Introduction to Recording Editorial History:
“So How Do You Like Freedom?”
Sometimes it’s fun when you are working yourself very, very hard. It feels like a passion project, like the thing you want to get done that you care about immensely. And then occasionally you shrug off all conviction, and have another one of those sullen days, days like yesterday and tomorrow. But for that one day you are on. You are sharp. You are enjoying every word you say and everything you do.
Of course the cold and the rain often spoils this, the windy discomfort annoying you just enough to make all effort into misery. Some of us might enjoy a rainy day, from time to time to time, days where you are perfectly content and safe. Maybe spending some quality time by yourself. Maybe giving your head a shake and saying “let me get past this latest crisis and then settle down and relax and not go to war with anyone.
Sometimes people will praise the sunshine. But all of us are often much more at home in the darkness.
I have been writing this project for many years. Initially it was an experiment, and has since grown rapidly into a weirdly hybrid sort of book project that is part-autobiography, part heavily researched United States history, part-sociological/generational study–a behavior-pattern treatise and cultural psychology report that should get me a Phd. All of it is an opinion piece, telling you, in the moment, what different people believe about history as times change and social mores are altered and the general behavior of every independent spirit contributes to the chaos of the world. This book has required immense, extremely intense work that is taking its toll on me physically. I am working sixteen hours a day–sometimes more! So far only one time for twenty-nine hours. And I haven’t always been sober while writing this (although right now I mostly am), and I have a lot of side interests with current events discussions that are always worthwhile to have (the real value of social media, which you can no longer escape as a tool for marketing yourself.)
This book is all about the United States Presidents–about American history and its impact on the world. Human history is fascinating, in every era, at every moment of civilization, as we watch the ways in which the idea ‘freedom’ has changed. What are the consequences of Freedom?
I just finished my longest piece so far in this book, that on FDR. I have noticed that as I come into the far more fervently reported post-World War II era, there is a buzzing drone of editorial opinion replacing fact. Perhaps this was the only legacy of Hitler after all. We all still hate each other. Propaganda is the art of war that the Nazis unleashed on the world. Let’s all use it to define our personal lives and make certain that nobody will know what is actually true. It might be fun!
Fun it has been, this tabloid permeated civilization filled with gossip, conjecture, speculation and an endless list of contradictory facts. All the yelling and screaming. All the “Fuck you, Mom(s).” All the resentment, the disappointment, the glancing slash of violent emotion coupled with the general confusion gives birth to a culture tearing itself apart in a quest to be absolutely free.
We live in a time of social collapse (those of you born too late to be hippies and too old to be a hipster). All of us. My generation has created this age. The people I have been watching with great interest since I was a very small child. These were the little kids I played with. These are the fights I had in junior high school. What I have lived through with my generation is the drastic increase of boredom, and rampant disappointment influenced by the malicious distractions of modern internet technology (remember ‘the propaganda’?) We also suffer from a sort of disgustingly intolerant cynicism that sourly spits out everything, in a toneless way, as withering judgment.
It is an angry time. We are the first generation to be free enough to have actually grown up resentful and biased enough against the future to see no good in anything. In the past this mindset was pretty rare. At least there was always hope (that’s for you, fanstory.com) These days we have become a self-destructively cynical gaggle of whores. We bitch and whine and complain and everything pisses us off and everything offends us.
I try to take the opposite side of condemnation and hated, looking instead to the wild-eyed inadequacy both of what we want, and what we think we believe. You see to me, everyone is equal. And everything will be finally meaningless, some million years from now, when the last of us humans dies out, being replaced either by robots, or a drastically evolved ant species that knows much better than we do how to organize a society.
I tend to have a miserable, pessimistic outlook turned into mocking laughter–a product of my generation. I try to shriek out controversial obscenity just to force everyone I converse with to be honest with themselves. We have told ourselves so many delusions throughout time, no wonder we have no idea what is real. We all also must acknowledge some of the many troubling and hard truths we are faced with. The very idea of ‘self’ has become far too personal. We all seem to want to be unique and, at the same time, socially accepted. This is our era’s contribution to human freedom.
It is all also a product of evolution. It is the advancement of society, our citizens growing increasingly lax and selfish, while the advancement of the digital future goes into literal ‘warp drive,’ breaking the unchanged laws of both physics and time, and sucking all civilization into a wormhole where there is not a thing that isn’t new.
We have done this before. The Dark Ages. The Reformation. The time of revolutions. The first time someone got killed outside a cave. The weeks and months and days people spend struggling, hurtling themselves against the wind, not being ready for drastic change. It is what sends people to prison. It is why they end up in mental hospitals, walking around and admiring the fact that at least you’re better off than a handful of these other crazy motherfuckers. At least there is clarity. At least there is belief in what we hold to be true.
All paranoia is the progress of doubt. And because our own instincts are crafty enough to consider how someone might accomplish what had been until now unimaginable, we create the legends of the past, all of our history. We personify everything we desire and we hate into the relics of a newly devised past, filled with stories about people we never knew and no one living was there to experience the enormous changes to freedom we have endured through all our individual lifetimes. All we have is another historian’s view. Or gospel.
But the legends that we tell ourselves: the lies we so willingly gobble up and choose, with these facts only we could truly be our own biographer. Some people may call this an autobiography. In fact this is just Recording Editorial History.