Been on a bit of travel the last few weeks and that has caused a short blogging interlude over the last week.
During this time I’ve been doing a lot of driving lately–usually after a pretty good flight as well. I have found that it is all too easy in today’s world of social networking, individualized transportation, and air travel to go from one’s oasis of choice to the airport, to the hotel, and to one’s conference or job site without actually interacting with the people and things of the locale. There is something of a dysfunctional Accidental Tourist vibe to it all that contributes, I believe, to making it too easy to be inure to the economic struggles and otherwise more commonplace realities of our fellow citizens.
Our advances in information systems have increased alienation in many ways, which is hard enough to overcome given the limitations of our perceptions, and we see the dysfunction caused by this condition: from the ability of people with money, power, and influence, to mold the perception of reality in the face of the facts; the proliferation of elaborate conspiracy theories; the denial of science and empiricism; and the brazenly public advocacy of solipsistic and sociopathic ideologies that harden us to the misfortune of others.
This lack of connectedness, however, is remedied by a good road trip, even if one that is dictated by necessity. Thus thrown into the real world, my virtual traveling companion includes the recordings of Steve Earle. His latest album “The Low Highway” was released last year and I find myself coming back to it often, my virtual narrator pointing out the details that I would have missed otherwise. Earle is probably the most important chronicler of the American condition in our time–our hopes, dreams, and those that have been lost–of no less importance to our national conversation than Woody Guthrie and Peter Seeger were to their own generations.
Here he is performing ‘The Low Highway.”