It ain’t a privilege to be on TV
and it ain’t a duty either. – Neil Young in Grandpa’s Interview
Whenever I think too deeply about what is going on in our culture I get the urge to slither into the shadows and never return. I often think about that Neil Young quote above. Earlier this week I was watching the absolutely brilliant movie Birdman. There is a scene in the movie where the character that Michael Keaton plays is accidentally caught running through downtown New York in his underwear. A video of it gets online and becomes popular. His daughter tells him that, “Believe it or not, this is power”, in a scene that is both funny and sadly condemning of our times. I am aware that modern fame is as much a dumb joke as anything.
Earlier today, thanks to my friend JR, I read the above New York Times article, a fascinating read, about how one person’s tweet, they made an off-color joke, lead to them being fired. The author, I think rightly, comes to the conclusion that everyone, from the person that put the tweet up, to those that are condemning her, are part of a modern trend where everyone is performing for audiences that they can’t see. A sample:
But perhaps she had now come to understand that her shaming wasn’t really about her at all. Social media is so perfectly designed to manipulate our desire for approval, and that is what led to her undoing. Her tormentors were instantly congratulated as they took Sacco down, bit by bit, and so they continued to do so. Their motivation was much the same as Sacco’s own — a bid for the attention of strangers — as she milled about Heathrow, hoping to amuse people she couldn’t see.
Yet here I am in a band, writing a blog. I can’t help but feel conflicted at times. Sometimes I feel like I’m wasting my fucking time. However, I know how much writing, art, and music have meant to me. I know that I might not be sane if not for it. Part of the reason I started this blog was to try and create a platform where I could hopefully lead some people to things that I am passionate about, that I believe have value, in the din of senselessness that so often is our culture. Books, albums, movies, and various forms of expression have been my armor in this world. I must keep going, because this stuff is in my blood. However, if I’m helping or hurting, only you can be the judge.