I feel like Frank at the end of Godbless America with what I am about to say here but what the fuck has happened in our society that we are more obsessed with American Idol, our current Facebook status, and the number of followers and friends we have online (who likely don’t give a shit about us anyway) than on LIFE itself? When did we become so shallow as a society that we are more concerned with how we appear to others than on living for ourselves and being true to who we are on the inside. Why do we care more about what others think than on our own sense of virtue? Who gives a shit if someone likes you or not. The people that matter will be in your life, the ones that don’t shouldn’t be on your radar screen or take up any of your headspace. Like Dr. Seuss once said “those that matter don’t mind and those that mind don’t matter.”
What happened to real relationships? You know, the analog ones that used to happen face to face. Where interaction with a friend meant more than commenting on a Facebook photo. Where meaningful interaction meant taking time out of your busy self-absorbed schedule to actually get together with someone in real life and look into their eyes, and maybe even share something vulnerable of yourself that isn’t an attempt to manipulate someone into thinking that you are fucking awesome. An interaction that you didn’t have to share on Facebook, tweet about or incessantly photograph because you were just happy to be there in the moment of life. We used to know how to live without the need or distraction of having to show the world how cool we are. Now we can’t even enjoy the present moment because we are too busy Instagramming the experience, tweeting the events in real time, or posting an excessive amount of narcissist photos of ourselves doing everything that we hope others envy. Why do we care so much what others think? Why can’t we just be authentic without the need to overproduce, overdesign, overthink , and overstate everything in order to get attention. Did our mommy’s and daddy’s not love us enough when we were young? What happened?
We don’t read books anymore, we read blogs by authors who care more about power, influence and social manipulation than about the craft or art of writing. They don’t care about the content itself, so much as they just want to hook you with another lackluster blog post so that you’ll come back and increase their site traffic, feeding their fragile ego. They feed and prey on the insecurities of others, look for the weak to exploit, and love to wax about anything that will obtain another notch on their shallow belt of influence. Meanwhile, many real writers are drinking themselves into a stupor, cutting themselves and bleeding onto the page, and pouring out their truths into their words without regard to who reads it, because they have no choice but to write – because they are the real writers.
But this isn’t about writers. It’s about people.
I hate to be so cynical about our society. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of good things too, like a return to local business, local food and community – be we seriously need to fuck off with our exaggerated sense of self-importance. We are all awesome in one way or another and we don’t need a logo, a popular blog, or fifty thousand profound tweets to demonstrate that. I’m not speaking directly about one person or another, but rather collectively as I observe the tweets, posts, photographs, and experiences of a completely neurotic digital society who spends way too much time thinking about what others think.
Occasionally though, this life is splattered with beauty and truth and people who really do “get it”, and it is in those experiences and interactions that I derive hope for the rest of society. They are the ones who will push things forward when we come out of this deep, thick yet shallow fog we seem to be in.