I’ve dialed back my Twitter output considerably in the past two weeks, and, N.B., it feels good. As far as that shit-eating platform is concerned, I’m trying to rethink my “approach.” Real highfalutin, I know. The irreverent/savvy goofball angle is my particular favorite, but it’s a ca.-2012, -2013 vintage that just doesn’t sell these days. I can’t tell if that reveals more about the culture or more about me.
Anyway, I figured I’d just move my unnecessary retweet two cents over here today (sorry). Joe Weisenthal, a Twitter luminary of the play-it-straight ilk, provided this dismal clip of the new Dolly Parton Super Bowl ad (???), which, ‘scuze me, but this is about as sad and depleting a message for our impressionable American youth as possible.
Frankly, it’s just classic Super Bowl ad spend nonsense. No doubt, however, that this inane bit *speaks to* countless navel-gazing “makers” who are looking to make sense of the passing days/years, etc. Time keeps sliding by, and, gosh darnit, I just can’t seem to find a moment of happiness! Let’s say we transact against the soul just a little bit more! Sell something now! This is what we’re teaching people these days. It’s embedded in the story we now tell ourselves in 2021. It’s all too on-point for the Big Game.
Austin Kleon has a great piece, “In praise of the good old-fashioned hobby,” that I think was part of a recent book of his. I wouldn’t assume that any of my own wise and tasteful readers (what, four or five of you now?) need this patronizing tone from me, but Kleon approaches the subject more softly, which is maybe a helpful thing in this weird century. I’ll add, too, that Kleon’s blog has been a source of small joys for a while now, particularly for anyone looking to clear their head and soak up some streamlined/cogent thoughts on the writing life. If you’ve read this far, well, maybe you’re like me after all.
Furthermore, Kleon points us to Ann Friedman’s 2018 piece on the subject: “Not Everything Is a Side Hustle.” Can someone phone Dolly, for Christ’s sake?
That this needs to be pointed out publicly at all speaks volumes about the state of things: in our economy, in our class structure, in our shared American culture. This whole pattern language we’re picking apart is the very bone marrow of an American capitalist ethos, and it was absolutely, for a brief moment this afternoon, disgusting to see this self-care grift financed to the tune of multi-million-Super-Bowl dollars or whatever.
See? Sharing all that on Twitter would have been a total waste of time.