July 7, 2017 (Friday)

by Yule Heibel on July 6, 2018

My mind feels like it was flayed (or something very like) over this past week. It was, in name, a vacation week. So our routines were not routines of workweek – we slept as long as we wanted (or, more accurately, could), we tried to cook and dine in a weekend manner, but it wasn’t particularly restful and not vacation-like. We have spent the week in night sweats (which resulted in more laundry for me), exhaustion, coughing fits, a decline in exercise (because, sick), and the overall effect was one of time slipping away unproductively. No, wait, that’s not quite right. More like being a bug suspended in amber, or a butterfly pinned to a board.

I promised a Florence-based friend of B.’s that I would read his novel with an eye to writing a review on Amazon for him, but he sent it to me as a PDF, which means I have to read it on a device. (For me that’s a hurdle since I hate reading at length on devices.) While I initially liked the novel, it already got too much for me about seventy pages in: its baroque plot twists and the growing cast of characters led away from what interested me in the first place, namely the relationship between – and fate of – the two [male] main characters, Os. and Bl, presented at the outset. They ceased being the main characters, were buried under an avalanche of “extras”: various scenesters of London, crazies, troubled souls, all of whom eclipse the basic drama encapsulated by the interactions between Os. and Bl. The book is 440 pages long, and I have struggled to about page 230 or so – in weeks. And I resist reading it but I’ve promised. Instead of reading a book I really enjoy, which could take my mind off how sick I feel, I’m trying to read B.’s friend’s book, out of duty. Furthermore, since it’s on my iPad, I am endlessly enticed – and give in to – the other distractions, so welcome as I don’t like the novel very much, of email, Twitter, and Churchill Solitaire.

Twitter, especially, has been on fire ever since the Trump-CNN wrestling tweet, followed by multiple subsequent meltdowns (I actually like that CNN is getting karate-chopped on the back of its neck) and other political events, including the G20 meeting in Hamburg (Merkel should be called to account for choosing the city to host the event – if I lived there with those now-wrecked streets, I’d be livid), Trump’s Poland visit (so interesting to see the mainstream media’s anti-Trump spin vs the right-wing’s spin), and even sideshows, ignored mostly by mainstream media, of horrible people like Linda Sarsour arguing against assimilation and for jihad. CNN’s KFile wants to dox (or threatens to dox) people, Americans like Sarsour have basically seceded from the (secular) republic, and it’s a crazy world. Sometimes I ask myself why I bother taking it – or try to take it – all in. But on the other hand, it feels like if you don’t know about these currents, you might find yourself pretty quickly swept out to sea, overtaken by a riptide out of nowhere.

At the same time, it doesn’t seem to help to be informed, either.

At what point does information become deformation?

Hence perhaps the feeling of a flayed mind. And then add to this the sheer volume of actual noise – traffic, gardening power tools, garbage trucks, and so on – and it really does feel like an assault. Non-stop.

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