A Backdrop of Noise

Every few weeks I find myself reflecting on just how much media and pop culture I consume.

Once in a while I make a list of all the TV programs I watch on a weekly basis. It is a very, very long list.

If you love me, stop reading here.

Last week, for example (in alpha order):

Alphas
Against the Wall
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Awkward
Breaking Bad
Burn Notice
Closer, The
Combat Hospital
Conan (x2 – I only watch Conan on my day’s off)
Covert Affairs
Daily Show with Jon Stewart (x5)
Eureka
Falling Skies
Franklin & Bash
Futurama
Glades, The
Hanasaku Iroha (anime)
Hell’s Kitchen (x2)
In Plain Sight
Leverage
Louie
Masterchef (x2)
Necessary Roughness
Next Food Network Star
Nine Lives of Chloe King, The
Real Time with Bill Maher
Rizzoli & Isles
Rookie Blue
Royal Pains
Suits
Teen Wolf
The Protector
Thundercats
Tiger & Bunny (anime)
Top Gear
Torchwood
True Blood
Warehouse 13
Weeds
White Collar
Whites
Wilfred

I know I’m going to be judged for some of those.

Accounting for commercials (which I mute or skip), that’s roughly 1,800 minutes of regular television a week (I say ‘regular’ because in any given week, I may add to the list. For example, I’ve been catching up on Fringe the last few weeks).

30 hours.

That’s a bit of a staggering number, isn’t it? And none of those were repeats – all new content. And this is a week in the summer – most of the networks save the good stuff for the Fall and Spring seasons.

But now let’s take it a bit farther and factor in a few other thing.

Like podcasts. I regularly listen to 6 podcasts (which I’ll probably discuss singularly in a later post), usually on the way to/from work or in the gym. That comes out to roughly another 8 hours.

And video games. Actually, according to Steam, that’s only another 6 hours. I don’t play as many video games as I used to.

What about reading (books/manga/comic books/graphic novels)? It’s hard to quantify reading into a time total. So I timed myself last week. About another 10 hours.

So we’re at 54 hours of media consumption in a week. That’s 2.25 DAYS! A third of the week!

Not including the internet.

Or the fact that I almost always have music/radio/news playing in the background whether at home or work. Or watch movies.

Ooooooh shit.

I literally spend more time a week consuming than I do sleeping.

Media is a passion. A driving force. Possibly an addiction (it has essentially become a stimulant in my life. I almost never consume caffeine anymore). But it’s more than that. The vast majority of social interactions I conduct in a regular person-to-person manner revolve around media. “Hey, you see that video of the kitten?” or “I can’t believe that’s Hathaway’s Catwoman outfit” or “Why the hell is Superman in friggin’ Coveralls?!”  etc. etc. etc. I go to conventions. 5 in the last year or so. That’s not as many as some of my friends, but I’d go to more if I could.

But while I’m pretty obviously on the extreme end of the scale, I’m not even really on the cutting edge. Between the Wii, the Move, and the Kinect, physical interaction is all the rage in video games. The iPad and Kindle lay an entire library at your fingertips (I still demand actual paper in my books). Augmented Reality is quickly becoming a viable product. You can pilot an aircraft from your cell phone while Google tries to do away with the driver completely.

And that’s right now. Can you even conceive of what we’ll be plugged into 10 years down the road?

The possibilities are so vast that I’m simultaneously thrilled and quivering in abject terror (timeshare a cabin in Montana anyone? Or maybe one of those abandoned Arizona missile silos?). Sooner or later we’re going to end up merging with our media platforms. You know the technology is coming. We’re going to become media.

I’m not the only one that sees it coming.

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