The Economist presents a similar line of argument as I made earlier. We must be conscious of our media consumption. It is increasingly critical.
I’ve admitted before that I’m no poster child for conscious consumption. I certainly watched Gangnam Style. And What Does The Fox Say. I even participated in a Harlem Shake video. I used to, in fact, pride myself on being cutting edge and subscribing to the right feeds so I could find out what was going to become cool before everyone else caught on.
On the one hand, I wonder if one could truly be cosmopolitan after choosing to universally shun viral media. There is something to be said for the way popular media provides a shared narrative and sometimes has delightful impacts on culture. Laughter is certainly valuable. I have read several reports that post watching Gangnam Style, individuals returned to their tasks with better mood and greater productivity. On the other, this media will never stop growing and making demands on your time, and if you are not conscious of this you are in danger of losing yourself, your creativity, and your genius to these amusements. Since permitting commerce, advertising has taken over the Internet like kudzu in the South. It is by discretion and cultivation that we distinguish ourselves and meet our potential.
Apollonian as my writing seems at times, do not think you will not find me at the Dionysian temple. I believe the yin and yang of pleasure and effort, of mirth and toil are both features of a balanced life. I have advice on this blog to make conscious decisions about how much and what you read, but I still read and think others should read. It is even more challenging to make conscious decisions about which viral media to consume, but I also will still likely watch some front-page media. The importance is mindfulness that even the small decisions we make build up and become our reality.
Everyone must decide for themselves how to spend their seconds, but death approaches quicker than the haughtiness of youth might surmise. Make sure your amusements support you as much as you support them. Authentic work, creative or technical, by the activated volition and enjoyed by real friends and acquaintances is so valuable that to shut it out for these trifles could very well become the most cited regret of our generation.