(The following article contains some broad generalisations and misplaced anger at Joey Essex. We’ve never met, but he seems like a nice guy.)
Yesterday marked the passing of arguably the most intelligent man to have lived in our time. Sir Stephen Hawking, celebrated physicist passed away at the incredible age of seventy-six. It’s unbelievable because when he was in his twenties, doctors estimated that he would only live for another two years. He continued to amaze us with his incredible intelligence for the next fifty years. And all this was made possible by advancements in medicine made by some other incredibly intelligent people.
And yet we don’t idolise these incredible thinkers. We don’t revere the doctors, the authors, the poets, the scientists or the humanitarians of our generation or even the last.
Why is this?
Because we’re too busy celebrating idiocy. People revel in reality TV shows where there seems to be some kind of race to be the biggest idiot. We’re so engrossed in the latest Love Island, The Only Way is Essex, The Jersey Shore and whatever the next show will be.
But why? Why do we watch this rubbish instead of delving into some great piece of literature of an evening?
People are lazier than ever before
Some might say because watching Joey Essex go on about salty potatoes (Ready Salted crisps?) is far easier than sitting down to read War and Peace. And, to be fair, they’d be right. You can watch such a multitude of shit on TV nowadays yet no-one is asking whether we should. We idolise these people because look at the life they lead! Drink, Money, Sex and fun with not a brain cell to rub together between them and they make it look so easy! In a world of instant gratification that has become more appealing than working hard at something difficult for years and years with little to no physical sign of success. These reality stars seem to become rich and famous overnight and with an ever-growing importance on material things, who wouldn’t envy them?
Nobody wants to work for anything anymore!
Everyone wants everything handed to them on a silver platter!
It’s them damn millennials!
(Pause for effect)
People are working harder than ever before
Or is it because as a society, we are now working longer and longer hours than we have ever worked before. Gone are the days of the standard 9–5 and yet most people will continue to check work emails long after they’ve left the office for the day. A friend recently told me a story about how she was berated by her boss for not replying to an email he had sent her. The email in question was sent at around 9 pm and she hadn’t been told to expect this work to be sent over. But still, her boss expected his demands to be actioned by 9 am the next morning. Now this may be out of the ordinary, I can’t imagine most bosses being this unreasonable, but I’d be willing to bet my copy of war and peace (look, I’m never going to read it either, ok) that this scenario is not too far removed from a lot of people’s work-life balance. People are working around the clock, and honestly, I think that they need to power down their brain into energy saving mode because they’re so fried from every other aspect of their life! Not many people will want to work a 60 hour week and read war and peace in their free time. (Please, somebody take it from me.)
So yes, we sit and watch the same old rubbish on the television because it’s comfortable. There’s a reason that I’m currently rewatching Scrubs for the four hundredth time, and it’s not to become proficient in basic surgical procedures. We want to feel better about our lives and what better way than to watch a bunch of idiots cavort about from the comfort of your living room. Newsflash — people don’t watch The Apprentice for a masterclass on how to be the best business person ever.
So yes we should all strive to read more, to learn more, to broaden our minds but sometimes you’ve just got to give yourself that well-deserved break from the pressures of modern life.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a book to go list on eBay. Think of the postage and packaging on that bad boy…