The world’s a racecar, but life is better when we take it slow
Over the past year, millions of film buffs have spent countless hours squinting at blurry, distant shots of stars in assorted rubber outfits with the hope of being the first to declare a film they won’t see for several months a failure.
They sort through plot leaks, casting news, online debates over feline ears and heated discussions about how Russell Crowe’s jelly belly will affect his performance as Superman’s dad. Movies today are assembled in online forums by clever pseudonyms and ironic avatars long before the sets are even built.
The magic has always been in the finished product. When publicists and opportunistic assistants hurl unpolished stills across cyberspace, they permanently damage the illusion.
Long ago, we would allow our jaws to momentarily drop as we watched a movie for the first time. Only when the spectacle had faded and shiny new things had begun jostling for screen space would we even consider watching a “making of” featurette.
Today, we click through galleries of Hugh Jackman bulking up, read leaked script samples as directors wrestle with rewrites and listen to fanboys bicker over slight costume changes.
Photos of weird props and odd bits continually emerge, fuelling speculation about possible scenes and twists. Everyone wants to poke and prod the rabbit months before it even enters the hat.
Even the most original of films can seem flat and uninspired after months of spoilers and scrutiny. Cinemas are filled with fidgety children who delight in hissing about green screens, alternate endings and sequel rumours.
As the score soars and the tears pool and the crescendo approaches, some idiot will loudly open a fresh packet of Twisties, turn to his girlfriend and casually say: “He dies here. It’s in the comic.”
Everyone has to know, instantly, always. It’s the product of a hyper-connected and ever-accelerating world.
You can feel it at checkouts, parking lots, bus stops and online gardening forums. Even the speed of light was too slow for those who recently clapped their hands and tinkered with physics itself while shouting “Faster! Faster!”
As the world speeds up, impatience grows. In an age where tweets travel faster than sound, half a second can mean the difference between passivity and rage. Stalled loading bars infuriate the level-headed, while error messages reduce grown men to teeth-clenching toddlers.
And so we find ourselves unable to sit and be still. Conditioned and spoiled by faster internet connections, we’ve become accustomed to shaving seconds off every activity - banking, searching, shopping, sharing. And, for the most part, it’s a wonderful thing.
On some occasions, however, we confuse necessity with laziness. Visa’s PayWave service and Google Wallet, for example, are recent signs that we are slowly “evolving” into semi-sentient towers of uncooked dough.
Who are these people who can’t find the time to type four numbers? How long can that possibly take? Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. It’s not a violin solo.
Do their brains have such contempt for their index fingers that it refuses to fire even four quick pulses through their chest and down the length of their arm?
Are they too good for their opposable thumbs? After all those times they helped them pry open jars of marinated fetta and navigate Gossip Girl DVD menus, they can’t even let them enter a simple four-digit code?
By worshipping the fast we forget the satisfaction that comes at the end of the slow. Watching the villain escape the hero’s final efforts on the big screen - polished and as intended - will always be infinitely more satisfying than reading it in a leaked synopsis.
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