doesn't it feel good to touch
January 31, 2012 10:22 AM   Subscribe

Slam poet Marshall Soulful Jones performs "Touchscreen".
posted by flex (11 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
So watching that on my iPhone makes me a bit of an asshole, right?
posted by Fizz at 10:25 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]

He needs more Lolcats.
posted by Decani at 10:27 AM on January 31, 2012

Loved it!
posted by distressingly thick sheets at 10:55 AM on January 31, 2012

I like the Facebook URL at the end. Poetic.
posted by Saddo at 10:57 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]

CynicalKnight and 4 others liked this
posted by CynicalKnight at 10:59 AM on January 31, 2012

Before even watching I knew what the "angle" would be and sure enough:

"Technology actually makes us feel *more* disconnected!"

The reason I knew that's what he would say is that it's a stock "insight" - it sounds good, even if it's not observably true for anyone who gives it a little thought. if Facebook's terms of use explicitly forbid people from socializing in real life as well as online he might be on to something but as it stands, no.

I give him a pass because he's young, and probably not saying this as cynically as adults (Hi, Miranda July!) do. But it's just scoring points off fear and misunderstanding of the new, which is as old as the hills.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:25 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]

I really enjoy slam poetry, but some of the posturing that goes on when it comes to culture is annoying: they set up a dichotomy between a fundamental real life/culture/whatever versus a degenerate caricature. The latter is usually based on sound problems -- for example, most of the young kids and tech-saavy colleagues I interact with are perpetually half-immersed in and tethered to their smartphones. The problem is the translation into the slam poetry format where relatively minor issues are delivered as passionate calls-to-arms which degrade into luddite or holier-than-thou finger-wagging, even if that's not the intention. This person, for example, obviously cares about how we interact with each other, and how we use technology as an excuse to escape, but he blames the technology (or rather the love of technology) instead of focusing on the core issue. There's a reason people envelope themselves in technology, so why not focus on that? Fifty bucks says the causes are as old as the hills.
posted by spiderskull at 1:29 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]

posted by Twang at 1:48 PM on January 31, 2012

I didn't perceive this as a straightforward "technology sux amirite?" The poet would have to be amazingly lacking in self-awareness to write and perform a piece about "technology disconnects us!" and... post the video of it to YouTube... and close that video with a link to his Facebook profile.

He says right in the piece (paraphasing) "if I have 3000 friends online and only 5 in real life then why wouldn't I spend my time where people "like" me?" which speaks to me as a fairly nuanced take. We have this technology that is disconnecting compared to how humans have lived up until now, but we use it so much to connect to each other, that impulse is being transformed and it's a new way to think and live. A large part of my life revolves around talking to people online, about portraying my life online - a large part of *me* is shaped by and reflected through my life online. This is hard to describe to other people - I've had years and years to think about this. But for a lot of people I know, say, for instance, my parents, it's more about being caught up in their smartphones and Facebook, I don't know that they've thought too deeply about how it's shaping their "IRL", that it's part of their IRL.

Anyway, the wordplay and the hand/body actions on this one really drew me in. I thought it was an engaging performance.
posted by flex at 1:59 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]

I know Soulful. He's a good dude and a talented writer. Glad to see him show up in the Blue.
posted by eustacescrubb at 2:13 PM on January 31, 2012

Also: Soulful has other really amazing poems - check out "Scars" - a persona poem as Heath Ledger-as-the-Joker.

Here's John Leguizamo praising Soulful's performance of "Scars"
posted by eustacescrubb at 2:21 PM on January 31, 2012

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