In a world of social distancing, our smartphones are now a frenemy. We need it for mediated connection and boredom, but abhor its mechanical countenance. In parts of the world, interpersonal communication is making technology compliant.
Collectivist romantic cultures are finding music as a way to participate in communication exchanges during the COVID19 pandemic. Singing off balconies, trumpeting in a fire truck bucket 50 feet in the air, guitar solos amplified across town squares, groups of people are choosing to communicate face-to-face. In countries like Brazil and Italy, music blaring and balcony parties are a culturally acceptable means of communication, this global crisis has revealed.
In an individualistic Technopoly (Postman, 1993), like the United States, it’s often unacceptable to publicly share a loud message regardless of how uplifting, beautiful, and communicative it may be. Americans have resorted to sidewalk chalk
messages and zoom meetings in this crisis. Marshall McLuhan once said, “We become what we see. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.” As Americans are we so “shaped” into technology we can’t break free from it to play music off a balcony even during an unprecedented health threat? Apparently not. Collectivist romantic cultures have capitalized on their “tools” by not just being human entertainment but by creating an emotional engagement with an audience through music.
We’re witnessing an ecological reversal of colossal magnitude. A societal revenge effect is already in motion. Emotional connections are now a premium where technology is a commodity.