Social Media and the Internet – a relentless, long, excrutiating question

All I wanted to know was the name of the latest John Le Carré novel. Nothing more. I was not interested in his “real name”. I was not interested in his recent award – the Olof Palme if you re interested but then Google has pages of links so go there.

His novel – that was all. Not “what is his best novel” or “where should I start reading JLC?”. I was not asking for his “best” book. Not his most definitive book – or how much he had earned from writing.

Everything online is a question. It is a Capitalist experiment in identifying the doyen of the mundane. The pinnacle – the zenith. The most important book in a store. The best car. The best film. The best of the best and to hell with the rest.

I ask a question and I am met with 143,000,000 questions in response.

Almost every question is there to provide an easy fix. A cheat-sheet for life. Even creativity or abstract art is a formula. How do I paint “like that”? How do I write “like this”? How can I appear exceptional in a world where only one person is allowed oxygen at a time?

It is all fear. Fear of boredom. Fear of missing out. Fear of going backwards. It is the fear of fear itself – Brexit and Trump and boat people and hoping to have an easy answer to everything when they come and knock on your door. It is exhausting.

The internet is continually claiming to give the mass of humanity a voice. What deluded, utter nonsense. What algorithmically-polished shite. How often does your “suggestions” list show you anything outside of the “trends”. When did it last suggest a day in the life of a Serengeti hunter or a Mongolian yak farmer? Sure – go search for them – and see how few clicks it takes before you end up back at a page about a miracle lifestyle choice that could help you to become a Serengeti hunter. The first instalment free. And that search – that interest in Yak’s? That is recorded. Never again can you pretend you did not dream of escaping to a life of Yak farming. It defines you – even in a court of law your Search history appears to be proof of who you are.

Your vista – the panorama of collected souls – all that collection of knowledge? It is disappearing in the largest collection of trivial and dullard knowledge ever known to mankind. The very electron charges of the planet themselves are required in order to store the links which mean you will be directed towards the phone with the largest pixel count of any current* camera for only £45 a month over three years. More important than your pension. More important than your social life – you NEED it. You must have it – it is what is preventing you being in that exceptional club and fuck you if you don’t give in. Think of your credit rating. You cannot afford not to buy it. You MUST buy it.

And then there are the experts. Below any piece of information is now the obligatory comment list. It is how we are able to ease our anxiety that the information we have been given is absolutely the best information. The method of discerning this validity is the fractal of the comments section. Each response is itself the gateway to a further list of questions and comments. A beautiful, never-ending and constantly growing thread of useless opinion. Canting people who can’t do a goddamned thing except copy and paste someone else’s opinion into their comment and masquerade as the author.

At the time of writing John Le Carré’s most recent novel appears to be “Agent running in the field”. ISBN: 1984878875

You have to trust me on that – I got it from Wikipedia and I believe them in this case.

* The new model which will make the current model obsolete will be released in three to four months. You can get access to the updated, better model if you return your perfectly good and very expensive phone and agree to pay a bit more. New contract starts from the date of exchange. Terms and conditions apply. (The sucker clause).

2020

A new decade. I find it strange to still be here! As a child I could not imagine reaching the year 2000. That milestone now seems an eternity ago.

Hopefully we will begin to put people before politics this year. I would also like to develop the ability to change base metal into Gold.

I confess that the Alchemy seems more likely as I write this.

Note to future self: Social media is delusional. Boris Johnson has dissected society and performed a Europectomy on the nation in order to get into Downing Street. Apparently the public look at the hunched, bedraggled idiot and see a Prime Minister. I see an extra character from Fraggle Rock.

Social Tedium

I like Andy Murray. I admire his tenacity and his achievements.

Several years ago I took lessons and had some casual games practicing with his Mum at Next Generation in Edinburgh. I have only ever won a single sporting “prize” in all my life – a Tennis competition arranged by Judy Murray.

So watching his ascendancy and his flourishing career was always of interest. I really enjoyed Tennis.

So when I saw an image of Andy and an online “article” link from a popular newspaper website I thought I would give it a read. It was a regurgitation of old stories designed to add some comment on a quiet day. Nothing new. No interview or revelations. I then made the mistake of reading the comments: He deserves applause for surviving childhood trauma … he is “playing” on his childhood trauma … he loves Britain … he is Scottish and so he must hate England … he is nothing compared to Federer … he is the GOAT from a British perspective…

Utter tedium and utterly predictable and a complete waste of the few minutes I spent perusing them. I suspect that there are many people in claggy jogging bottoms who spend their lives being experts on Formula One, Politics in the UK and the US, Tennis, Football, Gaming, Misogyny, the BBC, Airline safety, the Legal system, History, Sci-fi, cinema-noir, Scandinavian heavy rock music, Coding, Photography …

All this expertise across such a broad spectrum and so often all stored in one, flaky, flabby, prematurely balding, wrinkly, red, spotty skull.

So many of them. All of them socially interacting on their own against other people who are even greater experts. These folks seem to have friends who were in the SAS or they were once “victims” themselves. Many of them even played Tennis at some time.

Social media will evolve – it is improving on some platforms. Twitter is my preferred social drug of choice. I detest Facebook. I do not have the lifestyle to fit into Instagram. I believe there are others, too.

The polarisation of it all will lead to conflict. It will lead to social change. Much less pervasive communications throughout history have and frequently did lead to division, revolution and change.

This revolution just feels particularly bland. The Tedious Revolution.

12th March

On this day in 1994 – a Saturday – my wee brother Craig set off for a football match in Motherwell. He was a Hibs fan.

He did not pass away that day but he never made it to the match. I don’t think he ever knew the outcome of the match. He was a passenger in a car which crashed on the way to the game. He died over a year later never really recovering from the catastrophic brain injuries he suffered.

He was twenty six when the crash happened. One other friend died in the accident that day. Another survived but he was driving. He was left with the crushing weight of losing a friend and a member of his family.

The result was a 0 – 0 draw. I suspect it wasn’t that much of a match. I never knew the score until I looked it up today. I suddenly felt curious.

Rest in peace kiddo.

A visit to Tomatin

Christopher – my son – has settled in Tomatin. He and Sandra are starting an exciting new period in the Highlands. The house is lovely, they are fantastic and the scenery is beautiful.

I believe the village name should rhyme with Tomato but I cannot help myself pronouncing it like Tom as in Tom and Jerry.

Some snaps from this weekend – an early morning walk with Chris. I loved it. Thanks for a lovely time, nice chat and great food :-) xx

Chris over the River Findhorn
A woods
The Findhorn viaduct next to the A9 flyover
Walking through a field near Tomatin
The A9!