An Open Letter to All Interweb Haters and Self-Righteous Anti-Blogging Journalists:
[Not Good Autowin Readers, I love y'all. You're the best! This is directed at interweb haters, which sometimes includes people I know, but 95% of the time, doesn't.]
You Chorus of Cuntish Commenters [not my commenters, obvs], your twatiliciousness skyrockets. You under-sharers! You private, nasty people with little boxes of secrets in your stomachs! You're still riding the self-righteous tails of That Emily Gould Thing, a "kids these days" nose-snubbing/squabbling, or you're fired up by a number of additional fuels: NY Mag's recent "microfame" dissection, Keith Gessen's me/"the me you hate" breakdown, Julia Allison's continued Julia Allison-ness (although even she called it quits once).
The problem is: I let public & private negative discourse pervade my headspace. I get beautiful, supportive emails & comments from Autowin/straddle readers and yet a few negative voices overwhelm them. It's precisely the grateful notes that stop me from giving up -- it's not about ego-stroking, or wanting attention, it's about feeling that it matters though Old Media says it don't.
Why is sharing inherently bad -- and NOT sharing consequently "good"? There's plenty of bad oversharing out there, of course ... and I don't read it. Furthermore, I understand we must withhold most things, in fact, our hearts & guts tell us precisely what to hold back, just as it tells us it's time for lunch.
I like the internet! I LIKE IT! I'm sick of apologizing. I'm tired of reading over & over that the cultural pulse is beating inside an indulgent body and that this body is sitting & judging while we bloggers croon on like washed-up lounge singers. Watch me, watch me, I'm a lock-free Dear Diary, my Hooker Name is Elizabeth Wurtzel and my special trick involves opening my whole mouth and letting you touch my wisdom teeth. My Pandora's Box was opened against my wishes, but I haven't figured out how to close it and besides, everything happens for a reason.
In fact, this here blog has lead to many fabulous beautiful intangibles and I think it's better karma to keep going than to stop. I refuse to believe the internet isn't a little magic, look at this video from Kelka Pride. It's easy to scowl protectively at everyone, but it's more fun to play with them. Next year, p.s., we're all going to Kelka Pride.
(I read: "On the Internet, a person can enjoy all the downsides of fame without actually being famous. You can inflate your ego, betray your friends, alienate your family and earn the contempt of strangers without earning a penny in extra income" here and wonder -- am I about to make a ridiculous, flagrantly wrong point? But then I think -- I'm a young earnest writer, isn't it only natural that I'd write a blog, explore the medium? I wouldn't be the first "artist" to forge on so foolishly, w/o it being my "job"?)
[self portrait with sunglasses, andy warhol]
[Ten Portraits of Jews of the 20th Century Portfolio: Sarah Bernhardt
by Andy Warhol]
And here's what really I don't get -- and didn't get, re: the emily gould debacle, or any situation in which the writer isn't actively attempting to incite/provoke argument/debate, expressing hateful or bigoted ideas, or auto-playing an annoying song on launch ... if you don't like it ... don't read it. I don't like video games, but I'm not writing Nintendo to critique their latest version of Death Killer Raider Game #456 and, while I'm at it ... "p.s. Nintendo is fat & ugly!"
But -- commenhaters, you do read it! You eat it, devour it, lick the plate click-by-click and then smack your lips and vomit on the cook's face: "That was terrible."
The cook will ask: "Why'd you eat it?"
- Eckhart Tolle
Writers (and musicians) have been oversharing forevs, it's just more searchable now. We're not savages. But we're vulnerable, 'cause we've taken off our armor and are now sitting behind it, naked & waiting. And there you hatoraiders are with your daggers & shimmering shields. You see our weapons and our best defenses, but decide instead to plan attack based on your feelings about our underwear (and women's underthings: far better to criticize). I didn't ask you to undress, so you don't have to, but you don't have to watch my undressing, either.
[Andy Warhol -Burkley Reinhold]
In fact -- bloggers can get fired (or -- just to avoid risking a blogger will blog about work when there's plenty of applying talent w/o blogs -- never hired in the first place) simply for having a blog, w/o first amendment protection. Your online-self is so damaging that companies exist now simply to erase it (for a fee). Blog-to-book sales have disappointed. Blogger-to-paid-blogger tales are increasingly less frequent. Oversharing's the Eighth Sin.
Sometimes "I'm not an internet participant, just an observer," is the new "We don't have a television, it's in the closet." (P.S. My teeve's in the living room, though I don't turn it on. I'm so cool, aren't I? For not watching teevee at home? I'm so much better than you. Don't worry, I'm also just like you at your worst and ugliest. Wanna hear about it? Listen: I watch TV at the gym, or with friends I'll stare blankly at its cheap stories and flat people w/expressive eyes and let it fill me like so much styrafoam.) Don't get me wrong -- I don't want you cyber-anonymous, or anyone who doesn't want to, TO participate. But if you do observe, and consequently choose so participate, I'd hope your contribution would be productive rather than just bitching at the content creators.
Or whatnot. Andy Warhol could more accurately have said in the future everyone will be famous for $15."
-Emily Gould, Emily Magazine
[Screen Test: Edie Sedgewick. By Andy Warhol.]
Saying you're a "blogger" once meant you were part of a forward-thinking generation of new-media enthusiasts, dreaming of an age that marries art, community and self-expression and births an international and ideally merit-based medium. Now, it kinda means you're a sucker, unless "for Deadspin" or "for Jezebel" are the next two words rolling off your tongue. Hell, it's gotten so bad that even Gawker seems to be pretty nice these days. Everyone's been snarked at, it's boring now.
The only thing left to do is be earnest, I think.
[In the Bottom of My Garden, by Andy Warhol]
I've got faith that this medium's ultimately good for humanity, and also -- this medium's one of the only things I believe in that I can elect to take part in w/o spending money or leaving my apartment. There's frivolity, but there's also stuff I'm passionate about: group therapy, internet performance art, literature, book club, making people feel a little less alone.
The journey is all. We'll see.
Hampton: Rich people don’t blog. Happy people don’t blog. Successful people don’t blog.
Gessen: I’m not any of those things.
Hampton: But you’re those things enough, man. You wrote your book out of pain, and that’s why your book doesn’t suck. I don’t care what these people say. Whereas this blog is just the result of pique and wounded vanity.
[ Details of Renaissance Paintings (Paolo Uccello, St. George the Dragon), by Andy Warhol]
So, all ye haters, just shut your mouth. If I've learned anything of substance from blogging, it's that human beings are, by and large, better than we expect -- or could be. I think we will make this matter. We enjoy the first bite so we'll take it, and when we're all certain it's not poisoned, I'll pass it on to your grandchildren. I could do doomsday too, dressed in black for you, skip to my deepest blue. But this is much more fun.
Because I'll never be happy, therefore I must try whenever possible to feel happy, otherwise I'll die like a SIM, plunging red, time for bed, the hitch is dead.
I can't prove you're wrong about this medium ("the medium is the message"), but you can't prove I'm wrong about it either.
I've been obsessed with Andy Warhol lately, following the recent Interview Magazine issue dedicated to remembering him, which Alex brought me one evening and which enthralled me. I bought The Warhol Diaries and we need to finish Factory Girl. We wanna re-create The Factory, yes! we are such posers! Even my desire is a clichè, and I don't care! into something we call "The Warehouse." Like many things, it may not happen. Also though; it may. There was dry lightning for thirty minutes before the rain, and then the heat returned, following thunder. And then we went to bed, and then we woke up.
Vincent Fremont: Or, "they're so peculiar."
Brigid Berlin: "All these young kids, they're doing such great things, and we're doing nothing."
Vincent Fremont: "He liked youth and he liked the news. I think that Andy would have been with the kids at 80. He would have appreciated anybody creative who was young, and helped them go forward. ..
Vincent Fremont: It's hard to project what Andy would be like today because he was so unpredictable. People always ask me what Andy would have painted. I think, with all the scandal that's gone down over the years, Andy would have been fascinated. And all that world of technology -- we would have stayed with it. Andy was very curious and he always wanted to know what was going on, and that keeps you young. I'm still trying to emulate him in that sense. Can you imagine how many young artists would have been coming to visit him?