Friday, January 10, 2014

50 Shades of Narcissism

What Lies Behind A Smiley Face?
I'm been working on a picture book to showcase the astonishing depth and diversity of my Twitter stream. The working title is, "50 Shades of Narcissism." Here are some excerpts from the text:

EVERY photo shared on a social network is a Selfie. In fact, every damn tweet is essentially a Selfie. The continuously annoying stream of perpetual Personal Branding truncates the vast wonder of a living being into a shiny little retweetable box. Get a life you fucking zombies and be the mystery you seek to kill.

It’s so sad. Our addiction to social media is rooted in the fear of oblivion which explodes periodically in outbursts of rapid-fire ranting. Although anger channeled through art can be inspiring, anger expressed through social networks is just pathetic. People go ballistic when their perception of reality is challenged. It’s a good thing that it's hard to make a fist when you’re clinging to a delusion. Cognitive dissonance is the root of all evil.

Speaking of evil, I nominate the fear of boredom as the eighth deadly sin. Distraction is today’s drug of choice and I am so off the wagon. “Being under the influence” is a synonym for intoxication because there’s nothing like getting totally shit-faced on a potent idea. Jesus would probably say, “Blessed are the easily amused, for they drink from the social network stream and are inebriated.” I say, a drunk audience is really fucking annoying. Inspiration offers many gifts, but patience is not one of them.

But despite the endless flow of stale memes, animated gifs and Foursquare check-ins, the tweet is an amazing canvas for creativity. To put it in perspective, each biblical "Let There Be" issued in less than 140 characters. Maybe that's why I feel like God. But in all modesty, although I’m considered to be a very creative person, creativity is less something I do than something that does me. (Something, not someone, you pervert.)

Garbage in garbage out is true for computers. But the work of the artistic life is the alchemical transmutation of shit into gold. So when I'm blocked creatively, it's a sign either that I've stopped paying attention to the hidden wonders of life or that I'm really constipated. It’s not surprising that drugs and alcohol have killed so many artists over the years. Prudence recommends the lowest effective dose, but Dr. Muse always prescribes the highest non-lethal option. That said, suffering related to art is more commonly experienced by audiences than artists.

Social media is a prosthetic extroversion organ for introverts. It can either be the artist’s best friend or her undoing. To truly worship the Muse, we must transcribe her every whisper. To be clear, that's transcribe, NOT tweet. Everything may be better when you share it with an audience, but that’s only if you're performing. Get a life! (Don't be offended. I'm talking to myself.)

I've heard a rumor that somewhere between consuming and creating there's a state called "being." I must look into that someday. My online lifestyle is best described as "info-bulimia." Sometimes I feel like I'm just tweeting into the wind. Pitiful, I know. But what does that make my followers?

Some day our distant ancestors will look back at our tweets and laugh their asses off. Assuming civilization hasn’t ended. And people still have asses. Along the way, I predict that Twitter will eventually be seen as a vintage long-form medium and emoticons will replace the alphabet. What lies behind a smiley face?


Unknown said...

Well, we won't have asses, because this polar vortex has just frozen those off.

Emoticons as this century's hieroglyphics - I love it!

Burhop said...

Are you sure you are not reading too much into people liking cat photos?

Botgirl Questi said...

Sovoree: I would totally support a movement to make emoticons an acceptable part of standard written English!

Burhop: I suspect that the impact of our immersion in the social network stream is a lot more profound than we realize, cat photos and all.