14 GIFs About How I Am Over Stuff and Will Learn to Be Slow With More Words
I feel like I'm really over stuff lately. I blame the flood of listicles and linkbait for being the straw to my camel's back when it comes to myopic oversimplification and mischaracterization online.
I feel like we have three speeds: Furious Offense, Ham-fisted Humour, and the Dream of Privileged Ease. They're really easy to succumb to. They grab attention, both ours and others, but Furious Outrage seems to be a collective favourite.
Actually, now that I think about it, it was the general ruckus this last weekend about a guy being an asshole to a woman on a plane that really did me in, not all the linkbait. Some guy lied about being an asshole, and a lot of people were very sure we were supposed to care about it.
People made the asshole-on-the-plane incident be about racism, feminism, wealth, sexual dominance, the ethics of storytelling, and the service industry, because everything is about every one of these things these days. This is the truth, honestly, but so many of the incidents we end up collectively pointing our eyeballs at are dissected for each injustice with such Furious Outrage. Does this make us feel like something is happening?
In truth, any incident around which we pitch the tents of our respective Furious Outrages could be any other. They are simply catalysts for whatever's already brewing. The incidents themselves are interchangeable.
If we really cared about justice as much as we go on about it, wouldn't we have skipped the guy pretending to be a jerk to entertain himself and instead have focused on something else with actual meat to it? For example, up to 250,000 people living in the Dominican Republic could be stripped of their citizenship simply because they are of Haitian descent as per a recent court ruling there. There is all kinds of racism up in this piece of news. This kind of action is historically a harbinger of genocide. We could have a rousing Twitter mob.
It is easy to lose focus and just concentrate on the first maddening thing that crosses our paths, though. Maybe the thing that feels closer feels more palpable, like our punches are not only more likely to land but also more likely to feel meaningful.
Before all this ruckus, though, I was long and seriously bummed watching many bloggers' voices fade into one-note drumbeats meant to be marketable and news organizations moving to a Jerry-Springer-esque sensationalization of pap and people peddling variations of The Secret as the key to happiness and us being sold things at every turn by people I know did it for less than twenty bucks, but we're all laughing and at least looking wealthy, right?
Our lives aren't better because we have the opportunity to become five-dollar entrepreneurs who can sell soap from the comfort of our living rooms and pin happy, tidy photos like it's modern living in 1955.
Look, I know I'm generalizing. I know lovely people who sell things and wax political and share beautiful life stuff that are not superficial and jockeying to be the noisiest ape. It's been rough for this idealist, though. I dream of utopias.
I want art to be everything, even if everything isn't art.
It was because of all this that I was incredibly heartened to hear that, after moving to an entirely digital model last year, Newsweek is going back to print in 2014. Their plan is "…to move away from the recent-news-recap editorial approach common among newsweeklies and mostly publish originally reported stories."
I am not concerned about whether Newsweek chooses print or digital, but I love that a larger organization is making a giant and bold move to be slower and use more original words. It is a news magazine I don't have any attachment to, but anything slower and with more original words sounds really goddamned sexy right now.
My heart imagines a rallying cry for Slower With More Words, but that would defeat its purpose, I think. I don't want anything packaged up in tidy paper with a ribbon and an accompanying video holding out for sponsorships with travel companies and grocery stores and square-cropped, pinnable images.
I just want to move more slowly, write more words, and save my heart for things other than dissecting a story about a guy who lied about being a jerk on a plane or how some website created linkbait I don't like, because my heart has better things to do than fool with foolishness.
I want my heart to remember what meaningful intention and quieter movement look and feel and sound like so it can make things that are meaningful for longer than a weekend news cycle.
UPDATE: I am not excluding myself from the category of people who have expressed Furious Outrage. I have, and I will likely find myself there again. That's how I know it's easy to fall into. As I stated in a comment below, "this is more a call to thoughtful engagement, a reminder that we steer this ship, rather than an indictment of individual character."