Showing posts with label Irony. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Irony. Show all posts

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Beat Your Drum, Not Your Meat, in the Public Sphere

Kony 2012-Jason Russell: Invisible Children co-founder arrested in San Diego for public masturbation, intoxication.: 'via Blog this'
The shelf-life for do-gooders and Junior Achievement Crusaders for Good Causes is getting shorter and shorter, as can be witnessed with the fate of the Kony 2012 video. Assembled by a San Diego based organization and placed on YouTube, it has gained  millions of hits with its exposure of the African warlord and his crimes against his country men and women . All was praise and all was righteous determination to rid the earth of this manifest evil--youth revolts and rises and rights the wrongs of their elders, yay!--but scant days after the post and the media saturation there came much criticism as to how the group spent the money and a deluge of cynicism toward the rising tide of "slacktivisim", the notion that merely being aware of a social injustice has an effect on the general gestalt of the situation and so leads to a positive change.

At any rate, Jason Russell, co founder of the group and maker of the Kony video , seems to have freaked out and decided somewhere in the recesses of his bleeding heart that the best way to respond would be to  get drunk , get naked and give himself a hand job on the streets of San Diego. The tragedy is that an uncontested evil is the reason Jason Russell stands a very good chance, at this point, to have a  potentially lucrative , though  probably brief career as a celebrity fuck up. Reality shows await. Jason, meet Dr.Drew. Jason, say hello to Sooki.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Don DeLillo, Cell Phones, The Destruction of Irony

A week ago, after work, on a crosstown bus, and all I wanted for the half hour ride was to read the galley of the new Don DeLillo novel, Falling Man,a ruminative narrative highlighting the lives of New Yorkers on the day of the attacks, 9/11. Finally, a novel about the attack that matters; not to give too much away, but this is prime DeLillo, exploring the sober side of what was White Noise's premise for post modern comedy, the disruption of fixed and certain lives by the intrusion of an event beyond imagination. 

In White Noise, the effect was comic, funny, and all ironies laid in the day were comedies of the clueless trying to make peace with the nagging changes that cause everyone to avoid the void as they try to retool old habits with new explanations, theories, contrived proofs that the world will return to normal. Now it's tragedy, and the quality of irony finds itself made ironical.The attack on the World Trade Center puts us beyond abstractions like comedy or tragedy , on which one can grasp onto something fixed in their minds as a normality they can get back to. All is muted, rendered mute.Rationalization is deferred.

So what I wanted to do in this thirty minutes was to swim in DeLillo's brilliant prose and wallow in my own abstract and unconnected intellections, vaguely aware of neon signs and street lights going past, when my own sallow pleasure was deferred, tipped over by a growing sound, beginning in consciousness as a mild buzz, a gentle irritant, but which now had increased in volume, length and grating persistence that it could no longer be ignored.A girl, twenty, yakking away in the back of the bus, at full volume. I was sitting in the front of the bus, but I could hear every word clearly. I might as well been listening from a across a Starbuck's table." --so Jenny says to me that Brad is a creep and has issues and such bullshit that makes him flake and bail on phone calls he was supposed to return or money he had to pay back, and told me too that going out with him was a bad idea, mega bad, but I said to Jenny that she could cool her jets and let me find out for myself because all that shit about Brad fucking Zoe is nothing I don't know about already and ---"
A breathless gush , a river of seamless nouns and adjectives, accelerated in tempo and announced to the entire bus in a pitch that resembled the high strung whine of apartment house plumbing when someone takes a shower; her voice was less appealing than a six year old with a bullhorn. I rose and asked her to lower her voice. She stopped talking."Your talking about stuff that's too personal for 
public consumption. We don't want to participate in your conversation..." Christ, I sounded like a goddamned old man, older than my father ever sounded when he chastised me for unctuous behavior in public. But I am an old man, truth be told, fifty four , almost fifty five, and convinced that I've lived long enough to not have to put up with this mindless inconsideration. Of course, I was talking to a nineteen year old girl, and not some muscled loud mouth male, or a crack head trying to score a fix. Big man. Still, let it be known.


Of course, I calmed down. Not good for the blood pressure to fume about the small stuff. But the irritation lingers, it's not likely to subside, and what makes matters really aggravating is my awareness that I'll have to , at some time, get a cell phone.

I oppose cell phone use commercial airlines and applaud the FAA's refusal to allow them to be used. It's not right to force people to listen to chatter junkies prate on and on when one hasn't the option to move to a quieter spot. Cell phone users driving cars, in check out lines, in theaters, in bookstores, in cafes must all be quiet. "Social conventions" have yet to emerge as something we apply to cell phones. If there is a "given" about the devices, it's that owners assume they have a right, mandated from God, to use their phones where ever they choose to discuss whatever they like, making life in the city all that less delightful. San Diego, New York, Chicago, Detroit, folks flip them open, prate about their affairs no matter how inane or personal or private--I had to listen to a psychiatrist wax to a colleague about a patient, name and everything, about a patient's difficulties and the treatments he wasn't responding to in the middle while in the middle of a crowded bookstore. So much for doctor/patient privilege. Really, social conventions, such as tact,respect for your fellows, holding a civil tongue in public, are dismantled and discarded when cell phones enter the picture. I don't regard the use of a cell as an unconditional civil right and would encourage Airlines to simply ban them outright, on the principle that paying that kind of money ought not be a buy-in to listening to yammering neurotics whose company I cannot leave until the plane touches down. Or when my bus comes to my stop.