Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Extreme definition

We're in Evanston, where we went to a movie -- something we haven't done at home since last September. At the ticket counter, we were told that the showing at the time we'd selected would be in XD (Extreme Definition). "Better sound, sharper images, leather seats." (Leather seats?!) And twice the price, I should add. We were about to turn the tickets in, but decided that we'd try it once. But we didn't last past the 4th preview.

XD actually means Extremely Deafening. Even with fingers stuffed into my ears, I couldn't stand the volume. A shock of bright images and repeated, rapid movements coming from all directions made me queasy and dizzy. My nervous system felt assaulted. J didn't fare much better. We left.

We returned for a different showing of the movie (Inception), without the extremes. That was better, though both of us closed our eyes during the Big Bad Gun shootings and constant explosions, neither of which were advertised in the movie synopsis. Much of the acting, at least, was fine. But the story seemed silly, and the ending predictable. One teen behind us, after the show was over, joked, "Where am I?"

I enjoy viewing films on the big screen, but it's a highly unpleasant experience to sit through half a dozen excessively loud, boring, or offensive previews, and then watch the violence at which (apparently) much of our culture doesn't bat an eye. And we think this explains, in part, why so many people are losing their hearing while they're still young.


Blogger Castanea_d said...

You are right about the early-onset hearing loss. My niece, whom I love, is barely thirty, and she is as deaf as I am. She is typical of her generation. Attention span is another casualty. I have worked with young people who, despite taking their ADHD medications, are unable to focus on anything for more than a few seconds. It makes me very sad.

The implications for liturgy are obvious, if we are to design it with an eye to the culture. Every Sunday must be bigger, better, and louder than the last. There must constantly be more for the eye to see, for all the senses to experience, with rapid-fire stimuli coming from all directions. And it must be different, or at least louder and brighter, than ever before.

In my experience (and I think yours, recalling a sermon that I think was yours), children who grow up in this atmosphere do not have any interest in nature. It is boring. Whatever they are playing on their electronic device is louder, faster, brighter, more colorful.

The trouble is that none of this is real.

In liturgy, we seek to interact with a God who is most decidedly real. It is hard to do so when most of what we use in the liturgy is fake, from pre-recorded music to colorful flashing graphics on the multiple video screens.

And, somewhere along the line, Real Life will interrupt our electronic fantasies.

11:26 AM  

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