Monday, September 18, 2006

Cognitive Dissonance - Weekend Edition

After a full day of football yesterday, I was left in TV coma-land doing the ol’ flip-flip-flip through the overpriced wasteland that is American cable TV. I wound up watching a good stretch of a documentary on slain 1990’s rapper/activist Tupac Shakur on MTV. Later, in the wee hours, I fought the sandman while catching most of a doc on the clusterfuck that was the federal raid on David Koresh’s eschatological Jesus cult near Waco, Texas in 1993. While both programs were well made and interesting in their own right, my main interest centered on how little I know about either subject.

See, it was the 90’s and I was off to my remote little Florida college town. That insular world of punk rock, skateboarding, studying and the fairly constant use of the word ‘party’ as a verb, made it easy to ignore anything under the Current Events banner—well, anything that didn’t pop up on our activist friends’ radars, anyway. The internet for most of this time was limited to the tech-geek-laden IRC and our spendin’ cash went to books and booze not the cable company (or electric company for that matter; which made for some pretty miserable un-air conditioned Florida summers… but that’s a different story entirely).

Watching those shows on TV last night I was struck with how little I know about either. I mean, had something like Waco happened today… hell, whiny, obsessive bloggers like myself would be pissing our pants and stomping our feet within an hour of the initial report. And Tupac’s legacy was something, as an admitted music vampire, that I should have known at least a little bit about. But most modern hip-hop was simply off my radar for years.

It’s like I (and I’m sure plenty of others of the era) lived in this weird little bubble where my reality was entirely what I needed it to be. Information (both vital and trivial) from the world at large just didn’t always make it in. My more pressing concerns—after getting enough hours (but not too many) at work and endless stream of papers and exams—were blissfully self-centered. Buying records going to shows, chasing girls, scoring particular chemicals and on and on.

There’s a particular happiness in all that which I sincerely miss these days. But at the same time, there’s no way I would want to live in that kinda bubble again. That kinda one-way relationship with the world, it’s occurred to me, is how so many of the Bush faithful relate to their world today. That communication cutoff… that isolation of empathy… that apathy towards anything outside of that bubble…

My own disconnect was partially a product of the times (watch the news or buy a paper if you want your current events), and partially a product of my age (“there’s a time and a place for everything and it’s called college.”). It’s interesting to me, and probably only to me, to realize the sorts of things I missed. Things like Waco and Tupac. I could go on to try and make some belabored political point outta this but, naaa. This post has become long enough.

But speaking of disconnect and that little college town: my Gators came up big all weekend in the sports world. We eeeked one out over Tennessee in college ball and ex-Gator Rex Grossman dropped several bombs on the Lions in Chicago’s killer NFL home opener. Additionally, ex-Gator rookie, Chad Jackson, scored his first NFL touchdown for the New England Patriots. Not a bad weekend for this particular distraction.

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