Have we entered an Age of Punditry?
Now, after I watch a favorite TV show, say, The Office or Flight of the Conchords or 30 Rock, not more then thirty minutes have to pass before I hear back from friends and fellow bloggers about said program's latest episode and where it ranks with other episodes and what grade they'd give it from A to F or stars out of 5, and what was wrong with it, what didn't work and what did. (This is also true of films and music, but seems more frequent and immediate with television.) I'm part of this world, too, I will not throw rocks in this glass house, but it's something I've noticed.
Part of it is the immediacy of our world. Shows are instant, the internet is instant, blogs, social networks, Twitter, text messages, it's all quick and instantaneous.
I have often been worried about critical thinking skills -- feeling that is something that should be required in secondary education nationwide -- so you'd think I'd be pleased that we're all demonstrating such critical abilities. I also appreciate the art of discussion and debate when it comes to art and mass media.
All that said, sometimes I wish I could just enjoy the latest FOTC episode without wondering or hearing about where it ranks with past episodes, how the songs rate, what could have been better. Are we still able to enjoy these escapes if we're analyzing and debating and ranking so obsessively?
I know, I know, just log off the internet for awhile if you need a break from it. But even that is no guarantee we'll be allowed very long before ramming into a cynic's conversation on the same subject matter. But still, this isn't bad advice -- perhaps we can all unplug from time to time, go sit under a tree and meditate, letting that show, film, book, or song, wash down through you, before the dissection begins.
Sounds good, but if you'll excuse me, I have to go post a note about how annoying Kyra Sedgwick is.