I haven’t done any extensive research on the topic, but I believe that the glorification of infidelity and perversion in society has eschewed our opinions of one another. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an aspiring Luddite – which is ironic when you consider that I’m typing this on a Rosewill keyboard attached to a Toshiba laptop with all sorts of fun bells and whistles, most of which I haven’t explored because of the annoying Flash Cards menu – but I am certainly not a moral majority fundamentalist Christian or anything of the sort. I haven’t the discipline, or the lack thereof, to be a good Christian. That’s why I’m an agnostic with both feet planted firmly on the ‘atheist’ side of the fence, and my fingertips just barely caressing said metaphorical barricade.
First and foremost, I feel as if it’s necessary to tell you that I do not condone the burning of books, I do not think that censorship can or should be done for the ‘greater good’, because I think that sometimes, we need to reflect on our mistakes and cringe at what we as a species have done to our planet and to each other. We have been very, very nasty to one another throughout history, and I believe that the only reason that the idea of violent upheaval or bloody revenge is still appealing to us is because of the way it is portrayed. The same can be said for the aforementioned infidelity and perversion.
However, I will candidly opine to all of you that I have a notion that if we didn’t shove a camera up a rich person’s nose every time they did a line of coke, we would not see this behaviour as all right. The issue that I have with Western ‘civilization’ as a whole is that we glorify what is called ‘bad behaviour’ in a very frequent manner. How many times have you heard a story about a celebrity going into rehab, and simply shrugged your shoulders? That it is commonplace in our culture today is baffling and appalling to me. Everything is so scandalous now, and I suppose that the one real solution is to simply change the channel, but by then, it’s plastered on every newspaper, tabloid, and tongue all over the country. The bad behaviour that we put on display reaches you faster than the good, because who wants to hear a harrowing story about that perfect citizen unless he’s got some kind of character issues?
Listen: I live in Greece, New York. That alone should say volumes. If you look around, there’s not a whole lot of anything, but people still come out here for some reason. I imagine it’s because of the Chuck E. Cheese at the end of my street and the fact that West Ridge Road runs straight through it, but I could be entirely wrong about this. I have been raised by a loving family, in a mostly stable home, with access to everything and any thing that I could ever ask for. I have been spoiled for my entire life, and I am grateful to my parents and grandparents, uncles and aunts, for all of the wonderful amenities that they have purchased for me, but I am not a material person. Certainly, if someone broke into my house tonight and stole everything, I would be angry. But over time, if I went without these neat little toys, I think that I would find myself happier for it in the long run because I might finally be able to tackle my crippling anxiety for meeting new people.
There is one motto that I’ve learned while I’ve been living here, and that is this: Life is short. I’m not going to tell you what to do, because I wouldn’t know what to tell you. I’m not a therapist, a psychologist, or a psychic (despite popular opinion). I’m merely an average person, and more specifically the average college student personified. I complain about the job market and live off of what money they give me on financial aid. But I will tell you this, and I believe it to be true: every relationship that I’ve ever been in has revolved – in some way – around drama. There is always some kind of personal demon or issue that people are going to try to overcome, and I can accept that because I’ve got a whole laundry list of things that I feel as if I need to improve.
But why do I feel that way, and why should you? If you listen to the way the press puts it (if there is a ‘press’ any more, it’s really just a bunch of talking heads and pseudo-celebrities at this point), a normal person is a bland and lifeless creature with no real interesting points to their life. And this is seen as a bad thing because we, as a society, thrive on drama. There is simply no way around it: everything that you or me have ever said or done has played back in our heads with the perfect soundtrack, lead actor or actress, and director. If our every day life isn’t just like a movie of some sort, we’re stricken with depressed boredom. Every relationship that I ever had, I am convinced, ended because I was simply not willing to put in as much drama as the other person. Everybody thinks that their life needs to be this big production, they have to sell their story, get their face on a billboard, and make loads of cash just for being who they are and I won’t lie, I often entertain the thought myself. It’s simply the way we’ve been conditioned.
I have always dreamed of being a professional wrestler; a dream that many people have scoffed at and scorned because, Ron, you can’t throw your life away on such a crap shoot. But what is life, other than a giant crap shoot? Are you to tell me that my simply being here isn’t a matter of luck (or misfortune, as it would sometimes seem)? Then I decided that I do enjoy my physical health just enough that I probably shouldn’t pursue a career in landing on my head. I’ve always dreamed of being a writer, because I like to sit down and put word to paper, but many people have told me, “Ron, that’s so impractical. You should get into something where you’re guaranteed a job!”
And they’re right, that is exactly what I should do, but the world outside of writing is so drab and boring that I can’t stand to think of any other way to make a living other than putting my thoughts down in words to the best of my abilities. This is not because I choose to be this way, it is how I was conditioned from my youth. Fame and fortune is all anyone needs, is what I’ve been brought up on; these things happen when you have a shiny box trying to sell you the coolest new gadget every 15 minutes. And in America, we can’t NOT afford to have the shiniest box, or the biggest hard drive, or the most expensive kitchen accessories so that everything looks as if you’ve just stepped onto a space ship from the World of Tomorrow. It’s something that has been ingrained into our brains from birth, and it is something that I despise more feverishly than any terrorist that the press will tell us to hate.
The problem with our greed and our insatiable lust for the newest toys is that it robs us of the entire human aspect of being human. When was the last time you went for a day without touching your cell phone, checking Facebook, or thinking to yourself, “Gee, you know, I really do think this room would look better with a television that takes up the entire wall?” We learn to detach from one another through the constant overload of technology, and we move on to our next “single serving friend,” – or, in some cases, “single serving lover” – without any real feeling in between actions, which is tragic because there are some incredibly deep emotions that go with losing a friend, or a loved one, and I can’t help but feel that future generations will be continually robbed of the opportunity to really feel and understand what pain is because they will be so engrossed in whatever they’re doing online that they’ll just mentally evacuate when pain gets too hard to handle. We are slowly becoming an army of technologically savvy individuals who will grow increasingly insensitive to the world around us until we are all a clutter of meat-puppets, numb to the bone by the over saturation of media in our lives. I know people who listen to music while they have the TV on, and they still browse the Internet while playing Call of Duty in picture-in-picture mode. It is frightening to think where we will go in the future if we continue down this path.
I am not so quick to invoke a mass destruction of technology because there are important things going on in this world that we happen to inhabit, but we do need to be weaned off of it at least enough so that I can hold a decent conversation with a person without them pulling out their phone because the briquette in their pocket started to vibrate.
I’m as guilty of the sins in this entry as any of you, more so even because I’m going to post this on all of my public journals so that all of you may critique it and tell me what a hack I am, or simply skip over it because you either don’t know enough about me to care, or you’re not in a reading mood.
Apathy is a cold steel pipe which feels like a warm, soft breast to the conditioned ears of the numb. It is the end result of all of our hard work and labouring hours in front of lightly buzzing machines with bright screens and the potential for meeting new people from exotic places.
I opine to you – mister, miss, or undecided – that we must at least break free from technology long enough for us to start caring again. Because without that, we’ve basically devolved to the most primitive of stages wherein reproduction is the only real purpose that we serve, and all of that language and logic is for naught.
I’m an aspiring gas station attendant. It’s a thankless, lowly, bottom-of-the-barrel job, but it’s the only job I’ve ever really liked enough to go back and ask for more, despite the direct correlation between its existence and the rapid deterioration of the environment around us. I can honestly say that I do not want anyone to make a movie about my life, I do not want to be on a billboard, or publicly promoted for whatever reason you might find to do so because I will be the first to admit that I am not worthy of even the most minute amount of praise that I have received from various English teachers in my time here. I want to live a normal life in an apartment or small hut of some sort with just my journals and maybe a window overlooking vast fields of nothing. That is what I aspire for, because at the end of the day, I only want silence, and an absolute lack of drama. Maybe a beer and a cigarette, too. I mean, we’re all going to die someday, right? And if there is an afterlife, I have my doubts that they’ll carry Marlboros or Molsons.