To the ceaselessly trending you,
This morning I posted a single paragraph blurb about some pop-up gluten-free cupcake store in the Arts District, and two hours later posted a 1500 word satirical essay I wrote last year about technological developments being directly proportional to the gory death of masculine identity. The cupcake scoop presently has 34 ‘likes’ and 16 comments on the magazine’s Facebook page. The essay received two ‘likes’, one of which was from our tech guy in Bangalore, and no comments. At what point can one legitimately begin to blame the audience for one’s shortcomings?
I am presently being smothered in the clutches of a hateful relationship with myself. I work in an industry I thought that I loved for people that I loathe, for an almost-negligible sum of money. I worry that my boyfriend is fucking all his skinny actress friends, but I’m possibly just being all #overlyattachedgirlfriend about everything and that he’ll realize he’s better off without me. And despite the fact that this is going to sound like such an LA-thing to say, but I’m worried that I’m just a big ball of negative energy that people want nothing to do with.
A few days ago I could barely afford to make the repayment on my enormous school debt. It’s really beginning to sink in now that I voluntarily put myself into thousands of dollars of debt to attain a qualification that does nothing but feed itself back to itself. I have an MA in Creative Writing. So in order to find work that actually pays actual money I will almost certainly have to join the education system, and start teaching more kids to be teachers in order to pay off the debt that their silly little passion lumped on them. Perhaps as a result of my extensive online fieldwork with GRIT/SHINE magazine I will one day be considered the preeminent authority on Twitter Literature (#twitlit), and will be able to explore the bowels of minimalism, teaching undiscovered Hemingways and Salingers to consider vowels implied and punctuation frivolous.
There are lots of reasons I despise my job, but the biggest one at present seems to be that our priority has shifted from print towards the internet. This means gouging the bottom of the dried-up superlative well for more innocuous praise for ‘cool’ things we found whilst trawling Gawker, or Fader, or Hypebeast, or Pitchfork. But once we’ve declared something to be ‘super-sick’, it immediately becomes, oops, ‘super-[sic]’, and we’re, pfffft, over it. God forbid you should miss out on a ticket to today’s Super Rad Flying Lotus Circle Jerk because you were busy standing in line for yesterday’s Gnar Gnar Kendrick Lamar Pants Festival. We, the Damp Hype Journalists, armed with an ‘@vice.com’ email address and right-click button for synonyms, build careers to tear them down, and have smugly reinvented ourselves as ‘Trendspotters’. And I’m dreading the well-earned irony it would be if my work was one day fed through the ruthless system of fragile hype that I helped to facilitate for almost no reward, other than the initial weightless euphoria of my career freefalling the second after said epitaph was declared ‘of note’.
I guess it was last night’s party that really brought me to you. It was at some kitschy street art gallery in Hollywood. The art was by another purposeless stoner that found his calling in life wallowing somewhere on the surface level of ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’. It was a ‘VIP’ event, despite their being a large number of people in attendance that I knew to be anything but important. The all stood around, schmoozing and fawning all over one another, then moving on to the next. I watched conversations dip into awkward troughs as people blanked on names before being saved by the exchange of deceptively marked, Bateman-esque business cards. From my vantage point of the deepest corner, every single smile in the room seemed fake. I could see it in their eyes. I imagined every time someone looked at their phone they were wishing the hours away until they could be alone and curse themselves for falling for the gag again.
I slipped out of the party early. Darryl asked if I minded if he stayed. I didn’t want to say ‘yes’, but I did mind. I wanted him to come home with me. I said, ‘No. Stay, if you want to.’ He smiled, gave me a kiss, and walked off into the crowd. I left, and let the tears fall out onto the street. I took the subway most of the way home. I got off at Westlake/MacArthur Park and walked the rest. I just walked, dabbing tears, laughing and swearing at myself, looking like another crazy that came here and lost. But I didn’t care. At that moment I was far too worried about what I thought of me to worry about what anyone else thought of me. At least that’s a start.