It seems to me that the great crisis in this country is a media environment which is attention-squeezed, hate-driven, ink-blotted, sound-bit. Basically neo-Pavlovian, treating you like a salivating dog. Simulate, jolt, salivate. You find that you are treated as a consumer, not as a citizen, not as someone capable of absorption and marvel and wonder.
I write books, but what really turns me on, what really captivates my thinking, is magazine culture. That’s a difficult thing, because magazine culture is in big trouble. If I write a book, it gets read by ten thousand people, if I write a magazine article it gets exposed to a hundred thousand people who are reading about something they didn’t know they had any interest in. The kind of writing I love comes at things from the side, and it relishes the narrative itself. You find yourself reading, and about halfway along, you realize that what you’re reading is the most important thing in the world.
– Lawrence Weschler
The title is based on an exchange between (then) New Yorker editor William Shawn and writer, Alistair Reed, as quoted by Weschler in an interview with The Rumpus‘s Kyle Minor.
So much has been written about how this generation has maximized its opportunities to communicate, and yet never really makes any real connections. Described as “a ground-clearing”, the preoccupation with irony and indifference becomes a dead end.
All I ever do is snark and pretend I don’t need anything from anyone, when really, I don’t need to get drunk to be honest. But that’s how it’s been–I’ll let my guard down after this shot. And that bottle. And that one. It’s bullshit and it’s exhausting and my liver is paying the price, but above all that I’m tired of compromising the potential of actual earnestness. And at the risk of turning this blog into a typical repository of sentimental drivel <3 <3 <3 I do actually want something good to come out of dates that take place under the guise of meaningless hook-ups and "uh, well, if you're not dong anything in a couple of hours, we could, I don't know, have dinner or whatever…?…" Because I'm tired of wasting my time "hanging out". There, I said it.
I’ll do this in bullet points, lazy livejournal style until I can pull together something more cohesive. At the moment I’m wrapping up the transcript (or at least [once again] something coherent out of my notes) from an interview with a curator, and a chunk of an article I’m writing for Contemp.
*Published in Status, Issue no. 20 with the editor’s title