No, you Can’t Claim Being Honest as Your Superpower
You can hijack words but you can’t hijack language
Some people have rotten luck as if the world were a large seagull with full bowels using them as target practice. For others, everything is a blessing because death finds us all so why be afraid of life. The blessing crowd are more fun, albeit very diverse, from the secular to the devout. We’re such besties we borrow each other’s lingo all the time.
Oh. My. God.
No, wait, I don’t have one but you get the sentiment. Blessing is a shortcut for mindfulness which is a shortcut for living in the moment which is a shortcut for be honest, now is all you’ve got so stop whining. The spectrum of self-awareness is vast.
Alex Jones roars that being honest is his superpower, the mind boggles, and the internet ejaculates in an orgy of clicks and bucks. What better illustration of greed than cannibalism? Let Clickbait Karen have another pearl necklace.
The internet is the new bible and even die-hard self-expression evangelists weren’t prepared for what happened next.
You’re a crusading heathen, a non-believer in bullshit and bluster, a defender of words. Someone has to when the mood of the internet is only ever one click away from honest. The internet is Donald Trump’s brain and we live in it and it is as stupefyingly stultifying as watching a cat chase their tail because they haven’t realized it is part of them.
Minus the cute factor, the natural grace, and the warm fuzzy feeling inside.
The apocalypse is digital and now is really bad timing so just assume everyone lies and watch your brain run after itself in slo-mo all day every day. There is no monetizing how the failure to take stupid people seriously wasn’t smart at all.
But the parameters have changed and the internet is now everyone’s lifeline so maybe it can still connect us in some way that allows for intellectual diversity and not just dumb as the default setting?
My superpower is bluntness, I bless it, I curse it, I hawk it.
Words do not have to be the enemy of thought. Basic human decency now needs a personal brand, a tag line, and a marketing campaign because we’re too busy gouging each other’s eyes out with the kind of honesty that has made us inured to the truth, whatever it is because no one knows what the word means anymore.
Trump ushered in the post-truth era and the pandemic intensified it. Swabs and Q-tips are not the same thing, drinking bleach will only make you smell like a toilet before it kills you, and we know it’s not your money even if you put your name on the check, Donny. Why bother with links when this is common knowledge worldwide?
Attempting to buy people’s votes by giving them some of their money back takes incredible disdain for what belongs to us all: democracy. Stealing people’s dreams by using them to fund your own takes incredible disdain for what belongs to us all: hope.
When you can’t rely on the meaning of a word as defined by Merriam Webster, how are you planning to move thinking forward, exactly? The pandemic is our one chance to reimagine human and the cat has now chewed the fur off its tail. The cat is anxious — the digital mirror is reflecting a reality many warned us against but we refused to listen.
Dystopia is not knowing where reality ends and fiction begins so you end up adrift between the two.
Where do we go from here?
If Alex Jones is honest then it sounds like we might be eating each other soon, albeit in a literal rather than sexual way. That’s probably not the spit roasting you had in mind but you can just about see Honest Jones sinking his honest teeth into your blunt rump and you vomit a little in your mouth. You’re vegan and Honest Jones is on keto so he doesn’t deserve your perfect cholesterol levels anymore than anyone deserves his toothpaste.
Not unless you want to turn yourself into a Smurf, a desire also shared by some 3,500 French people at the beginning of the pandemic in the form of a curious gathering. The two are unrelated but that’s only because no one could be bothered to come up with something.
You can’t reclaim language until you reclaim reason and you can’t reclaim reason until you reclaim language. Or as Descartes had it, I think therefore I am. Oh, the possibilities! What’s trending, little grasshopper? What’s fashionable, little chameleon?
Your brain is a slave to the algorithm of trends that trend for no reason other than money.
The brain failed the words but the heart did not, well, not quite.
The key to everything is the heart strings. Some words pluck them like a harp, others prefer death metal. On the whole, we respond more quickly to noise if only because it’s so annoying we want it to stop. But then it continues and you eventually get used to it. Or you move somewhere else. But moving out of the internet is impossible because it is far bigger than countries and continents.
For many, the internet is both a home and a lifeline now and we probably should cherish it.
Thanks to the pandemic, we can.
Welcome to the world of fear and finger-pointing, you’re only one click away from honest so feast your eyeballs upon the latest in bad, worse, and worst.
This isn’t about empathy and compassion, more about sympathy gone rogue and running wild like a Montana bison in Manhattan but not as fluffy or fun to shoot. Those who sympathize with extreme ideas are unlikely to compromise and much less collaborate with others. And it’s their extreme stance that makes them irresistible to some. In our culture, barefaced greed is laudable and you’re expected to honor the art of the deal with your every transactional word.
This isn’t about human connection.
This isn’t about human communication.
This is about tapping into our deepest insecurities and exploiting them, as a hacker does only you don’t just use machine language for this, you use human language too. Who doesn’t love a little reasonable conspiracy with Honest Jones overtones only this isn’t one, I’m sorry.
Emotions are perfect distractions, you’re too busy being offended, outraged, angry, triggered, gaslit, or scared to pay attention to what actually matters.
The world is askew, the internet is askew, language is askew.
Tap into the power of human emotion but go bold — or rather, great — or go home.
When Alex Jones becomes the accepted definition of honest, you know the other side has better marketing than you.
If that’s the future you want, pass the condiments, grab a beer, and rejoice at the perfectly crisp plumpness of your former next door neighbor as you chew on a roasted cankle.
It’s the small things in life, tofu breath, why do you deprive yourself of such primal pleasures as eating your peers? Honest Jones still doesn’t mean sex and, frankly, you can’t imagine it either, the fellow feeling thing and much less the nakedness or that elusive concept of physical togetherness.
Do other humans still exist anywhere other than on screens?
You can’t remember and that’s stressing you out and that’s when you’re at your most vulnerable and will believe anything that can make you feel better. Even if that’s rejoicing at someone else’s misfortunes because a crisis is always an opportunity to _____________.
You’re being played by words that increase confusion and lessen confidence.
The blessing is that once you see it, you can never unsee it. The world opens up again and there’s hope beyond the populist verbiage of demagogues and profiteers.
Be the lamp post, not the dog; one pees on the other but only one lights up.
The other one patiently awaits a chance to relieve itself, yanking at the leash of capitalism.
I’m a French-American writer, journalist, and editor now based in the Netherlands. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.