This World Is A Tragedy
This is agony
But it's still a thrill for me
This could end in tragedy
Pour yourself all over
Oh, no time to waste
Let's fall from grace
Paloma Faith - Agony
Grab yourself a bag of chocolate chip cookies...
I think a lot -if not everyone- would agree with me that this world, at this moment, is a tragedy. It's a tragedy! One terrible thing after another plays before our eyes. Over and over again, thanks to social media. Also thanks to social media: we get confronted with the scariest 'I never thought I'd ever see that (voluntarily)' footage of -mainly- people killing other people.
The plus side of social media was/is the social part of it. 'We' can endlessly connect with other social media users if we like. The world is just one button away! However, as it turns out to be, the world is a tragedy. Which begs the question: do we want to be one button away from it? Ignorance is so not-done, we need to inform ourselves and try to stay in contact with one another (emphasize and connect). However do we need to do that 24/7? Do we need to do that through watching a video of a guy shooting another guy over and over and over again?
What has connection in this sense become? A way to constantly put fear into our minds while simultaneously trying to distract us from this (cat videos anyone?). It's a way to connect -to stay in touch and to fight ignorance (also: a way to express yourself (or rather: a version of 'you'))- but also a big way to disconnect. To forget, regret and wave away. Wave away the shooting, bombing, sexism, racism and wars with funny cats, adorable dogs and lovely clothing. Out of reach, but within your wifi signal.
[This] video -exploring if Donald Trump is a fascist by defining the word fascism- concludes that the word 'fascism' is overused and therefore has lost its meaning. Therewith: it's lost its ability to 'work', "its linguistic oomph" as the narrator puts it, has thus been lost. By calling out 'fascists' over and over again, the shock or 'actual' meaning is gone: "When we don't respect the words that we use, the power they hold and the history they contain, people stop caring." In a similar way I think this can be applied to social media, especially in regards to the current state of the world (this including Donald Trump, as the video ends on a rather dark tone: "Have we robbed ourselves from the ability to stop the next fascist dictator?"). People have stopped caring. Yes, they do still care, but it's become just another tweet or another hashtag on another day.* The actual caring has mostly been put on hold (and let out during specific focus points following that 'another day' -which begs the question: what's actually being done?).
There's just so much to care about on so many levels from the 'trivial' question of what to eat or not to eat. Not only the decision of the actual meal and the actual contents of that meal, but therewith bigger questions of going vegetarian, vegan, choosing biological or trying to deep fry yourself out of the misery -is this a meal I need to eat or am I eating away my feelings? Or rather: how many calories does this contain? Am I getting bigger/thinner/fatter/skinnier if I do or do not eat this? Does it look Instagram worthy? Am I on trend when eating this? Should I go out or stay in? Cook or order? Fork or knife? Cutlery or hands? Plate or bowl? Plastic cups or... *shit haven't thought about what to drink yet!* Alcohol, lemonade, water? Tea?! Coffee?!! What's hot, what's cool, what will take my mind off all the things that upset me, how can I finally eat all of my feelings away??? All of my pain, all of the world's pain, nom nom, and gone are the choco chip cookies. Do they count as lunch or should I make a salad? Should I capture the salad with the water for insta? Is this good enough? Am I good enough? What is good?? What is this??? .... We're almost literally being smothered by doubt, self-doubt and doubt of others. We keep ourselves in check and others do the same while we at the same time look over each other's shoulders and mark their efforts, that is for the good as well as for the bad... Well done, you've chosen to take a picture of the salad instead of the choco chip cookies... however you should've said they were gluten free, would've given you a double A score, now it stays with a heart and no comment (I knew it! I said it to myself but then I accidently pushed 'send' and all hell broke loose). What are we doing? What are we actually doing? What am I doing?
Everything is just so sad. And it takes so much energy that we (I) try to focus on the little things (although calorie counting is not one of them, I'm terrible at maths). It's better to think about other tragedies than those directly facing you, say: the day of the attacks in Brussels, anxiously waiting in a classroom when a (Belgian) classmate is waiting for a phonecall of her brother who lives in Brussels to find out if he's alright (he was). And then going home and seeing the military stationed outside of the railway station with guns and all. To be followed with the day after where they are evacuating your regular railway station -the one you walk in and out of day in day out- because of a bomb threat (there was -thank goodness- no bomb, but still...).** WHERE ARE MY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES?? However it's still not something that's actively part of my life. It's stuff that I see and experience from a distance (a near distance, but still a distance). But it's all slowley eating away from me while I try to keep munching on those cookies and while trying out different Instagram filters for my salad picture. Reblog, repin and double tap.
It's become harder and harder to just always look on the bright side of life (let alone death). However -to end on a lighter note, and when you start to think about it- life's a laugh and death's a joke, it is true. It's all a show... Therewith: "Tragedy will be exlusively joked about, because my empathy is bumming me out. Goodbye sadness, hello jokes." It's not (always) a matter of distraction or disconnection, but rather a new formation or realisation of the definition of relation (I'm a poet at heart). Comedy -when done right- can bring people together and discuss important issues that otherwise would be ignored in our otherwise already fully filled scheduled meal-planning lives. One hand for the knife, the other for the mobile phone, it's a (post)modern society!
*Hereby not saying it's a 'wrong' thing to do, because how can a sign of sympathy -of togetherness- in this context be wrong? However, as I shortly discuss next, because of the frequency of the 'word' (or in this case thus sign) it's lost its meaning. Or better: its power. This isn't necessarily the fault of the tweeter/instagrammer/facebooker etc. but it is, I think, something to consider. And basically something to be scared of, as it is therewith a sign, perhaps, of overpowerment (or at least of regularity). We get used to the attacks whereby our frustration grows but the means to catch them slims (Have we robbed ourselves from the ability to stop the next fascist dictator?). However I do think that we need to keep posting about these tragedies and show our sympathies (and again: togetherness). Because although the actual meaning or power has gradually been downgraded (just another tweet or another hashtag on another day), it still works. Ot works in the sense of asking for attention, calling out the badness and stating how we are still here, that our voices do matter and the world won't be turned upside down in 1, 2, 3... (the same, you could say, is now going on with the reaction towards the Brexit. 'We' won't let this decision be made in 1, 2, 3...).
**Funny (funny not being the right word) little something: They do put men with guns 'to protect' in front of the railway station, but they don't put men with guns 'to protect' in front of the metro station (underground). Am I just doomed to (potentially) die because I ride the metro everyday? Therewith: two days later and they're all gone. Well, I guess we're safe now *turns on the news* *sees only horror and disaster* Yes, really safe. (is 'being safe' more a thought than actuality? When are you actually 100% safe? Even your own body can betray you when others aren't trying to murder you (a weak heart due to continous stress. A serious allergy will do fine too).... it's therefore the thought that counts, literally. The thought of being safe weighs heavier than the proven safety because eventually there's nothing to prove, nothing to fall back to... well... ain't that just great).