Monday, August 04, 2008

Techno-Zombies and Live Debuts

Last week I finally managed to make my on-air debut on the Cafe. It took an important topic like zombies to coax me out of my comfort zone in the control room and in front of a battery of live video cameras. So I celebrated by flubbing a camera transition and screwing up at least one major line, but at least the hour I spent shining the top of my head with car wax really paid off.

A couple of initial observations from the experience:

1. It is extremely quiet on a live TV set.
2. My head is really, really shiny on TV.
3. It is EXTREMELY quiet on a live TV set.

I'm planning on making this an every Friday gig, but I need to come up with a name for the thing (like News Omelette or Catch of the Day). So far the best idea I've had is "Morning Yogurt: A little fruit, a bunch of nuts, and a whole lotta culture", but I can't use that for obvious reasons.

Here's the clip:

Original text:

Good morning, today I'd like to take a moment to talk to you about zombies. Now, I won’t be talking about the cool flesh-eating kind of zombies that were immortalized in George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead", at least not today.

No, the kind of zombies I'm referring to are the elements of our popular culture that are, according to, "dead but don't know it". Things we know and love that are becoming obsolete as they are replaced by new and innovative technologies. Among them, Cracked lists the phone book…newspapers...mp3 players…even cold, hard cash.

Now, I don't entirely disagree with the cracked editorial staff as they sound the death knell for our aging technologies, but I do think it's sad. And it may not be wise. Phone books may be little more than landfill fodder these days, and maybe my online news comes faster than the daily fish wrap, but I’m not ready to turn over all my reference needs to a temperamental Internet connection. Downloading all of Neil Diamond's music onto my cell phone in convenient mp3 format may be cool and edgy, but it doesn't replace the thrill of opening up the high-quality packaging of my comprehensive three-disc boxed set and weeping playing "Love on the Rocks" plays quietly by a crackling fire. Technology may give us convenience, but it often robs us of the experience. Getting cash in a birthday card will always be more fun than a direct deposit.

I guess my point is that while it is important for us to continue to develop our new technologies, we shouldn't be too quick to dismiss the old reliables they're replacing. Modern society may want to turn us into a network of bandwidth-swallowing free-floating brains connected by our ethernet cables, but just because we have the technology doesn't mean we should always use it. Just because we can clone Richard Simmons doesn't mean we should.

In a busy world, there's certainly nothing wrong with holding onto a few zombies every once in a while. In fact, it might be the best thing for us.