I don’t know that there’s much point following the news, current affairs, that kind of thing. You can skip it a bit, and it makes no difference. A day. A week. Doesn’t affect you, doesn’t affect anyone else. Actually, that’s not true, it will affect you in that you’ll start getting stuff done and enjoying the day to day a bit more.
Maybe this willingness to drop out (and consequentially back in, to the things that matter) is brought on by the fact that the discussion going on in the mainstream seems now to be, in significant part, conducted by aliens.
Seriously, it often means nothing to me. People with some degree of intelligence and a decent job are treating the most normal and familiar of opinions as if they’ve been issued by a visiting malevolent phantasm.
Look at this, from an interview in the Guardian with Bret Easton Ellis about his new non-fiction book, titled White.
the book is a provocation – and it’s up to you, the reader, to choose to what degree you are prepared to allow yourself to be riled.
Oh wow, so what does he say that is so fucked up and incendiary?
It attacks what he regards as the narcissism of the young, roundly dismisses the rush to offence and the cult of victimisation, and chases down the self-dramatising of those liberal Americans who must be passed the smelling salts at the mere mention of Donald Trump. Although he thinks the #MeToo movement had real meaning when it began, Ellis dislikes the way it has since extended to include, most recently, such supposed crimes as what some might call the overfriendliness of the former US vice-president Joe Biden. He is largely dismissive of identity politics, and despises the way that people can now be “cancelled” (erased from public life) over some relatively small but dumb thing they may have said in the past.
Oh, so just some totally normal things that absolutely loads of people think. Things you might or might not agree with, but nothing that any reasonable person could possibly find riling or provocative. Or so you’d think.
Care for a drink?
Have whisky, a protein shake, anything that steers you away from the wretched nonsense being mercilessly slopped up by the media/academic shitehawk zombie set.
What can you do, rather than choke down their gruel?
Anything else, anything at all.
Is there any point in getting on your stupid social media account on your stupid phone that you stare at stupidly all the time abandoning all norms of politeness, interaction, and life in the present moment?
You can try yelling at people that they’ve gone weird, and might be in the grip of some form of mass hysteria or abused-becomes-abuser brainwashing cycle, but all they’ll do is yell back, and then you’ll be yelling at people and getting yelled at, and a day from now no-one will even know or care.
Even if you’re famous: no-one cares. Even if you’re famous for yelling at people, no-one will remember what you yelled, they’ll just remember that you yell. And that you totally owned that theatre critic. Or was it a famous chef? Or a deeply earnest pop stunner turned cultural ghoul? Whatever. Some variety of freakish, Twitter-verified human commodity with a gruesome personality disorder. And you really got them good. Or maybe they got you. Or perhaps you just wrestled in the mud like pigs.
I guess it depends on which side you’re rooting for. Or whether you’re simply in it for the blood.
Which is not for a moment to suggest that this is all about tribalism. That would be too flattering a proposition. After all, tribes built things. Tribes went to war and made sacrifices. There is value in that which tribes eked out, established, and passed on.
This isn’t tribalism, this is Pacman. But you can’t play as Pacman. In fact, you can’t even be a ghost.
You’re a dot. You’re getting eaten.
You’re a piece of fruit at best, but don’t bank on it, and you’re still getting eaten.
You might not even be a dot, come to think of it, maybe you’re the coin slot, or the bloke who empties the ashtrays. Maybe you’re the ash.
Well, so, you see what I mean, maybe. You could bother with all this. With the news, and the people who tell you things about the news, and the people who tell you things about the people who tell you things about the news.
You could do all that, carry right on.
Or you could shut down the hallucination. Have a drink. Look out the window.