get ahold of each other.
Did you survive?
Yes, you did.
Today, we cannot. Oh horror of horrors, you might forget to go to the store. Or she might have needed six things, and told you to pick up only five. Or maybe you don’t know where to find it. It seems so vital and important now, even though deep down we all know it is not.
Is this constant faux-communication then, some sort of comfort to us, if not a necessity? Again, it does not appear so. The weekend comes, and you leave the house to do A. Your cell phone rings. It’s the boss. Now you have to do B. Maybe your sweetie calls and you need to do C, D and E. Here it is 2008…and you stand an excellent chance, better-than-even odds, of failing to get A done — and by the time it’s dark, you’re probably still going to be out there trying to get all this other stuff done. Thirty years ago you would have simply left the house, gotten A done, and come home again.
And the “Can You Here Me Now” stuff? It has become the stuff of comedy. But it’s not funny, in a way, because in this information age communicating with each other has become synonymous with getting things done. It’s pretty much a given, now, that if we cannot pass ideas off to each other, we will accomplish little…and we’re laughing at ourselves because we can’t do that. Not with any reliability. And it seems, from my point of view, as if the comedy has become less the “good natured chuckle” thing, and more the “don’t know whether to laugh or cry” thing.
Phil gave me props for recommending this movie. That very same day, my brother copied me on an e-mail, a frustrated reply he was sending to the customer service department of his wireless provider. He mentioned the movie too — his way of sending me the same thanks for the same recommendation. One of the things that happens in the movie in question: In the five hundred years that begin more-or-less now, the English language is destroyed, replaced by a muttering dialect that is a hodge-podge of valley-girl slang and rap-music outbursts.
I think we’re there, or nearly there. You go to do some business at some place that has a “service counter” — do you expect to get service? No, not really. We seem to be universally frustrated with the fact that very few people, anymore, care to express themselves in such a way that they’re truly understood, or understand what is told to them in a way that they truly get it. The problem long ago passed the point where it had begun to interfere with everyday business, and nowadays, we’re practically paralyzed from it. Ordering a plate of hot food has become a more challenging ordeal, with more questionable prospects for consistent success, than building a new fence around a pasture, digging a new well, or putting a new roof on a barn. It’s a simple task made artificially complicated, along with a bunch of other tasks that should be equally simple.
Our cultural ability to get things done is now in a steep nosedive. And until we start communicating — or at least, stop going through the motions of doing it without actually doing it — I don’t think we’re ever going to get out of this nosedive.
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