Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Grab a Handful of the New McFreaks.

c. David Grim (taken 2/12/11)

Over the last one hundred and fifty years the focus of science has shifted from taxonomy (the classification of natural phenomena) to experimentation. This reflects modern-day man's desire to go beyond an understanding of the mysteries of life. Now man wants to take the place of "God" rather than assume a subservient position toward fate. While the drive for self-direction can be seen as a noble pursuit, it has often proved to be the impetus for atrocity. The Twentieth Century contained many examples of the hubris of humanity whereupon man created more severe problems than those he was trying to solve.

There are way too many factors in modern life to support the illusion of control. If anything the continuing discoveries that have been made regarding the machinery of the universe have conclusively proven that the controls ultimately lie outside the reach of the grasping minds of man. That's not to say that I'm ready to give up the many comforts and opportunities that this futile quest has allowed. Despite the fact that the consequences of such modern privileges are often severe... I still enjoy the benefits of cars, computers, televsion, and cell phones. I'm no Luddite.

Still I can be accused of a certain nostalgic yearning for a time before my birth. Of necessity, whatever impressions I have developed about the vast expanse of years preceding me have been illusory at best. But that doesn't stop my imagination from conjuring a sense of wonder that must have found its place in the minds of our forebears when confronted by mysteries of dysfunction, oddity, and the alien. Nowadays we have multimedia documentation of almost everything that has occurred in recorded history. Nothing seems beyond the comprehension of the pedestrian mind for very long. The Google search has replaced the Freak Show.

Now we create our own freaks... or at least our masters do so for us. Check out the antics of the participants of the latest round of reality television shows. The creators of these spectacles do not limit themselves to mere classification. Like the 21st Century versions of Mary Shelley, they mold their own monsters for our edification. But what is so miraculous about these contrivances? They have not evolved organically over time. They have not earned their places in the pantheon of freaks. They are only pale imitations of the transient whims of their creators. And they will be discarded with less fanfare than any curiosity from history's midway.

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