And so I’m reluctantly back to writing. Not that this is anything new: anyone who’s ever known me will know that I have what some unbearable teacher would’ve described fifty years ago as ‘the gift of the gab’, and those who like the sound of their own voice will surely love the flow and cadence of their own text.
I’d given up on writing blogs after a while. We’d kinda moved into a post-blog era generally on the Left, and in my own case I simply have far too many with far too few posts with far too many delusions of grandeur. Setting up an Australian ‘Young Turks’ was simply too much effort, especially as the older I get the more I realise how little I know, particularly with regard to news and current affairs. It makes sense that I’m becoming more and more the philosophy student, as I’ve increasingly realised that while the real world fascinates me to no end – I implore people routinely to care about what’s going on around them – I’ve honestly realised that the immense concern with on-the-ground specifics no longer interests me. The world’s too rich and interesting to specialise.
But here I am. Twenty two years old, in Brighton of all cities, and stumbling my ways through British bureaucracy, mega-corporations (the supermarketisation and global chains here make Australia look like a feudal farmer’s market) and heinous reading requirements on philosophy old and new. Not exactly doing badly the grand scheme of life, especially with the added benefit of having many things to genuinely live for. Existential crises come and go, but existence is actually here to stay. Well, for as long as it does. Existence does carry with it the logical supposition of end of existence. Nothings lasts forever, yet I find myself willing to disprove the notion that the flame that burns twice as hot lasts half as long. I’m not really here for a good time, and I’m not sure about long time. Can I simply be here for a time?
Existentialism aside, I’ve decided I’ll take up writing in this form again. I wish we were not so alienated from each other to require the presentation of all information in an online vacuum outside of ourselves, but at least I have an excuse being many miles away from the world I’m used to. I did think I was going to be a big man on campus and really attend some left-wing meetings and organisations here at Sussex, but then I actually realised how work-intensive postgraduate studies really are, dramatically increasing my respect for postgrads everywhere, who I’d hitherto assumed were just glorified undergrads learning far too much to fit into one year’s course. Well, the latter might be true, but I guess that’s the value for the extremely high money that postgrad requires.
Indeed I’d mainly stopped contributing to these online forums largely because of a very critical book by Jodi Dean which rightly attacks the reign of ‘communicative capitalism’, under which we all achieve the fabulous delusion that somehow our opinion matters. Essentially it’s a Total Perspective Vortex for the modern activist: don’t pretend that ‘getting involved’ really helps. In fact, it’s probably the opposite. It takes you away from the real world (in which you know, these real workers live), and plants you into a language of politics in which you regrettably find yourself replicating and reproducing. And we all know about the language of politicians. In accordance with this excellent blog, the more we find ourselves ‘getting political’ the less we seem to genuinely be.
But old habits die hard, and old friends even harder, and at the prompting of a genuine friend who somehow managed to put up with my awful old blog (seriously even the later stuff – especially the later stuff? – is just horrendous to read myself writing), I’m deciding to take up writing again, and I hope to do it relatively often. What Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and many untold thousands and millions around the world have proven time after time is that courage is contagious. We write, we discuss, we bounce off each other. The internet is imperfect and Facebook is the fucking cesspool where culture goes to puke up its insides after a night on the piss, but this blog might just be one small part of the world that can be unambiguously mine and yours, dear reader. Until George Brandis finally gets his way and really puts that ‘blonde hair, blue eyes’ law into effect.
And my friend just released a new album, so go check it out. He’s pretty good at the music stuff.