(SHORT ‘N CURLIES) – #3
I have The Fear, and here is why:
Modern inventions and discoveries lack elegance. Really. They’re either so sky-fuckingly complicated that they tend to be the sole preserve of scientists with more letters after their name than an episode of Sesame Street, or — if they are presented by someone Normal — they’re so laughably unnecessary that the best they can hope for is Novelty Status. CLOCKWORK SMEGMA-SPONGE; SOLAR-POWERED KITTEN BOMB; EASTER-BUNNY DETECTION DEVICE, etc.
The fact is that all the really good shit is frighteningly simple and obvious. The second fact is that it only looks simple and obvious when you already know about it.
We’ve had the lever for 2.6 million years, yes, but we Didn’t Have It for much, much longer than that. We’ve had fire for 1.9 million years, but how many delicious pork scratchings went tragically uncrackled before then? We’ve had the wheel for 6 thousand years, the written word for 5 thousand, and the Twiglet for 90. They’re the lowest-technological-denominators — the Big Ideas which underpin the whole of human endeavour: philosophical, social and cultural. Yes? Yes.
I’ve been suffering from the irrational sweaty dread all week that we’ve missed one. I don’t know what it might be — that’s sort of the point — but I’m filled with species-angst over the idea we’ve collectively overlooked something really obvious. How embarrassing. I imagine a squad of extra-dimensional Overseers poised, like glittering musical singularities, with the GRAND REALITY PRIZE which will Sublime Us All To A New Existential Condition… watching in consternation as our wondrous technologies become more and more complex and contrived to overcome the constraints of the laws of physics. And all for want of something as blindingly obvious as that staple of primitive tool-users across the multiverse: Blepp.
I dislike the notion of being a cosmic laughing-stock. That is all.
Surfing ponderously on the blunt edge of Old Events, this message is beamed to you direct from Several Weeks Ago.
Michael Jackson has just popped his spangly clogs, and boyohboy do I envy you fuckers way out there in the future. Back here in the Immediate Aftermath — M-plus 14-hours to be precise — the chisel-chinned gargoyle haunts the TV like a lingering fart, refusing to leave the Headline Spot no matter how many anonymous Iraqis are inappropriate enough to get themselves blown-up. The Internet is spattered with Pop’s remains like a digital enema-nuke and nobody looks set to mop it up. No other issue seems Worthy of Blog.
Mind you: monotopic frustration aside, it’s been a really interesting 14 hours. I’ve been watching my various interweb Circles with fascination; amazed at how a newsspaff of such questionable “importance” — ODD SINGER CROAKS — grips the whole shimmering net-based circlejerk like clamping a vice round its collective gonads.
The first caveat to mention here is that the vast majority of my online acquaintances aren’t mourning the creepy fucker one little bit. That’s not to suggest it’s impossible for anyone to be legitimately gloomy, nor that He didn’t have any redeeming features worth celebrating; it’s just a reflection of the company I keep. They’re a surly bunch and I love them with every crinkle of my blackened walnut heart. The point is, if you’re an MJ fan yourself, and are expecting this to become a floaty panegyric about A Modern Cultural Quasimodo (who can’t possibly be blamed for his alleged kiddyfiddling nor his self-hating morphic fucktastrophe on the grounds that He Was A Product Of His Circumstances) you’re going to be sorely disappointed. This isn’t really about MJ at all to be honest; but the Twitter-based phenomenon following his Terminal Exit which I have lamely elected to call THE FRENZ-E.
Behold, then, the TwitReport:
At M-plus-one minute the Exclaimers arrived online in a slew of ZOMGs and have you heards. They went mostly unanswered; partly because nobody else would be so crass as to confess they Heard It Here First; mainly because Honest Reaction is fundamentally content-stagnant: it adds nothing, simply echoing the Big Noise.
Next — within seconds, in fact — came the Bad Jokes. The cops, we were swiftly informed, have ruled-out the Sunshine and the Moonlight from their enquiries regarding the death of Michael Jackson, and have issued instead a warrant for the arrest of The Boogie. And so on. Some of them were even funny.
The jokes were tailed instantaneously by both halves of the more serious Self Righteous brigade, wading-in like rival gangs of hazmat-suited sewer-jockeys: one side declaring with noses aimed skyward that That’s Someone’s Son/Father/Friend/Freakidol/Mutantpet You’re Talking About and You Should Be Ashamed; the other half declaiming in a turd-pelting storm of paedo-accusations and chanting Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead.
And finally, a mere hour or two after the Celebrities started getting involved, the late-arrivals performed the textual equivalent of Whispering Really Loudly that they positively refused to sully themselves by discussing the event, weren’t going to stoop to rattling off all the obvious gags (though they could if they wanted), and were already bored of the whole thing. Also, by the way, anyone still talking about it smells of wee. Also: nyer.
Commenting, in effect, on Not Wanting To Comment. Glorious.
See, what’s really weird about this whole flaming cascade of Twit and counter-Twit is that almost all of these people — my digidroogs, twatterers and boardchums — didn’t give two tugs of a narwhale’s nipple for the Goblin-King Of Pop himself. And yet all of them — all of us, ‘cos I was up to my pasty chin in the whole thing too — felt an unshakeable shivering adrenal need to rugby-tackle the nearest online access-point and Say Stuff when the Geisha-faced tragedy moonwalked off his mortal coil.
This is Event Blogging in microcosm, and when you get rrrrright down to it it’s just a matter of ownership. Everybody’s desperate to buy a stake in the debate — even if it’s only to announce they’re too cool to get involved — and yes it’s compulsive and yes it’s fun and yes it spawns one half-decent gag out of every ten, but here’s the real killer:
It’s pretty fucking pointless, all in all. You, oh NewsTwitterer, are a dung-beetle in an Elephant Enclosure, valiantly trying to pin a “My Property” sign on a teetering mountain of pachyderm poo; and all the insights, bad jokes, righteous indignation or noisy ignorings in the world aren’t going to make it Your Story. Sorry.
On the other hand, there’ll be some New News along in a day or two, so you can bet we’ll all be trying again.
This is the Elyctric Rapture — digitally Speaking In Tongues — and it happens every time Hollywood Says Boo or the World Says Boom.
Huzzah for Twitter.
THE KEYBOARD IS MY FUCKMONKEY:
I’ve been cracking-on with a new novel every morning this week. It’s going pretty well (actually it’s an avalanche of bleeding-eyed effort and self-doubt, which — in novelist terms — is unexpectedly Good Progress), but I have a strong feeling there will be significant periods of hateful rewriting required later on.
See, my first novel — Contract — was written in a disjointed sort of syntax which was memorably described by one chum as “literary Tourettes,” by another as “refreshingly snappy”, and by a whole bunch of others as “deeply troubling”. It was the sort of the book that divided audiences. It had no single genre (I tended to pitch it as a crime/occult/black-comedy/weirdfest) which made it appeal to publishers like a sword in the scrotum, and was based around a protagonist of such questionable likeability – a hitman whose victims kept coming back to life, for the record — that nobody really knew what to do with it. Nonetheless we found a suitably insane publisher — a big one, in fact — who pumped it out with much net-based fanfare and watched it do spectacularly OKAY.
It was little surprise that, for my next affair, they oh-so-politely recommended — without in any way daring to suggest I sacrifice “my voice” — that I maybe, possibly, just-an-idea, consider widening my approachable market just a fraction; ideally by not deliberately annoying/upsetting/confusing/freaking-out/nauseating half of the readership.
Fine. I’ll give it a shot.
And mostly it’s good fun. Mostly I’m hoodwinking everyone into believing what they’re reading is an accessible, tight, tidy little story about dark criminal goings-on in London taaahn; while secretly blibbing-in a minor dose of sleazy fucked-up hallucinogenic narcotic yumyums of questionable reality.
Buuuut sometimes, like when I’m too knackered to consult the biblical BeatSheet, or cranky from having to cut out too many Strange Grammatical Flourishes (like redundant capital letters, say), or just frankly not really concentrating, I get carried away and don’t catch myself until it’s too late.
I just spent two days writing a chapter in which — for no apparent reasons — my accessible, empathetic, oh-so-likeable protagonist locks himself in a toilet cubicle and has a wank while thinking about the explosively mutilated dead body he’s just discovered. This sequence progresses the story not an inch, instantly makes everyone hate the character in question, and flies in the face of all the “expand your marketability” advice I’ve been getting. Sooner or later I’m going to have to go back and chop it all out and make him do something more sensible instead.
But I can’t for the life of me bring myself to delete it. I’m doomed.
THIS WEEK I HAVE MOSTLY BEEN HATING:
Steven Spielberg: whose seminal 1975 masterpiece Jaws — in spite of an animatronic gribblie slightly less convincing than Himmler’s Very Happy Hanukah — has been successfully fucking with my natural love of the ocean since I first saw it aged 5.
Yesterday I found a tiny tiny dead shark while freediving in the Med. Today I’m having a hard time even exposing my arse to the water in the toiletbowl.
Bring diapers, harpoon-guns and lawsuit applications.
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C/O William Christensen,
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(Disclaimer: Secretly, I’m nice.)