Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

“Dulled down, emptied, hurried, shell-shocked”

Posted on Sunday, December 28, 2008 by No comments yet

I, apparently, don’t get out much.  This holiday season I’ve found myself in places I rarely visit… suburban America, shopping centers, traffic, food courts, gyms with equipment lifted from the Star Ship Enterprise, watching relations spend a good chunk of “family visiting time” instead stroking their electronic tethers… it’s a shock to the system.  I feel like a foreigner in my own culture.  What’s become of walks in the woods, caroling, writing and receiving Christmas cards, baking simple hand-me-down recipes?

I was caught staring many times… oh, I’m afraid to say more right now.  I’ll let Scott Heiferman, quoting Rev. Billy, do it for me…

Rev Billy: … a good New Year’s Resolution would be to be able to shout the truth, and then to be able to hear such a crying out from others, too. We have to hear the cry from within ourselves as well as hear it from an orator in public space. I believe that the criers are out there, but we are so dulled down, emptied, hurried, shell-shocked by advertising, iPodding, Facebooking, sitting in traffic, waiting in line… all we do every day to pursue Consumerism… If we remain consumers, fans, tourists, demographic groups, investors – and not sensual citizens, we will never make our way back… And we will die or we will live – it is our choice. If we die, we might die standing up with our eyes open, buying something we don’t need with money we don’t have. That is modern Hell.

Right now, in 2009, we have an opportunity to defend ourselves against those who find every detail of our lives a potential profit center. The corporations have stumbled, they are smashed on their own greed. We have a unique window of opportunity – maybe have a few weeks or months in 2009 – in which to cry out. All the fake happiness and sorry of advertising is less powerful now. Remember how the supermodels and giant celebrity heads on the cityscape seemed to shrink down after the world trade towers crashed? They were suddenly so ridiculous. The spell of Consumerism was broken for a time. Now it’s happened again. And what are we doing? We are trying to clear our heads. We get up on one elbow. We know what we must do. We need to slip to dance, hear the music, and hold hands. This year, we pledge to find the power again by being human.”

Posted in: Community Building, Democracy, Facebook, Front Porch Forum, Knight Foundation, Local Online, MacArthur Fellows, Neighborhood, social capital, Social Networking, Social Responsibility

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