Static

Static

May 1, 2019

It’s a strange sensation, living a life divided between these days of pixels and a childhood defined by magnetic tape. My first impressions of the world were delivered by audio cassettes and VHS, each unit of entertainment bound in plastic that occupied space and respected the logic of time: oxidized information gradually deteriorating whenever the tape was played, eventually dissolving into garbled images and hiss. Now it’s all so much static. No orientation, no sense of time. Perhaps my generation is uniquely positioned to be disappointed by the humiliations of today’s clicking and scrolling. After all, I still remember the optimism inherent in phrases like world wide web and information superhighway.

These are destabilizing days when there always seems to be a screen playing something upsetting in the room. Endlessly breaking news bleeds through the walls while opinion merchants spread outrage and contempt like new forms of weather. Today the Attorney General of the United States scowled before the Senate and encouraged us to deny our senses, breathing fresh life into Orwell: “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” No, you did not see the president do that. No, you did not hear him say that. The adults have left the room. The calvary is not coming.

There’s an uneasy shiver in my nerves each time I turn on a screen, bracing for live images of another massacre or disaster, the latest inhuman act. Somebody could tell me the entire Eastern Seaboard has been quarantined and I would believe it. This is the age of the permanent suspension of disbelief. And each bizarre episode is quickly forgotten as we lurch from one shattered norm to the next, left with no option except to adapt to increasing weirdness while we fight to hold onto our attention and our grip on reality. It’s not an easy fight, and to everyone who manages to get dressed, go outside, and not yell at the sky: I salute you.

Ensemble Economique - We Come Spinning Out of Control

from Fever Logic | Not Not Fun, 2013 | Spotify | Bandcamp

This is the sound of two o’clock in the morning when the static in your head fades while you drive down the highway with your eyes fixed on the zipper, that long yellow line which never seems to end.

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