None of this is to say that we don’t use Facebook, as Franzen asserts, to make our lives look more interesting, touting new infants, new jobs, and new books.But it goes both ways. We also confess to watching bad reality television, to eating our weight in potato chips, to trading crops on Farmville when we should be grading papers. We fight in whole paragraphs about politics and religion. We post pictures of our dogs sleeping, of our messy apartments, of our feet. More often than not, there is a complete picture there, a real-time history of living. Facebook has less replaced the real world than it has compressed it, collecting the messy stuff of our existence into photos, links, and status updates. As Alexis Madrigal writes in response to Zadie Smith’s Facebook critique, “While some things can be shaped by the tool itself, by the software, others are burned in by the much longer game of being alive in the world.”
Reading the article linked above, it's striking to me the parallels with our political situation. Between the two major parties, they've shut the door to any alternative parties, or at least made it very hard for them to get in.
In the state where I live, for example, any party who wants to be on the ballot has to jump through a bunch of pretty onerous hoops... unless they've been on the ballot for several elections running. So, of course that means the two major parties are automatically on the ballot, while any other party has to spend extra effort and money meeting the entry requirements. Add in the costs of buying visibility, and challenging incumbents, and it gets worse. Then, if the challenger is also running on a platform challenging corporate power... what we end up with is two major parties who have a large inflow of money and many structural advantages facing smaller parties with minimal inflow and many structural disadvantages that require money to overcome. I trust you can do the math there.
Whatever it is, I'm going to try to pull the blog out of its estivation/hibernation and get back into the habit of writing more regularly.
Right now I'm watching the sky lighten, as I begin a somewhat last-ditch effort to reset my daily body clock. Over the last month or so I've slid so far off schedule I've been going to bed around 4am and waking sometime in the early afternoon. (Thus killing a huge chuck of daylight that could be put to more interesting use.) Attempts to go to bed earlier are a huge failure; I either lack the willpower to head upstairs to bed (D being a nightowl who also stays up does not help) or I go to bed and just lie there for a while, bored but not sleeping.
So, since trying to yank the cycle back isn't working, I'm going to attempt the other approach, and push things forward a day. So, tonight, I did not go to bed at all, but stayed up, cruising the internet. When it gets light, I'm going to take a walk around the neighborhood, then eat something. I will spend the rest of the day battling sleepiness with walks outside in the sunlight, until finally, sometime after it gets dark, I will let myself sleep.
Basically, I'm treating myself by acting as if I have a really bad case of jet lag, which, in truth, I somewhat do.
Hopefully this will work, because I'm fed up with this schedule, and in a couple of weeks I'm going to a conference that has sessions starting at 8am every day. Better to be brutal with myself now, than during the conference.