Sunday, August 17, 2008

Magazine reading

This morning I picked up the July/August Atlantic and proceeded to read it, planning to read at least the article"Is Google Making Us Stoopid?"

Actually I was intrigued by "American Murder Mystery" first, largely because the article was centered around Memphis and re-iterated what our Memphis family members have been saying over the last few years, that Memphis is a violent and scary place. This article blames the movement of violence from the inner-city to the suburbs on antipoverty programs that move the people from high poverty areas of the city to areas of lower, but not low, poverty. These poor people bring many of their same problems with them, which without other intervention, seems like an obvious outcome. And suburban areas are less well-equipped to handle these new problems, drug use, gang activity. Also the still-poor people, now without their old support systems, have difficulty creating new communities, unless they bring their old dysfunctional ones.

In Memphis, like many cities, poverty and race are so intertwined, that addressing this failure, is bound to lead to calls of racism. It seems to me that Memphis has enough of a black middle class and upper class, that it should be able to transcend the race issue, and move right into a class issue. And the power structure of Memphis, largely black, is invested in the successful reclaiming of what was inner-city public housing and turning it into revival of downtown.

So the Google article was less interesting to me when I finally got there. Is it just another cry that the sky is falling? There is evidence that human brains have changed in the past with changes in the way information is stored or presented. The business plan of Google relies on fast, frequent clicking on links. Will our brains adapt to very short bursts of information? Contemplation doesn't pay.

This is probably off the subject but I read this article after hearing the news on the radio this morning. A man who had seen McCain and Obama last night said that he liked McCain's decisive, quick answers but Obama was too thoughtful, he had to consider his answers. When did thoughtful, considered opinions and actions become weak? Is it the cowboy mentality? Whatever it is, it's wrong. Decisiveness is a Bush trait, but if you make the wrong decision, even quickly, it is still wrong.

I don't know if too much time on the computer has shortened my attention span but certainly it can suck up the hours. I have made some conscious efforts to push away from the computer table and get outside or change seats and pick up a book. There's so much to read and so little time. PRM

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