The Only Call to Action you Will Ever Need

There are more reasons than ever to think out loud in print

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

Hello and welcome to the weird transition phase between some unsustainable capitalist meat grinder and something we’re still figuring out.

Is it time to fire greed yet?

Privileged people are experiencing cabin fever so they’re having extra opinions on the internet about everything, including delivery people failing them. Because capitalism dictates privileged people should never have to go collect a package when they paid extra to outsource their risks of contracting COVID-19.

Thanks to our staunch capitalistic and individualistic values, you can have your every indulgence delivered to your doorstep without any concern for those who make it possible, like the warehouse employees who pack and ship your order, the various delivery folks who transfer it from one vehicle to the other and scan it along the way, and of course the harried driver on hourly wage tasked with bringing you your order of non-essential supplies.

Because privileged people haven’t set foot in stores for weeks. That’s a job for folks in uniforms and on hourly wage staffing places where physical distancing is difficult.

To add insult to injury, overwhelmed delivery folks get stiffed on tips because no contact. How about a couple of dollar bills in an envelope taped to the door with a thank you and a smiley? If you can afford to order stuff and pay extra for courier delivery, a tip might just restore someone else’s faith in humanity when they’re having a very, very, very hard time.

No one should have to choose between their family’s health and their livelihood and this is what the working poor do every single day while the privileged browse the internet and self-soothe with retail therapy then complain loudly on social media about delivery people.

Outrage gives them something to do, regardless of how helpful, constructive, or supportive spewing may be. Outrage is a solid business model and it pays handsomely, especially if you ride the coat tails of someone in the public eye, or a corporate. Trump it up, why don’t you?

Hello and welcome to the weird transition phase between some unsustainable capitalist meat grinder and something we’re still figuring out.

Is it time to fire greed yet?

Many of us are now desperate to keep ourselves housed and fed but our struggles aren’t equal. The precariat’s most privileged work online, toiling in the trenches of the attention wars, mechanical turks pushing out words that mean nothing to an audience always clamoring for more outrage. And this is why it often feels like the transition phase may not succeed.

Despite the pandemic, despite the lockdown, despite the financial carnage, we remain very set in our ways, wrapped up in airtight layers of privilege, and cruel to a fault. As a prevalent attitude, greed continues to garner plaudits, praise, and traction while articulate and thoughtful pleas for fellow feeling go unheard. Although the world has changed, not everyone has changed with it, or even considered the urgent need to level up and embrace compassion.

This internet, as it currently stands, makes it difficult. Platforms keep passing up the opportunity to be a beacon of common sense, decency, and solidarity in a rapidly evolving world.

Instead, they’re encouraging profiteering, buttressing a cottage industry of parasites who will teach anyone how to hack them against a fee or a monthly subscription. Your dream of success is only ever a click away and all you really have to do is keep showing up, they say. But what are we even showing up for? To think through this pain? To find solutions through creativity? To offer a different way of looking at the world?

None of the above. If possibility is indeed omnipresent, not everyone sees it because it demands the willingness to do something we’ve never done before and think beyond what is. The year is 2020, italics are required for emphasis, the English language has been Trumped into oblivion.

People say and do and write the most unbelievable things for money. It’s never uplifting, it’s never hopeful, it’s never even remotely kind. There is no love for anything or anyone, least of all words. They died when Alex Jones announced honesty was his superpower and we all nodded.

Because he kicked the zeitgeist in the teeth, exposing the time-honored formula of all con artists everywhere: “Trust me, I’m honest.” This has been Trump’s argument from the start, too, positing everyone other than him is fake news, starting with journalism.

Hello and welcome to the weird transition phase between some unsustainable capitalist meat grinder and something we’re still figuring out.

Is it time to fire greed yet?

It was ugly before and it’s all gotten even uglier but it doesn’t have to be if you find the courage to work for change and use words as an investment into a more tolerant and tolerable future that turns the internet back into the modern day agora it was designed to be. This isn’t about being right or wrong but engaging in a modicum of intellectual labor alongside people who do not think or feel like you.

In an anti-intellectualist climate like America, this represents dissent, resistance, and sedition but then again what’s writing but thinking out loud in print? Do you really want to read another piece about what inanimate object the intern at the clickbait farm thought it’d be fun to have sex with? There are dedicated sites for this and they cater to the proclivities of an open-minded audience without turning anyone into a freak show. It starts with self-acceptance, self-compassion, and self-respect.

But only when you allow it and make the conscious choice to embrace the internet as more than a utility, an ATM, a stage; few of us seem to think about the part the platforms we patronize play in a constantly connected society.

What impact do your words have? How does writing them make you feel? Based on that, how do you expect they’ll be received by others? Are they a vector for darkness or for enlightenment? Are they designed to give anyone pause for thought or just rile them up? Are you simply pushing emotional buttons to hit the viral jackpot? If so, what is the cost to society? Who and what pays you?

Anyone can type on the internet but words that illuminate what purpose, function, and direction society could take instead are hard to think and harder to write. They require the intent of inquiry and an ongoing commitment, too, as you seldom reach an immediate conclusion in one piece.

At best, you provide perspective, perhaps a clue. And yet, you’re somehow moving thinking forward, word by word, even if it there’s little to no echo for now. Again, writing is an investment that leads to greater mental, moral, and intellectual fluency. Those assets yield regular dividends at individual and collective level.

If the above resonates, the only call to action you will ever need is a gentle nudge toward reason: So what should we think about today?

If we want a different future, the words we write need to be different, too.

I’m a French-American writer, journalist, and editor now based in the Netherlands. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.

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