At any club that spins hip hop, there’s a particular moment that happens in the middle of the night – and very little has changed about that moment since 1999; everyone instinctively knows that it’s time to turn up when the DJ drops the timeless anthem that is DMX’s Party Up. At first, the revelry is interrupted with the signature summon: a morse code-like sequence of triumphant horns blaring against a steady MPC kick pattern pierced by sharp hi-hats and shrieking gym whistles. This alarming cacophony of sounds primes partygoers for the losing of minds that will momentarily ensue. The cheers drown out, the club braces itself for the drop and then the energetic battle-cry of DMX channeling Ric Flair - ”WOOOOOOO!” – gives everyone the green light to absolutely lose it. For the next minute and a half, fans of Tyga and Tupac alike (I pray that they’re mutually exclusive) proceed to bounce in unison and rap at the top of their lungs in a euphoric trance.
I Forgot My Phone
Sometimes the technology that can (and should) make our lives easier and better also can make it impossible to maintain the kind of focused attention that’s necessary to work efficiently & effectively. On days when I forget my phone, I’m less anxious and less reactionary. Instead, I’m more focused and more creative.
“YOU WEAK AND WORTHLESS PIECE OF SHIT!”
The year is 2004. I’m a wet-behind-the-ears recruit in the Canadian Armed Forces, and I just had my scrawny ass handed to me by a lion of a man—part Ron Swanson, part Major Payne — Sergeant O’Neil. For the longest 2 minutes of my life, I had perplexing expletive combinations vehemently barked at my face because I left a weapon unattended. Visibly shaken, I’m reassured by a fellow soldier. “Don’t worry, Khan” he says. “It’s an honour to get chewed out by O’Neil. That guy has seen some crazy shit.”
“Our bodies are programmed to consume fat and sugars because they’re rare in nature…In the same way, we’re biologically programmed to be attentive to things that stimulate: content that is gross, violent, or sexual and that gossip which is humiliating, embarrassing, or offensive. If we’re not careful, we’re going to develop the psychological equivalent of obesity. We’ll find ourselves consuming content that is least beneficial for ourselves or society as a whole.” — Danah Boyd (Principal Researcher @ Microsoft Research)
Amusing Ourselves To Death
Neil Postman’s book, Amusing Ourselves To Death, is what I call a “before and after book” — there’s your life before you read it, and there’s your life after you read it. Everything changes. You become aware of man’s almost infinite appetite for distraction; you develop a heightened awareness of media manipulation; you see the extent to which unregulated media consumption paralyzes critical thinking and collective action.