Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Bust the Brackets
First came the lists. No need for coherent or connected thoughts. Just put them in order. Show what you know. Show what you've seen.
Then came the "likes." A single click to make a statement of support.
Now we have something even milder: the brackets (see, for example, Grantland's breakdown of the Wire, in which people vote for the 'best' character). These "competitions" only require a 'like more,' which is even less commitment than a 'like.'
It makes sense: we were told to 'Rock the Vote,' 'Get out and Vote,' blamed if we didn't vote. Voting was an end in itself. Knowing anything was a side hobby, for those with a poor understanding of opportunity cost. They’ll provide a list of bullet points, guaranteed to make you feel good, and probably rather righteous. Maybe a sticker for voting, a half-cent precursor to the 'status update.'
We were trained to vote, so that's what we do. Sometimes that's all we do. The bracket is the perfect creation for our generation. It can be debated only emptily, scanned on a pee break, and there'll always be a winner. We vote therefore we are. They'll know us by our page views.
Or is the reductive rant the perfect creation of our generation?