I once told someone that as we die, our world dies with us. I truly believe that. Large department store chains slowly disappear, having been eaten up by the big two mega-chains. As one executive elegantly put it; you have Wal-Mart for the poor dumb people and Target for the smart middle-class consumer.
Bookstores are dying by the hundreds. First it was the used book stores, the ones you see in horror films when the hero realizes he’s up against something beyond his imagination and needs to find out how to destroy it. I love a good used bookstore (If only Dick Miller worked in all of them, I would never have a problem killing werewolves).
Now every year it seems new bookstores get rarer and rarer. Why go to the bookstore when I can get it cheaper online and have it delivered to me? Or even better yet, I can download it to my Kindle or Google tablet.
Now it seems that bookstores move more coffee than books. I enjoy a cup of coffee at Borders or Barns and Noble, but I do it while enjoying a book and a couple of magazines I’ve purchased.
A big thing for me was going to the mall and hitting up a record store. Good luck with that. Record stores are dying by the thousands. Like the afore mentioned department stores, the giants of music have died out like they were dinosaurs. Tower Records, Music Plus, Virgin Mega Stores, The Warehouse and Sam Goody’s, once staples across America, now gone. Where does one buy music these days? Oh yeah, online!
I went to several concerts last year and stood in the PIT, without a scratch. How? Because everyone was just standing there, recording it on their “phones” so they could later put it on YouTube and write about how “Insane” and “Out of control!!!” the show was.
Daily and Weekly childhood traditions have become obsolete (Saturday morning cartoons anyone?) Why watch a cartoon like G.I. Joe when I can “live” it by playing Call of Duty on Wii or the PS3 (fuck X-box)?
I love technology, but damn it, Video killed the Radio star. That phrase is truer now than it was in 1981. Thanks to the mobile internet, you can walk into a coffee shop ( a place you could always meet people) and find 15 unapproachable patrons, as they all will undoubtedly have their faces buried in their phone “texting” their BFF! Why buy a CD when the media has already decided which songs are good for me and I can download them to my phone using ITunes? Why spend $50 dollars at the movies when I can buy it on Blu-Ray in a couple of months and not have to deal with all the inconsiderate people and their techno-addictions.
I know of people that live in the same house, but only communicate through texting and Facebook, sometimes in the same room! Why talk to one friend on the phone, when I can post how I’m feeling for the world to read (wow, aren’t I important!?!) Just like Jeff Bridges in the movie Tron, we’ve all become digitized, down to our thoughts and feelings.
The bottom line is that it’s not that things are changing, the microwave was a change, and the multiplex was a change. It’s that our entire way of living is in Genocide, pushing us towards a day when we don’t leave the comfort of our home or speak to one another at all. 2012 is seen as the date of major change. Maybe that’s the day we cease to be a society of individuals and just become faceless individuals. George Orwell is dead, 1984 has come and gone. We know big brother is watching but, in all honesty, what’s he gonna do?
We are living in the age of Cyberpunk author William Gibson, who described a world where technology was the only commodity and pastime. Where people are voyeurs watching the lives of the rich unfold instead of creating their own interesting lives, a world where the Religious are a fringe society and the true GOD is spelled M-O-N-E-Y. It was just Science Fiction when published in (coincidently) 1984, now it’s the history of future past. And though our world isn’t as flashy looking as his descriptions, it is his world that we live in and the future is dark and lonely indeed. Our world dies with us, but the question is will it be forgotten or will there be a hardcopy left in its wake?