Distribution systems are containers of agreements between senders and receivers. And those agreements can be suspended or upended at every slippery turn of where a bill of goods, services, or passing signals gain entry. Once on-board, they're liable to the changes in motion that speed their delivery, hasten their departure, cut their place in line, or circumvent their very existence. Distribution systems can be hyper-engineered and rationalized to the Yuan, Dollar, and Euro like a supply chain. They can be digitized into packet switches and resurface as unencrypted evidence of our intelligible emotions -- much of it following a script other than the reach and scheduling of the distribution.
We All Screen for Oscar Contenders
One such seasonal distribution system is assigned to Homo sapiens' tendencies to dwell in caves and tell stories at the tail-end of Christian calendars. In modern times the cave is a multiplex and the story is an Oscar contender. But the network is jammed and the calendar needs recalibrating. That's because the star tour talk show cycle completes much faster than the current art houses can accommodate the movies you and me want to see.
Why is this?
Is it because the potential box office of character-based cave stories relegate a formerly mainstream event (Academy Awards) to a remote fringe of the distribution channels? Is it because the people currently the age we used to be are just fine with the availability of stories that are panned, then banned 'til they land on demand on American Bandstand, (a.k.a. YouTube?) Talk about a redirected set of wires and rails. Are you receiving this: all flat screen smart phones at sea?
The Rain in Spain Falls Mainly in the Void
An equally absurd network scarcity contraction hiccupped through Europe earlier this fall when Google decided not to honor a new Spanish law requiring distribution networks to pay the country's news publishers for their news content. The question is now whether the world hears of the proverbial tree falling in Spain but whether the tree was dead to begin with.
Containments That Got Away
But you don't need to be a titan of networks or a global currency magnet to travel these circuits. A group email among us is an inner circle of winks and associations that fire neurons and trigger a sequence of knowing glances and even some exasperated retreats. But when conversation flows it's because of those fill-in-the-blank assumptions selected, tested, and recounted from a history shared and channeled within the loop.
In days past Bolishuk leveraged this form to contain great outbursts of rhetorical merit not just on the issues of the day but on the momentous thunderclaps between our ears. I learned of Bal and Svetlana's parting through a group email. I was privy to the recounting of gatherings I missed through their retelling of our distributed group text fest. I can recall few memorials as lucid and tender as Canuck's eulogizing of Dria. I enjoyed the banter and armchair jousting for the well-played references to our formative influences.
None of that was over and out in 2014 -- be it the passing of nearby divorces, individual visits, job losses, absent friends, distant memories shimmering in the foreground, or mere birthday toasts. NONE OF THESE MILESTONES (except for birthday greetings) were captured or expressed for distribution purposes. I can think of no vestige of this better than 2014 as the year education reformer gadfly Dish joined the date in history of celebrated birthday factoids on the very year he neglected to hit the Bolishuk reply button. Maybe Dish took the year off.
This benign opt-out reminds me of a more impersonal development in my own waning spheres. Over the past year my blog postings have elicited at the rate of about 20:1 in favor of spam to actual human responses. I have neither Dish's gift for provocation, clarity of argument, editorial discipline, and networking proclivities. I've spent more effort in deleting spam than I have in containing capture-worthy experience through a subscription I will not renew in 2015. Maybe I'm pining for a cable that no longer runs to my curb. Maybe I need to sever the connection between checking my email and counting my blessings. Either way those blessings persist beyond the boundaries of distribution systems.