Hairspray and Hemingway

18 Jun

“Be daring, be different, be impractical. Be anything that will assert imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the common place, the slaves of the ordinary” – Sir Cecil Beaton

Why My First Post Took 3 ½ Weeks to Write: A Cultural Analysis

This post has been a labor of several weeks. And not for lack of topics, I have started and stopped over a dozen budding posts. I began writing each brightly and optimistically enough, only to eventually shudder at its stupidity. In a society where every thought is believed to be of enough consequence to compel the individual to tweet, post, text, or otherwise make known to the world that they “just ate the bombest sandwich” or other such amazing insights into the human psyche, what is with my excessive self-critique?

It seems editing and buffering one’s thoughts or the inner monologue has become obsolete, giving way to…the outer monologue, a self-important validation of any and every notion to infiltrate one’s mind. Censorship ironically is the only thing being suppressed.

In fact, in the wake of such wide-spread narcissism, I discovered a virtual revolt seething. Counter culture websites, like Tweeting Too Hard, BlogAntagonist, and exist purely to satirize such immortalized errors in judgment. The list goes on. Hate sites are popping up just as quickly as crap can twitter out of one’s mouth. This particular little gem comes to us from Tweeting Too Hard on behalf of brettschulte: “I gave my cleaning lady a raise today, even though she didn’t ask, as my own little contribution to fighting the recession”.  (TweetingtooHard).

Ironically the performative nature of identity and the urge to manipulate others’ perception is most certainly the motivation for such trivial proclamations and for my own literary self-consciousness. Through carefully chosen duck face photos and perhaps less carefully chosen status updates, an individual can craft an identity. Brettschulte’s tweet, for example, is a transparent self-identification of the author. Brett, though the name is androgynous, is probably a man. I don’t know any women who refer to a housekeeper as a “cleaning lady”. Clearly, it is very important that the world know that he is not only well off enough to have a “cleaning lady”, but also has enough financial freedom to arbitrarily give her a raise. Thank you, Brett, for your humanitarian contribution with a side of elitist humble brag.

I suppose that it isn’t surprising that with my judgment of others’ questionable contributions to the global dialogue, a fear of that same judgment emerged.  What will my blog say about me? Will my ramblings end up displayed on the likes of, a venue committed to touting the stupidity of…blogs? No, the irony is not lost on me.

In the past, status has been defined by the artifice created by humans: clothing, possessions, housing, etc. Is the new social identifier the status update? If so, what qualifies me to write this blog? I’m a University of California student, who works part-time at a (fantastic) beauty shop with 0 Facebook friends. That’s right, I said it. I’m not on Facebook. Let the genuflecting begin. I am a veritable social media pauper.

It seems we have evolved to include virtual simulacra of social structure. With the democratization of media, comes the inevitable organization of such. You have white-collar bloggers who make money on their pseudo literary ventures. The emerging middle class: those who earn a living off advertising or product endorsements.  How many Facebook friends and Twitter followers one has is increasingly important: for some it is their livelihood, for others it is synonymous with status.  By extension, Brett with his profound influence to the Twitter community, not to mention boundless idiocy, is no doubt of a higher social tier than I, according to this paradoxical social construction. And therein lies the root of my writer’s block and also the premise of my blog.

I want to be a part of the amazing exchange of ideas happening faster and more authentically than ever before through social media; however, I abhor its use to assault the intelligence of innocent readers everywhere. I revolt against MySpace style self portraits, online dating, and tweets that really, no one cares to read. What has happened to the representation of the twenty-something? I refuse to succumb to this homogenized portrait of my generation.

Hairspray and Hemingway is the fulfillment of my personal paradox, a place for my inordinate number of thoughts on topics from politics to beauty to literary criticism. As both a literature major and part-time shampoo peddler, my life is one big inconsistency. One minute, I’m exploring the notions of humanity in The Faerie Queen and King Lear and the next I’m knee deep in bronzer and hairspray, and loving every minute of it.


 © Copyright 2012 hairsprayandhemingway

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