Tuesday, November 29, 2022

#334 / What Tim Robbins Said


That's Tim Robbins, pictured. Wikipedia says that Robbins is an "American actor and filmmaker." I would call Robbins a "movie star," myself.

On October 26, 2022, Matt Taibbi published a transcript of a conversation he held with Robbins, which Taibbi titled, "Tim Robbins and the Lost Art of Finding Common Ground." Here is something that Robbins said in that conversation with Taibbi:

Listen, Matt, if you told me 20 years ago that there would be no video stores where you could talk to a clerk and see what that person might be recommending, or no record stores where you could go see what’s new in music, or no bookstores in most towns, I would’ve told you you were crazy. But we’re here. This is part of a larger movement away from the gathering place.
Theaters are failing, and movie theaters are not doing so well. Any form of gathering place other than a bar has pretty much been hurting. You know, it’s no surprise to me how well sports have been doing during this whole period. Stadiums are packed, because people need community.
Living "online," or (even worse) living in the "metaverse" that is being urged upon us by Mark Zuckerberg and others, is destroying our "common world." That is the phenomenon that Robbins is talking about. Our high-tech appliances (think your cellphone) seem to connect us, but the opposite is actually what's happening. We are being isolated by new technologies, not brought together. 

Think about it. Isn't Robbins right? When you wanted to watch a movie you went to a movie theatre. If you wanted to watch a movie at home, you went to your neighborhood video store, and you heard suggestions from people like my son (who used to work in a video store); you heard from other customers, and random strangers. Same thing happens - or happened - in record stores and book stores. 
Those interactions don't take place when our information, from books to films, is ordered and delivered online. Same thing with our groceries and meals, for that matter. No human contact required!

Online access to the information we want is quick and easy, but we are NOT just a bunch of individuals. We are in this life together, and "talking to strangers" isn't really possible if we never actually run across any strangers in our daily lives. 

Increasingly, we don't. Not only has the Internet largely supplanted movie theaters, bookstores, record stores, and video stores, our phones capture 100% of our attention as we are walking down the sidewalk and (sometimes) when we are sitting in an audience or a classroom. 
I don't think there is any "online" or "metaverse" substitute for actual, unmediated human contact. That, to my mind, is what Tim Robbins said. 

And my thanks to him for saying it!



1 comment:

  1. In addition to internet distractions, community conversation is limited by the fact that most people drive in the cars, mostly alone, to do all of the errands and work in their community. This is one reason why we walk everywhere. As we walk through out neighborhoods, we meet our neighbors, have interesting conversations, keep of on the lives and likes and desires of our friends and neighbors that we meet regularly on the sidewalks of our neighborhoods.

    Walking is not only healthy for us individually, it's healthy for community and society in general.


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