I am not a Mac nor a PC; I’m a human being

Kevin Bryce

Where the media was once a great progressive wheel, self-sustaining and pushing itself forward, it has become its own greatest enemy.

It calls out its own buffoonery and cliché, and it’s left me lethargic and confused.

The prior strength of the media was that it could get away with subliminal.

It was not everywhere but secluded to certain times and areas. You turned on your television for a couple of hours in the evening because that was literally the only time there was anything to watch.

That didn’t give news networks much time to explore and report on the world and it gave advertisers even less time.

My grandfather was in advertising through the 1950’s. He once told me a story about the release of the Volkswagen Beetle. Volkswagen bought a full-page ad in newspapers across the country and put a little Beetle in the middle of the page, with two words, “Think small.”

My grandfather told me sales on the car skyrocketed. It was the innovation of simplicity. It was clever, concise and manipulative. And people bought it.

Into the 1970’s, television was becoming more popular, billboards more evident, and newspapers more rampant.

And in 1976, the media began to turn in on itself: Howard Beale, a character in the Oscar winning movie, “The Network,” sat before television audiences as a newscaster at the end of his career and claimed, “I don’t have any bulls#!* left. I just ran out of it.”

It was an idea that everyone knew in regards to mainstream media, but no one was saying.

I wonder what Howard Beale would say today, 35 years later?

He didn’t have the Internet. He didn’t even have a VCR. He couldn’t watch a movie unless he went to a theater.

Today it’s no secret: in an urban environment the only way to avoid the media is to not have a phone, computer, television, radio and any type of iPod or mp3 player.

You wouldn’t be able to leave your home and God help you if you check your Facebook. I won’t say it’s everywhere, because it’s not, there are still a few sacred places which I hold dear where the media can’t touch me (the bathtub: thank you probability of electrocution!).

But I know what Howard would say because it has become commonplace for the media, Howard just started it.

He called it all into question. And that’s what the media does. Everyone knows everyone else is lying. I’m a Mac, well I’m a PC.

“South Park,” “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” “The Daily Show,” “The Colbert Report,” “The Late Show,” “The Tonight Show,” and now the growing popularity of webisodes like SNL digital shorts and “Portlandia” show how ridiculous the mainstream is.

Whether it’s politics, clothes, coffeeshops, bikes, or hairstyles, they tell me it’s all been done. Even now, Microsoft Word is telling me “webisode” is not a word.

Get with it Microsoft, you’re behind yourself. The newspaper is dead (note the irony of where you are reading this).

How do I know?

Because the media told me, and if the media tells me, I will stop reading the newspaper, and thus, the newspaper is dead (p.s. thanks for reading).

I realized recently, my generation is the last to have lived without the Internet.

We will one day look back and say to our grandkids, “I remember the days before internet!” and the little ones will all “oooo” and “aahhhhh.”

But what has my generation’s response been? Enter the Hipster.

I, for better or worse, fall into that category of “hipster.” The hipster culture comes from a place of this constant bombardment of media. The hipster’s lot is to constantly remain hip, to simply live in a way that is original and not media-fed.

But I’m failing, we’re all failing, media is still one step ahead of the hipster, making fun of our every move, it’s over!

How, then, must I live? Do I succumb to the media? Do I buy into it all?

The only way I can buy, buy, buy is if I quit thinking.

This idea is not so absurd. People quit thinking everyday. It makes the media wheel roll. Just the other day I heard a small interchange between two students behind me while I waited for a class to start:

“Have you bought the new iPad 2?”

“No, but I will, I have everything else.”

I was in the new library last week and a mature student (no older than 35) was at a computer next to mine.

He asked me a question I couldn’t quite comprehend and so I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it was something along the lines of, “Do you know how to access the library card catalogue?”

I took a stab at what he meant to ask and responded, “Sorry, I don’t have a clue how to work this whole Robot thing.”

He started for some reason to get heated with me claiming that he’s so outdated, and that the library computer/ “Roobot” system was ridiculous.

I did my best to keep things chill but he was really mad.

I simply said, “Yeah I’m honestly as confused as you are about how to access books.” With that he grabbed his books, stood up and said, “If this is innovation, send me back in time!” and he left.

In 1976, Howard Beale was in his early 60s and at the end of his career when he finally ran out of “bulls#!*.”

I’m 24 years old and about to graduate with a communications degree. My “career” is about to begin and honestly, I’m right there with Howard.

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