Thursday, June 30, 2011

Being Boring

I have a confession to make:  I am boring.  It's not something I like about myself, but it is something I've noticed from time to time while cutting my toenails or watching a movie or even when I'm talking about something that I've clearly overstated or haven't completely understood. This isn't to say I'm no fun, or even useless, but I can no longer say that I am a truly fascinating person.  That's okay, though.  Neither are you.

Teddy Roosevelt--now that was an fascinating guy.  Killed animals for fun, went with his son Kermit and explored the Amazon Basin, became president, fought in a couple wars, got shot and yet still continued his speech--this is the kind of guy that people watch with their mouths hanging open and write books about and argue about and try to find out what made him tick.  He's a fascinating guy.  Other fascinating guys include (but are not limited to) Hemingway, Lincoln, Gandhi, Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, Da Vinci, you know, all the people that get posted on elementary school bulletin boards.

There is a difference in fascinating people, though, and people who do interesting or fascinating things.  Frank Zappa is an interesting guy, and I think that some of his ideas were great, and he was an awe-inspiring musician, but I can't really put him up there with Lincoln--maybe you can, I don't know, but I don't think that he's so good that you'll see his name in elementary school textbooks.  Another interesting guy is Julian Assange--I don't necessarily want to read a biography of him, nor would I really like to know everything about the guy, but I do find him interesting in the work that he does, why he does it, and his ideals concerning privacy and transparency.

My dog used to make this same noble face when he was watching me eat tomatoes.

But I was just really looking at myself and I find that it's very possible no one will ever write a book about me, no one will ever want to sit me down and interview me on my ideas of the world, no one will probably ever really be interested in everything I say.  I'm not going to have fans like George Lucas or have my biography eagerly anticipated like Mark Twain.  I'm just not that special.

Here's the rub, though--it's okay.  Who fucking cares? there's really no point to trying to be any of those people, and they would be the first to tell you that.  They became famous and interesting all on their own by just doing the things that came naturally to them--Teddy Roosevelt was an adrenaline junkie and couldn't sit still if he wanted to.  He had to be off being the champion of...whatever.  Julian Assange leaked files because he knew in his heart that was the right thing to do, even if others thought it was wrong and others still thought it amounted to treason (PS I have a definite opinion on this guy, but I have no desire for politics).  These guys didn't do things because people were watching them or because people might be watching them--they did them because it made sense.  To them.


So now I'm trying to write a book--I don't know if people will like it, I don't know if anyone will even buy it or read it.  But to me, it's an important work, and may be the first thing that I've ever written that takes me to a different place as a writer--this isn't just a story, this is something I'm writing to figure myself out--I think that this book may change me fundamentally, and that can't be a bad thing.  But there are moments when I doubt myself, when the animals in the back scream out "shut up, you're boring and no one cares what you say" and that may be kind of true--but this time it doesn't matter.  I'm writing for me and I'm going to finish the fucker, hell or high water.  And maybe that isn't that boring at all.

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Twitter is Stupid

Okay, fellow humans, let's start off by stating this knowledgeable fact: twitter is stupid.  All twitter really does is allow fans to remain in pseudo-contact with their beloved celebrities. When Kelso from That 70's Show is eating calamari in Venice, you'll know about it; if Stephen Tyler is gawking at thirteen-year-olds at his local mall, you'll be the first informed.  But really, the trouble with Twitter is that it's a lot of bullshit no one really looks at or cares about.  Full discolsure, I have a twitter, too, but lacking anything clever to say most hours of the day, I don't use it terribly often.  Mostly the reason for my only having like 12 tweets is that I don't really need to tell people that I'm eating a snowcone on a street corner that smells like garbage or that I've finally beaten Super Smash Brothers 64 on the Very Hard setting--it's just not pertinent information to anyone (hell, not even me half the time).  So why the hell would anyone follow me on twitter?  Good question, but for a better answer, it's because I want them to and of course because I think they might actually care.

The biggest problem with the Twitter mentality is that people use it to validate the bullshit they do on a daily basis.  People want to feel good about their lives and want to feel that whatever they're doing is inherently right or good, or whatever, or they want to point out something that someone else does and call it stupid or whatever*.  Think about it, why else would you tweet that you and your girlfriends are splitting two pepper steaks at P. F. Chang's if you didn't want either someone to ask about it or someone to be jealous?  What's so special about you buying flip-flops at Hollister (other than you just paid $45 for something I can buy for $1.99 anywhere else)?  Unless you have something clever to say or have figured out a way to cure cancer by tweeting about it, then it's pretty much useless.  Oh, and for those who like to pretend it's a news source because of the tweet about the Miracle on the Hudson, that is the exception to the rule.  Twitter has a million people using it--congratulations you found the one meaningful post.  Well done--I have a needle lost in this haystack over here, I need your help finding it.

I think the strangest thing about Twitter is that it's basically set up like texting--and yet most of the people I've met who have a twitter have no idea how to send a text.  Twitter, at it's best, is a conformity tool that forces you to pick the best way to say something in 140 characters.  Not that very many people do this (Conan** does, but c'mon, of course he does), but really, at it's best Twitter could help people develop the English language in a short, concise way.  Instead two things happen: people abbreviate words into indecipherable goobledegook consisting of capital letters and superfluous punctuation ("OMG! FB nt wkng WTF YO?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!) or three hour texting sessions after Kevin Smith got kicked off an airplane because he was "too fat to fly"***.

Really what should have happened was people learning to not ramble along like assholes with all the time in the world*.  The direct opposite of this is the texts I get from social-media types that start off with "hey."  "What's up?" and end with "k", "cool", and "bye".  Do these people realize that texting costs money?  Do they realize that every time you send a text it should have as much information as possible in it, that way it only takes three texts and 45 cents as opposed to the costomary cycle of bullshit you go through when you ask a favor:

These types of conversations happen all the time.

Not to mention that it costs less money and time to just dial the number and call the person than spend 45 minutes typing to your girlfriend about where to eat when you could just as easily argue about it over the phone or even better yet, let the subject go for a little while.  Why are you worrying about it now?  Couldn't you just wait until later when you're both in the same room instead of dragging it out and making it worse for everybody?  At least in person you can know if your suggestion to go to Burger King is going to get you in trouble or not.

*This is the part of the article where I become a hypocrite.
**This is one of several Conan tweets: Team Coco
***I love Kevin Smith but I think that he should probably have taken this as a warning to exercise a little instead of a "hey, they're pickin' on the fat kid" whine-scape.  Looks like ol' Kevin has really lost the Jersey in him.

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