Tom, the lead character of Tennessee William’s “The Glass Menagerie”, once hit me with a haymaker of truth in a college literature class. The quote goes:
“I’m tired of movies! Look at them! …..You know what happens? People go to the movies instead of moving! Hollywood characters are supposed to have all the adventures for everybody in America, while everybody in America sits in a dark room and watches them have them! Yes, until there’s a war. That’s when adventure becomes available to the masses! Everyone’s dish, not only Gable’s!……But I’m not patient. I don’t want to wait till then. I’m tired of the movies and I am about to move!”
Written in 1944, what an indictment on our manic digital age culture.
I see ninth graders everyday who have made smartphones a natural extension of their bodies. The hypnotizing draw of Text messaging/Instagram/Facebook/Twitter has them isolated and slumped over in room full of real human interaction. This grip is so tight on their psyche that studies show twentysomethings have begun to acquire the arthritis of their elders because of the years of unnatural worship posture they’ve given to their technology.
Old men and women used to break their bodies down by hard years and long days of mining and farming.
[pullquote]This younger culture is destroying their bodies not by their work ethic, but by the fractional death of a thousand tweets.[/pullquote] This younger culture is destroying their bodies not by their work ethic, but by the fractional death of a thousand tweets. We’re living with one of the first a-literate generations: They can read and write they just don’t care to.
“Until there’s a war” Tom says. The greatest generation sacrificed everything to pass this country through the crucible of World War II. I wonder what my late Papa, a Marine veteran and Iwo Jima survivor, would say about jobless thirty year old Peter Pans killing Nazi Zombies with their thumb skills. Papa had a colorful way with words. Use your sanctified imagination.
Many of these poor kids can’t sit down and have a coherent conversation for more than 3 minutes. The invincible itch of Instagram is enough to overwhelm all interpersonal skills.
Before I sound too much like a sanctimonious Ned Flanders grumpy old man type let me say:
I’m guilty. Totally.
My dad doesn’t even have an email.
His dad could barely stand to use a phone.
I go through withdrawals if I haven’t checked my Facebook in 24 hours.
Before the Industrial Revolution the average peasant wouldn’t even be able to travel outside of their small farm community, much less their farm. Almost none could read. Most of them wouldn’t live to see 35. Yet we have millions of people, places and things at our virtual fingertips everyday and we’re crippled by cat memes.
Let me say, I’m maxed out. I don’t care if Pinterest, Google Plus, or the next big social thing explodes and puts Mark Zuckerberg out of business with MySpace’s Tom. With active blogging, Facebooking and Twittering I’ve reached my breaking point.
After devoted family time, teaching, track, and home duties culminates towards the weekend, “moving” doesn’t sound like a sweet option. I’d rather just go to the movies and absorb someone else’s story.
Moving is everyone’s dish, not only Matt Damon’s.
Just move. Go start that ministry. Go do that workout routine. Go write that book. Go learn to dance. Go try to cook.
Let’s not be the tragic people Tom is speaking of: ones who watch action flicks but never take action. Ones who sing love songs but never love. Ones who long for a superhero to save the world, but never put on the red cape Christ provides with His own blood.