|Scatter salad. Bomomo sketch by Kyla|
There was thunder about a half hour ago, but it was distant. Nothing much is moving except the blades of the fan and my fingers on the keys. The cat flicks an ear every now and then.
I've been reading magazines today. Magazines of local boosterism, I guess I could call them, one about the city and one about the state, all full of glossy fun, smiling natives, photos of fattening or slimming food and of destinations that promise experiences they likely don't deliver very reliably.
I'm seeing many examples, in these magazines, of cultural developments that in years past I would have greatly desired and seen as evidence of a sophistication that could make me feel more at home. Yet now, looking through these articles promoting performance poetry troupes, small literary gatherings, well-meaning and intelligently designed social outreach to less fortunate community members, environmentally sound transit options, smart stylish local food, I feel increasingly claustrophobic.
Claustrophobic enough that I have to stop and savor the odd nature of this reaction I have. I am not reacting to the content of what I am reading and viewing; it's something else, a layer of some kind of transmission woven into the promotion of these "good things", a transmission that feels extremely toxic.
I question whether I am reacting to old memories. It may be that I am. But in this moment I do not believe that is a significant factor. There is something riding on this type of promotion that my body recoils from.
I think I know what it is. I think I am having a physical revulsion to yet more selling of the outside world as all we need, as the repository of value source. You know, if you have these things, enough of them, enough of these experiences and flavors and little cozy bistro moments, seasoned with a few morsels of philosophical self-congratulation - why, then, you have all there is to have! You have it made! You are happy, successful, and all you need is more of what you already have, so, let's go! Go to the gym, pedal that new bike, get your gear on, check out the smartest spa, buy the tickets, take the ride, dinner and a show. Heh. Even read a book, now and then.
The cliche reaction is to imagine some of the modeled buff sleek groomed young people suddenly transported to different lives. Oh, say, let them have a week or two as shipbreakers in Bangladesh. For instance.
And I know this reaction is just part of the same program, and that in the real lives of any individual pictured in this way, in such magazine glossiness, there is the appropriate measure of struggle and challenge, that no one is really outside the reach of Life's Editor.
But it angers me that this amount of pretense is still being poured out in such quantity, and that it fills so much space in everyone's mental field. It fills the space, and it magnetizes the attention, demanding belief in plastic as nourishment, frivolity as passion, bathos as all the depth anyone might need.
Meanwhile most people are thirsty and starving.
Let it rain.
I wish you good nourishment.