One of the stops on my busy Thanksgiving sojourn was Matthew’s, where he and his mother attempted to coerce C’s experiences into a narrative about how texting is rotting the delicate minds of the youth of America, and god only knows what else. During the discussion I took it upon myself to point out that adults weren’t any less susceptible to the compulsions of constant phonography, but because that was orthogonal to what they were trying to get C to say it only held anyone’s attention as fleetingly as a “LOL” sent via text message.
I think that texting/mobile web abuse is related to the confusion I touched upon here, wherein people think this stream constitutes some kind of grasp on the world. Inundated with a steady stream of faux-information and faux-communication (fauxmunication?), people are too busy pressing buttons to wonder about the quality of things, which heads off some troubling questions.
This is the look — even as late as Proust — of the object of a love which only a city dweller experiences, which Baudelaire captured for poetry, and of which one might not infrequently say that it was spared, rather than denied, fulfillment.
–Benjamin, Illuminations, 170.