Progressive Place

Friday, November 04, 2005

I'm not a statistic, in all likelihood.


The stage is an angled sheet of graph paper. The people move in and out of demographic clusters, exploring the paradoxical inverse link between geographic dispersion and cultural uniformity.

In earlier times, we lived in crowded cities or villages. Our clustered demographic dots virtually atop each other, in cluttered and crowded tenements of diversity. A rich stew of diverse communities sharing space and little else.

The Melting Pot. Our angular identities dissolved into a lumpy sea that dispersed across the countryside. We increasingly tuned in to the same messages, bought the same houses, dreamed the same visions.

Now we've spread across the grid-- building, consuming, and discarding as we go. Flying past each other unseen behind the smoked glass of our lonely statistical SUV. Listening to 150 channels full of stories about characters who only seem different, until you line them up statistically, and see what a very small part of the chart they cover. And because they're really all alike, the constant din of their few narrow messages in our minds drowns and suffocates the teeming throng of characters and unique stories inside each of us.

Problem is, those characters don't like being suffocated and having their stories obliterated, and their senses opaqued behind smoked glass, and their limbs torn off to slip aerodynamically along the highway.

And they're getting angry.