Can you count the stars in the sky, the grains of sand on a beach. Can you hear a voice in the infinite Sea of Words unleashed by an age of digits and silicon.
It is your right to be heard, and mine. In times gone by we stood on a box at Hyde Park Corner. Do they still stand there I wonder, are they listened to, admired.
Caxton it was or Johannes Gutenberg, who set the taps running. Who began that drip which some hundreds of years later became a raging, stormed tossed ocean of opinion and doggerel, marketing and hype, nonsense and bigotry. And in places, but oh so rare, so hidden and covered by the surrounding detritus, the occasional light. Voice of reason. Beacon in a dark world.
Is the broadsheet still read? Published even? And if it is, does it have anything to say above the endless noise and wailing, the digital storm which surrounds us. Invades our homes, our lives.
Is the Times still read? The New Yorker, the Economist, the Daily Telegraph. Does the Wall Street Journal survive, the curious pink Financial Times.
And if they do, is it still printed I wonder. Is there still that smell of paper and ink, do those presses still roll throughout the night. Do the delivery trucks rush the morning press to the newsstands in the early hours.
They say the internet is a great leveler. That it gives a voice to all. But do you want to listen. And if you do, can you find that voice you want to hear.
WordPress and Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Medium even, that offspring of the commercial genii who brought Twitter spluttering to life.
Choice is important they say but survival perhaps more so. Who will save you from drowning in the Sea of Words.
For the most part survival means to switch off. To power down, to close Google for good and cease to participate in the digital storm threatening to engulf us all.
For there are no effective filters it seems. No magic search which commands “show me what I want to hear”. Bring me a voice of culture and sanity I want to listen to.
The flood gates have been opened, some say for good not ill. Take care lest you drown in a sea of inanity, irrelevance and banality. Do not slip and fall into this swollen river, this angry tide, this fast moving and ever changing flood of words.
Dip your toes in the raging flood if you will, but do not be surprised if your feet never touch firm ground again. If meaning becomes forever lost in a storm of noise and fury.