Occasionally I get asked by someone:
“Hey Khatz, you’re the most handsome guy in the world. I love your thighs. Do you want money for bling and hookers and blow? Sure, here you go. Hey, so, I was just wondering — I find my attention wandering when playing L2 media. I just can’t focus on the show! What should I do?!”
Hearing these earnest questions, I look off into the distance (up and to the right), stroke my scraggly transman beard, squint my eyes pensively and then say this:
Screw paying attention. You’re paying time. You paid money for the media (or at least for the hardware that plays it har har har). And now you’re supposed to pay attention, too? No. It’s the media’s job to get and hold your interest. You did everything: you selected; you paid; you set up; you even initiated (i.e. pushed “play” or opened the book). It can’t just lie there while you do all the work. It has to earn its keep. You’ve done your part. Now it’s the media’s turn. If you’re having trouble watching that show, it’s not because you’re a bad person, it’s because that show isn’t interesting enough.
And, yes, it may well be that you need more background knowledge, more skill in the language, but the solution is not to suffer — the solution is to change the show (or your approach and attitude toward it). You don’t berate a seven-year-old for not understanding the political humor in Murphy Brown or the adult social humor in Curb Your Enthusiasm or the rather brazen sexuality of the character Flash in Blackadder 1 or the thinly veiled penis jokes in Shrek, do you? No, you either:
- Change the channel (and trust that he’ll appreciate these things later), or:
- Let the child enjoy it at his level, in his way (and trust that he’ll appreciate these things later)
So, with those two things in mind, I want you to remember that:
- It’s not your fault that that show isn’t interesting. That’s fine. Switch it up. And,
- It’s OK that you enjoy the show for childish, superficial, visual, visceral reasons like the pretty colors or the explosions or the chicks or the way certain guys sound when they talk.
In principle, assume that your attention to a show should be drawn in, not given. The story’s slightly different with books, but even here, the same basic idea applies. There are some specific AJATT techniques for making reading fun (even when you still suck at it) that right now only people in SilverSpoon/Neutrino know about; I might share some of these with a wider audience in future.
So, yeah, anyway, that’s all I’ve got to say for now. I don’t want this to go on too long because only lame people do long blog posts oh wait. So remember the media rules:
- You pick
- You pay
- You play
- Media entertains 2
- SRS in the darkness binds them
First three steps are you acting on the media. The fourth is the media acting on you 3. The last is the SRS acting as glue, making all the pieces stick together — to you, to your memory. If you wanna pay attention, then pay attention during your SRS reps. The rest of the time, let the media pamper you. You are the king and your DVDs are your court jesters. We don’t work to improve ourselves for our jesters: we change jesters.
- When I was a kid, I thought he was just…I dunno, hyper. I loved Flash and his shenanigans had me laughing a lot, but for all the wrong reasons. Actually, at the time, Baldrick was my favorite character of them all because poor hygiene and fart jokes were violently amusing to me as a five-year-old. But, yeah, now, as an adult, Baldrick just grosses me out and I could kinda do without him; Queenie’s way better. ↩
- Media gets you used to the sounds, usage, cadences, prosody of the language. Media works it (the shaft?); you enjoy the ride. ↩
- Hey! Fourth step, Fourth Estate! Aren’t I clever 🙂 ?! ↩