Treasure Island

Jonathan ROBIN

(22 September / London)

Pandora's Box Unlocks


With spendthrift public to purchases wed,
privacy's threatened, it can't be gainsaid.
Consumer protection is often misled
by headlines enticing and small print widespread.
Set in strip lighting, or spoken, or read,
through radio, T.V., blog broadcast in bed.
Nor ever has Internet, spammed, been immune:
text message recording slick slogan, sick tune.
Printed in poly-chrome over our head,
in so many senses, for senseless fathead,
jam over jammed airwaves judiciously spread
from high ultra-violet to low infra-red,
pasted on posters in blue, black, or red,
advertisement squares all our savings have bled.
One thing is certain, publicity space
cuts attention spans sharply though leaving slight trace
indelible on the collective consciousness:
cock and bull puts Johns Bull, Doe in a pretty mess.

The first time I set eyes on a monochrome screen
was for Coronation of England's fair Queen,
room packed by the neighbours drawn from far and wide,
sardines in tight tin scarce a space left inside.
Six decades speed up, accelerate flow,
since then from rare novelty witness screens grow
from square box extended to tri-di to send spy
subliminal messages flashed without end,
tempting, preempting with total immersion,
leeway restricted - complaints are subversion.
Pros and cons weighed in an unbiased way
exceptions to rules prove, by night and by day.
Sense of proportion - holistic observer -
is rare as a dodo upon Cisco server.

Insight is blackout as trite déjà vu
completes tweaked picture for bland ingenue,
disinformation, imbalance, political whip,
the tip of an iceberg, see sense jumping ship.
Surrepticious and blatant rank rumour sin pours
en masse on the masses, seeps through skin deep pores.
Increasing pollution appears to be lot
of Public Mission with both words forgot.

Discussion's difficult dealing with 'box'
drawing down all its influence unlocks:
News has gone global, is shown real time,
here sights of disaster, there peaks men may climb.
Converging technologies fast piggy-back
from world wide web which 'the truth' love to hack,
evangelical waves stream with See pre-defined
incessant intrude on all senses, remind
information ink links into manipulation
reporting decisions remaining untaken
as fact. Fiction - arsenal of mass destruction -
invasions has justified, verbal seduction
rarely conducive to true debt reduction.
With hindsight one asks: universal delusion
seems caused by acceptance of chronic confusion
by many who just tag along with the herd
though in their own ways, too, demand to be heard.

This essay could well continue till each cow
returns from distant pastures, till the plough
is stored in shed while farmer sleeps betimes
to help heroic couplets' spinning rhymes.
Net arguments both pro and con should be
well integrated as convergency
of multimedia, cinema, and web,
3.D., H.D., and acronyms that ebb
and flow as progress further progress seeds,
cement strange building blocks as Man succeeds
so fast to knit together wherewithal
preparing groundwork for new ball game. All
should be aware acceleration rings
the subtle changes innovation brings
in myelin sheath pathways will combine
to double brain use, thereby undermine
traditional definitions as frontiers
that separate machine and mind fall. Fears,
as yet instinctive more substantive may
induce aggression from those cut from pay
by unemployment's curse while pensions melt away.

Information saturation succeeds
in drawing in the crowds five hours a day
to kill extended time on crime, sport, play,
perhaps to compensate for empty mind
that dare not look to future nor behind,
but lives from day to day as series shower
debilitating plots that seem to flower
to fill the void most would avoid to fill
in ways that build rich character fulfilled.

Heroic couplets on the television
seem odd conveying theme, yet the decision
stems from the ways the human mind has grown
to integrate disinformation sown
as if quite part and parcel of their days
on Earth, to comfort loneliness. Displays
of wars abroad or terrorists at home
distract the brainless brains once wont to roam
from more important things, priorities
once held essential, now old-fashionned tease.

One can no longer speak on television
as media in itself without precision
that information channels multiplied
with much which borrows begs from other side,
as radio upon the Internet
cannot be severed from flash films, and yet
the question could perhaps be re-assessed:
will future influence be worst or best
when all is said and done, in fifty years
a fairer answer may with laughter, tears,
or some of each, an explanation offer
apart from that of draining public's coffer.
An overview essential seems to be
when broaching impact that stems from T.V.
upon our daily lives that seem to flee
from societal responsibility
as individual decision making
appears to be upon the point of breaking.

Submitted: Friday, September 06, 2013
Edited: Friday, September 06, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

For first verse see poem entitled Advertising
(12 April 2012 revised 6 September 2013)

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