The Information Diet

30 Jan

scannersI’ve been writing this blog for over two years, so I guess it’s time I call it quits. My book is done, and on sale until the end of the month – which is tomorrow, so pay up people – I’m in a steady long term relationship with a woman who makes five times as much as me and (mostly) doesn’t make me feel like I’m a loser because of it, I’ve recently been cast as “Aging Jewish Hipster” in Season 5 of Girls, and I’ve just cornered the market on Bitcoins. So, I’ve come to understand that I don’t really have much time to work on a blog that no one actually reads. So, with that I leave you with this:

 

Oh, you still here? Yeah, me too. Unfortunately.

You will notice that this is posted on a Thursday, as was last week’s post. I almost always post on Wednesdays unless I do a movie review. It’s a nice habit. Post once a week. Done and done. It’s good for a writer to get in the habit of consistent writing and publishing.

[Hold on a sec, gonna read something online]

[Okay, totally back, just skimmed something about the 2016 election, only 33 months away!]

As I was saying, writing must be a habit, otherwise it’s merely a hobby. It is like going to the gym. You can’t just go once a week or skip a month. You have to do it on a regular schedule. That’s why they call it a routine. After working out for a while you realize you can lift heavier weights. Same with writing. The more I do this, the better I get. The better I get, the….

WAIT, JUSTIN BIEBER WAS ARRESTED? [brb]

Wow, thems some shenanigans. Okay, the more I write, the better I get at it. The better I get at it, the more I can try things with my writing that I couldn’t a few months back. Same thing with sex. The more you practice the Bedroom Arts, the more proficient you become in the physically daunting naughtiness contained within the darker passages of the Kama Sutra, moves like, “The Bendy Straw,” “The Tip E. Headrin’” and “The Double Crossover Corkscrew Reverse SloMo Cowpoke.” For instance, last night me and my wealthy ladyfriend were performing the…

WAIT, BIEBER WAS ARRESTED AGAIN?!? HOLY SHIT!!!

So, as I was saying, writing is like lifting weights. The more you do it the more you can do it. It has to be a regimen until it turns into part of your life. Someone recently said to me, “I don’t know how you find the time to write.” And I said, “The time is always there, we just fill it with a lot of useless bullshit.”

[Oooh, totally going to tweet the shit out of that one.]

But to be honest, I think Seattle wins. It’s not that Payton Manning can’t play in the cold. It’s that he isn’t that great in the wind. And there is a mighty howl that emanates from New Jersey. I am sure there is a Chris Christie fart joke in there somewhere.

And right now I feel that my writing – while not exactly where I want it to be – has improved vastly over the past couple of years. This is in part due to my daily intake of…

Wait, so now the White House will have to answer to the growing desire to deport Justin Bieber. My take on this is of course that he is just doing the things a normal nineteen-year-old would do if that normal nineteen-year-old had all the money in the world. People just don’t like him, and neither do I, but we need to foster the arts in this country, even if those arts are by some kid who got famous via YouTube, and you are probably wondering why I am talking about Justin Bieber, or writing about him because honestly if I’ve been benching my weight in literary skills over the past few months there is really no reason to start talking about the Biebs or…

Sarah Palin.

Truffle-topped pizza.

53 Reasons Why Delaware is the Best

***

Frankly, I am out of things to write about. No, that is not quite right. There are actually so many things to write about, but none of them are particularly interesting. Or good. Or real. Or true.

I wanted to write about the State of the Union but I decided not to watch it. Probably the first time in a decade that I haven’t tuned in. It’s not that I don’t like President Barry anymore. It’s that I seem to have lost all caring about the actual state of the union. I feel resigned to the fact that we are an eavesdropping, drone striking, middle class-lacking, gun toting country. Sure, we’re getting stoned and gay married, which is nice. But it all feels two steps forward one step back.

And that right there is what I was going to write about the SOTU. That no matter what the Prez says, nothing really changes. Empty rhetoric no longer inspires me, if it ever did in the first place. But I didn’t write about that.

Instead I took a quiz on BuzzFeed to discover which Oscar nominated film I am.

I’m Her. Of course I am.

If writing is like going to the gym, then there is something I am doing that is like eating a box of donuts after going to the gym. I have entered a state of information overload. I’m not the only one. We all read variations of horseshit online. Political blogs that reinforce our belief systems. Sports blogs that tell us that our rooting interests are correct and completely justifiable. Food blogs that tell us that your use of kale, bacon, sriracha, and seitan is perfectly in line with what humans should eat. Movie reviews that tell me that of course American Hustle is overrated, I sorta kinda, well duh! knew that already. Posts that reinforce the belief that Justin Bieber is the anti-Christ. Posts that reinforce the belief that Barack Hussein Obama is the anti-Christ. All Kimye All the Time. And BuzzFeed which, in their quiz, “What Awesome But Unknown Writer Are You?” correctly pegged me as Jacob Mendelsohn. Thanks BuzzFeed, never woulda known it otherwise.

These things are not merely minor distractions. They are clutter. My brain is cluttered with this crap. It’s like an attic filled with broken chairs and empty whiskey bottles. (Yes, I live above a wild west saloon.) It’s like I am the NSA and I cannot stop the torrent of useless chatter from being dumped in my mainframe. I’m sick of the chatter. And I’m sick of the empty anger of commentators and talking heads. I’m tired of people complaining about pointless things. I’m exhausted by being told I am right or that I am wrong by people who don’t know me.

And I realized yesterday, trying to write some stupid thing about politics, that my attic needs a good cleaning. I need to go on an Information Diet.

It’s not a fast or a cleanse. It’s just a slimming process. I need to rid my mind of some of the useless junk that is stored in it. More importantly, I need to curb my intake of new useless infocalories. It’s like an Atkins for fake knowledge.

So this is what I am going to do:

For the month of February I will not partake in the following: Twitter and Facebook (the French fries and cheesecake of bad infotainment). Further, I will not read any online news stories. That means no BuzzFeed, Atlantic.com, Daily Beast, Andrew Sullivan (sniff), ESPN.com, any of the Gawker Media outlets, AV Club, Gothamist, New York Times online, and many others. In fact, I am grouping the good with the bad here. The crappy gossip rags and the esteemed news outlets are both being banished.

I will not watch any televised news program. This includes any of the major network or cable news programs, PBS, Sports Center, the Daily Show and the Colbert Report. I thought I could hang on to the last two, but realized that not only am I tired of information, I have also grown lethargic with the respective snark and irony of those two shows. Neither Stewart nor Colbert have interested me in months. They feel petty and simple and tired. So to the locked cabinet with the cupcake mix and nutella they go.

The most difficult times will be down periods at work when I would normally surf the web for news items that, like droplets of week-as-shit coffee, keep me awake but not alive; and the “waiting for friend to show up” times of life, when my news apps bring me so much faux pleasure. But at work I can always write – right? – and in the lulls in life I can still crush candy, as candy contains zero infocalories. Also, to resist temptation, I will remove all offending apps from my phone for the duration of the diet.

Since this is a diet and not a fast, I will be partaking of a few things. I can watch sports. I will read the Sunday New York Times so as not starve completely. I will still check email and use my cell for phone calls and texts and mindless pig killing games. I will continue to write this blog and post it – hopefully on Wednesdays – and I will post it on Facebook and Twitter, though that will be the only times I am there for the next month. It will be a quick in-and-out, or what my ex calls, “The Jacob.”

If someone wants to tell me what that fat fuck Chris Christie is doing, or who said a racist thing about the President, or what flavor underwear Miley is currently wearing, fine. I can deal with a normal, real, flesh-and-blood human telling me something. I just don’t want to fall down the rabbit hole of endless links, consumed so much by the inanity of listicles, baby photos, George Takei quotes, check-ins, food photos, Attack of the Killer Meme-atos, blogenspiels, and Hitler comparisons, to the point where I no longer recall whether I took the red or the blue pill.  

In February I will see nothing online about Black History Month or Valentine’s Day. I will not wish anyone a Happy Birthday on Facebook. I will not retweet your pithy take down of Ted Cruz. I will be out of the loop. I will go the gym and work on the gut. I will go to museums and stare at Grecian urns and modernist collages. I will see movies. I will read fiction but not fact. I will work on my new novel, which I already have about 250 pages written (self-five!). I will clean the attic of my mind. I will write on this blog about things that are not current, but timeless.

Someone asked me recently what I want to write about. My answer sounded kind of pretentious in a faux-Hemingway way. “The truth, I guess.” Swishing my snifter of Armagnac whilst noshing on a bull testicle, I elaborated: “I want to write something that will make someone cry, or realize something about themselves. I want to change people one heartbeat at a time. I just feel that the world is filled with so much bullshit, and we’ve misplaced the truth. Whatever the truth may actually be.”

Hopefully I will be closer to the truth come March 1. Then I will return and find out exactly what My Little Pony I am. I’m hoping for Applejack.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. I Lost 20 Pounds! Ask Me How!! - February 26, 2014

    […] pounds I lost was in my brain box, my thinking chamber, my synaptic relay switchboard. As I wrote here, four weeks ago, I was going on an Information […]

  2. Changism - April 9, 2014

    […] I went on my Information Diet a couple of months ago I gave up, amongst other things, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. […]

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