Saturday, January 19, 2008

Young, Hip and Totally Clueless

"Because it's not really happening unless it's on videotape - any kid will tell you that. "Cloverfield" captures the chronic self-absorption of the Facebook generation with breathless, cleverly recycled media savvy, and then it stomps that self-absorption to death. These days, that's entertainment." So says Ty Burr, a film critic and staff member at the Boston Globe.

I was reading critics' reviews of the aforementioned film, hoping to enjoy a good monster flick. (After reading reviews, I think I'll pass). But what Burr says here about the "Facebook generation" struck me with great force. Burr mentions the "chronic, self-absorption" of this crowd, and he is thinking also of the main characters in the film: young, successful, good-looking, savvy, upper, west-side apartment dwellers getting job promotions to Japan, leaving hapless, love affairs on the mainland, sleeping with each other's friends. It's all good.

A friend of mine wrote an essay titled, "The ipod Killed Poetry." In it he described Burr's epithet of self-absorption: people (the kids these days) are too wrapped up in their own little worlds as these worlds become the only world at all. Too much technology to steal attention from introspective matters that actually give appeal to a certain level of self-absorption, that can cause a breaking out of self interest and develop a keen awareness of life's grander, more important issues of helping others. Things like Facebook, myspace, Youtube, ipods, Xbox and other techno-goodies, rob the individual of the art of meditation, quiet, reflective reading, and the type of self-absorption that is good: introspection with a view to character development, vision, goals and the like.

Now, I think both Burr and my friend have hit the mark. However, as a member of Generation X, I am aware of social epithets. Mine was also a "hapless, self-absorbed generation." We didn't care about spirituality, or ethics, or human rights across the globe (we may have trifled with environmental issues, but only from a safe distance). Mostly, we wanted to go to college, have a good time, and then make lots of money. Perhaps the Facebook generation, in its own demise of self-aggrandizement, will capture the essence of life's call to a broader, corporate view of humanity and its needs (i.e. aiding the poor, defending the oppressed) as the electronic medium of social relationspheres proves itself less than authentic and drives a passion and value for quiet reflection, and an extroverted call to benefit others before self.


Barbara said...

Well, interestingly, in this movie (CAUTION SPOILERS)

They all die.

chris van allsburg said...

You stinker! You made me scroll down, huh? (And thanks for being the 1st to comment on my grandiose entrance into the blogosphere).

I sort of knew they all died, though, because I read the synopsis on wickepedia. Did you enjoy the film?

Melody said...

I don't exactly get how facebook = self absorbtion. Blogging seems much more self absorbed...facebook is just a way to keep in touch with people you might otherwise never see. I've resisted it for a long time, but now that I'm there it's nice to see how people are doing.

Not denying the narcissism, I just don't see it in facebook.

Congratulations on entering the blogosphere.

chris van allsburg said...

Heeeeeeeeyyyy Mel--

I'm on facebook, too. I don't think the guy was lambasting facebook as much as the cult of me generation. But my insight is that people said the same thing about my own generation, and i'm like 35--a whole generation (i think) away from the one in college at this time.

John said...

the title of this post seems a bit redundant....!

chris van allsburg said...

ain't it true!
John, how'd you find this blog?

btw--I see that you are listed as a middle management corportate sucksomething. Not me! I got fired!

John said...

i'm a grand haven dude also and i clicked on "grand haven" in my own profile to see who else from gh was out there posting crap. apparently, there are 163 of us listing grand haven as our home base.

nice work on getting fired! that happened to me once and i was able to find a new job before my severence ran out on the first job. i guess i showed them!!

chris van allsburg said...

John, nice job at showing those 'tards how it is.

We're moving, sense in finding a good job,huh?

I was born and raised in GH. Went off to school, lollygagged around, went to another school, and came back. Couldn't resist the Lake.

How about yourself?