Category: Social Media

Unchained Melody

So, Twitter has been hacked and passwords stolen ‘n’ it’s all just so awful. On the plus side, if the hackers have got my details, I’d really appreciate a reminder coz I can’t keep any of my trillion or so passwords in my head. Can anyone?

After my ‘Lincoln’ induced rant last week (oh, and don’t get me started on ‘Life of Pi’ popping out of the screen at me like Disney on acid) my faith in cinema has been somewhat restored, though not entirely without reservation, by ‘Django Unchained‘. Thanks Jamie Foxx: dodgy moniker aside, you make a mean cowboy. I won’t go any further here as controversy enough surrounds this flick, and you can pick up reviews and follow microblog spats to your heart’s content all across cyberspace. Perhaps there’s a point to blogging.

However, this restoration of faith has been just a little shaken by the news that Steven Soderberg’s taking his leave of Hollywood. I understand that I’m a bit behind the times on this one, rumours have been circulating for a while, but I only caught up on the news a few days ago. I must admit to having a soft spot for Soderberg – who doesn’t love Clooney and J-Lo in the boot of that car? Does anyone know what make of car that was, anyway?

Perhaps he’s right, though – perhaps the really interesting work has migrated to television. Still, it seems a shame that while the House of Commons dragged itself into the 21st century and voted to legalise gay marriage last night, leaving the embittered entrails of Roger Gale splattered on the chamber floor (an added bonus), across the pond Soderberg says that Hollywood studios are still refusing to fund projects deemed too gay. So, I thought I’d put together an itsy, pretty montage of leading-man moments that inexplicably slipped beneath the studio bosses gaydar:

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 16.59.26

And let’s not leave TV out of the picture. No subtext here – this one’s for you Roger:

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Am I missing the point of facebook? or Why Lincoln is crap.

Yesterday, after going cold turkey for 37 days (yes, I was counting), I reactivated my facebook account. Who knows what precipitated this move: a fear that a big party’s going on somewhere and I’m not invited? Nosiness? A nagging suspicion that if I’m no longer parading myself on my very own cyber-rag then I’m not really here at all? A messy flat and some reading that needs avoiding? Anyway, whatever the real reason, the one I gave was that I needed to re-emerge to tell the world how truly crap ‘Lincoln’ is.

And truly, it is. I mean Spielberg can put a slick film together, we all know that, and if painting by numbers is your thing, and you like those numbers to add up to a Jack Vettriano, then maybe you’ll go for ‘Lincoln’. I was left cold. And just a little irritated. Of all the complex stories that could have been told about the 16th President of the USA, the workings on Capitol Hill, the American Civil War and the abolition of slavery, this film seems to have opted for the most crassly simplistic, one dimensional, hero-worshipping, whitewashing one of all. Really, he should have stuck to sharks and aliens. Oh, and I liked that one about the truck.

Daniel Day-Lewis, all got up in comedy whiskers and a death-like pallor, chanelled his inner Atticus (Henry Fonda did better) while marginal, simple black folk look on in admiration. Or is it adoration? Really, 50 plus years ago when Harper Lee gave us such sorry representations of black characters in ‘Mockingbird’, we winced a bit, but let it pass. The civil rights movement was in its infancy, ‘black power’ hadn’t yet taken centre stage, in its own way the work was revelatory, and, importantly, the whole thing was couched in such sublime prose you’d forgive it almost anything. But you’d think in 2013, what with a black President ‘n’ all, a little human complexity could be given a voice. To be fair on the great SS though, this cartoonish representation isn’t reserved solely for his black characters: no-one really escapes the flattening. I expected Mickey Mouse to pop up with a frying pan at any moment and literally flatten the lot of ’em. At one point, an actual mouse did scuttle across the bottom of the screen, projecting a cheeky black shadow in its wake. Honestly. The Barbican really ought to contact pest control.

Back to the reactivation of my facebook account, though. The first thing I noticed was that my roll-call of friends had decreased in number. I had expected this, but what was marginally interesting is that I have no idea who the hell are no longer my facebook friends. Scroll down and stare as I might at image after image, the absent faces do not present themselves to my mind. Not revelatory, I know, but this does highlight the very particular nature of being a ‘facebook friend’. I took another look at my friends list and at a rough guess, I reckon that fewer than 20% of those on it are actually, in the traditional sense of “I like you, you like me, let’s sit in the pub and have a beer together”, friends. Am I missing the point of facebook?

The Virtual Vortex

So, the good news is that we, or I, (perhaps it’s time to pull back from this inappropriate use of the royal we) have been read. I am not entirely alone, after all. In all fairness though, as far as I can see, no-one has actually read my blog who isn’t, in some fashion or another, obliged to do so. Still, it’s nice to be noticed.

From some opening comments to my first blog has arisen the question of whether or not I’m aiming for, or have accidentally fallen into, existentialism in my quest for some truths about blogging. We all have our own take on existential thought, but this is what the Concise Oxford English Dictionary has to say on the matter:

existentialism n. a philosophical theory which emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will

So can this be applied to blogging? Well, yes of course. I blog freely (well, sort of) and responsibly (well, I’ll try) and, if I ever get round to it, I plan to use this space to search for some truths about the human condition emerging from, and within, this form of communication. If I’m really lucky, this search will embody some sort of personal development. The problem is the “emphasizes the existence” bit. In writing for an unknown and, to be honest, unlikely audience, what are the chances of having my existence emphasized? Will I be sucked in to a virtual vortex destined to dismantle my individual self?

Now, that would be something.


What if we’re all alone?

When I googled, ‘What’s the point of blogging?’ my laptop conjured up about 5,600,000 results in round 0.36 of a second. ‘Why bother blogging?’ turns up 73,300,000 results. ‘Why I blog,’ 2,930,000,000. ‘Should I blog?’ 5,060,000,000. Apparently this is an area which is preoccupying the world. So, in a quest to work out just what is the point of blogging, or if, indeed, there is any point to it at all, I’ve started a blog.

To be honest, that’s not quite true. The last bit, that is, about the quest. Everything else is straight off Google so it must be true. Right? The real reason I’ve started a blog is because I have to. No-one’s twisting my arm or anything, but the truth is I’m doing a course, and part of the course involves writing a blog, and if I don’t do it, then I won’t get a certificate. But a quest sounds more heroic, so perhaps, in celebration of the blogosphere, we should all suspend disbelief and imagine a quest.

The problem is though, that in that last sentence we come up against one of the stark realities of blogging. Not in the heroic quest, or in the literary suspension of disbelief, but in that little, unassuming plural pronoun and its quiet, little intensifying all. We write a blog to be read, we work on the assumption that it will be, we speak of what “we should all” do. But what if no-one’s reading? What if no-one’s out there? What if we’re all alone?