wonders why in an era of connectivity we’re so isolated.
In the beginning, there was television, and television was good. Well, I assume it was good. There was nothing to compare it to, you see, except pt the wireless or the picture shows at thee cinema. And television was much better r because it was in your own home, or in pride of place in Aunty May’s lounge ge room, or even in the windowow of the local Retravision, wheree crowds would gather to watchtch the Olympics or something thing the Royals were doing. g. Really, it must have seemed like magic.
And nd if you are lucky enough gh to know people from the first TV generation, ration, they will tell tales ales of everyone sitting g around to watch h Graham Kennedy edy and Bert Newtonon – and when they say “everyone”, they mean the whole family.y. Because they would d all watch the same show and talk aboutt it at supper or at work the next day, or even at school – it was a sharedred experience.
Even en then, there must have been the naysayers.ayers. My mother, for instance stance (who loves to reminisce about times before she existed), will recount scenarios of families clustered around the piano, where they would belt out a ro robust “Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport”Sport before they turned in – a ritual the “o “oneeyed monster” (TV, not my mother!)m apparently brought to a ha hasty end. Anyway, now it is har hard to share, unless you countcou huddling around some someone’s phone to watch a Yout Youtube video. Everyone has th the equivalent of a TV in their pocket and can dow download or stream or bing bingewatch whateverwhateve they want, whenev whenever they want. The conceptcon of sitting down togetherto to watch a “tele “television event” seems so ancient, it would require a team of archeologistsarcheolo to unearth an exampl example of it. It has been a creepingcree thing, our dependencedependen on this brilliant source of information; instan instant weather, gossip and sports results, so the world seems full of people shuffli shuffling along, heads bowed, eyeseye glued to screens. We can’t look up; physios are inundated w with cases of “tech neck” and the footpaths are littered wi with people who look like those novelty birds stooped over glasses of water.
It’s funny – ads for computers and phones all sell the concept of being “connected”, but the reality seems to be the opposite. We are isolated. Earbuds in; immersed in our own experience. And everyone, it seems, is becoming aware of their inability to step away from screens. The addiction. Adults who otherwise lead full and responsible lives are rendered mute by their phones; possessed by a kind of passive agitation that manifests in a need to constantly scroll through social media, or see who they can hook up with on Tinder or Grindr or Tumblr, or any other online refuge for people who seemingly hate vowels.
It is first thing in the morning; it is the last thing at night. It is full of all the wonders and horrors of the world. It is insistent. It is persistent. It is succour and solace and humour and music and cat videos and knowledge and pornography and extreme violence. Gosh, I wish I could play the piano.
Kate co-hosts Hughesy & Kate, 4-6pm weekdays, on the KIIS FM Network.
The world seems full of people shuffling along, heads bowed, eyes glued to screens”