Today as I sat down in the airport to wait until called to board the plane, my fiance and I were immediately faced with what became a most miserable thirty-five minutes of useless time. During this exceedingly unpalatable time span, there was no hope of salvaging productivity to any degree. What was the reason for an experience such as this?
The trouble was that a CNN talking head was "discussing" American Idol on a conspicuously placed, massive high-definition flat screen television, with the volume reaching decibels which my functionally deaf grandfather would have found troublesome. The screen was of such an imposing size that it was difficult to escape the flashing images, even when not looking directly at the gargantuan pixel machine. It was so loud that I could not even have a remotely intelligent conversation with Justin, as we could only wince at the offending noise and idiotic sound bytes that persisted in distracting us from coherent thought. Even worse, I could not read, as mental engagement of that sort was rendered impossible as well. So, we sat in near agony while trying to intelligibly communicate how invasive and inescapable public obnoxiousness is. However, our experience was somewhat softened by a brief five minute excursion to purchase a slice of sub-par pizza.
The "public" world has become a concentrated locus for forced and unsolicited overstimulation, while riding on the assumption that society does not need or want to truly concentrate on thinking anyway. This is a presumption that only leads to a destructive self-fulfilling prophecy: To act as if society has no desire to think will only prevent many from knowing that thought is not only possible, but also that engaging the intellect is a beautiful and necessary endeavor. High definition televisions tuned to useless and cheap shows will, in this case, continue to prevail over any attempt at depth when development of the latter is not nurtured and worship of the former is the norm. All the while, culture weakens and thins from the inside.