So I was tossing and turning over night, agonizing over a specific question: is pop culture dead?
Of course, “pop culture” can never really “die” so long as there’s entertainment, fashion, etc. But has it fundamentally shifted in a way that requires new methods of critique?
Guys like Theodore Adorno were critiquing “pop culture” way back in the 1940s, claiming things like movies, music, etc. were massed produced commodities and were therefore not genuine (or whatever). But maybe the pandemic and the prolific use of the internet has changed the game.
Obviously these things have changed the way we interact with pop culture, but the question I’m concerned with is: “has the pandemic, and specifically the internet, changed the very nature of pop culture itself.”
(This is all from my dementia-driven perspective, btw)
Anyways, what made me agonize over this question is that everything feels a little passé. When people talk about reading tweets, I’m thinking “you’re still using Twitter?”. Even at 106 years old, I feel like I’m more “in the know” than most 20 year olds. It’s not because I’m “cooler” than them, it’s because they don’t give a shit. So how can “pop culture” be pop culture if it’s not popular?
So I was at a writer’s workshop where some dude was trying to get under my skin. Then we became best friends. Tom Brady also showed up because he was trying to get his acting career started. Why he was at a writer’s workshop was never explained.
Then, like a ghost from the past, appeared an old friend. In real life I haven’t spoken to him in nearly 15 years. His brother was actually my best friend and our friendship ended in the worst possible way: in a courtroom (we both lost btw). It’s one of my biggest regrets, and in truth, I dream about him often.
But his brother shows up, and I confide in him that I think highly of his sibling and I miss them both. In fact, I tell him that I am at this workshop because I am writing a fictionalized version of our friendship.
The Brother tells me that I can’t do that. I ask why and he disappears into a bookstore. I go looking for him and I find him with three small children. I ask him again why I can’t write the book. He tells me that his brother’s dead and that one of these children is his son.
It was a poignant moment in the dream. It reminded me of the passage of time, how we were once small children, and how we are now creating the next generation. I tell the Son of my best friend that I too have a son, how fortunate he is to have his uncle, and that his father was a good man.
The Brother disappears once again, and I help the Child find his uncle. As I walk with the Child, he tells me to not have regrets, and that he hopes to meet my son. I tell him that “that’s a very nice thing to say,” and that I hope they meet someday too.
Finally, we find his uncle standing outside. He’s with two men in suits. I tell the Brother that per his wishes, I won’t write the book. One of the men in suits spoke up and said “that’s a wise decision.”
“Are you an attorney?” I ask.
“What if I changed all the names and events? Can you sue me then?” I said.
“Well clearly he (my best friend) is everything that he’s not,” the lawyer replied. Whatever that meant.
I look over to the Brother. “Did you invite these guys here?” I ask.
“Well fuck it,” I said. “I’m writing the book.”
I then pointed at the lawyer’s shirt like he had a stain. When he looked down, I lifted my finger up to his face.
Ep 1: Dorthy has to keep Sophia from escaping the house during COVID lockdown. Blanche reveals she had a questionable fling with Jeffery Epstein. Rose believes everything she reads on the internet and begins denying the Holocaust.
I never thought anyone would take my shit posting seriously enough to write out an entire comment longer than the initial post itself. But I forget, “the internet ruined everything”.
Btw, this comment was made on my “your damn right ignorance is bliss!” post.
I don’t know if this person was real or some bot trying to spread some article around (about COVID, a subject that I don’t recall discussing on this blog), but my response was “the post was a joke”.
But then I got to thinking: was I joking?
Sure, the intent was to post some stupid thought that crossed my mind. But the more I think about it: hell yeah an existence void of desire and knowledge of good and evil sounds pretty damn good!
Of course, that’s not how my hater saw it. He/she thought I was embracing “keeping the masses ignorant”, or “listening to establishment propaganda”, or blah blah blah.
I get it. I got lost down that road of political ideology too. I’ve spent all of 2021 trying to get over it. That’s why I created this blog for fuck’s sake.
But there is no truth in ideology. That’s why it’s ideology. We have to form these ideologies. You know why? Because the truth is too terrifying to handle.
That’s why I always thought that Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, the shit in The Matrix, “the truth shall set you free”, etc. kinda miss the point. To get the gist of what I’m trying to say, Slavoj Zizek, whatever you think about him, once said about the shitty film The Joker (paraphrase): “it’s through the mask that we can be our true selves.”
Because there is nothing underneath the mask.
So you want the truth?
Here it is:
The “establishment”, however you want to define that, doesn’t give a shit about you. They don’t even give enough of a shit to form a conspiracy to fuck with you. They don’t think about you. They don’t fear you.
You are nothing.
You were born from standard biological processes and one day you will return to nothing. Most people you know do not think about you. When you die, only 3 or 4 people will truly mourn for you. After a few weeks, you will be forgotten.
This has been the story of billions of people throughout history. Statistically speaking, you will be totally, utterly forgotten.
Beyond this life lies nothing.
So in this life, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from doing the most heinous crime you can think of. Absolutely nothing. You can do it right now.
So what are you gonna do with that freedom?
You think there’s someone pulling the strings? Well guess what buddy, it’s worse than that: NO ONE’S pulling the strings.
The universe is just there. It’s infinite. YOU’RE NOT. You will never make sense of it.
I hope everyone reading laughs at this, because that’s the only sane response.
So now you can understand why I want to be “ignorant”. We should admire the Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Hindus, etc etc. Hell, I’ll even admire Conservatives, libs, leftists, rightists, libertarians, etc. At least they believe something.
There nothing wrong with sublimating our beliefs and desires into ideologies, but, taking from Sigmund Freud, the aim of this life should be to “sublimate well”.
Anyways, gotta go. Left my wallet at Hardee’s. Bye ✋
As 2021 comes to a close, I’d just like to remind everyone that if you think the world is getting worse, you’re dead wrong.
Things have always been shit. Always will be. To be alive means to live in tyranny.
Read ancient texts…Ancient Greece or Rome for example…you’d find the same old complaints: the decadence, the spectacle, the tyranny of the majority, the tyranny of the minority, the anguish of having to live in a society.
We’re in good company.
Maybe 30,000 years from now, humans might achieve a higher state of being…one that currently remains outside the realm of imagination. But none of us will see that day. For the time being, we’re just playing our role.
Sure, there are those that are WAY worse off than you or me. But I’d venture to guess that if you can read this blog, you’re doing alright. So look on the bright side, at least you’re not in the drunk tank, at least you’re not begging for your next meal, at least you’re not slipping some digits into the butthole of a paying john, at least you’re not being trafficked across the Pacific Ocean in a shipping container. Think on those people. Depressing? Yes. But with this despair comes opportunity to give a kind word, a shirt off your back, to be a ray of hope in an otherwise meaningless existence.
Face it, life sucks. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be.
People make all kinds of assumptions about you. “Hey, what kind of engine you got in that thing?” they ask.
“I dunno,” I say. “I just put the keys in the ignition and it starts.”
I drive a pickup not only because I have a tiny penis and suffer from an inferiority complex, but they also last longer, usually easier to take care of, and no one bats an eye at a few dents and scratches.
In short, I only drive a truck because I’m lazy as fuck.
But every guy wants to get into a pissing contest on who’s got the bigger engine, who knows more about transmissions, which kind of car is easier to fuck in (it’s definitely an Oldsmobile Tornado btw), etc etc
Well listen here buddy, I read Immanuel Kant, Wordsworth, Melville, Jack London, and fucking Hegel, not because someone told me to, but because I love it! Do I look like a guy that gives a shit about your Dodge Ram?
Sure I wear camouflage, abuse dipping tobacco, store my retirement savings under the kitchen sink, sleep with a Glock 19, dabble in meth, store my own piss, steal from my grandmother, don’t pay child support, and argue with teenagers online. But I’m just not a car guy! Okay?