Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Lethargy of a Nation

Just recently I had a conversation with an older teen about Eva Braun. He had never heard of her, let alone her passion for burning books. When I explained what she was known for, he replied, “I would have helped her. I hate books”. I tried to explain that reading was more important than eating. “Miss a meal but don’t forget to read”. I tried to understand how a person could “hate” books.

It’s all about instant gratification. In the 60’s and 70’s when America was putting innocence to death, we became a quick fix point and shoot culture. Analog became digital. Food became fast. Credit replaced cash. Jets replaced trains. Gas became self-serve. The microwave replaced the conventional oven. Movies replaced books. Television replaced newspapers. Sex replaced love or made it optional. Fact replaced truth. Acquisition replaced accomplishment.

In the late 80’s, pharmacology replaced exercise. We have a catalog full of expensive blood pressure lowering pills designed to do what daily exercise and diet use to attain. If you don’t have the will power to adapt to a healthy lifestyle, surgeons can staple your stomach shut. Cosmetic surgeons can liposuction you free of 20 pounds instantly. We buy exercise equipment but don’t use it. We join gyms but don’t go.

In the early 90’s Ritalin replaced concentration. Parachutes replaced job devotion. Coffee replaced sleep. Million dollar basketball contracts replaced college educations. Divorce attorneys replaced marriage counselors.

In the late 90’s the PC replaced life as we knew it.


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