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29 August 2008

7 Reasons the 21st C. is making you miserable. Wow, an actual decent cracked article. [More:]

I found it to be worth reading, rather than skimming. Do you agree/disagree with the points in the article?
Ok, I love that graph.

Can't say I disagree with the points in the article. Well, the three channels thing was more '70's, IIRC.

There's a quote I love: "Your enemies have vital information that your friends are keeping from you"
posted by lysdexic 29 August | 09:02
We are physically better off today in every possible way in which such things can be measured ... but you sure as hell wouldn't know that if you're getting your news online. Why?

Well, ask yourself: If some music site posts an article called, "Fall Out Boy is a Fine Band" and on the same day posts another one called, "Fall Out Boy is the Shittiest Fucking Band of the Last 100 Years, Say Experts," which do you think will get the most traffic? The second one wins in a blowout. Outrage manufactures word-of-mouth.

The news blogs many of you read? The people running them know the same thing. Every site is in a dogfight for traffic (even if they don't run ads, they still measure their success by the size of their audience) and so they carefully pick through the wires for the most inflammatory story possible. The other blogs start echoing the same story from the same point of view. If you want, you can surf all day and never swim out of the warm, stagnant waters of the "aren't those bastards evil" pool.

posted by jason's_planet 29 August | 09:13
I agree somewhat. My partner and my sister are my closest friends. Trust-with-my-life friends. I have many other good friends, but it is very confusing since a lot of my very good friends are also colleagues. Hmm. That's not good maybe, since I am thinking of changing up industries.
posted by typewriter 29 August | 10:06
I have five people I would trust with my photos. I will admit I feel more closed off now than any other time in my life. I'm not isolated in the least but less social. Now that school is back in it will be better. I'll volunteer. I'll be around more humans. I feel good being around people even if I don't speak to any of them (gym, baseball games, crowded stores, etc.)

#2. We don't have enough annoying friends, either.

Oh my, many of my friends are annoying. I just RSVPd to hang out with an annoying bunch next week.
posted by LoriFLA 29 August | 10:11
Interesting article, and I agree with the general idea- that socializing with other people in real, meaningful ways is healthy and better for us than we'd like to think. I don't agree with a lot of the little things- I don't need to build a house to feel proud of the work I've done, and texting works fine if the people you're texting with aren't assholes.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 29 August | 10:20
21st century mis'rable boy...
posted by Wolfdog 29 August | 10:31
Thank you Eideteker.
posted by lonefrontranger 29 August | 10:44
The article speaks more to the things I'm always worried will happen than the way things actually are, but it does a great job of summarizing an otherwise nameless dread. One thing I bemoan is that I'm currently in a city with lots of new friends, a handful of friends from college, but nobody who goes back further than that. I wish I could have some old friends around, but online/texting/cells, etc. make the barrier for keeping in touch with those who are a thousand miles away a whole lot easier. Would we be closer if we wrote letters? Almost certainly. Is that particularly likely, even if I didn't have new advances in communication at my disposal? Probably not.
posted by SpiffyRob 29 August | 11:43
I don't know that I agree with the cause-and-effect analysis he's trying to set up -- I don't know that technology *caused* these problems -- but I agree that they're problems.

(Also, though, the "naked picture test" premises are themselves flawed because of evolving technology -- I'd trust more people with photos like that if I knew they couldn't share them with other people, even accidentally; in the age of digital, photos become more dangerous.)

One thing not mentioned, but that underlies some of this, is that I think our tolerance for frustration is lower, and if we're going to correlate with technology, I think videogames and probably the internet reinforce that. Instant gratification, lots of brain-stimulating lights and sounds and colors, no need ever to be bored or to struggle to figure something out.
posted by occhiblu 29 August | 11:49
One thing not mentioned...

"The problem is we've built an awesome, sprawling web of technology meant purely to let us avoid annoying people. Do all your Christmas shopping online and avoid the fat lady ramming her cart into you at Target. Spend $5,000 on a home theater system so you can see movies on a big screen without a toddler kicking the back of your seat..."

the authour definitely mentioned that concept, occhiblu.
posted by lonefrontranger 29 August | 12:03
I'll dissent a bit. As a person highly sensitive to non-verbal communication cues, not having to face to face as much makes my life much easier. I'm not curled up in a ball because the bank teller gave me negativity or whatnot. I'm also unskilled in moderating the non-verbals I give off. So I can choose my message easier in an email than going up to talk to a co-worker.

My people to trust? Two. That does take into account that my girlfriends would gossip among themselves and are therefore ruled out - but I do have a five of them.
posted by rainbaby 29 August | 12:08
"not having to face to face as much makes my life much easier. I'm not curled up in a ball because the bank teller gave me negativity or whatnot"

the concept they're promoting, rainbaby, is that because (thanks to technology) you are no longer forced to make these interactions on a daily basis, you now fail to build up (or maintain) tolerance or skill for dealing with them. Dealing with icky / uncomfortable social interactions is something we only get better at with constant practise. Social interaction skills are like any mental capability, and if you don't exercise them, they atrophy. This has been demonstrated recently by scientific studies, particularly in the aging, etc... - use it or lose it.

worthwhile thinking about, eh?

I'll stop now.
posted by lonefrontranger 29 August | 12:14
  • all the best women are married
  • all the handsome men are gay
  • I feel deprived
posted by Meatbomb 29 August | 12:19
the authour definitely mentioned that concept, occhiblu

Yes, but just in relationship to social interactions. I was trying (slightly badly) to broaden that; I don't think it's just that we don't have to deal with annoying people any more, but also that we don't have to deal with pretty much any annoying situations for very long any more. Constant target-marketed stimulation means we can opt out of boredom, drudgery, or discomfort pretty quickly, most of the time.
posted by occhiblu 29 August | 12:23
I would agree with that occhi. I would even go so far as to say it makes a lot of us more "clever" while at the same time allowing us to grow increasingly intellectually lazy.

my mom calls this concept "news McNuggets", i.e. junk food for your mind.
posted by lonefrontranger 29 August | 12:26
"the Outrage Machine" - not a Cracked original phrase, but it doesn't appear too widely used yet.

This is not the Cracked of the 70s, rather what Mad magazine should be today.
posted by Ardiril 29 August | 13:41
If you were on your death bed, what would you want your last words to be? || This table is pretty awesome