William Burroughs used to write, back in the jet-age 60’s, about starting a riot with a tape recorder. You ask some people their opinion of a different group, and record their responses, then take them to members of that group, and ask what they think of it, and record their responses, then take them back to the first group, etc., etc.
Social Media is that tape recorder. It’s also the riot.
So here’s a list of things going on in the Riot, that I am shrugging my shoulders on:
- John McCain. I voted for McCain in the primaries against George W. Bush in 2000. I voted for him against Obama in 2008. He was good enough for my approval then, and I’m not suddenly going to decide that he’s the Enemy because he didn’t like Trump. I didn’t vote for Trump, so I’m not going to do that.
But I also don’t care that he’s dead. He was old, and sick. That happens. He lived a full life. His family can mourn him. He wasn’t a hero to me; he was just a politician. I have nothing to say about that political circus that was his funeral other than “McCain finally became the Media’s favorite kind of Republican: Dead.”
I expect we’ll get the same when George H.W. Bush finally dies, a lamentation for the Old Good Kind of Republicans, who are totes magotes different from the New Evil Scary Kind (never mind that Bush was the New Evil Scary Kind back when he was actually President. We have always been at war with Eastasia). But George W. probably won’t, because he’ll live too long to be useful against Trump. They’ll probably feel authorized to give him Hunter Thompson’s Nixon sendoff.
Or not. I don’t care. Here’s the only sensible thing I’ve read about John McCain in the last week.
- Anything pertaining to the NFL. The NFL lost me permanently last year when it decided to become a political organization, in which one kind of Cheap Political Theater was acceptable and one kind not. Overpaid Jockulas braining each other for millions acting like Bold Martyrs of Truth? Whatever. But allowing that and fining a guy for wearing 9/11 memorial socks? That means you’re a political organization, and not my kind. So I don’t care who wins the Super Bowl, and I don’t care what teams do what. None of them are my heroes, and if the sport dies tomorrow and everyone plays soccer instead, I will nod bemusedly and then go back to playing Crusader Kings 2.
By the same token, I don’t care about Colin Kaepernick. I don’t hate the guy. I don’t know if he really means what he’s said, if it was all an act for attention, or if he just zoned out on mushrooms and then felt like he had to commit to the bit. I don’t care that Nike made him their poster boy, and I don’t care that people have decided to burn perfectly good shoes in protest of this. Everything is political now, so this is the sort of thing that’s going to happen. Your shoes are political. Your car is political. Your fast food is political, as are farm-to-table restaurants in Lexington, VA (and the smoking holes left of them). Ill-thought actions, meet foreseeable results. Have fun yelling at each other over it.
- Whatever Stupid Movie They’re Rebooting Now. You know, that one? The one that comes from the pre-internet age, the last era with shared cultural touchstones? The one that’s going to be ruined by adding/removing X? I don’t care. It’s going to be boring, I’m not going to see it. I would say Hollywood hit Peak Cultural Ouroboros with Ready Player One, but that would imply that I didn’t think they could crawl up their own rear ends any further, and I’m not prepared to make that claim. It would also imply that I cared enough to actually watch it. And I do not.
All of which means, the only way I’d probably end up watching an episode of Jack Ryan is if I fall asleep binging The Man in the High Castle. The only really good Jack Ryan movie was Hunt for Red October.
- Whatever Celebrity X is Doing. Pick one. Taylor Swift. Brad Paisley. That Guy who was in That Thing. Sarah “I Slummed America So You Don’t Have To” Silverman. Whatever Late-Night Mouth of Sauron who said That Thing that people are all OH NO YOU DIDN’T and I CANNOT EVEN about. Or whatever YouTube personality fell afoul of MiniTruth and got unpersoned (I might care about that last one slightly, because it’s creepy).
- Brett Kavanaugh. Dude is going to get confirmed. It’s going to happen. And then he’s going to reduce everyone to Handmaids and eat babies. Just like immediately happened when Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas were confirmed. Because it’s not like Roe vs. Wade has been UNDER THREAT for the last 30 years, and is somehow still on the books, or anything. You know, kind of how Donald Trump can’t throw all the Muslims out of America, because George W. Bush already did that, and anyway we all died in the atomic wars that Reagan started.
Enjoy the Kabuki.