Monday, June 22, 2015

Get Social

I don't know if there has ever been a more monumentally voyeuristic forum for the kind of wide-eyed gawking that we were less self-conscious of as children, when we gather to look upon the world exchanging thoughts, opinions, ideas, and prejudices - all from one accessible interface - on the barely regulated social media platform that is Twitter.
It is certainly endearing that during a time when Facebook is finally making concrete inroads towards that elusive goal of 'monetization' that has been the stumbling block for most fledgling social media platforms, Twitter, in comparison, resembles a confused squirrel debating with itself which tree in the forest contains the best nuts without even being able to see them because its vantage point is so close to the ground.
Inarguably though, the most enlightening aspect of being able to follow, comment on, and troll the virtual selves of people who you will most probably never get to encounter in real life, is the freedom to linger on collective trails of thought: as they first begin life as concise expressions of observation or intent, and evolve, after much rich composting from a mass of unsolicited and critical contribution, into fully-formed insights on the entire scope of human experience that this complex world we inhabit today makes possible. From the loftiest preoccupations of our time such as: the environment, racism, public policy, sex, nationalism, education, civic evolution, and the future of sport, to the specifically subjective: grooming, class, peer pressure, and human physical attributes or the lack thereof, all manner of conceit is up for debate and scrutiny in a whirlwind of direct questioning, quoting, appropriating, and critiquing. It's never been a mystery why such sneering scorn has been heaped on the, 'fashionable outrage of the twitterati', by the establishment - as a society, we never could have prepared ourselves for such a democratic disgorging of the span of human consciousness into neat little 140 character snippets.
It is a tribute to the platform that it facilitates, sometimes, the positive change that can occur in the minds and hearts of even the most hardened individuals because of the pressure brought to bear by a collective consciousness, but we must never lose sight of the thousands of individuals who must constantly be vigilant that their spirits are not crushed by the avalanche of hate that accompanies their personal confrontations with the status quo. It must surely be a trial to feel like you're finally getting somewhere with a dearly held conviction only to be met with vitriol and cowardly ad hominem attacks. It is, after all, a simple walk down the road from there to the swamplands that Reddit, that much heralded and singular banner of free expression since inception, finds itself enmeshed in these days.
Today on Twitter I see racism being dredged up from all its latent holes, stripped bare, and laid out in the hot, humid sun for all to be repulsed by, and hopefully be so repulsed by that it finally signals the dismantling of a 400-year old criminal institution. Perhaps tomorrow I will see post-colonialism, gender discrimination, caste bias, or indigenous rights being so tackled. I wait with bated breath, fingers hovering over touch screen and keyboard. It is a good time to be alive.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

O.. for a warm hearth with your name on it

There can be no more trepidation that emanates from the depths of the human soul in the modern world than is summoned by the act of choosing a physical structure in a geographical area to call your own.
A place to rest your weary head. An escape from the demands of having to constantly perform in the world without for the cynical benefit of those who are ever-ready and ever-willing to undermine your existence.
A refuge from the thousand insults and the million betrayals visited on you by an unfeeling wider community cruelly dismissive of the expansive sensitivity of your delicate emotional constitution.
A shaft of sunlight streaming through a well-placed window and falling on a particular section of table and floor, an anonymous bird song that greets you every time you return; that you have come to accept as gratefully as a child's loud, 'Welcome Home'.
A smell of the familiar, a sound of normality, a feeling of security, an atmosphere of acceptance.
A home, in other words, that is yours.
One that you can build and build on. One that you can touch, feel, and take comfort in. One that you can nurture and be nurtured by. One that you can cultivate and watch grow along with the people in it. One that is self-sustained and sustaining, a bedrock of strength, self-aware in its surface immutability.
A lighthouse, a purifying pyre, a watchtower, a cave.
A beacon, a lamplight, a library, a family kitchen.
A well-stocked larder, an overflowing fruit basket, a sweet-smelling linen cupboard, an over-stuffed laundry pile.

Call me bourgeois, call me lame,
Call me capitalist, say, 'Oh, for shame'.
But, O... for a warm hearth with your name on it,
You can choke on your own disdain.