I was trying to think of something as mundane, cyclical and perpetually astonishing as extreme heat. My first result: the callousness of young adults. Recent essays about The Nice Web and The Not Nice Web seem to be sideways attempts to address this quality.
I am not cloaking an attack, or unloading a simmering pot of ARGH. I started by recalling a few stories from my own cabinet of dumbassery. After pulling up two memories, I knew I would go nuts if I made it all the way to ten. I compared my movements to those of currently young adults. Data revealed that not much has changed. Go back, and the facts still don’t budge. Lil Walter Benjamin was quite taken with his take on things. So was Slim Harpo.
People in their twenties are confident that they will never, ever make the mistakes that others in their cohort have made before them; are politically opposed to prejudice but spend much of their time mocking those weaker and less privileged; and find in most narratives the emotionally tidiest and least taxing iteration of their own story. These tendencies set in around twenty, and there is no evidence that they fade. This means that a certain kind of “contemplative” narcissism runs through writing like the fecal tube of a shrimp. Some of the recent “My early web” stories are simply “I got older” stories dressed up in web drag.
I do not mind extreme heat or the twenty-something’s myopia. These qualities are attached to things I like: summer, smart people with too much energy.
New struggles.— After Buddha was dead, his shadow was still shown for centuries in a cave—a tremendous, gruesome shadow. God is dead; but given the way of men, there may still be caves for thousands of years in which his shadow will be shown. —And we—we still have to vanquish his shadow, too.
— Friedrich Nietzsche, Translated by Walter Kaufmann
“It’s the movies that have really been running things in America ever since they were invented. They show you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how to feel about it, and how to look how you feel about it.”—Andy Warhol (via commondense) (via tarotwoman)