The other day I spaced out and ended up near work a bit early the other day, so I wandered around and took pictures. In direct contravention of my usual position on these things, they were mostly horizontal.
People say that depressives respond better to times of great trouble, given that they always feel bad. While I want to reassure you that this is absolutely false, I have been looking at all of this collapse in a fairly abstracted way. I guess I have been focusing on the scope of the injustice, and the degree to which it would be so much better if we had managed to be only slightly less venal as a society. With these things as a focus, the moment of crisis isn’t so traumatic. I’ve been sneering at people who say I’ve been too pessimistic about this outcome for 20 years*.
*(I know that this arc has been going on for a long time before W’s election, but I think that there was a possibility for other — and perhaps even less horrible — results before then. I also know that “outcome” is a little specious here.)
One of the stops on my busy Thanksgiving sojourn was Matthew’s, where he and his mother attempted to coerce C’s experiences into a narrative about how texting is rotting the delicate minds of the youth of America, and god only knows what else. During the discussion I took it upon myself to point out that adults weren’t any less susceptible to the compulsions of constant phonography, but because that was orthogonal to what they were trying to get C to say it only held anyone’s attention as fleetingly as a “LOL” sent via text message.
I think that texting/mobile web abuse is related to the confusion I touched upon here, wherein people think this stream constitutes some kind of grasp on the world. Inundated with a steady stream of faux-information and faux-communication (fauxmunication?), people are too busy pressing buttons to wonder about the quality of things, which heads off some troubling questions.
This is the look — even as late as Proust — of the object of a love which only a city dweller experiences, which Baudelaire captured for poetry, and of which one might not infrequently say that it was spared, rather than denied, fulfillment.
–Benjamin, Illuminations, 170.