Look At Me Right Now! .com

June 10, 2014

Social media has ushered in – among other things – an age of staggering egocentricity. Any mook with a mobile phone can, with sickening ease and speed, announce anything to the world. Idealists regard this ability as the freedom of unregulated self-expression. In truth, not every aspect of every self is worth expressing. Too seldom does somebody with an intelligence quotient greater than the number of letters in the English alphabet announce something interesting about something interesting. Too often, social media is little more than an open sewer in which worthwhile self-expression suffocates in dim-witted self indulgence. The ability to tell anybody anything has fooled many into thinking anybody cares. Granted, those many probably did not require much effort to fool.

Why do we visit museums? To see worthwhile art. What if museums let slip standards and filled themselves with every cartoon from a third grader’s penmanship notebook? We would not visit. Or visit once, just for the novelty.

Once, publishing a thought to more than the number of subscribers to a neighborhood newsletter required a threshold level of intellect and  at least a nodding acquaintance with the language in which publication was attempted, and typically applying that aptitude to something worth the effort and cost of publication. This was a golden age in which “selfies” did not exist – or, if they did, were not inflicted upon readers like mustard gas. Discretion existed. It was understood that, just as restraint is the essence of taste, an absence of restraint proves an absence of taste.

When effort and cost ceased to constrain publication, so too did quality.

Worse than a simple absence of taste (which is a personal problem) is an overinflated sense of self-importance (which can present a public problem). Those unrestrained by taste in an age of social media are free to indulge a staggering egocentricity which insists people other than their parents care that they are a) sooo tired of waiting in line at Starbucks ha ha ha!, b) thanking all my peeps for the bestest birthday wishes!!! feel sooo loved, or c) omg so so so excited for Glee season finale!!!!!!!!!!

Cost and effort, the safeguards of publishing which once kept the thoughts of morons safely out of sight, are hence mourned.

This may be an ironic stance for a web log to take. The medium was once rightly derided by Joe Rago of the Wall Street Journal as the provence of “the blog mob” – a territory to be avoided. But drastic times, etc. Public discourse used to be a marketplace of ideas. Entry to the market meant having something worth selling. Nowadays, the cost of admission is a cartload of garbage with which to abuse shoppers.

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Arms & Manners.

May 13, 2014

With deservedly little fanfare and even less facility with written English, we return to the digital fray with two quick notes.

No. 1:

A photographic phenomenon hardly less detestable than the “selfy” is the “skinny arm,” an affectation of young women who, through wishful thinking, have come to believe that photographs taken of them with arms cocked and angled toward the viewer make said arms look thin. This is not the case. Arms typically look fat because they are, not because of poor posing. No imaginative posturing will correct this. A treadmill might.

No. 2:

There is nothing more indicative of low origin than discourtesy. Your editorial staff recently flew to Boston, by way of Chicago. Going and returning, the administrative and mechanical failings of several airlines made sailing less than smooth. Nothing much could be done about this on the ground level, but the rudeness and complete absence of tact with which airline terminal workers foisted on travelers 15-hour delays hardly improved things. Irate customers became more so. Responding to exasperation, workers complained loudly to customers of their own tedious hours manning ticket booths and check-in desks overnight, leaving little question as to how those particular workers got stuck working an overnight airline ticket booth in the first place.