Monday, February 18, 2019

Pierwalker Log: February 18, 2019

Writing start: 10:39 A.M.
Finish: 3:16 P.M.
Total new words (est.): 1800
Edited (est.): 0

1. Failure: 500 new words
Notes: I know I'm near the end of this novel for no other reason than it feels increasingly like skiing downhill.

2. Book Three Melody: 500 new words
Notes: This chapter is a convergence of timelines. I need to make sure they all meet here, now.

3. Ant Story: Off

4. Fractalverse V5: Off till Wednesday

5Rapscallion: 400 new words
Notes: Unsure where the story wants to take me right now, and am anxious to see!

6. LOTR: 400 new words
Notes: I think this is going to be a great chapter.

7. Angel: Book Three: off till 2/27

8. T-Bag: Off

Special Projects:  Work on "Becoming" later if time permits

Extra notes: One of the more dismaying things to see is when one famous person insults another famous person by claiming that he or she isn't relevant or known. Or when a famous person does it to someone who has nowhere near the reach or influence that he or she does.

The insult doesn't affect me as much as when two people who are obviously not famous trade similar insults back and forth. It's just sad at that point.

But that leads to questions that I think are becoming increasingly pressing in today's digital age: What does "famous" even mean? What does "known" even mean? How many people have to know who you are before you are labeled as famous?

There is no single answer, because people's answers are all different. One person's famous person is another's totally unknown person.

Before the Internet, I think the answers were much clearer, and perhaps even had some validity to them. If a person showed up on national television (ABC, NBC, or CBS: does anyone remember when those three were your only choice, at least here in America?), he or she was definitely famous and almost certainly known. If that person had a song on the radio, he or she, and their group, was definitely famous and very likely known. Notice the distinction here: being famous does not necessarily entail being known. You may have heard of Frank Sinatra, but do not know who he is, i.e., know what he looks like, what other songs he has, if he is a contemporary or if he already died, if he has film credits, how big a star he is, whom he hobnobs with, and so on.

The Internet, ironically, was supposed to democratize things; but instead it has ushered in the Age of Blockbusterism. It has simultaneously flattened the bell curve of fame while making the summit of that mole hill almost impossible to reach, as well as absolutely necessary if you want to make a living in your chosen art. It has turned the arts, each to their own, into their own hateful Thunderdomes--only the most shameless, only the most connected, only the most wealthy, only the biggest cheaters, only the most "viral" survive.

The situation, as it stands now, is unsustainable. Social media has made it much more so by its intended design of squishing bell curves into power curves. Such is so because making it so makes the elite assholes at the top that much richer that much quicker.

Finding an audience for people like me has thus become nearly impossible. It was already goddamned difficult before the Internet; now it is a million times harder. A billion.

Which makes any and all efforts to "go viral" ludicrous on their face.

The cost of attention is skyrocketing to infinity. But the value of attention is nosediving to negative infinity. Something has to give.

A long time ago, right here where I live, men came from far and wide to mine for gold. They tore up the land and wiped out nineteen of every twenty indigenous folks who had been here for three hundred or more centuries; they dotted the land with pits and choked the rivers with pollution; they butchered each other over pittances and lost their limbs at the bottoms of filthy ditches; they raped the land and gave absolutely nothing back.

The world, in other words, has seen this shit before. It's just happening now in the digital sphere.

I'll have none of it, thanks. And if a famous person someday mocks me as not being one, or for being "unknown," I shall smile and nod my head with great pride.