Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Sheer Bewilderment of Modern Life



A pal and I recently spent time in the cinema exacerbating our arthritis by gripping our armrests long and hard. Thanks to the magic of 3-D, our senior hearts also got a serious workout courtesy of JJ Abrams’ latest ferociously energetic take on the early days of the crew of the Starship Enterprise in ‘Star Trek, Into the Darkness. In all the excitement I mislaid my eyeglasses, and when I dropped my hearing aid as I put in my ear plugs, I had to ask for the house lights at the movie’s end.

Picking up the cinema's magazine on our eventual way out, I learned that this summer one can choose from about-to-be premiered ‘World War Z(ombie)’, yet another Superman film, Will Smith managing the end of the Earth, and ‘Monsters University’.  As premieres and monsters go, I had already marvelled that day at ‘The Beer Season Premiere, courtesy of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, Your Beer Headquarters’, a huge newspaper pullout that gives the term ‘shouting’ a whole new meaning.  I had thought that The Beer Stores in every town were my beer headquarters, but clearly I’m misinformed.

Now that I mention that, I should say I feel a sense of confusion most days around all today’s facts-of-life in entertainment. The leisurely drinkable products of grape and barley, gentle artistic visuals on the big screen and the quiet pleasures of ink on paper between covers, all seem to have become overwhelmed by the blinding white noise of hyperbole. Louder, larger and faster is the norm at a time when many in a steadily aging population are losing the physiological capacity to keep up. The C19th farmer complaining about noisy locomotives spooking his stock, or an early C20th pony and trap owner lambasting the overtaking horseless carriage, would both be struck dumb by the sheer intensity of all that is visible and audible in today’s world. The near-constant sensory overload would soon lead to serious cognitive impairment in any time traveller from even our recent past.

In the near future a provider nearby will bring Google Glass to us all. This computerized eye-wear is already capable of shooting photos, filming video and surfing the internet. Just think, one day in a year or three my friend and I could be watching the Season’s Premiere in the corner of our eyes, as only one of us hangs onto the steering wheel. For once that could be a real advance in entertainment. Those specs should stay on my nose quite nicely…and no doubt Bluetooth the sound direct to my hearing aid.

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