Hunter Thompson’s famous quote that it never got weird enough for him is more true than ever today. We live in boring times. Even when the towers fell, and terrorists struck fear into the hearts of the free world, and we rolled into our Forever War, we were so saturated by the 24 hour screaming news channels that nothing really sunk in. If it did sink in, it soon faded. Jon Stewart’s quote is more apt today than Thompson, when the comedian shouted to his crowd of rally-goers that “If you amplify everything, you hear nothing.”
The saturation has far-reaching effects, too. The death of print journalism and publishing is part of it. From the cheapest romance novel right up to the nation’s most prestigious newspapers, the gates have been opened to the barbarians. At the top are the barbarian kings who greedily take control of as much territory as they can, turning the world view into their own queer propaganda machine. Meanwhile, as they make their money grab, their unwashed hordes flood the market. Endless blogs, self-published novels, a voice for everyone. The epitome of why Greek democracy failed.
The publishing industry is the litmus for civilization’s collapse. We’ve gone from a few thousand books released a year by an old boy’s club of publishers to nearly a million books released each year, 80% of which are self-published.
Some say that’s good. Down with the tyrants and their New York publishing offices! But what happens when there are no controls? When everyone can release a book for pennies?
Writing is one of the most intimate things we can do. We do it because we’re bored, or we’re driven to do so by some subconscious calling, or because we’re trying to push through a bad place and make sense of the world around us. We are all, from the most famous author to the worst blogger, exercising (or exorcising) demons in one way or another.
Most writing doesn’t deserve to be read by others. It probably shouldn’t be read by others. We only think that the purpose of writing is to acquire an audience because that’s what we’re told. That’s what everyone else is doing.
Writing is also about editing. Nobody does that anymore. Not even the big wigs. You must first edit yourself, in subtle and difficult ways. To that end, a writer must also be a marketer. If you want to give your work to the public, then you must assume a mantle of responsibility to that public. I don’t mean cater to an audience, or try to create some artificial audience. I just mean that your shit has to make some sort of sense, and the least you can do is run the spellchecker.
It’s not like you need to spend money and hire a professional copyeditor. Your self published shit isn’t worth that effort. Take the Nacho Sasha approach and read everything out loud to yourself. That’s how I catch all my mistakes and put out these perfect articles that never have typos, spelling errors, dropped words, run on sentences, and occasional missing paragraphs!
Where was I? Boredom, right? And how the current state of the publishing industry proves that our civilization is about to fall. We’ve become a disorganized, distracted, overly medicated mass of mewling kittens clawing at the sides of a cardboard box. The American way is no longer about streets paved with gold, seizing opportunity, or just being free to explore, conquer, and get drunk.
Now we’re all in debt, we’re all working ourselves into the ground, we’re all beat down and afraid to move out of our very tiny spheres. We’re going through weird American motions that we can’t afford – home ownership and a car in every garage, a chicken in every pot. Where once a car in every garage meant a very different thing, and was a goal achieved with hard earned money, it’s now funded by loans from shifty banks and credit cards that obliterate our souls.
I have nothing against consumer cultures, but there really must be a limit. Maybe you shouldn’t be spending $100 a day at KFC, know what I mean?
I have nothing against any of this, really. Our fat nation full of poorly educated simpletons. Fuck them. Fuck America. I don’t know why I bother railing about the ignorant people who plague my life, ride the decaying public transportation with me every day, and piss all over my toilet when they come over to install my internet. They don’t matter. In my eyes, they aren’t even human beings.
Which is why I was able to sit here and passively watch the towers come down, and why I don’t care about war and death and poverty. We’ve become automatons. Some form of self-replicating machine. So 100,000 of us get washed away over there… They’ll be replaced, and largely by creatures who are incapable of learning any lessons.
So I’m bored. Deeply bored. Humanity’s trials, tribulations, successes, and accomplishments no longer mean anything to me. It’s all become a joke – and not a very good one.
We’re all bored, really, when it comes to those large things — the human race and our place on Earth right here, right now. Tell me you’re into it. Tell me you actually go through the day thinking, by golly, what exciting times.
I’m bored on the individual level, as well. Particularly my romantic dealings with women. Young or old, recently met or decades on my contacts list, they’re all the same. Disturbingly so. Their words and actions and reactions have the familiarity of a movie I’ve watched a hundred times. I see an email, a voicemail, a letter and it’s like Star Trek II. I can mute the sound and start reciting the dialogue.
The predictability of the women in my life over the last decade bores me even when they’re the architects of harm and tragedy. Those few, that is, who have gotten that far with me. I see the betrayal coming a mile away, and I’m just too exhausted to care. I’m actually bored to the point where, even when I can clearly identify a problem, I just can’t be bothered to act. It’s all part of the same, sad, unending joke, and I want nothing to do with it.
I’m all for the end of civilization. Bring it on! Please — could someone, somewhere, fucking surprise me for a change? I’m ready. I don’t care if I’m shocked and appalled, or pleasantly surprised. Just…do something. Someone do something. And, no, blowing up a train and bringing down a building for some bizarre lost cause doesn’t count. We’ve been watching terrorists do that since Jews ran around Roman streets.
9/11 is nothing. We were practically expecting it. The only real and honest reaction was to point at your buddy and say, “Told ya so, motherfucker.” Thompson’s last great quote from the ESPN rants in 2004 – “Big darkness. Soon come.” We’ve been sitting here watching, and waiting, and expecting the worst since the Japs bombed Pearl Harbor. Hell, before that. Since the Germanic tribes sacked Italy in the 300’s BC.
The pressure has never let up. And it’s fucking boring. It’s always the same. Tragedy begets fear begets tyranny. Both in the bigger picture, and in our own, small daily lives.