Sloemotions and Twitter-Crack. A Brief Rant.

pygmalion

Pygmalion

I’m numb as a statue
I may have to beg, borrow or steal
Some feelings from you
So I can have some feelings too

Emotions give us the sense that we’re not just alive, but living. I wonder who’s really living out there sometimes.

If these just came with a USB, or cable input, they'd be legal.

If these just came with a USB, or cable input, they

It seems to me that what propels our communal lives forward these days is a kind of emotional meth. My TV, my radio, and my computer have been nearly taken over by a frenetic crack-binge of glib sentimentality, trite patriotism, gratuitous rage, crank conspiracy theories, and fraudulent email forwards. My inbox and my voicemail (especially in this pre-election season) bristle with them. I briefly started to collect these kind of things in new folders (called “Sap” and “Crap”), but when I noticed that these quickly were making up the bulk of my input from the outside world, I gave it up and now feed it all into the spam grinder. I don’t need to quantify them.

The thing is, we seem to be living on a steady diet of cheap, quick, viral, photoshopped, and urban-legendary tears, fears, smiles, and inspiration. What interests me about this phenomenon is why people dig it so much. Why do we believe (or want to believe) and buy into this stuff? Why, despite the fact that so much of it is bogus (and it’s easy to check), hyperbolic, or just plain trite,  do we forward or rant about them to others? Why do we need it?

Snopes - It's Like Rehab for Forwarding-Addicts
Snopes – It

I’m pale as a ghost
You know what I love about you
That’s what I need the most
I’m gonna beg, borrow or steal
Some feelings from you
I’m gonna beg, borrow or steal
So I can have some feelings too

Whatever the reasons, it seems that we can’t live — or perhaps can’t feel alive — without being wrung, stung, or shocked into clutching our hearts or shaking our fists.

methamphetaminethumbLike crystal and crack, this emotional bling comes in ever more distilled, caustic, and brutish forms. These days, we need it all boiled down to either Hitler or Precious Moments. And like any tweakers or crack-heads, we gotta have it in ever-increasing frequency, and in ever higher doses. News anchors, politicians, and advertisers scream like deranged clowns just to get our attention, and the most successful at getting their message out are those who can communicate in 145 characters or less.

Ah, the ecstasy of that emotional hit.

Ah, the ecstasy of that emotional hit.

We seem to have the attention span and general orientation of a swarm of fruit flies moving among the emotional compost bins. The right exposure can bring an outpouring of attention, good or bad, but never for long. Truckloads of aid roll right by the needy under our noses to people and pets featured for 30 seconds on our televisions and computers, only to disappear into the abyss that lies just beyond of our screen. I’m living a good part of my life in a 17″x11″ crack house equipped with the convenience of PayPal.

I don’t care if it’s superficial
You don’t have to dig down deep
Just bring enough for the ritual
Get here before I fall asleep

The “Slow food” movement started “to counteract fast food and fast life…and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes, and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.” I think we may need a similar movement for emotions, to put us back into touch with our actual surroundings and to realize how our emotional diet affects ourselves and the rest of the world.

More taste, less waste. Sloemotions.

More taste, less waste. Sloemotions.

Maybe something like “Sloemotion.” I’d come up with a better name for it and put it out to my peeps, but there’s a message in my inbox with the subject heading “It’s an OUTRAGE!” so I gotta go.

Ain’t nothing special
When the present meets the past
I’ve always taken care of business
I’ve paid my first and last

Warren Zevon, Numb As a Statue

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