After all is said and done, more is said than done.
We are a nation of talkers. I don’t think this is a secret. We have talk shows, panels, conferences, conference calls, meetings, rallies, debates, speeches, et. al. We are a nation of media: print, digital, social, video, television, cinema, et. al. At any given time there are so many words, thoughts, images, imperatives, missives, declamations, memes, messages — what have you — that it becomes almost impossible to hear your own thoughts: white noise.
Except there is no white noise anymore. When I was a kid, after a certain time of night, TV just stopped. There was a lacuna, a dead space of air: the party’s over. Go to bed. There’s nothing to see here. It was like listening to rain on the windowpane.
What we have now is “red noise.” The spaces in between have been compacted, compressed, and eliminated, the interstices filled in. And it’s not just the lack of space, but what has filled the space: we are caught somewhere between a sales pitch and a screed. We are always getting screamed at. Or pitched to. Or poked. Or challenged. Or tweaked. Or trolled. It is exhausting.
Yet for all the interaction, reaction, sanctimonious speech, and invective, surprisingly little gets done. We tilt at windmills and feel good about signing internet petitions and maybe we’ll even write a check — all done without ever getting our hands dirty, because honestly, we don’t like the dirt. Because no one wants to see how the sausage is made, and they damn sure don’t want to make it.
Recently, this blog has gone rather far afield, and for that I apologize. This was supposed to be my blog dedicated to my love of Louisiana: it still is. My “serious” blog is The Back Burner, though I rarely write there anymore, the reason being that this space, this place, the city of New Orleans, and the state of Louisiana, have consumed me. New Orleans has swallowed me whole, a reverse transubstantiation, where my body and blood are inseparable from the body and blood of this city. Every thought is now informed by this terrible/fantastic communion. So when I derail, rant, drift off course, I now do it here. Because I am as inseparable from this place as the stench of piss on Bourbon Street. But I digress…
This is kind of a coda to my blog about my self-imposed retirement from social media, which I will be the first to admit has been rather difficult: I like the sparing, exchange of ideas, friendships, etc., that I’ve cultivated on Facebook and especially Twitter. Yet I’ve also been troubled by the negative impact of leaving myself open to the unwanted (though not necessarily unwarranted) punches of the digital age, and my obsessive need to respond to my critics. Quite frankly, it got to be a drag.
I’m not the most confident person in the world. In fact, I’m pretty unhappy with most of the things I do… I consider myself a failure. I hide this with humor and mordant wit. The constant spotlight of social media, the need to feel always on, to be smarter, more interesting, etc., is draining. But more than anything, it’s the time commitment that my addictive personality allowed for Twitter and Facebook; it actually stopped me from being otherwise productive.
I’m a weird cat. I won’t deny it. I come with a lot of baggage, and I doubt even Southwest would let me check it, but I’m trying to right the ship. And part of that is being a man of not just words, but action. Because talk isn’t cheap, but it is abundant, and sometimes it’s all too easy to drown in the comfort of good intentions. I don’t really know what my New Orleans life will hold, but I want to make an impact… a difference. But first I need to clear my mind. And get my hands dirty. Because there’s a lot to be done, and I’m here to do it.