The 45th president as case study in Twitter addiction: 535AM blasts to quench an insatiable need to say something and to deflect from the real stories in methods lifted from bullshit brand-recognition self-help/business book social media pablum by a talentless, D-list celebrity cast-off hoisted to a pedestal on the shoulders of a dedicated “tribe” of sycophants in whose praise he must bask again and again to recharge like a lizard on a rock in the morning sun before setting out to screw them over in the name of his flagrant self-interest.
This is our world. The devolution will be tweeted.
The ominous question: Alexa, how much time is left?
You have one timer, with about 23 minutes left, she says.
Plumbing the depths and finding nothing but shallows this morning. It’s usually when I can’t come up with something to say that I know this exercise is essential. That habit is, as Octavia Butler said, “persistence in practice”; that it will sustain me when there’s nothing here and when there must be (not that anyone other than me cares if something new is written here—I began this project with that notion at the forefront).
Alexa, how much time is left?
You have one timer, with about 15 minutes left.
Perhaps it is the remnants of fear induced by being surrounded by parents convinced that their child is the star of the show at my niece’s song-and-dance recital last night, a scene more foreign to me than Bradbury’s most outlandish excursions into the unknown, or the knock on the head from the bathroom cabinet door that splayed me out across the floor and sprung The Morkie into resuscitative action. This is what I will tell myself, anyhow.
Alexa, how much time is left?
You have one timer, with about two minutes and forty seconds left.
(Stares at the screen…)
Alexa, how much time is left?
I had begun to write a third post in a row on politics but I hated it. Hated the result, hated the subject matter. Unfortunately, that leaves me with little on my mind this morning which might be where I need to be.
Three word version of what I was writing: Sessions must go.
I’ve written a great deal about social media. Too much, probably. It holds a boundless fascination for me. Twitter, especially. It is both a source of anxiety and the place I go in a misguided attempt at alleviating that anxiety. It is both essential and superfluous. It is a tool and I am its tool.
I yearn to quiet it down. To feel that I’m able to do so. To read without the need to share, without the need to feed the beast of my own perception, without hunting for that quotable line that will fit in 140 characters. How, exactly, I get there, is anyone’s guess. But I don’t think it is through being present on Twitter as much as I have been of late (if one is ever truly present on Twitter). No matter what, posting here will continue. This has been one of the most creatively satisfying challenges I’ve created for myself. Not giving it up.
The priorities: writing, reading, learning, resisting, human-ing.
Campaign rhetoric delivered in a calm and “presidential” demeanor does little beyond forcibly clicking the button on the Viewmaster of a terrifying presidency. Yet his brief display of sanity will be the discussion for the remainder of the day, at least until he gives into the normal (so-called) angels of his nature and lets loose a torrent of vindictiveness after mentally seizing upon some slight that goes against his expectation of universal adulation.
But Democrats have to do better. They cannot rely on “Oh that’s bad.” I’m sure the former Kentucky governor is a fine person, but as a rebuttal to Trump’s first Congressional address, he offered a paltry remonstrance, devoid of the fire and passion that has fueled the resistance to Trump’s bastardization of the office in marches and protests the world over. Now is not the time to play it safe. Now is the time to listen to the fire, to show that its voices are being heard by a party with a pulse.
Tonight, he will open his mouth and cheapen the halls in which he speaks. I wonder if sales of hard liquor and antacid tablets have risen in Washington DC. Seems there’s a niche market in there somewhere for rum-flavored antacid tablets for the bullshit-spewing male. Rums.
But maunderings about the livers and gastrointestinal tracts of Republican congressmen assumes I have a modicum of sympathy for their Victor Frankenstein plight. The Monster, at least, understood he was horrific. The present iteration of Republicans represent a shamelessness unseen in the national shouting match (once known as “dialogue”), one sewn together from the desiccated limbs of greed, lust for power, and utter disregard for anything but their own image and brought to life by the electoral equivalent of sticking a rusted fork into a socket while standing naked in a tub of lukewarm dish water.
I have no sympathy for them. I prefer to retain it for those deserving of it.
In five seconds, I learn the day’s starting number. In those seconds: a quickening heartbeat amid swirling anxieties of failure and the inevitability of a hospital return, IVs and bruises, before the busting forth of a moment of defiance in which I am Patrick McGoohan shouting, I am not a number, I AM A FREE MAN, a brief nanosecond of sheepishness, Perhaps I am a number, before a sense of calm at the interregnum between zero, two beeps and the display of the number which tells me I’m fine, thank you, and that I have its permission to record said number, stab myself, depress the plunger, clickclick, and proceed to eat breakfast. Repeat three more times daily.
Rewatched Carol Reed’s THE THIRD MAN for the umpteenth time last night. Like any great work of art, the rewatch brought something new: as Joseph Cotten’s pulp writer Holly Martins stumbled through the streets of postwar Vienna to looping strains of zither music, I couldn’t help but wonder how much influence—if any—did David Simon and Dominic West take from Cotten in their creation of THE WIRE’s Baltimore’s Detective Jimmy McNulty?
While one is a stranger in a strange land and the other a hometown boy trying to do right, both are drunkards stumbling through war-torn streets, disappointed by love, obsessed with their mission, and driven by their own egos and oft-underestimated intelligence to push every button on the stars of authority and stripes of politicians to unravel the threads of conspiracy, money, and power. And, in the end, their doggedness is proven correct, but at the cost of everything they believed about themselves.
Or perhaps I’m seeing things that aren’t there.
I’ve often admonished myself after hitting publish on these pieces that I’ve made them too much like a survey course, a mind-numbing effort a la “Music Technology” which substitutes deep insight for a wide swath of forgettable information. Part of that is the time limit imposed—as Pascal said, “I’m sorry I wrote you such a long letter; I didn’t have time to write a short one”—a time limit I’ve toyed with abolishing; fortunately, my better sense kicks in and I realize that without it, I’d be tooling with these ephemeralities for far longer than they deserve.
Making my way through Zinsser’s ON WRITING WELL and came across this pearl among many:
“Every writing project must be reduced before you start to write. Therefore, think small. Decide what corner of your subject you’re going to bite off, and be content to cover it well and stop.”
Thinking small / writing small requires time. The vast majority of these pieces are written as dashed-off warm-ups in a pre-work haze. Then again, maybe I’ll get lucky and my ability to focus on tiny corners will solidify within the chains I’ve built for myself–perhaps that’s the point of this otherwise pointless site.
And so the day begins: the march to Friday afternoon and the primetime of executive order idiocy. Will it be another mass travel ban that isn’t a religious ban but is totally a religous ban? A further erosion of the rights and protections of those who need them? Another wall? A better wall? Another pen-and-ink vilification of those who aren’t white, Christian, and heterosexual? Perhaps he will skip the song and dance and head off for more national security photo ops with rich white people who long to have their voices heard and be part of “the action” and, in transit, sign an executive order that simultaneously creates a new mass travel ban, erodes rights and protections, constructs another, better wall, and vilifies those who aren’t white Christian heterosexuals. But it’s early in the day, so who knows.