Authenticity Gone Missing

The problem is a lack of authenticity. But has there ever been any authenticity in the first place? Has there been anything new since the postmodernists?

New age is old age. Since the new guard became the old guard. We have surpassed the neo-postmodernists and they didn’t even know they were neo. We are members of the rearguard awaiting the changes.

I come from the underground, but where is that?

Have you been alive long enough to remember when people used to add people to their friend’s networks? To be friends. When the phrase was “go hang with your friends” instead of “go network.”

I can’t tell you the last time I got “followed” by a person. I mean, a real person who just exists in this world and wants to read my thoughts.

Everyone is a business these days. “I’m not a businessman,” we used to joke. “I’m a Business, man.”

Now that’s no joke.

For a decade or more it’s always another content creator trying to add me in order to network with me. It’s no wonder Corporations are considered people. Everybody is a business.

Friends with benefits. I’ll be your friend if you buy my makeup, my CD, my oh my my. The modern day Avon salesperson.

The neo post Avon salesperson.

Remember when friends with benefits just meant we were also getting laid?

Those were the days.

We are not friends. We are network partners. We are a bunch of artists, musicians, and writers adding other artists, musicians, and writers so we can bolster our numbers and network towards success.

“Wow, I really liked what you wrote there. Have you seen my Patreon?

The innocent and naive question that stirs often is, “Where are all the people who are just people?”

Everyone has to be somebody and I can’t blame them because since birth I have been very busy being somebody. I feel stupid even wondering why anyone would just want to be an observer or a consumer. I wouldn’t.

And yet if you look out into the crowds of the world all that seems to be there are consumers! But look into the Interwebs and I don’t have an audience. I have a network of networkers. Except for my old friends. The friends I made when we had friends lists and observed each others work, as friends.

Where are the new friends? Where are the couch surfers and the bohemians looking for love? (Sure, where have all the cowboys gone?)

With every “add” I receive there is another message asking me to please “Like” their page or “Try” their wears.

“I follow back!”

Can’t we just have a conversation? Can’t we just travel through and get drunk together? To share a plate of spaghetti and meatballs. Can’t we take some pictures for our personal photo album and not share it with the world? Polaroids, perhaps.

When life was a great night out ending with a great story. Instead of a great night out ending with me subscribing to your Youtube channel. Of course, you already had subscribed to mine.

But what’s wrong with that? Why can’t we have an unbalanced superstar vs. civilian relationship? Why can’t the consumers just give adoration, adoration, adoration?

Why can’t you give me the respect that I’m entitled to? Why can’t you treat me like I would be treated by any stranger on the street? (Mommy Dearest, 1981)

Because everyone is out for their 15 minutes. Because Mr. Warhol promised.

The Artist D, November 2018

The Artist D in the Red Room, November 2018

Ancient Thoughts on Net Neutrality from an Original Internet Superstar

Preface  I know exactly what Net Neutrality is and the danger of living without it. I understand the difference between websites and ISPs. This article is a bitter old Net Queen’s unabashed ranting for people to get off of her lawn.

The overall reaction to the repealing of Net Neutrality has left me in confusion. People act as if it is the end of the Internet that they know today. They are posting memes on Facebook with the ridiculous spin of, “It’s been nice knowing you!”

The mass populace probably has nothing to worry about because they are already the almighty consumers of corporate crap. They’ve been eating what the mass media has been feeding them since 2004. That’s roughly the year I recall where the true Internet underground fell off the map and was replaced with a steaming pile of dog shit. It’s been down hill ever since and a look back in my blog can remind us that I’ve been saying so all of the way.

With the repealing of Net Neutrality ISP’s will be able to further control what you see. As if you’ve had a problem with that lately since all you have been looking at was Facebook, Tumblr, and Gmail. Without Net Neutrality you may have to pay to watch Netflix or Amazon Prime, kind of like we already do. To your astonishment now that Net Neutrality is possibly gone you may find some websites blocked from your view! Just like Facebook blocks you from seeing most of my posts linking you to my website or Internet live streams. Unless I pay Facebook, that is. Just like a country blocks you from content if you have a specific IP address outside of that country. Unless you pay for a VPN tunnel. Hmm, yes, it’s going to be so unfair, just like it already is.

The people it will hurt are people you haven’t cared about for years! You’ve already enabled the corporations to steamroll over the content creators and independent underground artists by allowing the Internet to become what it already is before, during, and after Net Neutrality. YouTube single-handedly put beautifully articulate content creators in a bind in favor of monetizing vanilla bullshit. Oh, but, without Net Neutrality it will allow the ISP’s to be unfair! As unfair as the corporations owning the websites already have been. It’s just another level of unfair frosting to the unfair cake.

It’s all just crushing the little guy a little bit more than we already were. But you didn’t care about him or her or them anyway! The Fourculture Magazines of the world are just going to be a little more strangulated. The underground zines and that unpopular YouTube shows will still be just as neglected, demonetized, and regulated to the corners. You have nothing to worry about because there will still be Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, and probably even Tumblr porn. You have nothing to worry about, almighty consumer, because for the Internet to exist at a profit they must continue to provide you with the bullshit you already consume! They are probably not plotting to take away your Netflix. They’re plotting to take away your indie underground artist whom may dare to turn a buck without giving a cut to The Man.

They’ve been erasing people like me from the day they found out the Internet was a profit center. That was the day it all started to burn to the ground. And that was a long time ago.

I am asked if I am upset about the changes regarding Net Neutrality and I’ll tell you that I was upset before and after! It has nothing to do with Net Neutrality making things better or worse. It already was shit before they got started. It was shit when we, the content creators, were pushed into the margins and our hits were reduced to nothing as people began to flock to the corporate cannibals. It was shit when the gates were opened and a global population logged on to make the Internet just like everything else. And worse yet, to make it a part of society!

I already pay a premium for my personal outgoing Internet speeds. I already pay extra for faster web service to bring my content to you at a decent downloadable speed. I already have to pay Facebook if I want it to share my project links with all of the people who want to see them. This all in a world of Net Neutrality! What’s so neutral about it as it currently is? Even my YouTube videos get demonetized and hidden away in favor of the corporate content, right now in a world with Net Neutrality.

Without Net Neutrality the ISP will be able to limit your access to websites. Websites that are already limiting your access to the content upon them. That sounds like another level of bullshit to me.

All I’m hearing are a lot of people complaining that they might have to pay more for their entertainment. Well, they never paid me much for mine, so I’m not particularly dismayed that they’re now screwed by The Man. You welcomed The Man into this box and you let him survive. You could have left him behind in the terrestrial world with antennae and television tubes, but you brought him into the Internet. You let him load us up with shows and incorporate all of his records and paper pileup into our circuits. You let him destroy the organic artistic freedom that once was and now you’re upset that he’s charging admission. Potentially a steep admission!

It seems there is a fear that with the repealing of Net Neutrality we may lose some people from the Internet. But if you ask old Internet Superstars like me, well, we’ve been waiting for the mass populace to get the fuck off of the Internet since 2004. It’s been a shithole since and it’ll be a shithole with or without the Neutrality. You’ve got nothing to worry about Almighty Consumer, because they need your money. They don’t need my art.

It’s funny how much you realize you can live without something once you’ve had everything that it can offer. At times like these people like me are aching to get back to our flip phones and 5 AM newspaper deliveries. I would not have ever wanted to live my life without the Internet, but now that it has become all that it is, I think I could do without it.

The Artist D, December 2017

The Artist D, December 2017

For 15 Minutes

You have a new Follower. Someone would like to request to be your Friend. He has 137k Followers. She has 2,145 Friends and an empty photo album.

A longtime peeve of mine is the lack of people whom I would like to call Enjoyers. At one time they may have been labeled consumers, but that is no longer the case. Enjoyers are viewers and are happy with their lot in life. There does not seem to be a lot of Enjoyers out there anymore.

I get a lot of Friends requests on Facebook. I have several Follow requests on Twitter each day. I will approve anyone as long as they appear to be a valid Noun. That is a person, place, or thing actually existing for a reason. That is not a Spam Bot named Jessica Rabbit with nothing but phishing click bait on her feed.

But it’s such a disappointment that the majority, almost 98% of the requests, come from people who are Doers. A Doer is the opposite of an Enjoyer. A Doer wants to do things, get places, and be Famous. They think they have something to say. They are a Creator. They are a Maker. The last thing they do is Enjoy.

The Doers have thousands of followers. They post, they Tweet, and they reTweet in the name of networking. They have usually added me as they needed another number to add to their audience. They hope I will be another audience member or even better, a consumer!

I am a Doer to a certain extent. My Doer vs. Enjoyer ratios are probably different than other people’s. I do not Do for the soul purpose of Doing. I do not create to sell, but I do create with the hope of amusing the Enjoyers. I do want Followers and Friends, but I long for more Enjoyers than network hungry Doers.

Yet I do not see a lot of Enjoyers out there. When a Friend or Follower request comes in they are from fellow Doers. How I wish that I would click through to find Mary Jane, a small town housewife who thoroughly enjoys my writing. Mary Jane likes to read. Mary Jane has no ambition to write. Mary Jane doesn’t want to be famous. She just wants to enjoy the creations put out by another human. Mary completely understands that her talent is in the domestic and raising her little boy Johnny is what she wants to do.

In fact, when I reach out to Mary Jane and thank her for her custom she is thrilled to hear from me. She is flattered that I appreciate her being an Enjoyer. That is the end of it. I am a Doer and she is an Enjoyer. We appreciate each other and continue on.

Reaching out to most people in the 21st Century usually reveals that the Enjoyer is also a Doer. You thank Mary Jane for reading and her response reveals that she actually has a side business. Mary Jane makes homemade candles in her kitchen. Here is Mary’s business card, website, Twitter feed, and Yahoo! Storefront. Mary asks that you please buy her products and Tweet them out to your “many Followers.” And by the way, is there any possibility of Mary getting some free advertisement on your artistic blogging website?

My frustration is not that you Do something, but the fact that it makes you less of a real person. When I arrived to the Internet in 1997 we were all artists and creators, but we were real people. Almost everyone online back then were Doers, but we also had a high quotient of Enjoyer. I wanted to come over to your house and you wanted me to. We wanted to hang out and not always talk about networking or becoming rich and famous. We shared struggles, stories, bottles of booze, and sometimes had a quick passing lust affair.

Today it seems that the 15 Minutes of fame has turned into an angry beast. I reach out to you, the Doer with 23k Followers, and you don’t get my message because you are too busy Doing. You are no longer yourself, but you have become what you Do. This is what makes me wish for more Enjoyers. Because the Doers have been consumed and no longer stop to say, “Hello.”

I was having a conversation with my phlebotomist the other day. She asked me what I Do and I told her all about it. I saw the photo of her three children on her work station and asked about her family. She told me a bit about them, but then said that she was a Mother. She said that was her lot in life. She is here to raise her children to be good people. She didn’t ask me to Follow her on Twitter. She didn’t ask me to buy her homemade candles. She has a talent. Everyone does! But she isn’t selling or networking it. She just does it. She wants to be the best mom. She wants to guide her children to be best people. There was no sales pitch. We were actually two people just talking, like friends.

Everyone does have a talent and everyone can Do. The problem is that is now all they Do. The 15 Minutes have consumed the majority. Everyone has an Etsy store and a Vistaprint Business Card. Everyone is so busy marketing themselves. I just want to talk to you. I do want to entertain you, but for heaven’s sake can’t we just talk?

The plight of the business owner is that they are working 24/7. That has always been the plight of the business owner. And today’s flavor makes everyone a business owner of their own Doer brand. It has consumed them. Which is ironic that the consumer consumes and the Doer has now been tricked into consuming themselves.

The Artist D, October 2016

The Artist D, October 2016

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 …

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The Artist D, September 2016

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