I begin the day in a familiar way. I scroll through my RSS feeds, alighting first at the most important categories, marked by a jutting underscore - _Files, _Games, _TV. In this way I can be up to date with all available illegal media; if it is not already in my torrent queue, then The Pirate Bay is my next port of call, replacing the recently euthanised Megaupload and Filesonic. I am satisfying an unexplained completism, a desire, born of youth spent in video shops, to have all desired media immediately available, even as time limitations shuffle the unwatched DivX ephemera onto drives, only to languish until new formats make it all as undesirable as dusty VHS stacks.
Am I trawling this information glut for inspiration? If I am, I find scant satisfaction. Stephen Fry has some new Windows phones; art galleries continue to host impenetrably described shows of one kind and another; Bing has added some new features; a friend’s video is getting blog traction; Urkel is on Dancing with the Stars; US politics continues to be absurd and difficult to comprehend; Tumblr continues a pissing contest of obscurity and elegance. I glance at the clock. Twenty minutes has passed without any information of note resonating with anything soulful, human, emotional or worthy in me. I am more informed, but one could hardly say better informed. My only victory is in chipping away at those numbers, written in bold, to the left of my screen. Art and Design - 797. Media - 413. I imagine myself as Stephen Fry did in the Fry Chronicles, as a fleshy Johnny-5, endlessly demanding and devouring Input. INPUT, Stephanie, INPUT. Blessed, however, with the wonder of the bottomless glass from the well of knowledge that Google Reader, Byline and the like provide, I find myself not flipping the pages of encyclopaediae and digitally impressing the world’s facts and figures into some military-grade solid state storage, but repeating the same hypnagogic routine of parading diverting information snippets before my glazed eyes, allowing only trickles of reality through to my conscious mind. The compulsive process of starred items, adding videos to Watch Later, pinning to Pinterest, reblogging on three Tumblrs, tweeting half an opinion and sharing the least fascinating to Google+ occupies the remaining dregs of my brain, repurposing the best of what I find into a series of self-branded feeds - creating feedback into the system to stand in for my steadily dissipating identity.
A New Theory of Distraction | The New Yorker -
5 months ago