Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Synchronized Thinking

Synchronized swimming is when two or three, or seven hundred people jump in the water and do the same things:  make flower designs with their legs, stand on their heads at the bottom of the pool, imitate mermaid ballerinas, and generally splash around.  It’s like a flash-mob in the water -- kind of cool to watch, especially with the right camera work.  Though, the nose-clips and spitting tends to distract from the artistry.  Alas that it’s not a Winter Olympic Sport.

I, being a land-based mammal, never could do any of that.  I can swim, but don’t expect me to save anyone when the ship goes down.  I’m heading for the closest piece of flotsam and there shall I cling until rescued.  Boats are good – never had a problem with boats.  But when immersed in water, and my feet can’t touch the muddy bottom?  What’s left of my bowels tries to crawl its way to dry land, dragging the rest of me along for the panic-induced ride.
But that’s ok because there’s another sport, quite similar, and I do it with the best of them.

An example:  something happens in the world and that something is deemed newsworthy by the powers in charge of selecting newsworthy events for us to consider.  The closing segment of tha whilrd newz tanite goes something like this:  “And finally, a mother in the township of East-Ganglia expressed outrage today when not allowed to transport her trans-finless guppies to the local pet babysitting service.”  [image of outraged woman holding plastic sack of finless guppies].
Other examples include controversies about movies, music, and other priced venues of entertainment, usually a few weeks before said entertainment is slated to premier.  A bit like Jimmy Fallon appearing in dozens of commerials before Jay Leno's chair had the chance to cool.
The above segment lasts, perhaps, a half-minute.  Count to thirty.  That’s how much information the viewers at home have.  Hardly a blip on the radar, something to possibly notice in between bites of dinner.  It has nothing to do with the viewer at home.  But the next day, the story goes ‘viral’.  This is a suspect term.  Going viral is often not as virus-like as one might think.  But anyway, the viewer at home hears the story again the next morning over his crispy cereal.  This account includes no new information.

Yet, it must suddenly be important.  An outraged individual or small group of individuals must be tended to.  So, we turn on our radios to hear what the radio talk-people say about it.  We watch our news and read our blogs and choose, based on the ear we like to have tickled.  By end of day – we relax because an opinion on the so very important matter (typically one of two – either ‘fer it’ or ‘agin it’) has been accepted.
The thinking has been given to the public, not formed by the public.  There’s a difference.  But everyone goes around thinking they know what they think about the outrage-du-jour and the proposed legislation to solve it.

And that, my friends, is synchronized thinking.  We’ve been splashing around the water for some time now.

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