Neuro-Consciousness Focus Group Part 2: Girl Talk

In sort of an odd twist of fate, my good friend Alex got me a ticket to see Girl Talk last night at Terminal 5 and we went with his wife and a few friends. If you haven't heard of Girl Talk, it's a DJ who does a lot of mashing - take a hook from a Nine Inch Nails song and play it alongside Kelly Clarkson's "Since You Been Gone." Quite a sweet spot for drunken, 20-something hipsters. It's pure marketing genius really - it's going to be a while before those little lab rats stop hitting that lever.

A few posts ago I discussed frame shifting in the context of listening to over a thousand 15-second snippets of music for a focus group. Girl Talk effectively re-created that experience, except it was far more fun and clever. What's funny is that you spend half the time either dancing (Alex and Karen) or staring blankly into space wondering what song that beat playing under the Van Halen riff comes from (Kevin, Gabe, and Micah). Once you figure it out, you continually crave the mental act of dissecting the "songs."

We went for a drink after the show and my friend Oliver was frustrated with the song playing at the bar. Not realizing he was joking, I asked why he didn't like it. "It won't change! And it's not mashed up with anything!"

We are the generation of frame shifters. Somehow I think that doesn't apply to me, but as I write this post, I have four different instant message conversations going on, a few emails I'm responding to, some very heavy texting, and the occasional phone call. The characters, relationships, and plot are all totally different in each, yet I'm effortlessly and obsessively switching between them at lightning speed. In fact, when a few of the conversations begin to slow I get tense as if I'm not stimulated enough.

I guess this is what the future tastes like. Sometimes I worry that I've gotten too good at compartmentalizing my emotions. I'm having one conversation with a girl that just had a tough break up, and another with a friend recapping the prior evening's highlights. Is that disrespectful to my friend going through a tough time? On occasion I feel guilty when that happens. Is there a dark side to all this frame shifting?

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