Ego Addiction

I’ve always wanted to be the star. I grew up at the end of an era where people had to do things to be adored. Hollywood was built by people who worked hard to get to the top. Likewise artists created art before they could be called artists. Perhaps the biggest tail end of an era I caught was lead by the nauseating question, “Are you a published author?”

Back in the day you actually had to achieve something before you could be officially branded into the category. You weren’t an author unless an actual publisher picked you up. You were not a poet until a cheap rag accepted your poetry and printed it. Artists have always been subjective to an extent, but you were a “real” artist if your painting hung somewhere for people to see.

With the dawning of the Internet came a loosening of the rules. I remember the original turmoil and divide with authors. Those who had worked so hard to be published were being shown up by new writers self publishing through the Internet. They were furious. No one knew how to take this, because some of the self published works were just as good as anything out of the old stuffy publishing system. I may remember it better than any other divide as I was one of those new writers. I was thrilled to be able to put out a real printed and bound book all by myself for pocket change.

Likewise, anyone in the music industry can tell you about that cultural divide. Today we can talk to anyone on stage and screen to hear about the Internet making their light just a little less bright.

The Internet has shone a light on every system of elite hierarchy there is. Every industry we have known with kings and queens has been shattered. The Internet has allowed the peasants to immediately hold court if they can attract the right audience.

I am in between those divides. I come from a time where I was taught I had to do something to be anything. All the while I grew up in a world where you could scream anything on a webcam “just being yourself” and suddenly make a six digit income if you stuck to it.

Think of that guy in the 90’s who put webcams throughout his home and setup a subscription service for people to just watch him. He didn’t do anything unique. He walked around his home, ate bowls of cereal, wrote HTML code, and very occasionally had sex with his girlfriend under the sheets. He didn’t exploit his life. He didn’t record porn films. He was simply being monitored and he was a big hit for it.

Those days of webcam novelty have long come to an end, yet now much to Mr. Warhol’s prediction everyone is a star for at least 15 minutes. Today we are wobbling with a society longing for substance, yet being more and more addicted to the art of being. That addictive digital needle is filled with a substance called Social Media. The longing to go viral or get just a few more followers and Likes.

I knew the digital addiction to ego before most anyone else. I had my website and I had my own liking system. Back in that day we used to have to set those up for ourselves! It was far more difficult to get our fix as we did not have computers in our pockets. We had to rush home to check web site statistics, guestbook entries, and open up our email programs to download the latest batch of love letters. But we did it! We were addicted to it. We became hooked further in with every present from our wishlist and next guestbook entry.

The Internet ego formula and platforms have changed to accommodate everyone. After all, the Sheeple absolutely needed it for themselves once they saw what we had. It’s easy now. It’s in your pocket, it streams through thin air, and it’s everywhere. You can get online while hiking mountain trails or taking a shit in the local Starbucks. They have honed the ego machine to please everyone. They have made it an addiction for all because now everybody can get Likes and follows. We can all go viral. The Internet has turned into one big circle jerk.

In a way the Internet had elite just like Hollywood had elite. We started it and they took it over. They take everything over. They make all of the screens smaller. I am the Norma Desmond of the Internet.

For people like me it has been a maddening ride going from the difficulty of receiving Likes to being able to easily obtain an overabundance of them! I used to have to pay hundreds of dollars for my own server space in order to spend two months writing my own code, in order to finally publish my work and get a few dozen feedback messages of Like. The transition from HTML 2.0 to today was like an overdose. They made it so easy. It’s so easy to build your website or your “page” now. It’s so easy to program in the posts to fire 24/7 while I’m out doing more work to create more content. Finally, it is so easy to check the results everywhere from anywhere.

Instead of going home, opening my office door, “firing up” the CPU, I was suddenly able to get my Likes wherever I was. I can check them while sitting on the couch. I can check them from bed before I get up in the morning. I can scroll my wall while eating breakfast. I can catch up straight out of the shower. I post from mountain trails. I can be plugged in all of the time to receive my constant stream of Likes and it was absolutely overtaxing my ego.

Much like drugs the same goes for the Internet’s ego machine. I have been a lifelong addict to anything I get involved with. My genes must be extensively programmed to the Junkie mentality. Throughout the years I have overdosed on food, beverage, drugs, smokey treats, lust, love, and I would likely overdose on air if possible. There is nothing in this life that I have enjoyed in moderation. I have had to learn to moderate every single thing. I have now had to do the same with the ego and the Internet.

In August 2016 I went on a break from Social Media and most portions of the Internet. Indeed we cannot live without the Internet in the current 21st century life. If you have already acclimated your world to it then you cannot go without it. We make money through these circuits. We pay bills through here. We order food, set appointments, and communicate with “the folks back home” through here. Just about ten years ago I could have shut off my cell phone and Internet for 30 days and no one would have noticed. If I did that today I would have been declared dead.

My goal with taking the break was to see what happened when I didn’t have to check on my Facebook or Twitter accounts. I continued to view Instagram and YouTube for my personal entertainment, but I told myself to only do it once or twice a day. At certain times I was so driven to post a thought that I broke my rules and did so, but for the most part I stayed away. The important step was to not go back and look for comments or Likes.

I stayed far away from Facebook and found a lot more time in my day. I was 20 minutes early every morning and my evenings were filled with finding things to entertain Me with. That was when I discovered the key and the point. The Social Media platforms have reprogrammed everyone to entertain each other. There are so many people now doing what they do for others to see that they have lost track of what they might want to do for themselves.

Much like myself, other people have become so busy thinking of what to post and then check for Likes that it’s all they are doing. Look at me! Like me! Follow me! Then just like drugs you have to find a larger dose for the next time. What’s the next post going to be and will it trump the previous? Do I post now to get more Likes or is 2 PM better? Finally, why doesn’t everyone Like me? Because we’ve always wondered that. Social Media has held a mirror up to the caveman traits inside and allowed them to come out. It’s helped people act like spoiled children. It has convinced them to be Liked just by being, instead of doing.

I want to be Liked for what I’m doing. We have too many folks thinking they are simply special snowflakes. They do not need to do great things to be treated greatly. We are deceiving our children into thinking that “just being” is totally OK. That mentality where everyone wins First Place because they don’t want to admit anyone is less than. You should not be able to make it in this world without creating something and showing your skills.

I’m old enough to realize that everything is a farce, nobody gets it, and the last thing we should care about is what everybody thinks. I might as well do what entertains me. This brief Social Media break has shown me that what others think does not entertain me.

My new rules are to post what I do. To post what I think. To share my life as a live it. I am happy to setup all of my posts, pictures, tweets, twerks, and tumbles to propagate to your walls, readers, and devices. But I do not want to be bound into daily checking for Likes, Loves, and critiques. I have to take that needle full of Facebook Likes out of my arm now. It’s holding me back creatively. It depresses me to read other posts and see how lost everyone has become. It makes me sad to see that the content creators have become drowned out by the pictures of dinner and the latest manicure. Something that may be most disappointing is the absolute struggle I see some go through when they do yearn to express themselves but realize it’s no longer the in thing.

If you want to come along for the ride and enjoy the things that amuse me, then you are more than welcome to watch. If you would like to talk to me and have a real conversation (something else that has gone away), then by all means send the message. It’s time to realize that another underground has been unearthed. It’s time to find the next underground. It’s time to go underground again. My people … my people …

IMG_20160730_181909_01

The Artist D, September 2016

Advertisements

Pamphlet

My young eyes looked out into a world of graffiti and solid gold dancing. My young mind interpreted things differently, with a surreal naiveté yet a bizarre realness. I saw the subways of New York City 1980 and thought that was the place to be. Then again I was too young to be.

I found my New York City subway on the Internet in the late 1990’s. It was just like those spray painted and tagged trains of the 80’s, but in digital format. It was the new underground after Rudy had Giulianified the harsh reality of the real NYC. On the Internet we became punks to the matrix and ran our cyber street corners like artists. That’s not the artist who wants to be an artist, but the artist who is born artistic. Art today is confused with a four year college course. You have to be careful these days when you run into an artist. They may have been trained to be that way, instead of born that way. Be careful! They are nothing but wolves in sheep’s clothing wearing a stylish faux wolf coat.

Pamphlets were always a requirement of my underground. I always wanted to create a pamphlet. It would be a simple message from me to the world. I wanted to tell everyone en masse my extremely simple views of how society was such a terrible mask that they were all being forced to wear. I wanted to hold up the mirror for a quick glance and let everyone know they didn’t have to do it. They didn’t need to contribute to that faux world with family values and Sunday confessionals. It was all a sham. It was a hoax. The underground bubbled with the truth. The back rooms seethed with the dirty truth. The things that happened behind each white picket fence made everything moot on Main St.

The digital age took over the terrestrial underground street-smart living that I had always dreamed of finding. I abandoned it. I became one with my computer. I crawled inside the Internet’s circuits and became the artistic Max Headroom to anyone who would listen to me shouting down from my digital soapbox.

They always told me to do more. They always said I should add more production value to the things I created. They wanted me to try harder, pay for more advertisements, network with fellow people of the Digital Tubes, and play the game more. They wanted podcasts and insisted I add substance. Before I knew it they had taken over the Internet. You know, the They from out there. They were now in here. The same people who dripped Disneyfication over the terrestrial streets of New York and Los Angeles had now invaded the Internet and were whispering directly in my ear.

My pamphlet was out the window before it ever was created. People don’t want the truth! People want to hide inside with the blinds drawn. The people of planet Earth want to look straight ahead and proceed to their air conditioned vehicle, so it may take them to an air conditioned building. Rinse, repeat, and flutter your little wings in joy that life has been swept conveniently under the extraterrestrial rug.

When I found myself at the business end of the gun known as They I was no more pleased than ever before. I had worked so hard to create the pamphlet up in lights, the one backed and sponsored by Them, that I had completely forgotten I just wanted to hand out photocopied leaflets letting everyone know it was a charade.

Now I’m back to pamphlets. Because the best ideas that never were will always be just as good when you come all the way back around to them. We sweep the fact away about who we really are, who we really love, who we really want to Fuck, and what we really want to be doing with our days. We keep sweeping until the dust bunnies gang up on us and eventually all of that swept away truth regurgitates back up all over until we accept it was what we should have been doing all along.

You should have been you all along. I should have been handing you this pamphlet all along. Don’t mind me. This is just the underground. It’s nothing special, just the birthplace of every truth the universe has ever dilated and brought forth.

The Artist D, August 2016

The Artist D, August 2016

The Nuisance of Nuance

I was playing around in the AOL Chat Rooms in 1996. If we wanted to grasp at straws for purposes of longevity we could say that I have been on the Internet for 20 years. A couple years after my first AOL experiences in 1996 I decided that I could live my life online and really “make something of myself.” While others were still deceived that they could make it offline, I already resigned myself to a digital existence.

It was because of people like myself that the Users now find themselves living a digital existence. These days the more online you get, the more offline I go. I am uninterested in what the Internet is today and it is not news how much I dislike normals crashing the party. Any party.

Back in the day I thought I might be famous one day. Like groundbreaking Internationally famous. I thought one day I would be welcomed onto the Hollywood stage. They would fire up the spotlights and welcome an Internet Superstar onto their non-Internet awards show. The audience would Oh and Ah at the groundbreaker.

Hollywood joined the Internet instead of sampling from it and making my sordid fairy tale come true.

I used to wonder why I never made it Big Time. Then I decided it was better that I hadn’t. In my opinion Chris Crocker was the perfect example of that. He was an Internet Celebrity who popped his head into normal Hollywood and the two didn’t fit. Watching that unfold felt like an awkward rape scene. Since then we’ve had several old school Internet Celebrities do the same and it’s always an awkward scene. They are too real or a new brand of too fake.

I’ve always had this little following of folks who knew me, knew of me, and heard about me. That gathering whom appreciated the things I said or did. They glanced my way and acknowledged me like just another animal in the zoo. The animal that looks interesting, but not as interesting as the chimpanzees fucking in the next cage.

While I have never held my opinions back they have never seemed to really stir things up like other people’s. It took me decades to realize that nuance was my blessing and my curse. I’ve always been able to come up with a nice way of putting things.

Nuance. It’s subtle difference in or shade of meaning, expression, or sound. I truly believe in the nuance of my presentations. There is good and bad in everything. Nothing should be overlooked.

One by one I see some of my better friends appearing on E!, MSNBC, and writing for global publications. They aren’t saying anything I haven’t already said. They are as glamorous as I am and speaking just as eloquently. Yet nobody ever asked me. The only difference is they have taken a side. They do not live within nuance.

It is that which I believe makes the masses neutral to me. I never get on YouTube and start yelling. Even when I was passionately one sided I still fraternized with the enemy’s point of view. “I completely believe in this but I totally understand why someone believes the opposite.” This always helps to disarm the argument. I think for the most part I rarely ever stated people should stop doing whatever people were doing. People are, for the most part, willing to accept that you don’t agree so long as you agree that they shouldn’t change. Swimming delicately in the waves with nuance.

I am now quite pleased to keep to myself and not become all of the things I wanted to be on the Internet. In fact, now I want to do things that are even more off the beaten path than ever before. Your approval is not desired nor required in ways that I never thought possible. I still want to share my vision with the world, but it’s going to have to be a very different vision.

When you become all of the rage you are then requested to pick sides. I do not desire to be on anyone’s side. I want to sit on a bedazzled throne in my backyard and have a party. Outside. Offline. A place where people leave their phones in a box by the Welcome Mat.

For the most part I have left the digital building. I’ll always be a digital geriatric, because everything is ancient within days “in Internet years.” They took my circus and killed my monkeys. Kids these days …

0007

The Artist D, March 2014

The Internet’s First Super Star Hates the Internet

Whenever I slide through Facebook I am more and more turned off by what the Internet has become. I see angry people posting angry blurbs with angry people commenting back. Anger mixed with the obituaries. Other than a peppering of cat photos, that’s it, that’s all.

Welcome to the Internet of the 21st Century. No longer a refuge for the freak superstars squirreling away in their bedrooms. The people got hold of my space and transformed it into the new normal. The new normal is the same as the old normal that used to exist offline. The old boss moved in and kicked the new boss to the curb. He added commercials, put the populace on a social media intravenous drip, and worst of all made it normal. Man created cable television and man insists on mirroring that concept in all that he touches. Man takes new thing and turns it into old thing, because he’s afraid to try new things.

We used to care about what you thought. I don’t mean the things you think of now. I mean the things you really thought. The things it took a novella to get out of your head and down onto the keyboard. The things that poured out from the depths of your circuits and entered the depths of the Internet’s circuits.

It wasn’t about your political affiliations or how offended you are by someone else’s opinion. In fact we used to laugh at people who got offended on the Internet. Now Internet offense is in vogue. The people have arrived and with them come their silly rules. Rules they like to think are real tangible things in a made up world. Their protect-the-children and hide-your-eyes mentality spills all over the crevices of my digital wonderland like six kids projectile vomiting in an airplane.

I keep coming back because there is an Internet that exists outside of Facebook. It’s not much better and there are just a few pockets of individuality left churning. I come back hoping to find a glimmer of hope that will lead me back into the true Internet underground. I keep looking for the hidden magic door. Yet even in the darkest corners I find people acting like normal people who have lost their substance.

Ultimately I reminisce about the Internet like a sexy gay punk artist reminisces about New York City 1980. Places where the underbelly provided epic amounts of beautiful dirt and artistic grime with sin and true poetic sorrow to bask in.  Now stands a shiny statue of Micky Mouse with big-eyed onlookers staring up thinking about absolutely nothing important.

The Internet shall grow into a sanitized wasteland of human drivel and butt-hurt. It will spin and swirl like a black hole until the humans drink it down to destruction. When they are finished it will look like a paralyzed twitching robot resembling that of the 1986 film Short Circuit.

For me, it has already begun to look like more fun to be offline than on. But that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. In the words of Bukowski then, now and forever: “Wherever the crowd goes, run the other direction. They’re always wrong.”

The Artist D, October 2011

The Artist D, October 2011

The Disconnect

On the Internet things are measured much like they gauge dog years. The first year of a dog’s life is the approximate equivalent to 7 human years. The time on the Internet moves just as quickly. The Internet is a lot like a dreamscape for a lot of us. As we fly in our dreams we fly through the Internet’s many corridors of thought, experience and theory. We are able to quickly absorb numerous philosophies and digest them into our own. Here we are able to experience the tittering patter of first love, the desire for commitment and the hatred of break up all within one night on one chat platform. We are allowed to travel to the other side of the globe and take a look from street view as if we were really standing right there. Internet years go so fast because you can live your life one second after another within a snap of a circuit.

I’ve been entertaining on the Internet since October 1999 and I’ve been living on the Internet since 1997. In only a few more years I will have known an Internet existence for almost 20 years. This is probably not an interesting concept to some younger people as they’ve been living with the Internet since they were born. It’s a unique experience when you’re old enough to remember life without the Internet and know the changes it has suffered.

The early stages of my life on the Internet made me feel like Max Headroom. I was trapped inside of it and everything out in the day to day world was static. The story of my childhood crossed paths with the Internet at just the right time. It was a unique opportunity that will never look quite the same again. I was able to retreat to what was the new dreamscape of the Internet when the world outside my door would not have me. The Internet took me in and showed me how to function as a person. It gave me confidence in myself. It allowed me to explore all of the things in my head. I was able to travel the world through my CRT monitor late into the night.

As I grew up and got out more I was able to socialize offline thanks to all of my experiences online. I had accomplished great things on the Internet and had many friends, fans and admirers. I made a large amount of money on the Internet just being me and pouring my heart out throughout my teenage youth. The Internet built my backbone for the interactions that I encountered terrestrially. I would bet that the person I would have been without the Internet would have been a sad simile.

The Internet of today is not the Internet of yesterday. The fact that I’ve been online since 1997 should mean (thanks to dog years) that the age I feel is much older than the age I am. On the Internet I am a Crone. I am in my digital rocking chair chasing the Grumpy Cats off of my digital lawn. I continue to create and pour myself into it, but feel like it’s not the world I built. Talk about Crone mentalities!

Throughout each Internet journey I embark upon I have to find a way to develop my contributions to fit the new world order. There isn’t at least one day each month where I wish to delete all of my Social Media accounts and retreat to a page with a blog, much like the one you see here. But then I wonder who would find me or if anyone would care. For as much of an old Internet soul as I may be I worry about turning into the old soul talking to an empty house. I’ll keep the Facebook and the Tweeter if only for people to find me out here in the real world of the Internet. That social network business isn’t the real Internet, it’s the American Online version just without the disc coming in the mail. Don’t be fooled or disenchanted. One day we’ll have our Internet world back where people are out here writing, photographing, videoing and pouring their heart out. While the normal crowd can stay safely tucked away on their segregated social network walls.

The Artist D, June 2005

The Artist D, June 2005 – Cotton Candy Hooker Edition

Veni Vidi Vici

I was on the radio with Ann Marie last week when we were talking about the Art of the Internet. The back in the day sway of things. How it used to be. The love of designing websites every month from 1997 onward. Each time it was with a totally different look. I painstakingly coded the menus, photoshopped the graphics from buttons, banners and most importantly lots of things with my face on it. While always outstanding I was never happy with my layouts. It’s why I changed them so much. Just ask Daniel.

Things are so easily lost thanks to now designing online instead of offline. Back then we made it on our hard drive and then slowly (56k modem) uploaded via FTP to the server which cost a fortune and had bandwidth limits. Every version of my site was easily archived on my hard drive and my backup hard drives. Today we design live. It’s all up here on the Internet connected to the database and strung together within the programming of things beyond my current comprehension. The server goes down and it’s gone. I sneak in the back and adjust some HTML only to find out my old school skills have wrecked the delicate nature of things. A small adjustment could mean the destruction of all things PHP. One slip and I’ve given the PHP HIV.

What a wonderful idea it would be to just keep a blog with all things that are going on forever and ever into eternity. I reflected on Mr. Frank Cotolo’s Blogspot. A creation apparently started in September 2004 and continues on today all thanks to the ever-lasting nature of Blogspot. He has referenced his show on a weekly basis since 2004 and continues to do so right there. Small little blurbs as time marches on. All things not to be wiped away any time soon as Blogger continues to be Blogger.

Ann Marie remarked on what a good idea that would be. I should have a website somewhere that might last. Something that may not go away. Something on a server that won’t go away because I stopped paying the bills. Yes, I thought, something simple. And I could post screen shots of old website layouts long gone to show the kids just what we used to do.

My obsessive compulsive website layout behavior stretched on for over a decade until it slowed to where it is now. My last website design of TheArtistD.com was a supremely customized new age type of which I relied on a template and MYSQL databases for. I jumped in the closet with my then-husband and a disco light. We photographed and recorded video for an hour to come out with the very fabulesque Artist D photos you may have seen before. Multi-coloured, blonde with fishnet gloves as I grooved out to the psychedelic lights spinning.

I’ve left the website up and can’t seem to bring myself to scrap it. It’s become a monument. It’s a piece of ART. While it no longer suits my function and I have outgrown it as I begin creating more content, I just can’t seem to part with it.

I don’t really have a desire to create a fancy stylish website anymore. I don’t want to make anything like I did before and I don’t want an upgraded monstrous thing either. I like the simplicity of a long column of words. For I am and always have been a writer. Besides, the kids these days wouldn’t appreciate the art of a website if it smacked them over the head with a splintered ruler. The Internet of the second decade within the 21st century is about providing inspiration via information and showing what you’ve got. Not inhibition, but ambition. We now teach from being. We do not teach by teaching. A lost art when showing our heart.

This website, BLOODY TYPEWRITER, THE RECAPITULATIONS & COLLECTIONS OF THE ARTIST D, is exactly what it says. I will display the art of the Internet. I will showcase my history. I will give past, present and future. I’ll let you know how it felt to be The Internet’s First Super Star.

TheArtistD.com from 2013 to 2015 by The Artist D

TheArtistD.com from 2013 to 2015 by The Artist D