On days when my mind is overwhelmed
By the modern media blitz
TV radio newspapers
Magazines telephone e-mail
And on and on and on
Where everyone’s got a cause to fight for
Where everyone’s got something to complain about
Where everyone’s got an opinion on everything
Where everyone’s got something they want
The rest of the world to know about
And on and on and on
It just reacts viciously
And selfishly and just shuts it all out
For a little peace and solitude
Or at least it tries the best it can
All the media in the world –
Just sounds like
Rustling leaves –
Like those that can be heard
On some sunny day –
On some windy day –
On some hidden away –
07.04.95 – 07.23.95
Copyright by Minh Tan on listed dated of completion
and published in Perspectives, ISBN 0-9686250-0-2.
Notes to this poem…
I don’t know how to typeset this concrete poetry form of sorts on-line, where the lines are jammed together and eventually space out vertically (line spacing or leading, as it’s properly called), but that’s how this poem was meant to be printed. It reflects the overwhelming multimedia demands we have overwhelmed ourselves with and how I wanted to get away from it all and so once I did, you would read it slower, things came at you at a slower pace, with room to breathe in between, etc.
The thing was, of course, I wrote this almost 13 years ago now, back in 1995, when the multimedia crush was nothing compared to what it is today in 2008, with the onset of blogs, wikis, social networking, RSS feeds, Blackberries, expanded platforms, YouTube, and on and on and on! My goodness! And we’re not seeing the cusp of it all yet, I’m afraid.
In some ways, though, I have avoided this crush. I live with a work cell phone I rarely use, but I do have email and Facebook, have done blogs and gotten feeds in newsreaders and so on, though I have given up the last. Practically all are non-invasive to really disturb my life rather than letting me decide when to access them, except the phone but it doesn’t ring much, just the way I’d prefer it. However, in other ways, I have piled it on cause I listen to music almost all the time except at work, often to study for songwriting rather than just having noise, and I listen to audio books while I iron and do chores around the apartment to multi-task. Again, it comes down to me controlling the situation to allow these things to come into my life rather than let them disturb my life. I think as long as I keep it that way, this media onslaught into society won’t be a problem.
I would highly advise anyone overwhelmed by communications in this day and age to do the same!
And by the way, sneaking out to an orchard doesn’t actually let you escape much of this media madness. It just all goes through you as electromagnetic waves and radiation. Your mind doesn’t process it, but don’t kid yourself that your body escapes it, either. As bandwidth and traffic increases with things like wireless and cell phones transmit photos and videos in bigger file sizes, more energy and radiation is needed. At some point, the human and other life bodies won’t be able to handle it and we’ll have to put a cap on it somehow. I don’t mean we’ll get zapped and die instantaneously, but rather a lot more gradually than is right now where it’s still debatable where cell phones can cause cancer. You trust me it damn well can and has! Electromagnetic radiation near vulnerable tissue just ain’t good, especially in high volumes and/or concentrations. Cell phones now are nearer the volume end for big users, but the latter ain’t far from being chronically lethal. It’s Science 001!