Sunday, January 11, 2009

The newly visible consequences of loss

Which of course it is, or can be, but I'm less interested in the philosophical or psychological dimensions of loss and failure than how loss now manifests on social media networks in these recessionary times in sometimes slow and sometimes sudden waves of updates on Facebook and Linkedin. The latter especially has seen seen a lot of action lately as the mass of lay-offs lead the newly unemployed to announce their availability for freelance work or, just as often, declare their promotions to President or Principal or Partner, at their newly created companies.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Is Facebook a Neurotic Medium?

Not just in the sense that it reinforces our narcissistic impulses to think that everything we say is important or interesting, a vice normally limited to professors, CEO's and constitutionally blowhard bosses, people in other words, who are used to holding court over captive audiences.

No, rather, I'm thinking about how the posts, fan clubs, groups and most of all, status updates seem to magnify and reproduce all of our fundamental and largely unflattering personality traits and tics until they become near-hysterical projections of our insecurities and limitations: my own attempts at academic wit and falsely casual allusions to literature read through repetition like one long increasingly pathetic complaint about the pointless labors I have chosen, as do others' mania for celebrity sightings and name-dropping or relentless attempts at wry and dark ironies, or complaints about their dutiful exhaustion, or even just the listing of bright new day epiphanies, day after day. It's humbling this facebook, a mirror of our frailty reflected back to us all, all the time.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Experimental Office Poetry #1

Job description

Escalating language to create
an experience of perpetual
insufficiency is one way
to describe my job;
Hype is another,
as is the deceptively
beautiful phrase: creating demand,
tethering the tidal shifts of the GNP
to a sea of opposable thumbs.
Imagine each minnow
in a desperate school
seeking personal satisfaction
beyond terror as it darts
toward a dusty cloud of microbes
in the bright shallows,
and you get some idea
of the work involved.