Friday, November 12, 2010

Jump The Mark

Friday, my Puddlers. A beautiful autumn day comes to a close and now a breezy autumn evening rises up to bring winter into your face and nostrils. Try to stay warm this weekend and get outside to enjoy some of the briskness before it gets really cold and your scarves are touched with snot. We have a big week coming up next week on the blog. On Monday I unleash another one of my long columns. Tuesday we have another installment of In the Heart of the Heart of My Bookshelf from Alex Ramsdell. Wednesday my podcast with Chandrahas Choudhury goes up. Thursday is the first ever Puddles of Myself Fiction Reading at Book Thug Nation and then comes again and those palpable sensations of beer will be right there.

However, before we get ahead of ourselves, here is the most articulate man under thirty years old to set your head spinning for the weekend. Here is the one, the only, Mr. Mark Jack.

The Times They Are A Boring

Mark Jack

Look, man, I don’t want to write this story. My foolishness was the last stand of my self-respect, and I am disposed, now, to bland un-thought, having for so long spent days and nights inundated with the strange turns of self and analytically aware self-analysis; each move countered by the awareness of my self-awareness, like some poor Heisenbergian assertion, which is really just pure and simple doubt. I have great faith in my self-doubt, though even now I cannot stop my narcissism, writing “self” everywhere. I stand for hours in front of mirrors, listening to the news.

My attention to the news is one of the more persistent symptoms of my boredom. I haven’t had that good old bored feeling of youth since adolescence, and one day, while reading the New York Times in what was probably a totally smug way with my legs crossed just so and the reason for my refusal to wear contacts suddenly and painfully clear, I took notice of this lack of bored feeling and thought/vocalized a dumb, un-thought. An utterance of “huh(?)” came forward as I sat. Not with any kind of ennui, which connotates some kind of edge or marked posture, but simply with a dull, round sound. The sound could only be described as bored. I looked up and canted my head to the right—the angle of privileged thought—and I thought nothing, really.

My utterance only lasted a moment. When it had passed, I returned to the article that was just fraught with tension. The Times, once again, doesn’t know how to feel about Wikileaks. I listen to the news on the radio in the morning and on the weekends I buy the New York Times. I read some of the paper online during the week and think about an established daily’s continued relevance. Honestly, as a sort of aside, something like the Huffington Post doesn’t come near to what the New York Times online can do, and if I want some longer form articles, I have a subscription to Harpers. But wait! My ability to surrounded myself with these well researched and thought news articles doesn’t mean jack shit to me.

All this strange, paying attention to the world around me, the larger world, or the world at large, as in, fugitive, on the lam, is just a prime example of the theatrics of adult boredom. Those simple little “mature” activities are insidious and, honestly, I have no clue what’s going on the world, and what’s worse is that I am clueless too often as to the world I am in, the world not fugitive. The strange theatrics of adult boredom mask, by almost-activity, the true, real, meaningful lack of meaningful activity, and thereby keep that horrible, bored adolescent and youthfully bored feeling down and out. Unfortunately, and this is the insidious part, this movement also subdues the youthful exuberance for the finally, at long last, found meaningful activity. So all this news, for me, is simply an pose of acting bored (but not ennui). I do not wish to suggest we should burn the last remnants of the old press and turn our smart phones away from the political blogs, but we must be aware, or at least more aware, of how our calm, mature, desire to stay informed is forming a cloud around us, a fog of information that only obscures us.

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