This is the worst possible time to be a writer. By “worst possible time,” I mean the whole “this day and age” thing, and not Friday, specifically. Although, given that most of my potential readership is either a) too hungover to read this without a headache, b) too hungover to even get to campus to pick up a paper or c) still drunk, Friday’s not spectacular either.
The Internet is to blame. The Internet has allowed us to easily keep journals, or “blogs,” as they’re called by talking heads and people with too much time on their hands. Now, the Dark Ages are so-called because of the lack of recorded history at the time. I believe, however, that our particular Dark Ages, the one we’re mired in today, is more of a brown-out than a black-out; there’s too much information. One could drown in it. I can now read about every teenage breakup and incident of oppressive white suburban parenting in the country. Thank you, World Wide Web!
You may have been led to believe that keeping a journal is cool, probably because Important People have been known to keep them. This could not be further from the truth. There is nothing cool about keeping a journal, especially since your life is much less interesting than that of Important People, which is why they are Important in the first place. Your journal is boring and mundane. And remember, guys, a journal is always just one picture of a unicorn away from being a diary. Think about that the next time you’re quoting emo lyrics. (I like to go with ones from The Cure: They tend to deliver the appropriate amount of angst while allowing you to still act snobby with your musical tastes.)
Don’t get me started on instant messaging, either, which is doing more to destroy the English language than an entire army of L’il Jons ever could. To wit: Shakespeare once wrote,
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved. (Sonnet 113)
The other night, somebody wrote me on AIM:
“yo dude, ur goin drinking 2night, right?”
And then my Outlook dinged, and I got an e-mail encouraging me to look at horny housewives.
The future of writing is not going to be sonnets and novels, unless the novels involve sex and violence, and we can get those on TV anyway, so who needs literacy? I believe the future of writing lies in spam e-mails, some of which are absolute gems. One can break down the writing of spam into various periods as one does with fine art: first there was the Pornographic Period, where the writing was salacious and graphic, describing the untold exploits of underage girls like modern-day Jane Austens. Then we shifted gears into the African Prince Scam Period, where the writers took new and exciting liberties to make the reader think that the writer, having supposedly grown up in the vast savannah, had learned enough English to pick up a secret Swiss bank account but not quite enough to spell the name of his homeland correctly. Now we’re firmly entrenched in the Pseudonymic Period, in which the writers all disguise their identities, usually with random dictionary words, so that my filters won’t catch an e-mail from Mr. Couch Q. Elevator. Mr. Elevator has important things to say about the length of my penis, apparently, but I wouldn’t know from the innocuous name and subject line. The suspense built going from subject to body text is fantastic!
It’s not any better when you get offline, either. At least the Internet allows me to publish my own work, as trite and mundane as it is. In print, I can’t get my poetry published. J.J. Redick’s work, meanwhile, has appeared in most major media outlets, not to mention the cheersheets of every other team in the ACC. This sort of exposure is invaluable. The universe owes me some sort of retribution; I should wake up one morning nine inches taller and possessing the capability to dribble a basketball.
In fact, I should write Mr. Elevator back and see if he can help me with that.
Matt DeTura is a Trinity senior. His column appears every other Friday.
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