First of all, eff CNN for the lede of this story, which is not only unfunny but also applicable to pretty much any story about anything anywhere. The ellipses don’t help. Second, props to A. Ron Galbraith for again sending me a delightful link. And third, is it really such a good idea for George Zimmerman to box DMX? Obviously its a bad idea for America as a culture, but it also seems to be a bad idea for Zimmerman, who two years ago was taken down an badly beaten by an opponent he outweighed by 70 pounds. Plus DMX has announced that he intends to pee on him.
Normally Combat! blog does not concern itself with celebrities, for the simple reason that we are much more interested in ourselves. It is a widespread problem. Anyone who has taught Intro to Creative Writing knows the power of the autobiographical story to fascinate exactly one person. What happens to us is wildly compelling; even if the plot isn’t great, the setting at the center of the universe makes it terrific. What happens to others is boring. It seems like a perfect system, but there’s a flaw. Kanye West found it a couple weeks ago, when he tweeted and quickly deleted the following:
Then Kim was like, “oh, someone mentioned me on Twitter.”
As I write this, my neighbor Greg is watching me from his front stoop, which he does for pretty much the entirety of my workday. Greg is not employed; he receives Social Security disability payments and lives in a state-subsidized apartment, leaving him and his girlfriend free to drink beer on the stoop from 11am to sundown—which, in Missoula this time of year, happens around 9:30. Because my desk is in my window, Greg is under the impression that I spend all my waking hours on the computer. That’s only kind of true; Greg just sees me whenever I’m on the computer because he is always looking, and I am on the computer a lot because that’s my job. As a self-employed person, I pay double Social Security,* so I sometimes imagine that I am covering myself and Greg, too. I try not to, though, because he is super nice. Last night, when he drunkenly greeted me upon my arrival home, he noticed that I was sick and joked that I had caught a computer virus. It was pretty funny, especially for a guy who had been drinking for 10 consecutive hours. It was also infuriating, since I am not just a nerdy shut-in the same age as Greg but also one of the large number of people who work to ensure that he does not die. This is what we call the Problem of Others.
It’s January in Montana, my rocket-powered supertruck has been rendered irrelevant by several layers of plowed snow, it’s somehow raining, but I have a smile on my face. You know why? The mistakes of others. It’s like Jesus said: whenever you’re feeling down, you can always cheer yourself by laughing at how somebody else screwed up. And man, was this a good week for schadenfreude.* If the entire year keeps up at this rate, we’ll spend so much time laughing ruefully that we start pulling up our shirts and pointing at our abdominal muscles every time someone takes a picture. Also, civilization will collapse. You take the good with the bad, I suppose. This week’s link roundup is chockablock with clusterfucks, and it pleases me. I have embraced my spiteful nature. Won’t you come over to the dark side with me?
Now that all forms of human endeavor are over for the year, it’s time to look back on the 2010 that was. Okay, it’s time for other people do that, since my disconnection from popular culture makes more less of a broad-survey kind of guy and more of a fleeting-obsession-that-I-try-to-talk-to-the-cashier-at-Taco-Bell-about fellow.* On a break from compiling my list of Best Innocent Remarks Made By Strangers That I Thought About Until I Convinced Myself They Were Veiled Threats of 2010 (Part I), I ran across this article in AdAge, in which Matthew “Nondairy” Creamer submits three works for the Best Media Writing of 2010: The Social Network, Kanye West’s Twitter feed, and an Xtra Normal video made by Mat Bisher and Jason Schmall. Seriously, do all ad executives have hilarious names? Even more seriously, the confluence of these items might just sum up the entirety of our culture’s relation to digital media in three neat pieces.