Some days technology overwhelms


“Isn’t it funny that Americans are furious at corporate greed but watch reality TV stars squandering millions of dollars on parties, weddings, etc.? And they keep watching them….” —Wichita Eagle Opinion Line

Cable’s equivalent to crack, the Hallmark Channel, aired a movie this weekend set in the time of horseback lawmen and hand-pumped well water. Once I caught a few seconds of it, I set down the remote. It had me at “mighty obliged.”

There was a tall, dark and handsome widowed sheriff, the kind free-spirit deputy falling for the heroin, and to round it out, a bad guy pointing his gun at kindly folks along the trail as he stole their money and terrorized their women.

I’m not a huge fan of westerns but I don’t know anybody who wouldn’t have also set down the remote. There was a lot going on but the pace was slow. When the sheriff said good-bye to his kids, heading off on some kind of heroic adventure, he really meant good-bye. As silly as it sounds, I actually thought, “Wow, no cell phone. He’s just gone.”

This is now. Our culture. It’s a brand new instinct of this generation and those to come, making us think, just for a split second, that we can hit the “undo” key when something goes wrong. We’re plugged in to every single moment of life. At least life going on outside of our own.

Every so often I hit my limit with the influx of information that is beaten to death over and over by every outlet out there. The Kim Kardashian wedding and divorce took me over the edge this time. I don’t watch their show because it’s a little like nails on a chalkboard.

So why do I bother mentioning it? Because the media work. It was on the Internet, radio and television, in magazines and newspapers. They pulled me in enough to at least complain about it.

Last week, I spent 20 minutes listening to a morning radio show talk about Kardashian’s divorce announcement. (In my defense, I was having a bad hair day and was too wrapped up in that to change the station.) One DJ argued that their fans were in such an outrage because they felt she had let them down. Do they really?

As a person who doesn’t know her, can’t relate on any level and is blown away by the amount of money they make and spend doing whatever it is they do, I’m guessing not much of their “reality” story is all that real. I don’t feel let down, except from whatever force of nature keeps them in the news.

There’s a lot of information coming at us. Here in our own small towns, people open their personal lives like never before through Facebook. All the particulars the busybody inside us all could ever wonder about and a few extra details we could live without. And nationally and globally, whatever the media wants us to know is there, overloading and overwhelming.

Some days I wouldn’t mind taking off on a horse without my cell phone. But when I try to convince myself to take a technology break, I usually end up flaking out and logging on anyway. I guess it’s my guilty pleasure. That and sappy Hallmark channel movies.

Because of my short attention span for television, I hit my 30- to 45-minute limit, got busy with something else, and didn’t see the entire movie. But I bet it ended like a Kardashian fairy tale—the bad guy got his and the good guy got the girl. Oh, wait a minute, that’s not good TV.


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