I read more of the book than we are commenting on today because I couldn’t put it down. I’ve got a thing for conspiracy theories and the first part of this book just revels in the hinting of them. One is a theory I heard a lot about growing up, that 9/11 was an inside job (I was in the 5th grade when it happened) and the other the Kennedy Assassination. Most of what I knew about the Kennedy Assassination was what I learned from Dale Gribble on King of the Hill, but as time went on and I got older it was definitely one of those things that intrigued my interests. It was more interesting than something I found believable.
I appreciate how Manjoo has the dinner party example in the first chapter. Even though this book came out before the big social media boom (it came out the year I joined Facebook, when you still had to tell them which university you attended) I think that his example is quite telling to which direction the world has gone in. No one really checks their information anymore. Memes (even if I disagree with how broad of a term that has become) are spread without checking the information they contain and as the information is so easily shared. You see information that you agree with, hit share, and that’s it. Half the time the information is inaccurate or was created to echo what the intended sharer already believes. The other half of the time the meme is plagued with nonsensical minions or tinkerbell (I have limited knowledge into why this is a thing but I do know these memes are incredibly popular with woman over the age of 35 and I DO NOT understand it in the least).
I see more minion memes than ever because my friends are getting older and having kids and are overcoming that age boundary and I’m scared. Another reason I’m getting rid of a lot of my social media is because I can’t handle the weight of the minions much longer. Thankfully my mother hasn’t descended into the madness but I’m ever prepared for the day when it happens.
When we think of the information we exchange and the information that we want to hear as minions it is easier to track the ideas that Manjoo puts forth. Sure, we’ve got the Instagram models at the dinner party, we’ve got the family oversharing in facebook live streams and youtube videos, we’ve got the weird uncle that just shows up in your house during parties that is on his ninth beer and is fading between yelling and whispering about politics. All of these people attract their own audiences and those audiences start to refuse to listen to others. Minions begin to fight the tinkerbells, because both of them their they are right and the other must be wrong. More and more parties join the rabble and then it just becomes noise.
Noise that we don’t have a button to push to hear what we need to hear to help us grow.