July 28, 2017 (Friday)

by Yule Heibel on July 27, 2018

Yesterday’s morning pages could have been less boring, and I’m afraid today’s might suffer from the same weakness. What a stupid day yesterday was, almost as if the morning pages were a template for the anomie I experienced the rest of the day. It was supposed to rain at midday. Two workers arrived first thing, expecting to paint in the morning. Instead, it began to rain. So they called for a ride and waited, packed up, by the curb for about half an hour for their ride to show up. It drizzled a bit, and the expectation (I guess) was that real rain and thunderstorms would follow. Never did. They were however eventually “rescued” from here, and it continued merely to drizzle indifferently for a while – and then there actually came an opening in the clouds and the sun shone. Fucking brilliant. Not. It didn’t really start to rain till well into the afternoon, late in the afternoon. So, no work got done all day, even though they could have gotten six to seven hours in. Each.

My own day reflected a similar inanity insofar as I felt almost crippled by a lack of interest in anything. At one point, in desperation, I went on Facebook, spent a few minutes there, and realized what an utter waste of time it was. And it’s not because people aren’t “sharing” actually serious things. M.’s wife, only 57, died earlier this month, for example. I saw that when I went to his profile to see what political posts he was writing (being “down under” as it were, his perspective is different from ours). And I saw the outpouring of condolences. And I thought about how I “know” some of these people (as well as M.), how knitted together we’ve been over the years of interacting on social media, and how unraveled those friendships became – at least for me – in the wake of more recent politics. How our knitted-togetherness was never based on real face-to-face human interaction, but always hosted on various digital platforms: blogs, and then of course the awful Facebook.

I almost commented on M.’s post, but refrained as I don’t want to engage on Facebook anymore, at least not now. Here were all these people, about some of whom I’ve lost varying levels of respect, “grieving” and talking about Skyping soon, etc., but even they don’t actually know M. (not in real life). It struck me hard that in the end it really is the people to whom you have actual proximity – the real “reach out and touch” kind, not the mediated kind – who matter most. Your Skype friend in the US isn’t the same if you can’t be together in the same room for the time, read all the body language, feel the hug, the body warmth of another living person.

Then it rained and rained in the afternoon. I should have napped, I felt (and was) dead-tired. Instead, I tried to read, could only manage a couple of articles. Sarah Goldhagen’s book on architecture (speaking of real life versus mediation) sounds like it deals with the kind of proxemics I wrote about ten years ago. I also read something silly about a school teacher who is trying to ban teasing and banter at school because, according to him, it leads to bullying. Later, as I helped with making a salad (E. cooked dinner), I recalled that creep P. at my junior high school in Victoria who “bantered” me all the time with sexual innuendo – I hated this guy, the “teasing” was beyond annoying (he wanted to have sex), but in that school at that time, it did at least two things for me: 1) made me handle my problem (my way; or at least learn from how I handled it); and 2) gave me something to remember (how much P. was a dick). And it occurred to me that the social justice warriors and social engineers are going too far in trying to eliminate from real life everything which creates actual memories, which isn’t just an undifferentiated hodgepodge of anodyne correctness. But – and this is crucial – in the meantime, acute sensation, acute emotion is transferred to media. (And then the media control you.) Evacuated from real life (where nothing real is allowed to happen anymore, as enforced by often puritanical standards), and transferred to media “life.” That way, eventually you (the media, I mean) control memory and memory formation. Your own life, policed to the nth degree, is bland, the perfect preparation for serfdom, robotic serfdom. Meanwhile, your media-lifestyle stream is full of drama, ups and downs.

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