Bill Nye almost died and no one cared?

Mike Crissman

Today’s advanced technology allows us an innumerable amount of entertainment and luxury. Our generation is more immediately connected with friends and family than any other generation in history. Through the magic of the Internet, we are able to send and receive information around the world in a matter of seconds.

?Imagine having to use a phonebook, not being able to register for your classes online or getting the news from a newspaper. These things are a far cry from what the average college student is used to these days. Today, if someone needs directions, they use Google Maps. If they want to listen to their favorite musician’s latest album, they illegally download it and if they see Bill Nye the Science Guy faint on stage during a lecture, they forgo helping the collapsed man in order to send a quick text or tweet to their friends about it.

?Yes, that did actually happen. On Tuesday, the legendary Bill Nye, famous for his ‘90s TV show “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” fainted while giving a presentation at the University of Southern California. More troubling, however, was the reaction of the student crowd. Not one person came to the man’s aid. In the shocking moments that Bill Nye lay unconscious on the stage floor, the immediate response of the student audience was not to see what they could do to help the scientist, but to take to their cell phones to tell their friends what had happened.

?For an older reader who has no idea who I’m talking about, Bill Nye is the man who taught everyone my age everything they needed to know about science while we were growing up. The thing about his show was that it was both highly informative and highly entertaining. The theme song alone could make someone pregnant.

?The show originally aired from 1993 to 1997. I remember watching it as a youngster, and then later on teachers in junior high and high school had us watch it in class. Even our teachers knew Bill Nye was better at teaching science than they were. Any episode of “Bill Nye the Science Guy” was definitely an upgrade from all the old educational science videos from the ‘70s with the creepy guys and their creepy haircuts.

?There’s no doubt that the vast majority of the USC students who attended Bill Nye’s lecture Tuesday looked up to him as a childhood hero. That makes their response all the more surprising. What kind of world are we living in where texting about Bill Nye fainting is more important than helping him?

?While there are many merits to all the technology we have all grown accustomed to, this instance in particular makes me question if there’s such a thing as too immediate. Perhaps our continual quest to constantly let others know the latest happenings in our lives — through texting and social networking — weakens the intimacy of face-to-face interactions and all the human emotion that comes with it.

?It makes me sick every time one of my friends tells another person in the same room to “check their Facebook status” when they could all too easily just tell that person what they said. Another one is “check out my comment on your wall.” Many people lack a social backbone, as evidenced with all the Facebook silliness and, more poignantly, the incident at USC.

?To allow someone as legendary as Bill Nye to lie unconscious on the ground while you mindlessly update your friends via Facebook is both cowardly and disturbing. What’s worrisome is not only that this actually occurred, but that most people we know would probably do the same thing.

Mike Crissman is a sophomore newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].