How I learned to stop worrying and love the scourge
So yes, those of you who know me personally might be wondering what I'm doing blogging, builidng a website, Twittering, etc. "Ted," you might say, "you don't even have a cell phone, or a Facebook page!" That's right I don't. Or . . . I might have a Facebook page now, I'm not 100% sure.
I don't know how many conversations I've had with my publishing partner/new age spiritual advisor that started with him saying, "I know you you hate technology, but . . ." Let me be perfectly clear: I do not "hate" technology. I don't carry a cell phone because I don't want to be bothered. You can reach me how you reach all men who are not capable of making logistical decisions - via my wife. If what you have to say is important, she will relay the message. I don't engage online, or haven't up to this point, because I already don't have enough time to do the things I want to do. I'm rereading the Brothers Karamazov for Christ's sake, this is not lightweight shit! I don't want to miss a revelation on the meaning of God in modern times because of somebody's cute baby pictures. (Your children are not cute.)
Then my publishing partner/mental health guru said something that made sense: "You have this wonderful product, this vital, holy message that the world can't do without," (I think I sensed a note of sarcasm in this) "but how are people supposed to know about it? Your invisible right now." He's right, I said. Why should I put all this work into these books - we're talking years of writing and rewriting - pour my heart and soul and passionate juices onto the page, struggle to find a viable means of publishing, put my own $ on the line, and then like, stuff the fuckers in a closet to gather dust? Picture the year 2040: "Grandpa, why do you keep that storage unit packed full of boxes of books?" "Well, you see Timmy, the Internet is run by a bunch of self-satisfied, half-witted twits . . . " I decided to bite the bullet. If you really believe in what your doing then you'll use whatever means necessary to get the word out. Even Twitter.
"But Ted, I've read all three of your books . . . " How the hell did you read the third one?! Most of it's not even word processed yet. "Never mind. Nowhere in your books is there mention of computers, the internet, cell phones, none of it. What's your deal?" I'll tell you what my deal is. I don't deny that technology is changing our world, but I am highly skeptical about the ability of anything to change PEOPLE. That's the secret, see. The more things change, the more people stay exactly the fucking same. "The streets don't change but baby the names . . . etc., etc.
The magic of good literature is in the ability to communicate the human experience across generations, centuries, different languages. Read Dostevsky's Notes From the Underground; Fyodor lived on the other side of the world and died 134 years ago, but he sounds like the crank who rents a room above the local dive bar and comes down every so often to chase customers away with rants about God and politics. I concede the advantages of certain modern devices. I concede the advantages of interconnectivity. What we've got to realize is that these innovations are not valuable in and of themselves; their value lies in how we utilize them. Your command of technology or social media won't make your message any fucking better! Shit is shit. Shit in a rocket launcher is just far-reaching shit. Shit in a Rocket Launcher, while a cool name for a band, will not do much to recommend us to future generations. I'm afraid they'll look at us like we would a bunch of monkeys running around with light sabers. Look at what my iphone 9 can do! Oh shit, I sent the whole world a picture of my girlfriend's vagina. Monkeys with space-age swords frantically hacking each other's heads off. (You can't see me, but I'm shaking my head.)
I, for one, feel better about faceing the future having some idea of what we've done in the past. Our motto at Joyless House is "Forward", but it never hurts to know what creeping up beind your back. I'm not sure what that means. Send me pictures of your girlfriend's vagina.