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).