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I enjoy Anil Dash’s commentary. His background diverges significantly with mine; he provides me food for thought. His writing challenges the way I see the world. Sometimes with rather profound topics; though, today, he looks at the mundane world of cinema. More specifically, the cultural variation regarding the act of viewing. Read: “SHUSHERS: WRONG ABOUT MOVIES. WRONG ABOUT THE WORLD.

Ok, I assume you finished reading. So, full disclosure, I come out of cultural world of the “shushers”. My norms dictate quiet, church-esque near reverence during cinematic experiences. Mr. Dash’s essay, though, reminds me (with a delightful wit, IMHO) that my view is one built through ONE cultural lens. Not the only one, not the right one, just one. That varying from my norm doesn’t impart inferiority, lower class-ness; simply difference.

I finished with thoughts of “how do we, in this global culture, navigate these differences without clashing too painfully?” Reading some of the comments reinforces that point. It’s very hard for us to break free of our underlying cultural upbringing and see the “other” in a balanced, respectful way. I expect this will be a continuing aggravation to an embracing, diverse and peacefully co-existing society.

On a regular basis, I get hit with complaints that I didn’t respond to a message. “I left a message with you 10 minutes ago. Why haven’t your replied?” I get hit with this in all sincerity and, sometimes, with angry vigor. Another colleague was lamenting to me that they’d sent several emails and left several voicemails that morning and were ANGRY that the hadn’t heard back. She was a bit taken back when I pointed out that this person has 100s of clients and is extremely over-worked, and that I was certain there was no insult meant by her less-timely response. 

I think that this stems from our always-on world. Email, texts, etc, come fast; we have nearly instantaneous communication. We get answers from Google/Bing instantly. We are accustomed to immediate response. So, waiting even several minutes feels unreasonable.

I notice, though, that when people are drawn out of themselves, raising their focus, they easily see the bigger picture. They see that I really can’t respond instantly to each of the 100 some odd emails I get in a day. And that taking some time to respond isn’t disrespectful.  

Perhaps we need to just slow down. Perhaps we can. Perhaps….

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