Friday, August 14, 2009

Regarding Extreme Ways

Another musical post tonight; the lyrics express my inner voice and monologue better than any words I can come up with at the moment.

Tonight ended one of my last week-long visits with Kara this Summer. As we were driving to the exchange point, she wanted to listen to some music and the soundtrack to The Bourne Ultimatum was the only CD in the car. Now, I know she has different tastes in music than I do (most people do), so I flipped to the last track on the disc...which happens to be the song linked in the video.

I've listened to it time and time again over the last several weeks and months. It captures something about my emotions, my fears, and my grief.

In the stories, the hero doesn't know how the happy ending is going to materialize until the very last minute. I think I'm somewhere near the middle of the story.

I'm tired. I'm tired of things always falling apart.

Would somebody please read the last page and let me know how it all turns out? I really, really hope it says, "And they lived happily ever after."


Video credit: Universal

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Regarding Noise in the Channel

It's a big hit with the kids."Ah, well, it must be true if it's on the Interweb."
-- Liz Lemon, "Cleveland," 30 Rock (season 1)

In the 1984 movie Brazil, a single typographic error leads to a series of improbable events which ultimately affect several lives for the worse. Admittedly, Terry Gilliam movies usually feature improbable sequences of events, but Brazil seems a particularly apt parable for the concept...and risks of...misunderstanding.

We rely on so much non-verbal communication these days. Email, instant messaging, texting, Facebook, MySpace, twitter, and on and on. In some ways, we communicate more through phosphor dots than any other tool or device...even the telephone (mobile?) or even face-to-face contact. We type our thoughts as they occur to us; we send them zipping into cyberspace, barely remembering to consider spelling, grammer, or even logic at times.

Have you noticed how many "tpyos" get made? (& ya, I mean 'sides the obv. s/cuts & abbrv's. Duh! LOL.)

Have you ever noticed how things seem to take on more weight when they're written? Even when we know we should think critically, we don't. Perhaps this is one reason why so many flame wars erupt in online forums.

Sometimes, we change our lives because of our beliefs. Many times, this is good.

I wonder though, especially in today's digital society, how many of these changes stem from misunderstandings.

I wonder how many times we make major changes in our lives based on incorrect, incomplete, or simply misunderstood information. I wonder how many of these changes could be avoided if we verified things more often. If we remembered to think more critically.

Sometimes, you misread an email. Sometimes, you mis-hear a voicemail. Sometimes, an IM doesn't arrive. Sometimes, the check gets lost in the mail. Sometimes, you simply make a mistake.

I wonder how many of our fears come to pass because we forget to check our expectations at the door. How many times do we, intentionally or not, interpret things to match our fears. How many times do we convict someone through a jury of our fears, rather than through good judgement or critical analysis?

It's ironic, when you think about it. When someone whispers a rumor quietly, something outrageous or seemingly out of character, many respond with something to the effect of "Excuse me? Did I heard that correctly?" Yet, when faced with the same outrageous rumor (or idea) when presented online, the same folks generally respond with something akin to "OMG. WTF! I can't believe it!!" And then they do...believe it...unquestioningly. Why? Because it was written down? Because it was on the Internet?

It's hard enough to avoid misunderstandings in person, where a half heard word or simple distraction can lead to an argument. How much easier is it to misinterpret something when the only cues (or clues) are textually based? How much more likely is it that something will be misinterpreted?

Something worth thinking about the next time you reach for that flamethrower.


Photo credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)