I’ve been taking a little break from Twitter lately, which has been very nice. So far it’s been going on for about a week and a half. It was difficult at first because I kept feeling like I wanted to check what was going on, instinctively, every moment I was bored. When you expect the responses to something you’ve posted, it is much harder to look away.
After about a day or two I started to forget whatever it was that was going on when I was on Twitter last, and with that the reflex urge to check it was gone. Whatever is happening I don’t necessarily need to comment on, I don’t necessarily need to have some kind of provocative in-character take, I don’t need to argue with random people. There is a time and place for that—it was worth it when I was building an audience, but now feels like a lot of unnecessary grind for diminishing returns. I need to work on something bigger.
I can finally hear my own thoughts again without it being drowned out by all the noise. You need to get away from social media to write anything. Otherwise, you don’t know where your thoughts end and the hubbub of everyone else in the big disembodied network assemblage begins. Most of the people in the assemblage are very stupid too. Or perhaps they are just sad, which I suppose I’d consider identical in the Spinozist sense. I am one of those stupid people.
I’ve been getting my news from the “Apple News” app thing on my phone and whatever stuff my wife tells me about. But the mainstream news for normies is so trite and without nuance that it isn’t really worth spending much time thinking about. I think this makes me much happier.
Whenever Sam Kriss writes a blog post I get an email, so I’ve been reading his stuff lately. It’s refreshing to be notified of his stuff rather than the predictable op-eds by fascist-apologist New York Times columnists that the leftoids all love getting spun up about. Anyway, I’m sure that getting away from Twitter has done wonders for Sam too. I wonder what his plan is. I want to see a Kriss Komeback but it won’t happen where he wrote before. I don’t think he should even bother trying to get back into the Verso Blog circuit. He should write a book.
People like Sam Kriss—and Anna Khachiyan and Amber Frost, who, I might add, are also off Twitter—have a lot more to offer than the rest of the leftoid literati because they’re characters. Not that I don’t think they’re dumb (except Amber, who is underrated and the smartest of those I have mentioned), but they know what to say to get ideas in motion through crowds. This is what counts, even though I am confident I am a better writer and that they’ll regret not following me back on social media before I get big, but I digress.
When you’re away from Twitter for just a little bit, the campaigns to cancel people for their respective transgressions—Sam being a pathetic sex pest and Anna and Amber being ableist and whatnot—seem so ridiculous. Pretty much all writers worth talking about (and not worth talking about) have objectively worse stuff to their names. And even the woke lib-feminist writers the woke lib-feminist police people want you to read turn out to be wildly anti-Semitic or something.
(Before Sam got cancelled he sorta held true to the woke-police line, which is particularly apparent in his incoherent critique of Zizek over the refugee issue in “The Non-existence of Norway” piece and subsequent back-and-forth. Now he comes back to grovel at the disgusting feet of the mad Slovenian master—as he should, because he is a Zizekian, he was a Zizekian all along. I am not sure what I am.)
When I was on Twitter last I remember Crane/James Callahan talking a bunch about the Brechtian maxim: “Don’t start from the good old things but the bad new ones.” I think about this a lot. Let the new things be bad, and we can put well-intended-but-intellectually-uncurious types (academics) to work sorting out how to make those things good while we come up with more bad new things. Brecht was very bad. I am bad! I am nowhere near as bad as Brecht, fortunately. But nonetheless, I invite my own cancellation. Every time I see “cancel” in the context of ostracism for un-woke thoughts, I think of Hegel; I think of spirit coming to know itself by taking the roundabout path through its own negative, by cancelling itself so that it can come to understand what it was all along. Isn’t that the most logical connotation of the word?
I feel like in this time I’ve started thinking a lot more about “literature” and less about “philosophy-qua-politics.” (I won’t call it just “philosophy” because by philosophy I understand it to mean this overarching structure of knowledge that grounds, mediates, brings forth all the other disciplines.) This is something I think Sam Kriss wrote about too, and something I think I made fun of him for. But I have no regrets about that.
I’ve been working on a book. Or a book proposal, rather. But it will be a book, because I’ve already done so much of it that there’s no turning back now. It’s going to be very dope. It will be the culmination of the work I’ve done in the past years, stripped of the academic pretension but keeping all the valuable insights. Dostoevsky didn’t just write in theory jargon. I am not a Dostoevsky but I am at least a Sartre, a chic pseud who liked to imagine suffering while enjoying all the banal pleasures of bourgeois life. I’ve been thinking a lot about the useless philosophy of the existentialists, which is relevant to my book. It’s hard to not want to share everything about it, but it’s gotta be secret. You will see it soon enough.