The secondhand experience

Column by Allison Borthwick, Opinion Editor

I finally read “Gone Girl.”

I feel like I emerged from some dark cave in the form of someone’s elderly uncle who just discovered kale chips or the word “bae.”

While it took a movie adaptation to make the book surge in popularity, the book itself definitely lived up to all the hype. Granted, the book had been sitting on bookstore shelves since 2012, but the whole wide world collectively lost their minds two years later when Ben Affleck popped up on their screens in “Gone Girl” movie trailers.

Apparently the written word needs validation from the silver screen to get some recognition these days.

I say all this like I’m not part of the problem – it’s 2016 and I just now read the book because my best friend got the movie during Walmart’s Black Friday madness and I refused to watch it with her until I read it first.

Anyway, what struck me the most about the book’s content wasn’t the plot twists or “whodunit” whirlwinds the author, Gillian Flynn, doles out to readers. I wasn’t initially intrigued by the fact, or fallacy, that “Gone Girl” offered feminism a new hero. I was, however, relieved to finally read a book that told the ugly truth of human error.

The 21st century, in all its technologically-innovative glory, has generated a whole new kind of human experience.

We prefer our food, entertainment and relationships to be ideal, and to be attained with great ease. We demand both quality and quantity. When there are bumps in the road, we have our GPS reroute us and then have someone repave the road that had the nerve to slightly inconvenience us.

This is all inspired by my favorite quote from the book: “We stare at the wonders of the world, dull-eyed, underwhelmed … the secondhand experience is always better. The image is crisper, the view is keener, the camera angle and the soundtrack manipulate my emotions in a way reality can’t anymore.”

Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?

The fact is, some people would rather spend money on overpriced tickets to see Disneynature’s latest movie in IMAX 3D than visit a local zoo or spend a few hours in a park. Some people would rather have an algorithm find their perfect match or would rather swipe through a bunch of faces on their phones until something, not someone/a real person, happens to catch their shallow eye.

Turn on your TV and flip through the channels – you will more than likely see a tourism commercial, and not even for a destination you would need a passport for. There are states within the boarders of our own country practically begging us to spend some of our precious vacation days exploring the sites they’ve preserved on good ol’ American soil.

Face-to-face contact is not only a nuisance, it’s simply not something we’re trained to do anymore. Seeing something in person only comes after we extensively research the destination/attraction online first – assessing if something like Niagara Falls is even worth the effort.

Why buy the boat ticket when you can Google image search for free?

Why read the book when you can watch the movie?