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Perspective: The Ubiquity Of Screens

Public domain, Pixlr

Back in the Dark Ages of television, performers like Liberace, Groucho Marx, and Lucille Ball ruled the black-and-white screens. They had their own shows. But they were not real to me. Mrs. Hargrove, who made me stay after school for throwing spitballs at Judy Baker, was real to me. Grouch Martx and Liberace couldn't make me stay after school.

I never saw Mrs. Hargrove's face on a screen. But now everything is just the reverse. Everyone is on a screen. Everyone has their own show on a screen, just like Lucille Ball once did. It's called a Facebook page. If you don't exist on a screen somewhere, you're not real.

Last year a neighbor saw me on a brief TV spot and mentioned it on the street. I had never met him before. I only came to believe in the reality of his existence when we became friends on social media. I had to see his face on a screen in order for him to become ontologically plausible.

I’m Tom McBride and that’s my Perspective.

Tom McBride is co-author of the annual Beloit College Mindset List. He is a specialist in Shakespeare. For 42 years he taught at Beloit, where he won an award for excellence in teaching. He also coordinated the Mackey Distinguished Writers' Program and the First Year Initiatives Program.