The Revolution Will Be Televised
– ByJoseph Boston| Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:30 AM EAST
In 1970 Gil Scott-Heron coined the phrase “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” with a song by the same name on his album “Small Talk at 125th and Lenox”.
How wrong he was. Sorry, Gil. The revolution has been televised, commodified, and packaged right into our homes and yet it seems all too familiar.
As the deluge of information comes out of Egypt in regard to what is actually going on (I have noticed they have internet “cliff notes” called “explainers” out there). I have a question.
Remember the Iranian Revolution last year? Exactly. Zero media coverage since then and that is not because the factors that led to the uprising (government censorship on the media, internet, corrupt leadership, unemployment etc. etc.) were resolved either. Coincidentally from what I can understand from the “explainer” the same factors are at the root of this Egyptian revolution.
Want another example? Remember Haiti? Yeah, those people on that island that is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Yes, them. We were bombarded with images that showed what happens when the earth shakes violently, wreaking havoc, like the Kraken called out from the deep on impoverished people who live in shacks that aren’t built with building codes. Yeah, that Haiti, who were less than a year ago, on the TV everyday for about a month due to a devastatingly powerful earthquake and who are in no better shape today than they were last year despite all the aid, media coverage and celebrity attention. Remember now?
It’s ok. I know it’s difficult. And these are just the events I can recall.
This is a word of warning to the people of Egypt. A kind of “It’s not you, it’s me” confession.
We, the people of the “western” world, suffer from chronic A.D.D.
Three months from now you won’t even be a blip on all the western media markets that are sweeping over your beloved nation like carrion waiting for the final death gasp. You’re lucky if you’re a blip on mine now.
You are a commodity; something to talk about. An Internet sensation, a byline for that cover story some journalist has been waiting for so he can get the chance to be first on the really big stories. You’re a promotion; A distraction from the mundanity of our suburban existence. You rank right there with Brittany Spears’ very public breakdown, or when Charlie Sheen got popped for another incident with high-end hookers and some blow. Which was just last week. Really Charlie? Again?!
We live off high speed Internet, microwaves, sound bites, and drive-thrus. We get pissed if you make us wait longer than we need to for our fries. And don’t even get us started about the lines in Wal-Mart. You want to talk ‘revolution’? We need one in Wal-Mart; there are never enough cashiers!
Our attention span is so short that we have even found a way to encapsulate the blood of your struggle into #EGYPTIAN to neatly fit into our 140-character Twitter requirement. By the way, where is Egypt? That’s in Europe, right?
In any case, I’m sorry, but please don’t blame us for our A.D.D. Really. It’s not our fault. We are raised watching TV shows that just disappear off the air when the ratings go south. We are victims of ‘reality television’ that blur the distinction between fact and fiction. Trust me, it’s like the plot of Inception but much simpler.
And so it goes with your “little” revolution. Which, by the way, you need to hurry up with. So this is just a kind “heads-up” to be prepared for when we’re not talking about you anymore – when we stop calling, and tweeting, and posting about you on our social updates. It was fun while it lasted and like I said, it’s nothing personal; it’s not you… it’s us.
So enjoy your moment in the spotlight while it lasts because fame is fleeting and it takes our attention span with it like a runaway bride. We admittedly have a hard time with commitment.
You’ll see once you get cable TV. You’ll be just like us then too.