We’re putting our brains into neutral, and revving the engine. We’re digitally dithering, clicking on links and swimming through a torrent of useless garbage being thrown at us by idiots and self-promoters, pundits and PR flacks and marketing people.

We’re immersing ourselves in games like Farmville and Mafia Wars, obsessing about earning energy packs, spending billions of dollars on virtual gardening tools.

We’re turning the world around us into a videogame, using sites like Foursquare to tell our friends where we’re eating lunch, and competing to see who can become “mayor” of some restaurant.

Meanwhile, in the midst of all this, Glenn Beck has become an influential television commentator, and Sarah Palin is a credible candidate for president in 2012. You think this is a coincidence?