The Paul Simon line in this headline is from a fairly obscure 1970 Simon & Garfunkel chestnut called “The Only Living Boy in New York.”
It’s a cute line, intended (I suppose) to express the singer/writer’s alienation from the mass-media culture that is engulfing him/us all the time. (Yes, I know — Simon’s title and the song’s main message is that he was peeved at his musical partner at the time.) The song came out in 1970, long before there was cable TV everywhere, 24/7 “news,” talk radio, mobile phones, tablets and the blessed, unspeakable Internet.
I understand what Simon meant. Here in 2013, 43 years later, the media threaten to drown us all in the never-ending noise and clutter.
Was life better back then, before the onslaught of “news,” “information” and general chatter?
I wonder. Yes, we are better informed now than ever before — and that’s a good thing, of course. But the quality of our news and information seems vastly inferior to what we got in simpler times.
It’s something to ponder for a moment. Just because there are more news outlets available, it doesn’t mean that things are better now.
Maybe we should have appreciated what we had in 1970, before the Internet, Facebook, Twitter and every other example of technological advancement emerged.
It’s hard sometimes just to get away from all of it. But it’s rewarding when you do.
Now I’m thinking of another nifty Paul Simon lyric: Slow down.You move too fast/You’ve got to make the morning last.”Those wise words come from a song known as “Feelin’ Groovy.”
It is not a song of alienation or angry social commentary. It celebrates the simple pleasures of getting away from the world for a little while. It helps even more today when we have so much media to fight through.