Monday, February 23, 2015

2408 Selfing

My friend Bobby tweeted an interesting observation the other day.  It was that we once wrote our most personal thoughts in a diary and got upset if anyone read them.  Now we post them online and get upset when people don't read them.

Through all the irony shines a tarnished truth.  Public self confession is a human need.  I would also argue the lack of privacy that folks allow themselves by posting this and tweeting that and instagramming the other is not only a function of the desire for social togetherness but also the flaring up of the spark of creativity that makes us human.

Rembrandt, great 17th century Dutch Master, was most known for his amazing self-portraits.  Which, if you think about it, were nothing more than selfies. 

Sure, he had to actually work hard to make them.  And his version of Snapchat was to get out the turpentine, commence rubbing, and start over.  But it's the same thing in concept.

Or take Proust's Remembrance of Things Past.  Wasn't it a form of the constant and annoying Facebook postings we get from our over the top "friends" today?  Lovely, lovely, I'm glad you woke up and brushed your teeth. 

Let me just say.  I tried to read Remembrance of Things Past.  Four words: Early 20th Century TMI.

I think a case can be made that most novels are semi-autobiographical.  So they partake of the same impetus as well.  But again, they require more work. 

That, I think, is the main distinction between the spark of creativity then and now.  Unfortunately, what the social media revolution has foisted upon is for the most part lazy dreck.  Unedited, unreadable, uninspired, and unmistakably and unarguably universal.  And ordinary. 

Rembrandt and Proust were artists. 

Social media is a reality show. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

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