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26 March 2012

The internet wasteland & a museum to ephemeral feeling


The internet deserves to be treated like a wasteland. I am not referring to T. S. Eliot, mind you — more like Cormac McCarthy‘s The Road, Denis Johnson’s Fiskadoro or, fuck it, Mad Max.

Hell, maybe the internet deserves an even madder Max.

We live in a world which (if the consistently apocalyptic tone of most media reports are to be believed) is quite redolent of Mel Gibson’s breakthrough film — out-of-gas, out-of-hope, ready to abandon our fading settlement upon rumor of a brighter kingdom just past the next ridge. The internet is a perfectly ephemeral medium for this kind of world. By contrast, I remember when I fancied myself more of a proper writer, rather than someone merely capable of writing well & conveying stories and feelings. I treated each word on a screen like letters etched on marble tablets — each one carefully placed, every publication a monument to some kind of pretension. On the ‘net, however, I’ve come to realize words are more like water or, better, something sweeter. Nowadays, I see each new web platform as a honeycomb to be sucked dry until there’s only a husk to leave behind.

And so I’d like to point you toward my latest internet property alechanleybemis.tumblr.com where I’ve gone practically wordless, choosing instead to focus on concerts & photographs. I like to think I’ve opened an online museum to ephemeral feelings, a museum that may close without warning, at any time. But one that’s devoted to featuring some of the more elevating & tipsy-making aspects of our world. Contrast Mad Max with the wild dancing that happens on the edges of darkness.

Two shining examples of the exhibits on display after the jump. Follow me or don’t. If you agree with Drake it’s probably not for you; but if you understand David Foster Wallace’s wiser words, it will make sense to you.

Alastair Galbraith: “Huxley” (1991)

“To me, my musical career is not as important as my life itself, and that was something I’ve found very difficult about touring. I am always ‘Alastair Galbraith: The Musician,’ and it’s hard to feel like you’re still a painter, or a person who likes walking around picking up driftwood or whatever else you may be.” (via KILLED in CARS)

St. Vincent: “Your Lips Are Red” (2009)

UPDATED MARCH 26, 2012: In response to a commentator who took this post to be rather darker & more pessimistic than I intended it to be, I’ve re-written much of the above. Indeed, words on the internet are like water.

Posted by Alec Hanley Bemis

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2 Comments

  1. On 2012-3-26 Anonymous said:

    then turn it off and look around. It’s a beautiful world and as much full of joy, wonder and hope as darkness and despair. The internet is only a part.
    Go and sit under a tree with a picnic and read a good book.

  2. On 2012-3-26 Alec Hanley Bemis said:

    Oh but I do try to look around & stay hopeful. Aren’t these fluffy bunnies proof enough?

    I’m sorry my BLOG was taken as being more pessimistic than it was intended. I’ve re-directed the world flow to (hopefully) better reflect the intent of this post. Indeed there’s far more to the world than the internet.

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