I recently watched the latest Jason Reitman film, Men, Women and Children; a poignant and often challenging film about the use of digital communication to form and manage human interaction in our modern society. In a critical moment, late in the film, one of the main teen characters was reaching out for help via text and due to external interference the message never came through and as a result he almost overdosed.
It was a moment in the film when the need for human contact could have dramatically changed the course of life and death. It was a message to the viewers cautioning us about the path we are choosing to take. Our two-dimensional messages are trying to fill the void of our emotions that run far deeper than our digital communication devices. We are shielded by text, status updates, selfies masking our blank stares and all the while brainwashed into a sense of numbness and an appeal for help silenced by the screaming apathy of society.
It is interesting that “zombies” have become such a popular part of our culture. With their blank stares, bodies dead inside and emotions buried forever that maybe perhaps we are seeing ourselves.
We categorize a generation based on the time frame they were born into, their ideology and their views on life. We know the Millennials are more apathetic, less reliant on religion, less connected to the emotions of intimacy and retracting from heavy human connection. Yet, we put out more and more products to help continue this path of distance and emotional destruction. Have we come to accept a world of gaming and virtual friends, status updates to express feelings, texts to have those critical conversations and snap chat to show intimacy?
The Ashley Madison database can tell you that millions are looking into cyberspace to find a short term fix for their inability to deal with reality. Porn has made us numb to the traditional values of love and intimacy and Facebook has given us the green light to stop writing letters and expressing thoughts that are prepared, calculated and meaningful.
John Hughes taught us that behind the stereotypes, behind the teen angst; there is something much more important in life, family, love and relationships. His films helped us appreciate the effort, find love beyond appearance and accept the soul of a person.
Would the Breakfast Club have walked away that afternoon with a new sense of value and understanding about each others lives? No. They would have texted all day and had very little communication with each other. After all, a princess, jock, geek, dirt bag, and crazy girl would never think to get to know each other.
Would Ferris Bueller and Cameron have enjoyed the best day of their lives together. Nope. The GPS tracker in their phones would have made it easy to track their location.
Would Steve Martin and John Candy characters in Planes, Train and Automobiles have become friends? Nope. One of them would have downloaded a plane app, changed flights and gotten home a lot more quickly.
Would Samantha and Jake ended up together in Sixteen Candles? Nope. Jake would have spread a nasty rumor via text that would have gotten all around school and Samantha would have been blacklisted for the rest of her high school days.
Could Weird Science have happened?….Actually maybe that can happen someday or has it already…
Though not John Hughes, the iconic scene in Say Anything where Lloyd Dobler proclaims his unconditional love for Diane Court would never have had the same impact with an IPhone and ITunes. That would have just looked silly.
Bottom line, we are going in the wrong direction and as a whole we are suffering. Please keep buying Call of Duty and watch the gun fatalities increase, continue text arguments so we don’t have to confront them, cheat on our significant others through Tinder, lose ourselves in instant gratification and most importantly distance ourselves from humanity.
It is hard to see the world we live in. Bring back the days of John Hughes.