I debated long and hard about the appropriate direction and name for this new blog.
At first the only point that seemed indisputably obvious was that my previous project, “The Great Amateur Hour” was stillborn. What had been planned as an exercise in turning the vice of sarcasm into the virtue of intellectual and rhetorical rigor through the medium of published reviews of other amateur blogs had degenerated. Degenerated into the depressing realization that objective analysis packs relatively little gunpowder compared to the Neutron bomb-like Armageddon mongering of idiotic repitition of Faux News talking points. Direct confrontation was never going to convince any Right Wing fucktard of anything other than the reality of his own delusions of grandeur.
But what to do? In the immediate aftermath of disasterous midterm elections that played something like the Charge of the Dumb Brigade, the choices seemed bleak.
1. Accepting the death of generosity, courage and curiosity in the gory maw of an animalistic new Darwinian social order,
2. Being lobotomized to into not caring about those things, to the point where amoral Tea Party douchebags like Ron Johnson, Sarah Palin and Rand Paul could seem like something other than dangerous sociopaths,
3. Take to the hills and mount a guerilla campaign of some sort on behalf of the values that make life worth living, damn the consequences
Of course this was no choice at all. I would fight. Fight using the only weapons left: wit, charm and the (currently) ubiquitous and relatively free social media. But also fight SMARTER, using some of the lessons gleaned from my season in hell.
Some of those lessons would probably seem so patently obvious to Generation Y or Millenial cohorts that they can scarcely be articulated without coming off as patronizingly pedantic: leveraging media aggregation sites to pull in readers, create interactive multimedia interfaces, etc., etc. But for me, an old school pen-and-paper Gen X’er, these tactical expedients at first seemed far from obvious. Hopefully I’ll add more tools to the box as I go along.
But other lessons were more like the happy return of long lost friends: the importance of real, face-to-face communications, sympathetic communion with others who share your values, the satisfaction of working with others towards a common goal. In short the value of friendship itself. Somehow in the hyper-commoditized lifestyle of a society driven almost solely by the quest for the Almighty Buck, a larger-screened television or a new set of tits for the wife, I’d forgotten that virtue is driven by community, not possessions. Yes, public policy and electoral success are crucially important, but if they’re gonna result in a better world they have to be driven by community.
So to that end, my goal is to make this blog experience more immediately personal than my previous bouts. Hence the name “Dystopia Diaries”, my intimate reflection on what many regard as a deeply disturbing reactionary political atmosphere, fully engaged with local events in real time. Share your thoughts with me as well.