Vicarious away

Dave Schuler says we’re starving for experiences beyond our own little orbits:

The interest in artificial experiences of all sorts whether reality shows or video games suggests to me that there’s a real hunger out there. I, personally, have no interest in being a car thief, a rock star, or a professional athlete but, clearly, there are lot of people who do. My tastes run more to being a wandering rascal who lives by his wits and saves kingdoms from wicked sorcerers and beautiful maidens from dragons. Heck, I am a wandering rascal who lives by his wits. The surroundings may not be quite as romantic but I have saved some companies from going belly-up and kept a few reasonably attractive young people from losing their jobs.

We’re still up to our [name of pertinent body part, plural form] in wicked sorcerers, though, so clearly there is much to be done.

And I’m not so sure about this:

Recording crowded out first musicians, then actors. Movies, radio, and television crowded out live performers of all sorts. Today you can watch and listen to the greatest actors, singers, instrumentalists, and performers of the last century but the opportunities to act, sing, play an instrument, or juggle are growing ever more limited.

The current items in my Fiction to Read queue: An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin, and John Donnelly’s Gold by Brian J. Noggle. Martin, at this writing, is somewhat better-known, though there are no guarantees in life, as some of the greatest performers of the last century could tell you were they so inclined and/or still alive.

And “opportunities limited”? What, did YouTube suddenly suspend operations?


  1. fillyjonk »

    2 June 2011 · 9:07 pm

    Of the limited “reality” television I’ve watched, my reaction is not so much, “Ah, I wish I had THAT life” but “Thank God I have the life that I do.”

    I suppose that’s because there seem to be more Horrible Warnings than Good Examples in the world these days.

  2. Ric Locke »

    3 June 2011 · 8:18 am

    There’s a word for that, and the word is “spheroidal, partially-external male glands.” These here newfangled printed books reinforce personal isolation, you know — people can sit at home and read, instead of going out to the pub where they can quaff mead and listen to the minstrel whilst committing Social Interaction with the others doing so.

    For instance, there is an explosion of people making and/or listening to music of all kinds. The difference is that they’re doing it up front and personal instead of distributing industrial-age “product”. The only thing being lost is the revenue stream of the producers, promoters, and parasites battening off the industrial model, and having met a few of them I conclude that it couldn’t happen to a more deserving set of [dismissively obscene characterization]s.


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