I saw this tweet the other day in my never ending onrushing stream that is my Twitter feed – blink and you will miss things! Hence my eyes are always open now… yes I need a constant supply of eye drops – and it resonated with me instantly.
It’s exactly how I feel. In one short tweet, @BillHarper crystallised for me the way I feel about the almost overwhelming rush of information, pop culture and otherwise that surges over us on a given day.
On one hand of course I love it. If I didn’t have a passion for music, movies, TV shows, books and theatre, I wouldn’t be writing a blog that talks of nothing else. The blog accurately reflects my ongoing love for all aspects of pop culture, including memes that pop up from nowhere, and yes, god help me, even LOLCats, and submerging myself in the endless torrent of poptastic goodness that the modern internet age has given us is a journey of constant delight and thrills.
Like the excitement of finding a brand new music artist, almost every hour it seems thanks to the countless music blogs I follow, artist tweets, and the Alice in Wonderland musical rabbit hole that is YouTube and iTunes, that wouldn’t have the tools to make their music or distribute it even five years ago as effectively as they can now.
Or coming across a new author, who freed from having to kowtow to publishers (although as an aspiring novelist myself of course I’d bow and scrape till my knees were bleeding raw if it would land me a three book deal) and perhaps never get their luminously beautiful, exquisitely well written novel published, can now get it out to an eager ereader-toting public via Kindle or Smashwords (or their many, many brethren).
Or even reading about your favourite TV show or an upcoming movie you’re excited about seeing, and hearing all these amazing insights from the producers, the actors, and the writers. Once we were just passive consumers, at arm’s length from the makers of the shows we would drop everything to watch but now we can plunge in and interact with these people. The experience is so much richer, deeper, and all encompassing that it ever was before.
But there ironically lies the problem. It sometimes feels that we are drowning in this never ending rush of new and exciting things. It’s almost like there is too much information, too many new musicians vying for our attention, too many new authors writing more words than we will ever have the time to read in one lifetime.
Of course, to complain about this would seem perversely ungrateful.
Gone are the days of waiting for the printed fan club newsletter to arrive with the latest news about your favourite artist – which is what I had to do back in the, ahem, 1970s when I was desperately waiting for word on a new ABBA album – and while some of the special thrill of hearing long awaited news is over, you not only get to read the latest news when it happens but so much more besides. A personal video message from the artist. A trailer on YouTube talking about the project. Pictures. Press releases. You name it, it’s there and we can access almost as soon as someone brings it into being.
But there is a sense that we can’t fully appreciate it all, or savour the delights of what it is we’re reading, listening to, watching. That it all rushes by in such a pellmell rush that we barely acknowledge before it is supplanted before the next pop culture marvel takes its place.
Of course, it is self-inflicted and we are the ones with our hands on the tap and we can stop the endless torrent of new things any time we want. But seriously name me one pop culture junkie that would do that? I certainly wouldn’t.
So no, I am not going complaining about the Aladdin’s Cave of pop culture wonders that opens up to me every time I go online, nor will I step out of it for a moment for fear of missing some rare new talent breathing something spectacular into creation, but sometimes, just sometimes, I wish all the creative people would just take a week long nap, and let Bill Harper and I catch up.
Either that, or extend my lifetime by a factor of about a billion, while slowing down space and time. Yes, that would work…