But take that away, and I was kind of dumbfounded. It turns out that -- at least for me -- having a conversation without that sort of catalyst was hard. It took practice. And a whole lot of apologizing to my friends for the lack of Schwarzenegger.
I Found Out That I Can Only Care About So Many Things
Years ago, our very own David Wong wrote a column about the Monkeysphere (otherwise known as Dunbar's number), a sociological theory which suggests there's a cognitive limit to the number of people you can give a shit about.
Sure, its primary application is to apply boundaries to human empathy and ask whether humanity is truly capable of helping one another on a grander scheme, but it's much more applicable to the CW show Supernatural. At one point, it was at the core of my pop culture fandom. As new and much better entertainment options entered my view, they naturally pushed Supernatural onto the outer rim of my capacity to give a shit about the adventures of two handsome denim models fighting ghosts for an eighth season that I'm now just watching out of sheer obligation.
The time I used to invest into caring about the Brett Thunderscrotum, P.I. urban fantasy book series was split with the Sargent Nazi Killer comic book series, which might be naturally phased out of my attention by a freshly discovered, riveting NPR podcast in which a guy from Brooklyn invades the life of some random guy from the South like he just discovered a new Amazonian tribe.
My attention span's reach used to be huge. Now, it's about the size of a Jamie Kennedy support rally. For me, that's a good thing. It means I can take my time and let a select few pieces of entertainment sink in. I can allow them to affect me. I can parse their plot points and empathize more deeply with their characters, rather than immediately rush off to the next distraction which I have about as much interest in as the credit sequence.
Look, I'm not telling you to give up pop culture or to take a shit in your PlayStation. I'm not some angry old man who thinks people can't connect as humans because their phones are evil. And I'll be goddamned if I'm going to be that asshole who's like, "You kids need to go outside and experience real life!" Because fuck that guy. I'm saying that when I started filtering out the things I was consuming just to consume, the quality went way up. At least it did after a brief detox, working my way through Brett Thunderscrotum, P.I. withdrawal.
But, seriously, you should take a shit in your PlayStation. That would be hilarious.
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