iPod Philosophy?

I had avoided owning an iPod up until recently.  With the new iMac, it just seemed a shame not to entirely sell my soul to Apple...

There are a lot of music singles I enjoy, but would never purchase the entire albums they come from.  Snoop Dogg has a few classics.  So does Lil' Kim.  I've never been a big fan of Jay-Z, but "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" is brilliant (clearly I have a genre-preference, judge me if you want).

Here's what concerns me: many of my favorite songs from my favorite bands and artists are not the singles, and definitely not the songs that appealed to me most at first listen.  It's the songs that took two, three, maybe five or six listens that really stick.  That's because there's a difference between brilliant music, and "ear candy."  The iTunes I downloaded one single at-a-time are ear candy.  My favorites from Depeche Mode, Erasure, Rufus Wainwright and others are the former.  Subtle, complex, and brilliant.

As a culture, are we living for "ear candy?"  Not just in music, and not just in entertainment, but in our day-to-day lives?  We pick and choose the bits and pieces that are the "tastiest."  The quickest sugar-high.  Or buzz.  From the books we read to the churches we attend, the friendships we cultivate to the romances we've sought.  It's convicting.  Where's your attention?  How do you spend your time?  Where does your money go?  Oh no!  Where is my money going?! 

Do we have any tolerance for delayed gratification?  Listening to an entire album without skipping ahead to the top-40 single?  Reading a whole book through instead of skipping to the one chapter with a title that captures our attention?  Going to a church with a pastor who isn't as dynamic or captivating as T.D. Jakes or Rick Warren or *gulp* Joel Osteen?  Where do you get tripped up?  

Maybe it's nothing new.  David Brooks' fabulous book On Paradise Drive argues that Americans have always been viewed (from the outside) as the "bimbos of the world."  But I think we're getting worse.  Or maybe I'm getting worse.

Getting bored now.  I'm going to "skip ahead" to the next post...

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