Monday, January 19, 2009

Veni, vidi, youtubi.

I wept for the human race today. I was watching President-elect Obama on C-SPAN as he moved through a crowd today at a Washington D.C. high school one day (okay, I don't know for sure when this was recorded) before he is to be sworn in as our 44th President, and many people spoke with him and shook his hand. But some, and this is why I wept, could only look at Obama through the tiny screens on their phones or cameras. Obama was within two feet, and seemingly happy to meet any and all who wanted to reach out to him. He was noticeably exhausted, but with each new face, he found the energy to smile and look at each person and listen to their words. If I had any doubts about his ability to handle his new job, they vanished as I watched.

But look at those people, I thought. Look, Obama is right next to you. Look at his face; he wants to meet you. He's here to meet you. But these few idiots continued to look at him through their mini screens, as if nothing existed unless it was rendered into pixels.

I don't understand. I understand the power of television. And I understand the importance of having a cool video on you MySpace page, but when did that become more important than meeting a real person? Shaking his hand? Saying hello?

I have nothing against anyone who said hello and took some video. Those people have the best of both worlds. The people who have no video, well maybe their friends will believe they met Obama, and maybe they won't.

But those people who have completely abandoned this need for human contact, I don't know. Maybe reality is changing. Maybe nothing truly exists until someone clicks on it. If a video is uploaded on the Internet and no one plays it, does it make a sound?