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October 06, 2009: "Isolation" 
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Post Re: October 06, 2009: "Isolation"
Mr. B -- kickass essay, your best one yet. I went to college a few years after you did, but you capture the mood marvelously. And your point regarding civilized isolation vs. uncouth isolation is quite apt. Technology has no doubt played a huge part of this. There's so much less human-to-human interaction now -- half the time I go into a store like Home Depot, I find myself walking to the self-checkout lane because it's faster. I zip through tolls via ezpass, nary a person in sight. With the fracturing of the TV landscape, we are finding the opinions we align with more easily. John Donne told us that no man is an island, but I'm afraid in this day and age, we can very easily be an island all to ourselves, and it really isn't a good thing.

On a somewhat related note, I'm finding it more difficult to write with my hand nowadays (printing or cursive), another skill that's going by the way of the dodo.

- Sung


Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:24 am
Post Re: October 06, 2009: "Isolation"
Jim Emerson talks a bit on his blog about quality criticism/arguments. It is something I have taken to heart. It can be frustrating to some. I avoid sensational arguments. How dare I? How dare I propose an idea without first insulting those who harness the opposing idea. Sometimes I feel that because I don't show insultive wit, that people take me less seriously. Maybe I just making the discussion boring. Facts? We don't need no stinking facts!

One comment about today's social networks. What you talked about is true. However, massive multiplayer online games bring a different factor. You still have your trolls, but because you need other people to consistently advance, it does force people, often enough, to change their behaviour to one more acceptable, at least within their guild. Sometimes that behaviour doesn't continue on the game's forums, but at other times it does because the guild doesn't want a bad name due to one of its members.


p.s. At times I've considered taking a cell phone away from some texting highschool boy/girl and telling them politely that they'll get it back when the movie is over. But I figure the consequences for me might be worse, as most theaters have a policeman wandering about.


Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:32 am
Post Re: October 06, 2009: "Isolation"
A co-worker of mine has several hundred "friends" on her My Face (or whatever) account. I told her that none of them would come to her funeral ('cause I'm mean that way) and that the most they would do if they found out she died would be to text a :-(

People have never been more electronically connected but more socially detached than they are today.


Wed Oct 07, 2009 1:33 pm
Post Re: October 06, 2009: "Isolation"
I feel people are the result of how they were raised.
If you see someone who is rude, brash and offensive then if you look deeper you will probably find some terrible parenting.
Chidren are no longer afraid of thier parents. When I wa younger I would never back speak my parents. This is not the case today.
I have a brother who is very rude to my mother and he is an arsehole. he is can be rude abusive and inconsiderate.
I could blame him but it;s really my parents fault. He has gotten used to having his own way in everything and now he expects it..


Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:45 pm
Post Re: October 06, 2009: "Isolation"
I really liked the part at the end of your essay when you discuss technology. Sometimes it seems like we, as human beings, are more connected than ever, yet somehow more distant from each other. I think a good mix of electronic and personal interaction is key. As someone with a speech impediment, I LOVE email and texting. If it weren't for them, I don't think I'd have any connection with the outside world. Yet I always make sure to see the people I contact in person from time to time.

In addition, again as someone with a speech impediment, I think I would be extremely isolated today were it not for some people in school who insisted on being my friend (and one girl who asked me to a movie one night eleven years ago. Still can't believe I'm married). If I didn't have that base of support, I could definitely see myself living in a cave with long hair, fingernails, and a beard, talking to no one but myself.


Wed Oct 07, 2009 6:20 pm
Post Re: October 06, 2009: "Isolation"
mkratzer21 wrote:
If I didn't have that base of support, I could definitely see myself living in a cave with long hair, fingernails, and a beard, talking to no one but myself.


You just described three 40+ yo friends of mine from High School whom I go back and forth trying not to keep in touch with too much anymore.


Wed Oct 07, 2009 7:56 pm
Post Re: October 06, 2009: "Isolation"
As a freshman in college right now, I totally sympathize with a lot of what James had to say. I'm coming off of a 4-year run in high school where everybody knew who I was, as well as having several friends. Being here in college, not having too many friends, feels very abrupt and uncomfortable-back home I was Ben Brown, but here in Marion, Indiana, I'm just another face in the crowd. That being said, it was nice to read James's post-knowing that someone went through something similar and turned out okay in the end is more than a little comforting, and it helps me to put this time of my life in context: it's only four years. And who knows-maybe at the end of this stint, I'll have made some friends out of it. I guess we'll see.


Wed Oct 07, 2009 10:54 pm
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Post Re: October 06, 2009: "Isolation"
benjamin wrote:
As a freshman in college right now, I totally sympathize with a lot of what James had to say. I'm coming off of a 4-year run in high school where everybody knew who I was, as well as having several friends. Being here in college, not having too many friends, feels very abrupt and uncomfortable-back home I was Ben Brown, but here in Marion, Indiana, I'm just another face in the crowd. That being said, it was nice to read James's post-knowing that someone went through something similar and turned out okay in the end is more than a little comforting, and it helps me to put this time of my life in context: it's only four years. And who knows-maybe at the end of this stint, I'll have made some friends out of it. I guess we'll see.


Gasp. :o I'm a college frshman too. OMG, this is so exciting!!!!! :D


Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:14 pm
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Post Re: October 06, 2009: "Isolation"
James Bond Berardinelli wrote:
His response? It was either: (a) "I'm sorry. I didn't realize. Let me just finish this last message and then I'll put my phone away," or (b)" Fuck you, man. I paid $10 for this ticket and I'm going to do whatever the fuck I want to. If you don't like it, you can leave." Anyone who guessed (a) is still living in the late '90s. So I moved.


Whoa there, 007, if I read this right you think people were more polite in the late 90's? If so, then that is not my experience at all. Methinks this is a bit of nostalgia on your part. Nostalgia, incidentally, is often more about the way we wish things were than about their actuality (can't recall who exactly wrote this ;) ).


Thu Oct 08, 2009 12:10 am
Post Re: October 06, 2009: "Isolation"
Vexer wrote:
I never understood the appeal of texting, mainly cause it's a such pain in the ass to type one out cause of those small buttons and all those bad grammatical errors, my sister on the other hand is pretty much a prime example of that sort of thing and she got in big trouble when she ran up a huge phone bill due to her excessive texting. I can proudly say I will never end up like that.

On the other hand, texting does makes awkward conversations easier.


James Berardinelli wrote:
The calm bubble of isolation I luxuriated in during 1985 is not like the isolation of today, where a growing number of people reject interpersonal relationships in favor of alternative forms of communication: phone, e-mail, texting, social networks, etc. [...] Self-absorption is becoming a way of life. [...] The difference between my brand of isolation in 1985 and the growing self-absorption of today is that I recognized the existence and rights of others and respected them, even if I chose not to participate, while too many people in 2009 are focused on their own wants and needs to the exclusion of all else.

Perhaps you are condemning this generation with over-broad generalisations? I empathise rather strongly with the rest of the ReelThought, as my college experience has been somewhat similar, but this particular bit feels kinda like Terry Goodkind's "I don't write fantasy".


Thu Oct 08, 2009 9:33 am
Post Re: October 06, 2009: "Isolation"
cornflakes wrote:
Vexer wrote:
I never understood the appeal of texting, mainly cause it's a such pain in the ass to type one out cause of those small buttons and all those bad grammatical errors, my sister on the other hand is pretty much a prime example of that sort of thing and she got in big trouble when she ran up a huge phone bill due to her excessive texting. I can proudly say I will never end up like that.

On the other hand, texting does makes awkward conversations easier.


James Berardinelli wrote:
The calm bubble of isolation I luxuriated in during 1985 is not like the isolation of today, where a growing number of people reject interpersonal relationships in favor of alternative forms of communication: phone, e-mail, texting, social networks, etc. [...] Self-absorption is becoming a way of life. [...] The difference between my brand of isolation in 1985 and the growing self-absorption of today is that I recognized the existence and rights of others and respected them, even if I chose not to participate, while too many people in 2009 are focused on their own wants and needs to the exclusion of all else.

Perhaps you are condemning this generation with over-broad generalisations? I empathise rather strongly with the rest of the ReelThought, as my college experience has been somewhat similar, but this particular bit feels kinda like Terry Goodkind's "I don't write fantasy".
Not for me it dosen't, texting makes it more akward as I have a MUCH easier time saying what's on mymind then texting, texting is just akward both physically and mentally for me, plus i've never had a reason to do it as neither of my friends really text at all. And none of my classmates text each other during any of my classes as they actually have respect for the instructors.


Thu Oct 08, 2009 12:40 pm
Post Re: October 06, 2009: "Isolation"
I've gone through a similar issue on Facebook recently. Although I do not command as much of a presence online as James does by any stretch, nevertheless I have at least half a dozen notes that have gathered other 100 replies and dozens that breached the 50-mark, all featuring intense debate. However, whenever I write introspectively, which is quite deliberately once a moon, a few people always throw a red flag about me viewing events in the past through rose-colored lenses and condemn my writing as everyday normal thought disguised as something more profound. Maybe guys like you and I just don't realize our island, different as yours and mine may be, would be a sizable continent, and that the unspoken desires we have but nevertheless usually refuse to shove down other people's throats are held by and frustrate other people. So when such a thread is posted, naturally, there is always a person or two who feels patronized beyond belief.


I agree with most of your post, although I will state that certain people who neglected D&D and are still virgins going on into their 20's. I think that people are the same as they were say a decade ago, but now it's become accepted and simply telling (even suggesting to) someone they are being rude is seen as a breach of a generally understood social contract. I think alot of people (not you, James) in their 30's and 40's are in general a lot more immature in social situations than they want to let on - people who were raised with the 80's mentality and have difficulty understanding that their microcosm constitutes to less than 1% of the population in the room they are in. (PERSONAL STORY AHEAD OH NOES WISEY)
[Reveal] Spoiler:
One time I went to Barnes and Nobles back in 2007, and after a little DVD buying (I picked up three Criterion DVDs on a July "buy 2 get the third free" deal - how can you say no to a free Criterion of 'Do The Right Thing'?), I took went to the cafe. I bought a mocha frapp and a cheesecake, and sat down to read at a table that had been empty the entire time I had ordered (I had eyed it as the only open one in the room at the time). I noticed there was a black bag on the opposite end of the table, in a vacant chair. I ask a nearby customer if anyone was sitting at the table before I sat down, and they said they hadn't seen anybody at the table in the last half hour they had been there. I was there for about twenty minutes texting a friend about hanging out in an hour and eating the slice of cake before I got up to fetch a good book about film. I grabbed Halliwell's year-end retrospective for the year before and Ebert's Great Movies Part I and came back to the table, which was still uninhabited. After 15 more minutes (I believe we're nearing the hour-mark) a man comes to retrieve said bag with a toddler in tow. He asks me if I left any room for him, in a snide tone. Acknowledging the situation, I offer to vacate the seat, but instead he proceeds to agonize about the inconvenience that has been placed upon him. When the customer I had spoken to before attempts to explain the situation (namely, his little gir to him he simply hushes them and says 'Thank you' to me before grabbing his bag and leaving the store. His actual diatribe lasted up to several minutes, but I shortened it for everyone, mercifully. I was initially a little sympathetic towards him since had a toddler and I know from past relationships that taking care of a child can be a long, arduous task that needs to be done whenever, wherever, so I tried to listen and remedy the situation. I ended up realizing he didn't want the seat - or else he might have accepted my offer of leaving the table for him and his daughter - but just to vent for a few minutes about how I violated his rights as a customer. I was literally dumb-founded by the amount of immaturity that went into his handling of the situation.


Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:07 pm
Post Re: October 06, 2009: "Isolation"
Evenflow8112 wrote:
One time I went to Barnes and Nobles back in 2007, and after a little DVD buying (I picked up three Criterion DVDs on a July "buy 2 get the third free" deal - how can you say no to a free Criterion of 'Do The Right Thing'?), I took went to the cafe. I bought a mocha frapp and a cheesecake, and sat down to read at a table that had been empty the entire time I had ordered (I had eyed it as the only open one in the room at the time). I noticed there was a black bag on the opposite end of the table, in a vacant chair. I ask a nearby customer if anyone was sitting at the table before I sat down, and they said they hadn't seen anybody at the table in the last half hour they had been there. I was there for about twenty minutes texting a friend about hanging out in an hour and eating the slice of cake before I got up to fetch a good book about film. I grabbed Halliwell's year-end retrospective for the year before and Ebert's Great Movies Part I and came back to the table, which was still uninhabited. After 15 more minutes (I believe we're nearing the hour-mark) a man comes to retrieve said bag with a toddler in tow. He asks me if I left any room for him, in a snide tone. Acknowledging the situation, I offer to vacate the seat, but instead he proceeds to agonize about the inconvenience that has been placed upon him. When the customer I had spoken to before attempts to explain the situation (namely, his little gir to him he simply hushes them and says 'Thank you' to me before grabbing his bag and leaving the store. His actual diatribe lasted up to several minutes, but I shortened it for everyone, mercifully. I was initially a little sympathetic towards him since had a toddler and I know from past relationships that taking care of a child can be a long, arduous task that needs to be done whenever, wherever, so I tried to listen and remedy the situation. I ended up realizing he didn't want the seat - or else he might have accepted my offer of leaving the table for him and his daughter - but just to vent for a few minutes about how I violated his rights as a customer. I was literally dumb-founded by the amount of immaturity that went into his handling of the situation.


So you mistakenly took someone’s seat that had a child and they didn't like it. That's quite a story.


Thu Oct 08, 2009 3:29 pm
Post Re: October 06, 2009: "Isolation"
wisey wrote:
So you mistakenly took someone’s seat that had a child and they didn't like it. That's quite a story.



I was not unaware of what the predicament was, and offered a solution, where I would move. I was already getting ready to relocate my items elsewhere, which would have been sufficiently simple, but he didn't seem to want to sit down. He balked at my suggestion and effectively 'talked' me back to sitting down, merely satisfied with accusing me of stealing the seat than actually taking it back. Then, he picked up his bag, and left. Given the situation, I didn't understand his furor. The child was in a stroller.


Thu Oct 08, 2009 3:41 pm
Post Re: October 06, 2009: "Isolation"
Evenflow8112 wrote:
wisey wrote:
So you mistakenly took someone’s seat that had a child and they didn't like it. That's quite a story.



I was not unaware of what the predicament was, and offered a solution, where I would move. I was already getting ready to relocate my items elsewhere, which would have been sufficiently simple, but he didn't seem to want to sit down. He balked at my suggestion and effectively 'talked' me back to sitting down, merely satisfied with accusing me of stealing the seat than actually taking it back. Then, he picked up his bag, and left. Given the situation, I didn't understand his furor. The child was in a stroller.



What did he look like physically? How old do you think he was? Did the child seem to understand the goings on?


Thu Oct 08, 2009 4:13 pm
Post Re: October 06, 2009: "Isolation"
wisey wrote:
Evenflow8112 wrote:
wisey wrote:
So you mistakenly took someone’s seat that had a child and they didn't like it. That's quite a story.



I was not unaware of what the predicament was, and offered a solution, where I would move. I was already getting ready to relocate my items elsewhere, which would have been sufficiently simple, but he didn't seem to want to sit down. He balked at my suggestion and effectively 'talked' me back to sitting down, merely satisfied with accusing me of stealing the seat than actually taking it back. Then, he picked up his bag, and left. Given the situation, I didn't understand his furor. The child was in a stroller.



What did he look like physically? How old do you think he was? Did the child seem to understand the goings on?



He was slightly over six feet tall, and he was athletic. He had a very 'corporate' look, dressed in the latest Men's Warehouse fashion. The leather bag he left in the chair, consequently, was to hold his laptop. He definitely accrued his speech mannerisms from corporate experience, since numerous members of my family also talk in that tone and each are/were major players in the industry. Without asking I would say he was in his early 30's. I'm not sure what the child's comprehension was, but the man didn't use any 'naughty' words so it was a non-issue from that perspective.


Thu Oct 08, 2009 4:40 pm
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Post Re: October 06, 2009: "Isolation"
benjamin wrote:
As a freshman in college right now, I totally sympathize with a lot of what James had to say. I'm coming off of a 4-year run in high school where everybody knew who I was, as well as having several friends. Being here in college, not having too many friends, feels very abrupt and uncomfortable-back home I was Ben Brown, but here in Marion, Indiana, I'm just another face in the crowd. That being said, it was nice to read James's post-knowing that someone went through something similar and turned out okay in the end is more than a little comforting, and it helps me to put this time of my life in context: it's only four years. And who knows-maybe at the end of this stint, I'll have made some friends out of it. I guess we'll see.


Give it time. You'll make a lot of friends in college. Trust me.

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Thu Oct 08, 2009 9:08 pm
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Post Re: October 06, 2009: "Isolation"
Awf Hand wrote:
A co-worker of mine has several hundred "friends" on her My Face (or whatever) account. I told her that none of them would come to her funeral ('cause I'm mean that way) and that the most they would do if they found out she died would be to text a :-(

People have never been more electronically connected but more socially detached than they are today.


That was really harsh! I don't know the person you're talking about so I can't speak specifically. For me though, yes I do have a over 1000 facebook friends, but i usually just use that to talk to my real friends (the ones I hang out with all the time). The high number is for people I've simply met over the years (I don't usually talk to them--electronically or otherwise).

Yes people are more electronically connected, but socially detatched? :? :? :? I don't think so...for most people anyways (there are always the anti-social crowd, but they'd never socialize in reality to begin with).

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Thu Oct 08, 2009 9:12 pm
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Post Re: October 06, 2009: "Isolation"
James Berardinelli wrote:
MrGuinness wrote:
Give 'em hell Jimmy.

BTW, D&D was for fags :)

jk


Based on my experience, D&D was for virgins. :lol:



:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :mrgreen:

For such a somber article, you still have a sense of humor about it, which is really nice. :mrgreen:

BTW, what brought you to write this article?

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Thu Oct 08, 2009 9:32 pm
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Post Re: October 06, 2009: "Isolation"
moviemkr7 wrote:
BTW, what brought you to write this article?


I wanted to write something about the lack of civility in movie theaters, but I've written about that on more than one occasion and didn't want to repeat myself verbatim. So I thought maybe a short autobiographical story would be a good place to start things out. The article is really two pieces. The first half is pretty much written the way I write fiction. The second piece is more of a straightforward "ReelThoughts."


Fri Oct 09, 2009 11:07 am
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