BLOG THIS! Highly Suspect Wisdom for the Widely Disinterested Masses
Gloriousness Made Flesh
Socrates said that the closer you get to the truth, the more likely you are to be executed. While the abundant evidence throughout history to support that conclusion has frightening implications for the future of humankind, I often think of it in terms of music. Truly profound, innovative, and uncompromising musicians have always been metaphorically sent to the gibbet for the crime of seeing the world through a distinct, sometimes disconcerting lens. Even in the jazz world, John Coltrane was often misunderstood, derided, critically and culturally dismissed. From the outside, especially late-career, he was seen as a madman. John Coltrane is by far my favorite musician. The four-suite ecstatic and quasi-religious devotion “A Love Supreme” might well be his greatest and most complete work. For sixty years there was only one recorded instance of him playing it live (1965, Antibes). Now there are two, as this newly discovered and released recording from Seattle attests. Socrates would be proud. This is as close to musical truth as it gets.
Sometimes while reading the news each morning I have a vision of a whole new wave of Retro-Idealists replacing this tired immediacy, gangly young men with Cardigans and Meerschaum pipes, trim-bearded intellectuals who race Moto Guzzis past sidewalk cafes and listen to the Everly Brothers and read Kant, packs of vibrant young women simply replacing the crone-ish rebuking-class, impossible heels and scarves draped over their heads during screenings of I Am Curious Yellow and A Clockwork Orange at the art theater in town, smoking Chesterfields at the diner until midnight, discussing the merits of backpacking to Prague or Quito or Burkina Faso, all of them exuberant with sheer possibility, without fear of the potential to misspeak or offend, impervious to the monotony of contemporary political stasis and its attendant ills, without a cellular Apple-umbilicus to constantly massage and feed. Then I flip to the next article.
Putting Money Where Pixel Is
There is absolutely no reason for anyone of conscience not to delete their Facebook account immediately. Not to mention march in the streets in the millions demanding that it get the Ma Bell treatment. No one man, company, or platform (it's not a platform, it's a publisher and needs to be treated like any other publisher responsible for its content) should be allowed to control 70% of social media activity, and therefore a dangerous majority of communal intellectual, cultural, and political thought. In fact, Facebook should immediately be torn apart and forced to sell Instagram and WhatsApp. Its algorithms should be completely transparent and closely studied for their insidious effects, especially on children. As the crush of advertising (remember only 8 years ago when there was absolutely none in your feed?) makes it almost unusable, and the data harvesting continues, and we all conveniently ignore the fact that, despite endless editorials about ignored rust belt towns, the reason Trump was elected was manipulated Facebook analytics, for some reason we hang on. Especially because Zuckerberg didn't do it for any particular ideology, which in some ways would have been marginally more forgivable, but for cash. And now THIS. But of course we all already knew THIS, and every single permutation of it. The truth is that it's just too convenient a way to stay in touch in an isolated world. And, pathetically, as much as I try to be an ethical person, I'm staying for now. Up here in the far corner of the country, where I spend most of my day alone in an office, these pixel-interactions are genuinely meaningful, if mostly meaningless on the surface. I am a chimp and I need to remain in relative proximity to other chimps, or wither. Also, I am weak.
However, I've been thinking in general about deleting my account since 2016, and have been very seriously considering it over the last year. For now it would be nice to have some conversations that were less cynical commentary or expressions of anger, no matter how warranted, and more toward organized action about what an exodus en masse might look like. Then leaving might mean something. And I would be 100% in.