David Gilmour - Random Man on a BeachYup. A young woman took a photo of David Gilmour on the beach, and posted it to Instagram as her “photo of a random man & his dog”. Needless to say, folks are giving her a hard time about it. But I’m sympathetic. It’s a different world. From what I’ve seen from most young people today, they could meet the current vice president of the United States, and not have any idea who he is. Now, this is not a knock on the young, or some old guy shaking his cane at the creeping irrelevancy of aged. This is an observation of a cultural shift, embedded within our obsessions with electronic media and the cult of NOW.

I believe we’ve become a pin-hole society. In today’s culture we focus our attention on vary narrow slices of the spectrum, and don’t bother to even touch upon anything that isn’t directly related to our interests. The reason we are, generally speaking, so easily manipulated is that we’re all jostling about staring down at our cellphones and tablets, while smarter, more aware people are quietly herding us down preconfigured cattle chutes toward one end or another. No one looks up anymore. No one looks around them anymore.

Sadly, that means we miss huge bits of the wonderful world around us. It means we can pass one of the most famous musicians on the planet on a beach and not have any clue who he is. Yeah. If you don’t fill your mind with information, and at least check in, a stunning moment of realizing you’re on a beach standing very near David Gilmour becomes nothing more than a self-congratulatory moment based on the cool photo you took of “a random man & his dog”. I can’t think of a more apt metaphor for the vapidness and lack of depth of our collective culture.

David Gilmour by Joel Ryan via AP

The random man, David Gilmour (Joel Ryan/AP)