Tuesday, February 16, 2010

candy & vegetables.

this post (and the above title/concept) has been swimming around in my head for awhile.

SPOILER/COOL MUSIC ALERT: it's a metaphor for media consumption. this is
as appropriate a song/soundtrack i could think of for the post (sadly, EMI wouldn't let me embed).

i don't think anyone would argue that we're all inundated with MORE [content] than we know what to do with. in my life alone, i've got the following at my fingertips, just waiting to be consumed:
  • a queue of films i want to watch: There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men, Ed Wood, Planet Hulk, Pineapple Express, Mr.Smith Goes to Washington, the Cove, Cloverfield, the Hurt Locker, the Wrestler, Across the Universe, Layer Cake, the Smallville Justice Society Special, Fletch, Letters from Iwo Jima, and pretty much everything on this list
  • latest episodes of TV shows i like: 30 Rock, the Daily Show, Anthony Bourdain, Fareed Zakaria, Caprica, Lost, TED talks, etc
  • TV series people say i should watch: No Reservations, John Adams, Planet Earth, Life in the Freezer, Deadwood, Chuck
  • a [growing] stack of weekly/monthly magazines : the Economist, Wired, Rolling Stone, New York Magazine, random New Yorkers
  • my monthly comic issues: Fantastic Four, Amazing Spider-Man, Avengers (New & Dark), Batman, Flash, Green Lantern
  • stack of novels waiting to be read by: Nick Hornby, Anthony Bourdain, Lonely Planet Middle East, Kazuo Ishiguro, Isaac Asimov, and Orson Scott Card; Rough Guide Syria, Empty Cages, 4/6 of Ashok Banker's Ramayan series.
  • stack of graphic novels (from the library and Amazon): Sandman, Young Liars, Concrete, Shooting War; and the most recent volumes of Annihilation, Fables, and Ex Machina
  • an overloaded Google Reader (blog posts, etc): what friends are posting, what friends sharing, comic book blogs, technology, marketing, politics
  • daily work [digital marketing/media] e-newsletters: MediaPost, Adage, GMA Smartbrief, etc
  • pictures i want to see: Ryan's Vietnam pics, Richard's X-country bike ride, random Flickr/Facebook friend posts.
  • NOT TO MENTION: all the artists/albums i want to listen to, pictures i want to organize, scenes i want to sketch
and NO, there's never any time to consume it all (there's a Saved By the Bell reference here). much less re-read/watch for further enrichment.

while some things will be rapidly (rabidly?) consumed, others will sit on my shelf/hard drive/phone/interwebs indefinitely.
...but we all keep saying we'll get around to it sometime soon, don't we?

unfortunately, far more often than not, i end up consuming what i WANT to (comic books, TV series, entertaining blog entries), VS what i SHOULD be (documentaries, novels, business books/blogs). how is this a bad thing?

this is where my metaphor come in:
our society's (+ my) current media consumption bad habits/woes are like eating food.

what we want: junk food - it tastes good.

reality TV, sitcoms, comic books, USA today (McNews!), Hollywood blockbusters, blogs/political commentary that fit our world-view, MSNBC/Fox News.
...but as you know, if you eat too much junk food, you get sick (or fat)

what we need : vegetables - it's good for us.
intelligent comedy/dramas, documentaries, novels, points of view that challenge us to think critically, the Economist, Fareed Zakaria,
...but as you know, vegetables don't intuitively taste good. bleah!

and sometimes we can have both: delicious, and nutritious too!
Anthony Bourdain, Allen Moore, TED.
...but often, this is the exception to the rule, and these beatiful cases are
few and far between (and need to be sought out).
ultimately, you still need to eat your veggies. and that's MUCH easier said than done.

i'm sure there's something to be said about waiting 30 mins to let your food digest before going swimming (ie, it's probably best if you reflect on what you've just consumed before engaging in intelligent dialogue with others about it).

and then i'm sure there's something to be said about as a society, we're not mentally equipped to deal with the hockey-stick-like growth of available comment at our fingertips, and we're all doomed for mental breakdown (until our soon-to-becyborg/alien overlords take over, or zombies attack, whichever comes first)

AND a final point to leave you with: if all this hubub was about consuming media being a metaphor for eating, what does CREATING content relate to - exercise? that's certainly another great and insightful post (that likely won't happen, as if my meaningful blog-posting habit is akin to my going-to-the-gym habit).

coming up next time on RamanCoke: stupid videos and random comic book pictures!

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