The Entertainers

October 10, 2007
I read The Tipping Point in one of my classes last year. There’s a part in there about how crime can be ignored even in the biggest of crowds because subconsciously, responsibility is diffused. It offered a scenario about a woman being mugged in downtown Chicago in the late 1990s, and while everyone watched, she was stabbed to death. When police asked why nobody bothered calling 911, the onlookers all assumed that the others had dialed the number.

I wonder if that’s what it’s like when you talk about knowledge these days. Nobody craves to know anymore.

How can that be? With the peak of technology, knowledge and education is the most accessible it has ever been. With the click of a remote or mouse, we instantaneously learn about the tsunami in India or the political crisis in North Korea. Communication is quick and exact. Anyone with an Internet system or cable can easily research anything worth mentioning in the world today.

But we’ve become complacent. Spoon fed. Our eyes have transfixed on an image past the screen, causing our eyes to cross and the information to blur. We have become deaf to the deaths. We have become ignorant to the ignorance. We’re in a village full of idiots, because the one just wasn’t enough anymore. We put the load on someone else’s shoulders, and the process continues down the line until a pile piles up on the small child huddled in the corner. The entire weight of the world is on the blonde hair, blue-eyed girl still sucking her thumb. Yet we encourage her, telling her “You’re the future,” as we curse under our breath, “Don’t screw it up.”

The youth of today is a television set. The lights and colors fool the foolish, as we mass produce endless blurs of unimportant information. The screen confines the picture, keeping it neat and tidy in a perfect rectangular box, forbidding any outside information from penetrating the constant noise. The cables intertwine into a maze of hazy connections, but we keep it hidden away to lessen the confusion. It just has to look good. No matter if it is or isn’t.

We have become the Entertainers. American Idol says it all, as we begin to idolize the ones who stand on a stage and sing, making our heads bob up and down to the beat of a drum. So that’s what we produce. What sells. Anything that sells, we buy into. We obsess over the latest episode about lives that don’t even live in reality across the country from us. We bask in their California sun, and forget that the only reason it’s warm outside is because our lack of understanding about our effects on the world limits our long-term sight. We have distanced ourselves from worldly and politically and economically important issues, trying to diffuse the responsibility. Because knowledge means, in the end, responsibility and actions to the unjust actions occurring daily.

So we blindfold ourselves, and lace up our dancing shoes. We try to diffuse-even eliminate-our importance in the world so we aren’t accountable for anything. We assume that the others will take care of it all. We assume that the others have dialed the number.

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