Boring people: the death of story-telling - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15152700
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Have we become dull people by watching TV, listening to iPods and staring at our phones?

Growing up with three generations of my family, there was a noticable decay between my grandparents and my nephews in the art ot telling stories. My grandfather was an excellent and entertaining story-teller, and so were his friends and neighbors. The latest generations are good at downloading apps and interacting with game controls.

By letting machines tell us stories instead of other people, a great human interaction skill may have been amputated, and I mean this "amputation" in the sense of Mcluhan's idea that each technology creates extensions (like how media allows a wider variety of products to consume) as well as the amputations (like how we lost the ability to tell stories to one another).

James McElroy wrote:Storytelling is central to any civilization, so its sudden failure across society should set off alarm bells. Culture inevitably reflects the selection process that sorts people into the upper class, and today’s insipid stories suggest a profound failure of this sorting mech­anism.


What does it mean about our civilization's "progress" when going out to a cafe with friends means staring at phones with a group of people for a few hours?

Why do the males of countries like Algeria have such an animated and personally-participatory cafe life, telling personal stories interspersed with world events and metaphorical abstractions?

Where have all the words gone and will this do us great harm?

Image"I interact with, therefore, I am"

soundtrack
#15167792
Theodor Adorno  wrote:Amusement under late capitalism is the prolongation of work. It is sought after as an escape from the mechanised work process, and to recruit strength in order to be able to cope with it again. But at the same time mechanisation has such power over a man’s leisure and happiness, and so profoundly determines the manufacture of amusement goods, that his experiences are inevitably after-images of the work process itself. The ostensible content is merely a faded foreground; what sinks in is the automatic succession of standardised operations. What happens at work, in the factory, or in the office can only be escaped from by approximation to it in one’s leisure time.

All amusement suffers from this incurable malady. Pleasure hardens into boredom because, if it is to remain pleasure, it must not demand any effort and therefore moves rigorously in the worn grooves of association. No independent thinking must be expected from the audience: the product prescribes every reaction: not by its natural structure (which collapses under reflection), but by signals. Any logical connection calling for mental effort is painstakingly avoided. As far as possible, developments must follow from the immediately preceding situation and never from the idea of the whole. For the attentive movie-goer any individual scene will give him the whole thing. Even the set pattern itself still seems dangerous, offering some meaning – wretched as it might be – where only meaninglessness is acceptable. Often the plot is maliciously deprived of the development demanded by characters and matter according to the old pattern. Instead, the next step is what the script writer takes to be the most striking effect in the particular situation. Banal though elaborate surprise interrupts the story-line.
...
The culture industry perpetually cheats its consumers of what it perpetually promises. The promissory note which, with its plots and staging, it draws on pleasure is endlessly prolonged; the promise, which is actually all the spectacle consists of, is illusory: all it actually confirms is that the real point will never be reached, that the diner must be satisfied with the menu. In front of the appetite stimulated by all those brilliant names and images there is finally set no more than a commendation of the depressing everyday world it sought to escape.


He wrote this at a time where the culture industry had a monopoly over media. Nowadays, one need not impress a talent scout in order to have their hopes of being a cultural agent realized. They can, on their time off from work, dream of rising above their work by way of being recognized as 'of interest'. Of course, the means by which they are confirmed as being 'of interest' requires mass appeal. When you gather more followers, you get more money through the advertisers. Getting more money is the way to rise above the mundanity of your present low-wage job; culture is being created with the intention of mass appeal as the foremost consideration, because it is the only means of escaping the reality. It is not so much storytelling that people are interested in nowadays. What they are doing while they are observing other "independent" cultural figures (Insta-stars, pod-cast hypnotizers), is learning how they, too, can create media which would allow them to become an Insta-star. They post media and observe the receptivity of it by seeing whether this scheme gets more followers than that scheme. They begin to mimic one another and adopt the perspectives (if you would call it that) of the ones they admire or wish to see themselves as and this is causing a sterilization of original thought.
The old-fashioned artist would create art out of a raging desire of the soul and could care less how it was perceived by the public. There is no daring in storytelling anymore, because it is not proven to be successful. Great stories take deep consideration and time; would internet people be willing to invest a great deal of time in something that may not prove successful? Unlikely, because they need to be recognized Now! (and in the meantime they will just keep feeding their synapses with Likes, to keep their dreams alive.)
And if they were to create something of meaning, how would they resist the audiences demand that there be a plot-device (usually a dead dog or cat or bird on Netflix) which creates a targeted brief emotional response (a manufactured feeling) since appealing to the audience is todays measure of success?
"Your movie was good, but I got bored midway through, maybe put a dead dog in there to keep me watching?"
#15168089
froggo wrote:... It is not so much storytelling that people are interested in nowadays.

What they are doing while they are observing other "independent" cultural figures (Insta-stars, pod-cast hypnotizers), is learning how they, too, can create media which would allow them to become an Insta-star.

They post media and observe the receptivity of it by seeing whether this scheme gets more followers than that scheme.

They begin to mimic one another and adopt the perspectives (if you would call it that) of the ones they admire or wish to see themselves as and this is causing a sterilization of original thought. ...


A "sterilization" of original thought... is another word for a "eradication" of original thought. But I would say that it's not just original thoughts that are being eliminated (through trend-following), but also a style of speech and interaction which is personally enriching.

Many posters on this site (for example) seem to find pleasure in writing the opinions or narratives that they see as being popular in mass media. These ideas - in no way - come from their own minds or experiences.

And not only are they careful to present pre-approved (by commercial media) ideas, but they present them in a similar way using similar vocabular as the same commercial sources.

So not have humans lost the ability to attach their own minds and experiences to their spoken words, they have also lost their own stylistic uniqueness.

We have become both boring AND predictable. Neither the content nor the style of the words we lamely utter... impress anyone with anything that is "from us."

This is probably the result of TV invading the home in the 1960s. The end of privacy and the end of originality. Before that, the culture industry was something you had to make an effort to consume. So many people escaped its clutches, and developed original thought and an original style of presentation.

ImageImage

In the 70s, TV viewers were encouraged by advertising to buy pet rocks for their loved ones.

TV viewers often smiled as their "present" was opened, as if they were "in on the joke." But the joke was that the buyer had paid the equivalent of $20 for a rock and a cardboard box.

For many people in that decade, "buying a pet rock" was a way of demonstrating that you had a personality.

"I buy pet rocks, therefore, I am."

**yawns**
#15168095
The other area where you see clear evidence of @QatzelOk's main premise in this thread is audio books. There are now entire audio book services that condense an entire novel to a 15min set of bullet points. This completely destroys the artistry and energy put into books. It's yet anther slap in the face of story telling.

We are becoming a society of bullet points.
#15168126
Rancid wrote:The other area where you see clear evidence of @QatzelOk's main premise in this thread is audio books. There are now entire audio book services that condense an entire novel to a 15min set of bullet points. This completely destroys the artistry and energy put into books. It's yet anther slap in the face of story telling.

We are becoming a society of bullet points.


I am ready to hear a Rancid story.

Or would you rather read mine? I love storytelling! But don't slap me in the face. Tell me a good one.....I am all ears!
#15168130
Rancid wrote:Yea... I'm not good a story telling. :)


Ha, I love writing stories. So you will have to ask for a topic of interest.

Choose what topic you would like for me to write you a story about. Fiction or Non-fiction. Go ahead.
#15168137
Rancid wrote:uummmm

Star crossed lovers!


You want a made up story or a story based on reality (non-fiction)?
#15168151
Alright. I got to run some errands in Mexico and then come back and make up a story of star crossed lovers for your Texas residing self eh?
#15168161
Rancid wrote:Yea... I'm not good a story telling. :)

Even your bullet-point-telling skills are sort of rusty. :lol:

Is there on opportunity whatsoever in your daily routine to have verbal conversations with a wide range of people?

Has this dissappeared completely from your life (and so many billions of others)?

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How the absence of dinner parties will cause human extinction
(a four-step process)


1. As suburbia, car ownership and screen life... slowly eroded spontaneous social interaction... we all lost our ability to tell our stories to one another.

2. And this will be fatal in the long run, because social beings are story-dependent. We need stories like we need air.

3. We need our own stories to be able to interact with the world around us in an independent way. So having lost them, we are no longer independent creatures. We are domesticated pets.

4. And without this freedom of interaction and surplus of socially-gleaned information and entertainment... we lose our willingness to live, maybe even our capacity to survive. And worse still, we end up giving our free will to oligarchs who want to enslave us and exploit us. The non-social human animal can be harnessed to become a dangerous slave.
#15168164
QatzelOk wrote:Even your bullet-point-telling skills are sort of rusty. :lol:

Is there on opportunity whatsoever in your daily routine to have verbal conversations with a wide range of people?

Has this dissappeared completely from your life (and so many billions of others)?

Image

How the absence of dinner parties will cause human extinction
(a four-step process)


1. As suburbia, car ownership and screen life... slowly eroded spontaneous social interaction... we all lost our ability to tell our stories to one another.

2. And this will be fatal in the long run, because social beings are story-dependent. We need stories like we need air.

3. We need our own stories to be able to interact with the world around us in an independent way. So having lost them, we are no longer independent creatures. We are domesticated pets.

4. And without this freedom of interaction and surplus of socially-gleaned information and entertainment... we lose our willingness to live, maybe even our capacity to survive. And worse still, we end up giving our free will to oligarchs who want to enslave us and exploit us. The non-social human animal can be harnessed to become a dangerous slave.



I always have dinner parties @QatzelOk . People enjoy it. People also tell me they love to hear my stories.

How come I am the only one telling stories nowadays?

Do you want me to tell you a story about something you love?
#15168167
QatzelOk wrote:Even your bullet-point-telling skills are sort of rusty. :lol:

Is there on opportunity whatsoever in your daily routine to have verbal conversations with a wide range of people?

Has this dissappeared completely from your life (and so many billions of others)?


You are really putting that mirror in my face aren't you? :hmm:

I tell my kids a story every night before bed. I usually make it up on the spot. There's typically some vomit and diarrhea in the stories (it makes the kids laugh). Pretty sure adults would find them boring though.
Last edited by Rancid on 20 Apr 2021 23:01, edited 1 time in total.
#15168168
Tainari88 wrote:I always have dinner parties @QatzelOk . People enjoy it. People also tell me they love to hear my stories.

How come I am the only one telling stories nowadays?

Do you want me to tell you a story about something you love?

Sure! If you want to.

I'm a pretty good cook, and I love having people over for dinner when I can. I also love being invited, but not many other people have this "dinner party" mentality any more. Take out in front of screens is the new normal.

But what I want to underline here is how fatal it is to NOT have dinner parties, street hanger-outers, grandparents and other adults lingering in your house, cafés full of old men like me yelling about politics... These are not luxuries, they are the essence of what it means to be alive.

(unless you're a domesticated pet which is game-over for any species)

Unthinking Majority wrote:Ya but Pewdiepie.

This is perhaps the worst story I've ever encountered. :*(
#15168172
The air smelled of salt and one knew you were close to the ocean. The trees were rough and gray and the earth dry and thirsty. The rainy season would soon come. The air conditioning in the car felt somehow too cold and stuffy and artificial, so it was about pressing the button down and turning it off and letting the breeze in--all warm and yet fresher. The sign read ¨Piñas Frías¨and she slowed down--till she felt the crunch of the shoulder of the road. It was an older woman and she looked like she was used to people stopping and asking the price. She said, --they are in the season, only 15 pesos. I paid her and the pineapple weighed in my hand and smelled so perfectly like a pineapple. She asked if I wanted her to cut it open. I said no. I kept going and soon I got to the beach. I opened the door and got out and walked to the beach. It was a sunny day but not particularly hot for the time of year. I sat in a small space reserved for tourists and a bench. I just wanted to watch the gulls.

I felt a brush of something. I turned around. It was the harsh sound of coughing....I looked up and someone was there behind me, and it was a man. He had on jeans and a shirt that said something that faded long ago. He had the look of someone who was always in the sun. His face was unreadable. He said to me in English, ¨Do you speak English?¨ I usually would tell the truth and say yes. But I decided to not tell the truth and said, ¨No hablo inglés.¨ And he then sat next to me on the bench and said, ¨Better that you don't, I get tired of talking. I would rather talk to a fish than a human being.¨ I thought he was a strange man. But an interesting one.

I did not say anything but gestured if he wanted to share my pineapple and suggested he look for a knife with hand signals. He understood and went to look for a knife. I thought about what may be his livelihood in such a place. Was he ill with all that coughing?


Now @Rancid who do you think he is? You want me to continue?
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