THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Dr. Cheryl Pappas Headshot

Wake Up, Oscar Meyer!

Posted: Updated:

Alec Baldwin is the epitome of modern.
He is brilliant, using his celebrity opportunity to express and appear everywhere doing just about anything that grabs him.
This spans all mediums, it turns out, because he is one talented dude.
What could be more modern than grabbing the public relations gold?
The historic infamy of his recorded phone message to his daughter where he called her a "pig" has been brilliantly replaced with golden goodness and bonhomie.

AMC film presenter and analyst, classical music radio host, television's 30 Rock, actor on Broadway and films, as in the latest, unreleased Woody Allen movie, Capital One credit card commercials, philanthropy, and charismatic guest appearances on numerous talk shows. The rumor of his running for Anthony Weiner's theoretically lost New York job only adds to Baldwin's public flirtation of a political career ahead.
I love his personality. He is a wonderful raconteur, a passionate political advocate, and it would be no surprise to see him throwing his hat in a ring for political office in the near future.
But enough about Alec Baldwin's career.

His current Huffington Post blog, Anthony Weiner is a Modern Human Being, is a thoughtful, measured message outlining the realities of how we live through social media and how Weiner is enacting how masses of people live and conduct affairs right now.
This is modern life, baby, and that's all there is to it. We used to meet and hang out over candlelit wine and pasta, but no more.
He makes a fair point, but here's what is missing in the discussion.

The question is: What is this modern human we are asked to accept?
What kind of modern are we?

The media rolls out the accoutrement of current modern social life, introducing every new version of hand-held social technology as a definitive, unquestioned fait acompli.

They are in effect sales reps for our growing virtual lifestyle.
Nobody is passionately asking any questions, alongside the exclamation point demonstrations on Good Morning America, the Today show, et al, discussing what the new arrivals mean for the way we socialize, have sex, love, and connect with one another.

Baldwin spells this out but nowhere is there true talk, debate, dialogue asking serious questions about what is constantly lost (apart from real dates involving red wine and spaghetti).

Is it too late to discuss?
Is there too much money involved in the rapid roll-out of increasing virtualosity?
Perhaps people are too overwhelmed and distracted by the disease commercials under pharmaceutical cover that are book-ended by these televised technological promotions.

In France recently, I took note of how television there announces commercials by displaying the word "promotion" leading into them.
In other words, these are actors talking about diseases you may get and medications you might try. In France, it is hard to find such a drug commercial. Even shampoo is sold by announcing it is a televised "promotion."
So we see that television news presents the new technologies and promotes them at the same time.
Where is the responsible analysis that I believe belongs side-by-side with these promotional segments, where we hear about the other side of social technologies?

To Alec Baldwin I say, good job, but only the beginning discussion about whether we want this kind of modern human to define our way of living.
The burning questions are: what kind of modern are we? and who do we want to be?
How do we want to live?
A little audience participation on the matter, please.
What do you think?

And about Anthony what's-his-name. Wake up Oscar Meyer, it's your electric promotional moment!