Social media can be a real bitch. As a writer, the temptation to fall back on Miley Cyrus references and cute cat videos can be overwhelming. After a while, one's language skills can start to feel like so many drowned sailors, clinging to rational thought in a relentless sea of social media meaninglessness.
On Sept. 9, Jimmy Kimmel revealed his part in the staged "Worst Twerk Fail EVER" video, which depicted a twerking upside down woman who falls into a glass table and then lights her pants on fire. The 37-second video -- a subtle nod to ol' Miley herself -- attracted nine million views in six days.
So Jimmy Kimmel was having some fun at our expense. Making us chow down on a buzzword feast. Allowing us addicts to gnash our teeth on the purest online fluff available.
But, as all good addicts know, too much fluff can rot the old teeth, and so let us turn to that master of clairvoyance, Christopher Hedges, for a little illumination on all things buzz-worthy.
In Hedges' "Empire of Illusion, The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle," he writes:
Scandalous affairs, hurricanes, untimely deaths, train wrecks -- these events play well on computer screens and television. Internal diplomacy, labor union negotiations, and convoluted bailout packages do not yield exciting personal narratives or stimulating images.
Which brings me, logically, to "I Heart Boobies," a campaign started by the Keep a Breast Foundation as part of a "positive approach to breast cancer dialogue."
Campaigns like I Heart Boobies and, more recently, "Cliteracy" -- a New York art project designed to inform the female anatomy-curious masses -- are image campaigns, which feed us complex health and social issues in a neat and tidy little word box, which, should we choose to swallow, allow for less and less meaning in our daily lives.
I Heart Boobies is a saccharine piece of hard candy that should make anyone who's ever endured breast cancer want to choke. All of cancer's ugly, painful complexity is scrubbed away, leaving a pop-able, infantile easy-to-gulp nugget for Americans of all ages to ingest.
And meaning well doesn't get you off the hook. While artist Sophia Wallace says her Cliteracy project stems from her need to educate the "clit"-ierate, incompetent masses, her call to higher education encourages those masses to ride a giant gold clitoris and wear shirts decked out with phrases like "Solid Gold Clit."
To go back to Hedges:
In an age of images and entertainment, in an age of instant emotional gratification, we neither seek nor want honesty or reality...The ability to amplify lies, to repeat them and have surrogates repeat them in endless news cycles, gives lies and mythical narratives the aura of uncontested truth. We become trapped in the linguistic prison of incessant repetition.
Or, as George Orwell wrote in 1984, "If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought." The more we hear simplistic crap repeated as a society, the more our heads become full of crappy simplistic thought. Thinking about a woman losing a part of her physical body to cancer is hard, much easier to just love breasts and call it a day.
Having cancer and being a woman with a clitoris in America are difficult enough things to endure. Fight the urge to buy boob bracelets, ride on giant clitorises, and troll on women filming booty videos for their boyfriends. And for god's sake, stop re-posting that garbage on Facebook. Your brain -- and your Facebook friends' brains -- will thank you.