Saturday, September 18, 2021

The (Dizz)Information Age

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

This is: A weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids and my great-grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted. Reading via monitor/tablet is recommended for maximum enjoyment.  

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering. Intended for H. sapiens that are — in the words of the late, great bon vivant and polymath, Professor Y. Bear — "Smarter [and cooler] than the av-er-age bear." 

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlereader  

"Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense." -Gertrude Stein

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),

We're living in the dawn of the Dizzinformation Age and Houston, we have a problem. 

Thanks to the invention of the printing press, H. sapiens have been living in the Information Age for nearly 600 years. Thanks to Mr. Gutenberg, information was made accessible to, and affordable for, the masses.

According to Wikipedia: "In Renaissance Europe...The relatively unrestricted circulation of information and (revolutionary) ideas transcended borders, captured the masses in the Reformation, and threatened the power of political and religious authorities."

No shortage of both wonderful and terrible things resulted. However, the pace of change, which no doubt seemed overwhelming to many as the years rolled by and made collateral damage of many an innocent (and not so innocent) was glacial compared to the advent of the digital computer.

It's deja vu all over again — at the speed of light.   

Dana declaims with a  semi-passable imitation of a deep-voiced, portentous announcer. 


Yeah... only much faster, and in greater volume. First, we got the bomb, now, we're subject to daily information bombing and the zeitgeist is saturated with dizzinformation fallout. There's so much information sloshing up against our psychic sandbags that a devastating flood seems imminent.

{Wait-wait-wait. Not everyone is a current events junkie like you. There are all sorts of people, some of whom you know personally, that aren't online or that don't even own smartphones.}  

True, however, with the possible exception of some soul wandering in the wilderness, subsisting on locusts and honey, and searching for God there's no way to avoid the downsides of the Dizzifnormation Age. 

{Speaking of which, have you heard about that new place near d'mall, John the B's, that features artisanal, locally sourced locusts and certified Fair Trade Certified™ honey?}

Those members of the bemused majority who get their information from traditional sources like television, radio, and (dead trees) newspapers, as well as those who consult social media, news websites, or news apps (a roughly 50/50 split), are hip-deep in dizzinformation. 

Uh-huh!/Nuh-uh! has infected more people than COVID-19 and Covid-19 junior.  


I refer to the COVID-19 variant as COVID-19 jr. 

Ain't you the clever little columnist! What's Uh-uh!/Nuh-uh!?  

Uh-huh!/Nuh-uh! is a potentially debilitating condition that can be triggered by too much contradictory information.

For example, suppose you're having a pointless argument, just for the fun of it, with a fellow gentleperson about a given sports superstar's particular statistic.

{Who are these people who argue for the fun of it? Don't they risk becoming sworn enemies and/or igniting a blood feud?}

No, but it's a dying art that would take another column to explain. Um... think of it as something people used to do before getting people fired up over anything and everything became a profit center for all sorts of enterprises. 

Anyways, there's a reasonable chance that a statistic like the one mentioned can be verified with both sides accepting the results of a minimal bit of research.


There's also a very good chance that when the Goog is consulted and 14,978,123 "hits" are returned, the seemingly hard statistic requested will be subject to the Uh-huh!/Nuh-uh! phenomenon.

Suppose the first hit says the answer to the question is the number 139. 

The second hit might claim that the number is actually 138 because Trump, systemic racism, global warming, steroids, and etceteroids. 


{I fail to see what the big deal is.}

If egged on by, say, a gaggle of inebriated companions, you had bet $100 that the number was 139, your _______ payment was due, that disturbing noise your car makes was getting louder, and your spouse/partner/whatever keeps track of every single one of your pennies I'll bet you would. 

Now, when it comes to slightly more important matters (the specific matter doesn't actually matter all that much) importance and anxiety are in the psyche of the beholder. My point is that the fires of uncertainty, fueled by too much (often contradictory) information and subject to bellows pumped by people and institutions motivated by profit and ideology, not the truth, is...

{Wow, that's an impressive paragraph!}

Right? Thanks, Dana.

{What the hell are you talking about?}


Too much information multiplied by self-interested parties creates dizzinformation.

{So, tell me doctor, what's the cure...}

For extroverts, I generally prescribe offline-generated music, food, friends, and appropriate beverages and/or controlled substances. 

For introverts, a good book (dead trees format recommended but not required) and a comfy chair will do. An appropriate beverage is optional. 

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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