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Athens, Ohio, United States
"Art and love are the same thing. It's the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you."

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Future, Conan?

There was a throwaway scene in last Thursday's The Office that I found very interesting.

Painfully awkward boss Michael Scott is busy working the lecture circuit for his corporation's regional offices so he could tell other branches how to run a successful paper company (one of the running jokes on The Office is the mysterious success of Michael's branch even though he is clearly incompetent). Michael and secretary Pam make a pit-stop in Nashua, however, so Michael can attempt to reconnect with his former love, Holly, who had to transfer to Nashua when their relationship was exposed.

Long story short, Holly is now involved with another man and is away for the week at a Human Resources retreat or something. Michael is upset (obviously) and makes a visit to Holly's cubicle. Now here is the throwaway scene I am referring to, see if you can anything interesting in it like I did.

Michael pushes Holly's seat in which prompts her Dell's screensaver to disappear, revealing her desktop. On her desktop is a Word Document titled "Dear Michael." Michael seems to consider it for a second then takes a flash-drive out of his pocket and transfers the Word Document onto it to read later.

Find anything strange in that scenario? Aside, of course, of the creepiness factor of it all and the improbability that someone would place a sensitive document on their desktop. I am guessing there is nothing all that bizarre in that paragraph for you. Try pretending, then, that the year is 1990. Then re-read it.

Holy shit, the future just arrived in the dead of night and we didn't realize it.

1990 was the year my life began, and if I had the capacity to read back then and had the opportunity to watch that scene from The Office I think my mind would have melted. Dells? PCs? Screensavers? Desktops? Word Documents? Flash-drives? What the hell is going on? And yet, today we use all these machines and programs and don't even realize that we are living a mid-1900s nerd's wet dream. We live in a Digital Era of constant information and don't appreciate it, hell...we barely even recognize it.

In my Freshman year of High School my Social Studies teacher, Mr. Jones, said "People live through history all the time and don't even realize it.

Now, with 4 more years of experience under my belt, I understand even more what Mr. Jones meant. I understand the time that I live in and it feels right to me. I grew up naturally in this timeline and the technological milestones have come at a pace I can wrap my head around. But if I take a few steps outside of myself and look around, I can clearly see that I live in what every culture's concept of "THE FUTURE" was for the past 4,000 or so years.


Maybe that's why I can't enjoy The Office anymore, maybe I am just approaching everything too philosophically.

Or maybe The Office is just starting to suck.

Either way, I am going to need to keep an eye on this whole Internet thing. Three days until launches!


Curiousgab said...

So you had a moment to consider that your living history and maybe making it at the same time. How insightful into how your mind functions that this moment came during a scene in what was once a fresh, funny sitcom that is now spiraling into history. I thought the flash memory was nice touch for Michael to even know how to use it was remarkable

A.G.B said...

That is an excellent point that I forgot to make! They had a complete dumbass using this complicated and sophisticated technology that no lay-person who never lived in the 2000s could understand.