Radiohead, Technology, and Community

Very interesting article on Radiohead’s anxiety about technology and the human longing for community.  A couple quotes:

In their lyrics, they express a deep angst and anxiety. There’s a brooding rage—something that wants to push back and rebel, but the enemy in Radiohead’s music is often too vast. Hannah Arendt predicted this situation when she talked about the inevitable rise of mass culture. Marva Dawn and Jacques Ellul describe it as a cultural milieu. It’s the faceless forward motion of “progress.” Each step—mobile phones, internet access, email, smartphones, digital cable, credit and debit cards—comes in the name of convenience, but brings with it something that depersonalizes the world, intrudes on our time, and smells a little bit like death…

There’s also something beautiful. There’s a longing for a personal connection. The fake plastic exterior of the world around is worthy of lament because it hides all that’s human, and it shields us from actually connecting with one another… In the midst of a dehumanized society, all of our efforts at connection—social media and mobile technology—actually cause us to be more insular.

Cosper’s conclusion:

If we allow ourselves to notice what Radiohead notices, we’ll see that behind the grinning faces on Facebook, the cheery updates on Twitter, the Sunday smiles, and the happy coworkers are human souls who feel cramped by the world around them, hemmed in by technology and noise, and desperate for someone to set them free.

Read the whole article here.

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