Those of you who are on Facebook have probably noticed people sharing those videos that are a look back through all of their time on the site. I suppose for some people, this is a charming bit of nostalgia, but I can’t help but wonder why I need to be reminded of all the time I’ve wasted on a website that still provides no valuable service. Yes, it’s nice that everyone liked my status where I made fun of Justin Bieber, but I really don’t need a photo of it complete with sweeping music. I am not going to watch a highlight reel of my time on the Book of Faces. If you find that touching or something, fine. But seriously, who gives a shit?
I’ve spent a lot of time talking over the past months about my fascination with YouTube. I don’t watch cute cat videos, but I follow a lot of vloggers. A big part of it is that I considered becoming a vlogger before turning to this. I think I’m reaching a tipping point. YouTube is not a total wasteland. There are vloggers out there who are talented and interesting. And there are a couple, like Tyler Oakley, who are perfectly fine, but really not my thing. It’s the subgenre of gay YouTubers who intrigue me. They all hang out with each other, as if the only thing that you need to do to be accepted into their little clique is be gay and make YouTube videos. I’m being a little harsh, I know, but that’s because my patience is wearing thin. Their worldview just strikes me as being rather simplistic, as if they had no identity before they came out, and now that they have come out, everything about them is defined in relation to that. It’s not only limiting; it poisons everything else.
Put it this way: Relationships are messy. Sometimes you have to accept the fact that your relationship is going in directions you didn’t expect, and you have to deal with that. But some people don’t want to. They want to sanitize everything. Putting an aspects of your life on the internet means sharing things about yourself that you’d rather not share. You sacrifice some small degree of privacy in the hopes that someone else might identify with you, and then both of you will feel a little less lonely. You don’t have to share everything, nor should you. But you have to be willing to let people see you at your worst. You can’t always be performing, because then there’s no you anymore, just an internet persona. I kind of feel like Justin Bieber’s problem is that once you get past his douchebaggery and shitty music, there’s just nothing there. His fifteen minutes are up, and barely a year ago, I remember people saying, “His music isn’t my thing, but so what?” No, that’s the kind of thing you say about One Direction. Justin Bieber is a little shit who needs to go away.
I don’t really believe that being in a relationship is the finish line. I don’t believe that it’s the one thing that you need to make your life complete once you’ve gotten everything else in order. There was a time when it felt that way, but then everything else in my life fell out of order, and I’m starting to wonder if I shouldn’t just try online dating already. I doubt it will solve all my problems. It’s just that I kind of feel like if the universe isn’t going to throw me a bone soon, I really should go live on a fucking raft already.
It’s been my experience that the people who are truly happy almost never refer to themselves that way. Occasionally, they do, but anybody who says “I couldn’t be happier”, is experiencing a fleeting moment of joy, nothing more, nothing less. It’s like all those humblebrag Facebook posts where somebody talks about how they are so blessed to have these wonderful friends and family. Whoop-de-fucking-do. I don’t really believe that the pursuit of happiness is what life is all about, anyway. I think you have to just make your own choices and tough out the bad times that come with that. If your goal is to be happy, what do you do when your kid dies? Sure, you can take steps to prevent that, but it can happen anyway. You can’t be happy all the time. But you can take steps to address the problem. What could I have done to prevent this from happening? There usually is something, even if it’s not apparent.
I stayed off of social media for the bulk of last Sunday because I was reeling from the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. He was a once-in-a-generation talent, easily one of the greatest actors in the world, and I regret that I never got the chance to see him performing live. (He was in “Death of a Salesman” when I moved to New York, but it was sold out. I believe he played in Iago in “Othello” at one point. I’ll bet he crushed it.) But he wasn’t just versatile and relatable; he was prolific. And yes, we got a lot of good work out of him, but to have him taken from us so suddenly when he should have had several decades’ worth of work left in him is just fucking unfair. I added “Mary and Max” to my Netflix queue because I heard that was good, but never saw it. I’ll have to drown my sorrows in that.
I’m not a big fan of social media, but what I really hate about it is the way that it generates instant nostalgia. People put stuff up on it so they can remember shit that just happened. It’s such a waste of time. I’m still on it because it has one or two uses, but this won’t last. There are better ways to feel better about yourself.