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present shock

Thanks to Llar'en, for designing this (take the blue pill) nifty little countdown-to-my-happy-frelling-birthday thingy. It's hypnotic. There goes the future, one second at a time.

Blogger has a new look this morning. I think it's finally going to try and compete with LiveJournal. Nice, but it has me just a little disoriented here. After 894 entries, they go and change things on me.

As predicted, we got through chapters Three and Four yesterday, so today will be Five and Six. It's a hard book to read again. I'm tempted to say that I've never written anything even half so personal or half so autobiographical as Murder of Angels, but that wouldn't be true. Still, there's something here, some new directness, that's deeply unsettling. Because I know what I'm really saying. I know what I'm really writing about. When I say "Niki" and "Daria," I know that, this time, I'm really just talking about splintered bits of me. That's always true of my characters, to some extent or another, but in this novel I seem to have made very little effort to hide Me from Myself.

There were storms all around us yesterday, but we saw not a drop of rain. Just thunder and clouds. But we're promised a week of thunderstorms.

Last night, we discovered that a fat green caterpillar was devouring the basil plant.

I'm feeling peculiarly mundane this morning. It'll pass. Enjoy it while I can. What was I saying? Yesterday. After all the reading, we made dinner (fettucini with pesto and sauteed porta bella mushrooms, broiled asparagus, salad). Spooky worked on a vest for her Nebari costume, and I watched silly crap on television.

I'm beginning to suspect that, despite all my earlier claims of propriety and prudery, I am becoming quite envious of, and intrigued by, acquaintances and friends who talk openly of very private matters in their blogs and ljs. At first glance (and, for me, second, third, and fourth), it seems an extraordinary violation of the most fundamental concept of The Journal, putting all the gory details of one's sex life, mental and physical health, relationships, finances, etc., up where all the world (or at least a few chosen friends) can read them. Me and exhibitionism, we go way, way back, but I think I still have one foot very solidly planted in the generation before such things were done, before the internet gave Andy Warhol's too-too-often-repeated comment about fame and fifteen minutes a whole new anti-meaning. It's taken me quite some time to begin to understand these new species of vouyeurism and self-display. We have moved, at light speed, well beyond priests and psychotherapy. The whole world is becoming a confessional. But I'm drifting. I was saying, I'm beginning to envy those who have the luxury of talking so freely (at their own risk, of course), about very personal matters. And that envy calls into question the validity of the privacy and manner which I preached for the past several years. My stodgy Neo-Victorianism is rapidly dissolving in a seductive flood of phosphor unconfidences. And yet, I also see that I am not free to speak so openly, to follow these examples, because there are people who would frown and shake their heads, and probably rightly so. There are opportunities which might not present themselves (they might not anyway), were I ever to become so candid myself.

But. I am beginning to comprehend, slowly, and to retract some earlier judgements.

I think, sometimes, that what all this really amounts to is the unconscious construction of a vast databank on the human psyche for some as yet unbirthed AI. Millions of minds, bleeding themselves into the aether daily, providing templates and primers and step-by-step instructions to the mind/s that we'll construct, intentionally or unintentionally, a little later on.

There. That nasty mundane feeling has passed.

All better.


( 5 comments — Have your say! )
May. 10th, 2004 05:45 pm (UTC)
yes, but what of the privacy of the basil plant being devoured by the fat green caterpillar? 'where is privacy in all the wood'...
May. 10th, 2004 05:52 pm (UTC)
Not to worry, you're not alone
I'm not often moved to respond to the objects of my voyeurism, but your post today has touched me in two areas. First, it seems we share a birthday, which I'm getting the impression is bothering you somewhat. If there's truth in that statement, let me remind you that in every other culture EXCEPT ours, you haven't yet reached the age where anything you write or say would be taken seriously. It is only our current society that had this sick worship/fascination with youth. Ah, for the good old days when wisdom was garnered through age and experience, and we were revered.
Second, I'm in total agreement with you regarding using a public forum to divulge every single aspect of ones life (sexual, economic, etc.) and we Brits invented "Victorianism" - back in the day when privacy was becoming something people felt they had so little of. The blog is becoming the gossip mill of the current age. And I, too, have always been a bit of an exhibitionist from the time I was around 12; but then it was the only way to gain any attention from my immediates. We have such little privacy as it is, and I tend to treasure those experiences that are mine, and mine alone.
So, the question is, why do we do it? Perhaps you're right and we all want our "15 minutes".
May. 10th, 2004 07:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Not to worry, you're not alone
Ah, for the good old days when wisdom was garnered through age and experience, and we were revered.

May. 10th, 2004 05:57 pm (UTC)
Ive been very reluctant in my journal to give much of anything other then random thoughts, song lyrics, odd images, poorly attempts at humor, madness and project updates. I think its more of an issue of being private then modest. I just don't see why plotting out all the sundry and raunchy details of my life is needed (atleast for this week).

What you said about unbirthed AI's is spot on. I really think this is where it all starts, getting the imperfect chaos of the human condition neatly mapped out in ones and zeros. There just seem to be truths coming out in this format that couldn't be extracted any other way.
May. 11th, 2004 12:23 am (UTC)
I'm someone who kind of despises real secrecy between friends. Generally, I feel that having everything out in the open really just makes relationships more efficient as, otherwise, we all tend to pick each other's bones until everything's figured out, or surrogate misimpressions are put into place as "fact". I really think it's true what they say about truth being very healthy.

Blogs and LJs have given me occasion to extend this philosophy to go beyond being just between friends. Mainly because I feel that any impulse to keep anything private is an implied fear of disapproval from certain people. I rationalise that I don't really want the approval of people who, er, would disapprove of me.

On the other hand . . .

When the issue of private issues in Live Journals is discussed, usually what people mean are misery issues. If someone had really great sex with their spouse last night, it may be a private sort of thing, but few people are really bothered by the publishing of that fact, and few LJers would probably regret it later. However, writing about how you wish you were having sex with someone specific who's having sex with someone else specific, isn't usually as much a joy to read--tiresome to strangers, concern inducing for friends.

Back in the days when I posted on my LJ, there were times when my posts were concerted effects to make the reader feel how miserable I was feeling. Over time, I came to realise that while writing such entries was cathartic, they ended up leaving me with kind of a bad aftertaste. Part of the reason I switched from LJ to Blogger was that I wanted to begin anew with a different philosophy; I would concentrate on that which I enjoyed, that which I enjoyed hating, or, if it really was a miserable thing, that which I felt I could make interesting to strangers.

So instead of a fleetingly cathartic thing, my blog becomes for me a more fulfilling self-discovery thing. There's still catharsis, but it feels more like a creative exercise than a distructive one. I suppose I feel that when one writes about oneself, it's better to do so through writing what one sees outside.

(incidently, I think you write a very good blog.)
( 5 comments — Have your say! )