Now that much of the online hokum due to bizarro fans I never wanted to deal with has been relieved by pen pals who give a darn, I’m finding simple reflections in things I dearly missed. A breeze, a delightful flower, the simple odour of pines, the feel of paper and a cosy outfit.
And I have to giggle at statistical weirdness. I swear to Zeus, people straggle through, find The Pit script, skip the lot, go straight to the last episode and likely are as baffled as when they started. We’re on 16, it’s a cliffhanger, there is NO wrap up currently to this show! Doi!
I’ve lived through a lotta weird decades, but this one has to be the stupidest I’ve encountered. I’ve heard the 1950’s were pretty dumb from people who lived during it, baring a few beatniks, I guess. I’m trying to imagine it in comparison to these 2010’s. There was sure a ton of products to dazzle, wanting people to lavishly spend like crazy after WWII and keep the money flowing which would maintain our removal from what happened during The Great Depression (hence we have planned obsolescence and stuff that breaks more often so we have to re buy it). But the depth of dopiness doesn’t feel like it was quite so rampant as it is now.
Maybe it was the Establishment vibe that made the 1950’s run differently. This 2010’s decade is flopping all over the place. It dares to be different except you are only allowed to be different through the New Establishment of constantly being connected online. Rather than being shunned for not upholding the status-quo of online connection? You just go unseen and more or less wiped from people’s own memories. It’s a bit like the disappearance of Tony Peterson on Dark Shadows. Things with him and Carolyn were fine, he just kinda didn’t show up anymore.
I have had some good chats with fed-up companions who only briefly tried Facebook. Sudden contact with so many people they hadn’t heard from in decades, and weren’t really that close to at all, “Now they’re all up in my business! Wanting me to look at crap, wanting me to click things that don’t pertain to either of us. After three months? I was done! Bleh!”
Another nice lady was good enough to express a two-day yuck of even trying to understand the point of the social network. “I kept looking and I just had to get as far away as I could!” she explained, in a physical gesture of removing herself from the table where we were having our dinner.
I really do remember when television did some crappy things to people. They’d get all into a favourite movie airing after a hard day at work and someone would need a lift by car. The joy sank out of their grasp as they went to deal with it. We know it’s the honourable thing to do to help a person in need, but that needy person is now tainted with the association of missing out on the company of fictional characters that warm the heart more than living people do. That was the old world.
This new world is scattered with indecision, distraction, and abundance of overwhelming choices far worse than cable or satellite television could provide. It’s also indoctrinated with a TV-screen version of friendship, hygienic connection to people we once knew or have never met in person. It is so hygienic and sporadic that it stifles the flow of natural mood, aggravates the senses, removes facial recognition and tone of voice, all while the eyes are constantly staring at artificial light. “Relaxing” reading is done by tablet, again we’re staring at artificial light. (My own preference is for the paper-screen e reader, by the way.)
Rather than seeing a person you know and starting up a conversation, lights and boxes pop out. Jingles and alarming noises zing in the air. What could be gleaned easier in person is covered entirely with gadgetry. Then? Paranoia sets in, “How honest is this person being with me?”
How are you to know, eh?
The wealth of human details are cut away from the conversation. Even a personal thing like handwriting doesn’t show in prefabricated textual lettering. Tech wizards always claim that these things will improve with more tinkering. Really? After social media do you think we’re going to trust what tech wizards tell us?
Reminds me of a favourite line in The Golden Girls when Rose confesses they didn’t have a television set in her household because someone felt, “It hadn’t been perfected yet.”
I used to believe my childhood and teen years were so horrendous, and in light of the severe ostracising and constant discouragement to do anything productive, while also being picked-on for not being productive (?????) it is true. However, I’m reconsidering some of the basics like yelling matches and getting fisticuffs with other kids, sometimes out of anger, sometimes from self-defence. I’m not sure this current generation has that much of that. And all that energy and loneliness just wells up inside them so there is this need to bash and be insulting to get it out because it is the only option that’s left! I used to wonder why outdoor sports and competition was considered “healthy”. I think I know now.
But then why get all bent out of shape about Dark Shadows? I’m concerned some of these younger fans don’t understand the format. (And honestly? I’m not too sure the elder fans understand it either.)
I knew other soap-operas. I was very aware of the format going in. Eastenders was probably my favourite. It just got nice and dull, and sometimes I couldn’t understand what the people were even saying anyway. (It confused my sister when she walked in. She knew more British comedy. She was waiting for Eastenders to get funny and… it wasn’t really getting funny. Very perplexing!)
To me soap-operas and their characters were very disposable. I expected Dark Shadows to be nothing more than that. It’s spooky and spooky is my thing. It’s based on old-books which are also my thing. So it’ll be somewhat higher grade but we’ll get some cheesiness from it being so old. We even giggled a ton upon Dr. Woodard’s death with Sam finding him, and his deep and meaningful close-up, staring straight into the camera lens, “Those eyes… what were the last thing they saw to be looking like that?” We kept laughing. We played it again and again and again, “Those eyes… what were the last thing they saw to be looking like that?” Woo! Going for an award, Mr. Ford!
Then there was humour, real humour coming right from Roger Collins about the séance, Carolyn & Buzz making fun of Jason, The Caretaker just on his own with his comical Edward Gorey woefulness. My goodness! This is incredibly entertaining! I didn’t expect that! I can’t binge on this however much I want to. I gotta re-watch that disk! Made for TV movies like “The Beast” (1996)? That was disposable. But this soap-opera isn’t. How the heck did that happen?
So in that light I can see the appeal. But we, as humans, have the need for closure. Loose ends bug us. A good story degrading irritates us. If we get a tear in our sleeve we want to fix it, or replace the whole shirt. That’s why I went searching five years for a relief-series before starting my own. Someone must have created a relief-series by the 21st Century, right?
Sadly most people go for the band-aid manoeuvre. And considering the bumper-sticker length of attention spans these days? That’s about all most people can do at all. It’s applicable to listeners who get angry at my podcast intros. They don’t want the whole picture. They want it in bite sizes. Molly-coddled and babied for years now? What is the result?
“Waaaaaaa!!! Mommy Internet isn’t giving me what I want! Waaaaaaaaaaa!!! This person is trying to make me think! Waaaaaaaa!!! I don’t like thinking! I just want to make fun of Barnabas Collins being sad! Waaaaaaaa!!!”
They want something to scoff at because they’re mostly trained to do nothing but scoff. Rushing around in a hurry for no reason while they long for these olden days and “simpler times”. (You’ll find it in old books, my dears. It isn’t necessarily online.)
I’m speculating the creation of a stigma for this stupidity. We actually had that with the hipper crowds in the 1990’s. Too much television = moron. Books were approved of, but be wary of the author. If it was an easy read or a very popular author you might as well be watching television. The more obscure it was the cooler you looked. Hoopy froods got uppity if someone read things to them, “What? You think I’m too ignorant not to be able to read it myself?!”
This should explain to you why I don’t care about popularity and I have retaliated against online rudeness with some of my own. Growing up we were made to feel the pain of being an idiot. It was the days of Sophia Petrillo Unbound, my friends. But as she likes to say, “It wasn’t pretty,” which means I’ve also got a ton of patience for better people who really do want to learn and be educated.
Curiously, I see some of that stigma might have morphed into this need to be very randomly insulting and rude. Once upon a time that snootiness truly was meant to encourage self-improvement in a twisted way. Like Sophia would tell Rose, “Quit bein’ an idiot!”
I’m not sure how this mutated into the encouragement to be dim-witted and nasty, as this decade is showing, but that appears to be what’s happened. Cruel=Funny=Cool. A sense of “belonging” by shared hates? Doesn’t work. We tried it with the third “Anne of Green Gables” mini-series Kevin Sullivan put out in 2000. We rallied around online to bitch and moan over how non-canon it was. I made a few friends via email. The friendships themselves were short-lived. Why didn’t those friendships last?
We never discussed what we enjoyed about the original book series.
We were angry at Sullivan for taking our beloved characters through disasters that didn’t occur in the books and not giving us the old joys his production crews had managed closely enough to the books with the first two installments. We wanted enjoyment but as one irritated fan said, “This was more like Lara Croft of Green Gables.”
I still chuckle heartily at her hilarious description. But… those friendships didn’t last.
We didn’t share with each other what we did love. We were too fixated on what we hated. No seeds were planted, we cited nothing to grow from, there were no blossoms we were bringing to life. There was nothing to nurture towards each other.
We had only banded together to frown at the dirt.