feeling weary because one is unoccupied or lacks interest in one’s current activity.
How in this world of technological wonders, with the interwebs, video games, movies, comics, books, toys and jerking off can we still get BORED?
We have all of these marvels surrounding us and yet we still get bored far too easily, myself included. Why? Are we so desensitized to the world around us that even dropping out via electronics or some other variable will not evaporate the rancid boredom we face day to day? I love to read and yet there are times you are just not in the mood to read. I love to game and yet I have to be in the mood to game. Just like sex, you have to be primed or motivated otherwise you are simply going through the motions and I hate just going through the motions. That said though, is just killing time and going through the motions sometimes enough? Even bad sex is still better than no sex right? Even having a bad gaming experience is better than not trying right? Even a bad movie is better than not watching a movie right? How did we get to this place of apathy and lethargy where in this day and age, with all the envelops us day in and day out, with all of the varied ways to waste time and run out the clock… how are we still BORED?
If I am not writing a column for Geek Juice, writing a column for Scene Magazine, writing an article for Hustler or some other magazine, recording a radio show, editing a radio show or producing someone else’s radio show I still find myself being bored… and that scares me. I have a stack of books I need to read that is growing far faster than I can tackle it*, video games I keep putting off** and movies that I acquire at a seemingly 5-1 ratio of how I get to watch them. All of that and I still find myself merely playing Plants Vs Zombies for 2 hours… it’s sad that I have come to this point. I was not always like this and I vow to stop being like this. I will not let languor take me and rule my life, I will not let boredom have me… right after I beat this level on Bejeweled 3. DAMN IT.
That is what I am talking about, we, all of us, would rather WASTE our time then USE our time. We call it “killing time” for a reason, we have nothing better to do (objectively) so we just exist from moment to moment with no real purpose… aimlessly shuffling from one time killing activity to another. We would prefer to live simply and let our devices and attractions rule us and not the other way around. We (the royal we) don’t READ books anymore we use books as nothing more than a way to pass the time from one activity to another, usually activities which require no thought in and of themselves to start with, books are not enlightenment any longer, they are just something to pass the time. We don’t want movies that make us think or engage us, we want, and I shudder that I must use this term which I despise, eye candy… shit sploding and lots of quick cuts. When a large movie is in the editing stages what are the first things cut from a film? CHARACTER SCENES and DIALOG SCENES, action scenes stay because that is what we want, a momentary distraction from the inevitable doldrums of our everyday lives. We want something to elevate boredom and, overall, people talking is what causes boredom to many of us. Look at the talk shows and how they “progressed” from the 70’s into the 90’s. Talk shows went from people TALKING and discussing subjects (serious or inane) to people throwing chairs and flashing cooze. The audience grew BORED with just talking and as society grew more unstable around us all we needed our entertainment to grew equally unstable. I grew up when the Atari VCS (2600) first hit the market and these simple, these painfully simple, games could keep us enthralled for hours and days even and I see the current generation bored by these even at a glance. They have become conditioned by all they encounter to “need” more stimulus just like junkies need a higher dose of their drug to get to the same place, we have become that with keeping our mind occupied.
When you are doing something you are genuinely uninterested in (such as the work you do at your slave factory) you will find that smaller amounts of stimuli will suffice just to make things bearable, but as you progress you need more, you crave more… you used to be okay with just minor distractions from the constant suicidal urges or homicidal feelings but then you needed more. No longer could simply watching a video on youtube or playing a quick round of Candy Crush sate the urges to go on a mass killing spree of co-workers, you needed more and that is how boredom changes you as a person, it pushes you around searching for any reason to do anything that is not boring, and these new things soon get boring so more is needed. Boredom is a gateway drug which requires more and more input and one that you never even noticed you were staving off. With all that we have to occupy us which can stimulate the mind, enhance the experience or better us as human beings we tend instead to chose that which is the most easy on us and the most uncomplicated rather than something which requires working the mind to even the smallest exertion. Our devices end up owning us and we care little to alter this relationship or change the terms of it even in the slightest and we let this (de)evolution mutate our entire society.
Back in 1981 a game such as Adventure or Swordquest could keep an adult enthralled for significant periods of time and now even a 5 year old can beat those games in 7 minutes with nary even trying. The games did not change, but the culture surrounding the games demanded more and, for benefit or deficit, boredom gained a greater stranglehold on us. Look at a movie trailer such as One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest from the late 70’s, it is slow, builds the mystery of the characters, shows you the world and makes you want to see more… now look at any big budget movie trailer from today and it is filled with quick cuts, booming music, flash frames, nonsensical imagery and, the worst sin of all, refuses to tell you WHAT the movie is about. The audience grew less sophisticated and pop culture acclimated to this rather than the other way around. Porn is another example, okay maybe not porn, but the stimulation that comes from looking at naked ladies has changed. When I was a kid (late 70’s/early 80’s) just seeing boobies was enough to get me rock hard but as I grew too used to that (thank you HBO/Cinemax/Showtime/The Movie Channel) I needed more and the industry catered to my needs with an increasing dose to more bizarre and hardcore material. Just look at porn in the 60’s and anything in the 80’s and you will see a shocking increase in how much was needed to satisfy an audience. A 60’s “nudie cutie” almost seems like it could air on PBS today. Culture changed, we changed and not for the better***.
All of this falderal is due to boredom in an age where their are more things to do, to read, to watch, to play and to experience than ever before which I think spells doom for us all us thinking creatures. I am about to go and read one of that ever increasing stack of books, then watch a movie I have been accumulating… right after I play some Luxor 4.
*Even though a few of these are re-reads from years prior as it stands right now:
Seagalolgy by Vern
I Want My MTV by Rob Tannenbaum and Graig Marks
Parental Advisory – Music Censorship In America by Eric Nuzum
The Greatest Scifi Movies Never Made by David Hughes
20 Years Of Censored News by Carl Jensen
Grendel: Past Prime by Greg Rucka
Fright Night On Channel 9 by James Arena
Ron Jeremy: The Hardest (Working) Man In Showbiz
Shock Value by Jason Zinoman
The Hacker Crackdown by Bruce Sterling
Horror Comics In Black And White by Richard J. Arndt
The Book On The Edge Of Forever by Christopher Priest
Dirty, Dirty, Dirty by Mike Edison
**I really should play those Clive Barker games I bought 5 years ago at some point.
***And this comes from a man that LOVES 70’s and 80’s porns, so that statement was not prudish in the least.