enculturating las vegas into the next millennium... art, dance, film, music, poetry, theater, history, nature and everything else that enriches the lives of those who live and visit southern nevada... Since 2003...

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The internet and the ever changing face of culture...

I wake up every morning and look over the papers, online of course, to see what the daily musings are. Unfortunately our local dailies are chuck full of controversy, protests and the stereotypical miasma of politics from the right and the left. So I scour the pages to see what positive things I could post on Facebook to encourage people to find out about the community or world they live in. My bias tends to trend the Cultural Arts whether it is about performance, music, art, history, architecture and all the wonderful aspects of the life I have chosen as a career. The weeklies tend to post more about the local arts scene and are refreshing to read on Thursday mornings when they come out. I also scour the the big national papers to see what they have to say about the arts; of course they post so much that I would spend my entire day reading.

On occasion I will repost articles that I feel would benefit my friends and fans on Facebook or Twitter and hopefully encourage conversations about the subject matter. The beauty of social media and something that I embraced wholeheartedly is the fact that news can be disseminated quickly. The social media craze that we have embraced as a society is changing the face of the internet and how we can communicate with those in our lives. It can also be a very good tool if used correctly to send information about subjects of interest to the masses.

The ever changing face of our society is being played out in the "ones" and "zeros" that we send out everyday via the myriad of internet sites and emails that we digest. The information "Super Highway" has taken over many aspects of our lives and in many instances we could not live with out it. Even looking back to the 1980's we wonder how people could live without the ability to pay bills online in the split of a second or to speak to their loved ones over long distances without ever having to pick up a phone. It is amazing to look back and witness how quickly our society has embraced new technology and have made it part of the very fabric of our culture.

Last night I spent a few hours with some wonderful friends and I took the rare opportunity to sit in front of a television and watch a program called Life. I say rare opportunity due to the fact that I do not have a television. As a matter of fact 2010 marks the fifth anniversary of me being without a TV in the house. But in either case watching this television program about primates, in particular how certain primates have been able to develop the use of tools to find new food sources, reminded me of some old knowledge that I acquired in the gaggle of Anthropology classes I took years ago. Primates our closest relatives from the animal kingdom develop the use of a new tool in their quest for sustenance over generations. For instance they may use a stick to gather termites from a mound or pound the heart of the palm to reach the delicacy within. We as humans have done the same but with one distinct difference. What sets us apart from our primate brethren is the fact that we embrace the use of new and multiple tools in a matter of minutes rather then in life times.

This tool that we call the internet has truly changed everything about human life today. It has brought the world more closely together in ways that we could not have imagined a generation ago. We no longer have to spend weeks crossing the oceans to see the exotic places in a "Grand Tour." Our Grand Tour can take place via Google Earth in the comfort of our own home. The fact that we can even visit places that are not hospitable to Americans makes the internet a wonderful tool to be exposed to new and exciting cultures. I can even brag to people that I have been to the Potala in Tibet, I have climbed Mount Everest, traversed the Great Wall, visited the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, and hung out with the Bushman of the Kalahari and all points in between. Granted the internet is nothing like what it would be to actually visit and experience the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of other cultures but it does assist us in better understanding the world we live in.

I use the internet everyday to either blog about things that I have experienced or to open my world to new and exciting information beyond my own community. I share my findings with my family, my friends, my fans, my readers and others that may come along the way. I encourage people to get involved in the culture or society they live in by exposing them to new things. Why do I do this? I guess the best answer is quite simple because I care about the beauty that exists in our society. Yes there is a lot of over exposed ugly out there but there is also a lot of under exposed beauty that we should know about. Getting out there and seeing the world will only make us better people whether it is physically or ephemerally. We humans seek knowledge to better our outlook on life and that is what sets us apart from other species.

In the end the new tools that we have created for ourselves today will evolve into better tools and those tools will then grow into new ones and so on and so fourth. Musing about the future and where we will be a generation from now is exciting but knowing that I can get a start on it today makes it so much better.


"The most beautiful things about the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart" 
Helen Keller

Brian Paco Alvarez enculturating Las Vegas into the millennium...

posted by Brian Paco Alvarez, Curator and Chronicler of Culture at


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