I give up. I spent the past few days trying to write a blog that was witty and timely. I wanted it to be smart like an essay by Roxane Gay.
I hoped to get my thoughts together about the fuss over “Jonathan Franzen: What’s Wrong With the Modern World,” which appeared in The Guardian on Friday, September 13. The piece named names (Jennifer Weiner, Salman Rushdie, Jeff Bezos) and was as juicy as a reality TV show, with responses by Jennifer Weiner and Nathan Bransford.
Jonathan Franzen followed up with an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Programme where he continued to talk about the negative impact of social networking like Twitter, etc.
I set about writing. I quoted Franzen. I quoted “The Great Hater” (Karl Kraus) who is the subject of Franzen’s latest book. The post was as clunky as a college writing assignment. Plus, Franzen’s essay is more than three weeks old now.
So I give up on it.
Instead I will boil it down to these basic ponderings:
- Being hip/achieving hipness is not a meaningful goal.
- Is technology being used best? Who owns our information; who manages it? What about radio wave pollution? Are we so charmed by what technology can do that we haven’t thought enough about what technology is doing?
- Contemplating the apocalypse is like navel-gazing. You may think the stare is outward but you are focused on self.
- A writer should not use phrases like, “It [technology-driven culture] gnaws away particularly at my soul because I’m a fiction writer” unless he/she means it ironically.
- Hating on something can be fun; some would even say it is “enslavingly addictive” and “pandering to people’s worse impulses.”
That’s all I got. Slim pickings, I know. But much better than the conflated mess I almost posted.
Peace, love and solace