Since 9/11, more and more we have turned away from our individual lives and instead have taken on, in an utterly virtual way, the woes of the world.
With daily visual world news loops of hate and blood, the media has us by the neck, and we can't let go.
I don't know about you, but I'm betting those who join me in being a boomer did not have much of an education about the world and the news exterior to America as we grew up.
With the exception of my 5th grade teacher who was obsessed with both Indonesia's President Sukarno and the historic Suez Canal Crisis, I don't remember thinking about, or being asked to imagine, the world outside of the United States.
The exception was Vietnam, but my education barely touched the war or that area of the world.
My teachers were specialists. My drama teacher one of the founders of the La Jolla Playhouse; my English teacher a Shakespearean actor.
And on it went, entertainingly.
The academic ambiance was perfect for imagining poetically the infinite possibilities of life and art.
It was as if the bigger world was optional; an elective course of interest and study, for those who found it so.
I'm not saying that this was a good thing, simply that it was a fact and an ambivalent blessing.
Disimilarly, anyone and everyone today who watches the news is in the grip of a mandatory advanced world affairs education.
How are we doing with this?
On the one hand, naturally it can be said that the insularity of the latter midcentury was an unreal, even narcissistic bubble of innocence for a majority of middle and upper class Americans, as for the average American teenager.
Summer days were endless, as were the joyous, creative, nutritionally brilliant bubbles of music pouring out of the transistor radio as my friends and I lay on the warm La Jolla sand.
It seemed that we were all dreaming, as the Mamas and the Papas sang in "California Dreaming". Dreaming was the main thing to do.
Today, dreaming is a thing of the past, as the media deluges us with footage of daily violence in faraway places, as well as in our own backyards.