All I wanted was to post about reading The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy by one of my main brain heroes, David Graeber. (I am reading Utopia in short bursts of delight. It is the only book I have ever pre-ordered.)
Not true: I also wanted to post about the relative merits of attempting to engage with public intellectuals through social media and public comments on their articles and posts. These two topics are not related.* Watching people attempting to correct each other’s errors on the Internet fills me with a mix of vicarious anxiety, embarrassment, and irritation. I suppose there is no difference between tweeting or commenting and writing letters to the editor except for the element of public performance inherent in social media correspondence. When my great uncle wrote angry letters to politicians back in the day, I didn’t need to bear witness except on the rare occasions that I saw him in person. That’s not the case when someone I follow on Twitter decides to school a more famous stranger about The Way It Ought To Be, The Way Things Are, or What It Really Means. I don’t know why that makes me wince, but it does. I’m embarrassed for them. I’m envious of the conviction that pushes them forward and scornful of it at the same time. What the heck is that about?
But no. I didn’t write about those things. Because it is snowing outside. Instead I spent almost an hour looking for pictures of Elsa from “Frozen” looking like a boss to illustrate my (at that point still non-existent) post. Then I looked for images of Randy from “South Park” channeling Jack Nicholson in “The Shining.” I also made Dino Spouse a sandwich.
* I have interacted with Graeber online, which is to say that he has favorited or replied to a couple of my replies to his tweets; I’m sure he has no idea who I am, and that’s reasonable enough. I have no quarrel with his cyber-manners. In honor of Utopia, I have adopted the WordPress “Big Brother” theme for my blog.