So, the world changes, irrevocably.
I keep refreshing the news and Twitter until I feel slightly nauseous, my own sense of unease and powerlessness building. Leah Finnegan’s writing at The Outline seems to be to unusual perceptive and her piece, “The internet is making me sick” was a great read that I recommend you make time for. There was, quite obviously, something very unusual before this global pandemic about our relationship with the internet, with ‘new’ media, with the social networks. Much has been written, amongst the chattering classes and by theorists trying to work out what exactly the substance of these changes is. But now that state of unusual behaviour and its pathology in mental and physical illnesses is in overdrive, with every second a chancee to lever in an update, a hot take, a command or perform some moral piety via a tweet. The idea that two ideas could exist in the same space is steamrollered by a binary brinkmanship. The American Id, Donald Trump, rides the wave.
I bought a box of beer online, being as all the pubs are now shut. I have been working my way through them and trying to review them, and I’ll try to update here. I checking in to ‘Untappd’ of course, but somehow that isn’t enough. I need to laboriously detail the drinks in overwritten prose. I need space to talk about the resinous tastes and bitter hops, the sweet and sour ‘mariage parfait’ of the lambic sour. I’ll post artful pictures alongside them in the hope that my social cachet and intellectual standing will increase – which of course, it won’t.
I started with an IPA – it was called something or other, I forget. It tasted fine and wasn’t worth what I paid for it. I can’t really do this can I, in the face of such a huge moment in human history? Write a beer blog or update people on my DIY projects? Should I write purple prose, or carve out a novel that tries to synthesize the ‘lessons’ that I am learning? Is it okay to accept that this is perhaps beyond comprehension, and that the ordinary response is a sort of half-numbness, a slowness and heaviness in thought and action as the genuinely epoch-making actions of lockdown and quarantine bend an entire generation out of shape – perhaps permanently? I am sure that Frantzen and McEwan are hard at work writing the Great Q-Tine Novel, and there will be an explosion of literature out of this. But I am not sure I … care? I feel like we’re getting closer to the truth when I can be honest with myself about this. But the more truths that are uncovered, the more work that is done here, the harder it will be to row back.