The Word Rabbit

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This article was written on 30 May 2016, and is filled under Uncategorised.

Social media: the end?

I’m signing off Twitter from midnight, May 31st until at least June 23rd. If, as I think, Vote Leave win the referendum, the gloating and right wing triumphalism will be impossible to stomach and Britain will probably be further along to realising what it always was: a hateful home to bigots and reactionaries. What happens after the dust has settled, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll come back, because Twitter is obscenely addictive, or maybe I’ll be strong enough to stay away.

De Gaulle was always right about Britain joining the ‘European project.’ He viewed the country as utterly wrong for it and opposed to its ideals, as it is demonstrating at the moment, and as it has demonstrated with forty years’ sustained pissing and moaning. It’s a shame that we could never step up, never reconcile ourselves to becoming a forward rather than backward facing country, in love with the Empire it tore out of other people’s hands and in thrall to past glories, but there we are. The country is what it is. Awful.

Before I step away for a bit, I’d just like to reiterate my desire to be Scandinavian, so if you’re reading this and you’re a decision-maker from a Scandinavian country in a position to give me a passport, then hurrah. I’ll do whatever you want to demonstrate I’m worthy, up to and including a bit of old fashioned treachery, but what use I am in that context… well, I imagine I’d be fairly crap. Still. You never know.

My ideal future life – and I’m just saying it so that my utter failure to achieve it mocks me – is living on the edge of a dense pine forest somewhere in Sweden, about an hour’s drive from anywhere else, where I will write things and steadily become odd and reclusive and sever links with the outside world entirely. I will leave my house to buy food, tend the garden and chop wood, but that’s it. Few people, as is my plan, because they’re irritating and bovine, will know I’m there.

So I’m giving aspects of this life a try-out now. Until the end of the referendum, I’ll be having a personal news blackout, during which I plan to know absolutely nothing about what’s happening in the wider world. If it suits me, and I find that I’m happier as a result, I plan to extend this for a much more considerable period of time, possibly lasting for the rest of my life. You see, I engage with the news and it makes me grumpy. If I don’t engage with it, I hope I’ll be cheerier.

What I want to happen, ideally, is that the rest of the world becomes, at best, an amusing distraction and, at worst, a vague irritant. This is made in recognition of the fact that I can change absolutely nothing about it. Were I to cease to exist in the next ten minutes, the world would neither be better nor worse for my passing. And it’s the same with politics. It will neither be better no worse for my involvement. The referendum will not be decided by my (uncast) vote. To think anything other would be the worst kind of narcissism.

Should anyone want to DM me, I’ll check my DM folder on occasion and perhaps we can carry on talking via email. Later this year sees the imbecile Trump probably becoming US president and I’m not sure that I want to be around social media for that, either, so what is imagined as a brief break could easily become something a bit longer. Who knows. Either way, in the words of Bill and Ted, be excellent to each other. I may see you around.

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