Take a look around you, or look up from your phone…do you see (as the late great Tom Petty proclaimed on his final album release), the “Hypnotic Eye?” Damn near every hominid in the western world has been overtaken by the ubiquitous so-called smart phone. Flat out in this digital dadaist age. It’s so sick. Phones and screens have invaded every space. There is no sacred sphere inoculated from the phone. It’s beyond annoying.
This writer recalls attending a Tool Concert in October 2019 before one pandemic changed the world. The band forbade phones from being used during their performance. If a concertgoer was caught using a phone by security, they were ejected. What a pleasure attending a concert without a sea of periscope screens in front of you distracting from the show. Towards the end of Tool’s set, the singer (Maynard James Keenan) addressed the audience (paraphrasing here),
“I can feel it; you just can’t help it; you know you want to. Security, stand down. Fuck it. Go ahead. Whip it out.“
WOW. Blinded by a sea of blue light. You immediately realized how pervasive screens are. Tool be praised for their efforts in preserving the live concert experience without screen dodoism.
We are subjects, targets to our advertising overlords. There is no escape. Our attention spans have been demolished. It’s a sad spectacle to witness. Couples (of every age group) dining together – not talking, yet staring at their respective screens; peeps walking the proverbial dog while skateboarding engaged with the fucking phone; any place where there is a line to wait in – damn near everyone whips it out. STOOPID. Is real life this vacant? Ever remember being bored? Stuck? There is a modern solution via the smart phone – never be bored again! AI will be your companion (Her.)
This writer recalls a former girlfriend who was gone, Fully Completely overtaken by her phone. Morning, Noon and Night “The Phone.” Her Pinterest page alone had thousands upon thousands upon thousands of nonsensical redundant to the extreme – pins. Who in the hell has that much time? And who cares. Talk about empty.
Even more so these past two years, we’ve been sucked deeper into the covid pandemic screen suck. We’re all guilty (this writer pleads guilty ~ at times). It takes real conscious and mindful effort to move beyond the pocket slot machine dopamine infuser. Please don’t misunderstand, technology and the modern phone are incredible for what they can do. Phones are highly utilitarian in the myriad ways they can enhance our lives, and yet of course a dark side lurks to suck us in. That sparkly, shiny, vibrating and compulsory little device more often than not can wreak havoc. Compulsive smart phone use is merely another symptom of our selfish, narcissistic, and rude society. Whatever happened to manners and etiquette?
We can’t put the smart phone genie back in the bottle, but for fuck’s sake, PLEASE, at least try. Put the damn thing away. Leave it be for awhile. Do something analog. Read an actual book with paper pages. Go outside. Take a stroll. Wait in line and observe nearly everyone else engaged with their third eye. Give your mind a break. You don’t need to be engaged every minute of every day with your device. This is real life, it ain’t the Metaverse. Here’s to real life and all the messiness and beauty it brings.