Tonight on the radio I'll discuss--among other matters--that interview David Letterman did with Lindsay Lohan. I watched it, appalled. I never thought David Letterman had any ability. Never found him funny. Same with Howard Stern, who, to me, was someone you listened to when you were in eighth grade, had outgrown by tenth grade, but you realized around the time that you knew some people that you wouldn't know later on, who were the kind of people who'd never outgrow Howard Stern. There'd be no growth in their lives. They were what I think of now as permanent regressives. There is also the nonsense about Stern being some master interviewer.
I listened to him interview Ringo Starr. He knows nothing about the Beatles. His questions are unintelligent. By "amazing interviewer" what people really mean is that the conversations last for an hour. It's a time thing, and what the other person might say--it has nothing to do with what Stern says. His hypocrisy and the countenancing of that hypocrisy by others hardly deserves comment. It's simply how the world is now. There's no fair vetting. There is only agenda and goalposts in constant flux and motion, depending upon that agenda and who has it. What faction is represented by the advanced agenda. As for Letterman: be careful when you hear the word "irreverent" regularly used to describes someone or something. The word can be misapplied, but when it is used repeatedly, what it often really means is "here is a cruel, unfunny thing or person." To heckle someone anywhere, let alone in front of millions, for their disease, to mock them as they suffer, is the mark of the sad, pathetic, bully.
I can even understand crimes of passion. A person in a moment reaches a breaking point; they lash out. But to have no emotional investment in a subject, to not be caught up in a moment, and to proceed with surgical cruelty, is the sign of a sick and arrogant mind. And someone bereft of character. The audience laughed along, which is also appalling. Meanwhile, Lohan handled herself with grace, aplomb, a maturity and a dignity that makes Letterman look even more horrible by way of contrast during the interview.
Twitter is this kind of culture. Who is Twitter for, more than anyone else? Cruel, insecure people. People for whom piling on is what they know, and individuality is the furthest thing from what they know or are about. One of the hardest things about the world right now is that it punishes growth, individuality, awareness, self-awareness, truth knowing and truth saying. It rewards mediocrity, ignorance, sloth, the lowest common denominator. It's almost like you have to make a choice between being an evolving, aware person, and, if not true happiness, then less obvious pain. The solution, as such, is to hide away; to find your small group--for most people, this means spouse, kids, their parents, maybe one or two friends, but probably not--and hide away within the enclave. You won't be a person of the world, you'll be a person tucked away within your version of one. The best behavior, the greatest character, the foremost intelligence, and the cultivation of these things, only seems to be met with punishment and suffering. Is this really how it is supposed to be? And why? But that's not the solution for me--the enclave. What I do and can do is too much for the acceptance of the tucked-away niche. I feel like I don't even have that option.
I play a game on dating cites. It is a Biercian game. I see how long I can go in reading a person's profile before the grammar breaks down. You have to go through about 1000 profiles before you can go longer than five words. Usually it's just one or two. "I'm a honest..." See? That would be one word. You read this slop. And there is no one who writes anything that couldn't have been written by a billion other people. There's no individuality. People boasting about how they're simple, and they only care about the simple things. What about the wondrous, complex, dynamic things? Shouldn't we care about those? Shouldn't they be the point?
I can hardly conceive of bragging about being a simple person. And yet, it's what nearly everyone will do on these sites. They're not lying. They are simple. They can barely find three things to say about themselves, and those three things will be the exact same three things everyone before and after them says. To me, saying "I am simple," translates to, "I am a failure. I am terrified. I don't try. I am lazy. The richness of life is completely lost on me. I'm weak. I have wasted my time on this earth. I have occupied space. I have been mere flesh. I am mere animal without the purpose of non-human animals. I do not even possess that. I have never tried to be more than what I was by sitting in place, making no effort to be more alive."
What that person will always want is someone like them. Not just in romance. Where they will never know true connection. But everywhere. It's who they'll want to follow, read--if they read at all--watch, listen to. I said to someone yesterday that it's as if an alarm goes when most people encounter someone far smarter than they are. The alarm tells them to get clear, to run away. So they do. A key to having an audience right now, is thus utter mediocrity. Being like someone like this, and having whatever it is you do--your show, your music, your film, your book--resemble, in the form of those things, such a person. (Which is drastically different than being relatable.) It's not about entertainment--it's about familiarity. (But again, not in a relatable way. A relatable way is, "I have been through that, I have felt that, I connect with this as a result, it seems to be speaking almost exclusively to me." The way of familiarity is a way of recognition--"I've seen that before, millions of times. Good. There it is again. That's all I want--to know I've seen something millions of times before.) It's about never setting off the alarm. And I don't know, as of yet, how to solve this problem for myself, with where I am trying to get, and in terms of the number of people I am looking to reach.
There are what I once would have considered a shocking number of broken, untalented woman peddling scam businesses to other broken, untalented women on Facebook. I see this daily now. They are women who bill themselves as Memoir Coaches. They're barely writers themselves, because what I do is, I go to their mostly empty websites, and I see the four things they've published in their lives, in places--blogs--that no one has ever heard of. And people--it's women--will pay these Memoir Coaches for their "expertise." They will actually give them money.
Why? Because they are crazy and completely unaccomplished? What makes someone say, "Hmmm, they can't write, they've never done anything as a writer, despite being forty-seven, I will send her regular checks to be my Memoir Coach?" I know, contrastingly, that if I advertised to be some sort of writing coach, no one would pay me a nickel. And I'd actually make you a better writer. Within an hour. But I must see fifty of these Memoir Coaches on there, and it doesn't end with them. There are Life Coaches, in the form of women whose own lives seem in constant disarray, and a new favorite of mine, the Energy Coach.
Can you imagine being so insane that you employ someone as your Energy Coach? They help you find the energy to start writing. Ironically, going, again, to their websites, I discover that they write nothing themselves.
How does this work? What is the thought process? It's money. Actual money that is being forked over. And it's not a rarity. Is it simply, "I am super crazy and I have no talent and I like being lied to, so I will send regular checks to my fellow super crazy person with no talent who will lie to me because that's what I need, baby!"
I think so.
Maybe it's time to talk less about COVID and talk more about mental illness? Seems like it's perhaps time to focus on that? I was thinking this morning how people look back on past ages and wag their fingers. They condemn how "people used to be." The mores of past times. It's with everything. We laugh at old fashions. But mostly now, this is done regarding morals. What society deems as right or wrong--which now is much more about what society deems permissible, which is a hell of a lot different than a true consideration of what is right or wrong. 250 years from now, if humanity starts going back in a productive direction again--which I believe I will centrally contribute to--the people of those future times will look back on this age, and what was countenanced, what was held up as "right," as the most backwards, laughable, disturbing age in all of history to that point.
People will want to howl with laughter over how far humans had wandered from the plot--the plot of basic sanity. But they won't howl, because it will also be very depressing, and alarming. That so many people could forsake reason and identity and subscribe to what they purported to believe in, and be about, which no healthy, sane person would be believe in or be about. We are more Pavlovian now than any dog has ever been. You can get us to do, say, believe anything, and not one-by-one, but with ten million people at a time, 400 million, whatever the number. It used to be that people went mad. Not an entire world. How does that even happen? It's like you have to get something in the water, right? To inculcate people. To reach the numbers of billions. A big part of that poison in the water is the internet. That's how you do it. Then the devolution snowballs. The bigger the snowball gets, the more we are packed inside, further away from reality. Snowball, snowball, snowball. We just keep rolling down the endless slope.
Actually, you know what? I feel like this journal makes me a Memoir Coach. Or an Energy Coach. I wear many hats. Fitness Coach. Arts Coach. Personal Essay Coach. Inspiration Coach. Fiction Coach. Public Speaking Coach. Publishing Coach. Character Coach. Sobriety Coach. Blogging Coach. Grief Coach. Life Coach.
But I'm pretty sure I'm not going to find any checks in the mailbox.