What in the world is going on?
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Staying connected has become a global addiction — as of 2017, more than half of humanity owns a smartphone and 84 percent of American adults use the internet. Last year, the average adult spent over 10 hours a day using digital devices. But is all this connectivity a good thing? Our dependency may distract us from social isolation, but it damages our ability to be fully engaged with reality. And the culture has spawned new anxieties: Social media offers new ways to bully others or follow our darkest impulses. So while internet idols deliver enhanced connectivity that is sometimes welcome, these networks don’t provide the sense of security that more primitive correspondence once did. Still, that may be a small cost for having seemingly infinite human knowledge and history at the tips of our fingers. Even the gods didn’t claim to have that power.
Americans have always been political, but the animosity between conservatives and liberals boiled over during the 2016 presidential election. Religion, once an outlet for America’s tribalist tendencies and quest for community, is being replaced by black and white (or red and blue) identification with political parties. Whereas four years previous, 67 percent of registered voters said that they had thought “quite a lot” about the election, that number rose to 80 percent in 2016, with 60 percent of voters saying they are more interested in politics than they were four years ago. And with the 24/7 cable news cycle, it’s easier to tune in to pundits than it is to attend church or community events. Ideologically, this split has never been more apparent: Purple states are disappearing as entrenched ideologies take hold.
http://paidpost.nytimes.com/starz/ameri ... d=12813758
But even as politics capture the country’s imagination, America’s fascination with religion continues to bleed into our political culture. The U.S. Congress, for example, is as religious today as it was in the early 1960s. And the separation of church and state, one of the nation’s founding ideals, has been questioned by politicians in recent times – some of whom have argued that America is an inherently Christian nation. As in the show, these American Gods have refused to die, instead evolving and lingering as new ideas take hold.
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