Tuesday, 14 March 2017

On The Edges

Why are there so many love songs?
Why all the flowery poetry, the romanticism, the obsession with the lovey dovey?


It’s because of those few rare experiences that exist on the edges of language.
Those moments when you know that you’ve had an experience, when it feels so fucking real to you, but it seems impossible to describe.


It’s that one look, the one passing glance that sticks in your mind for weeks, rattling around as your brain searches for the right words.
Frustratingly out of reach.


It’s when no simple set of adjectives or similes could ever explain how you felt in that moment.
It wasn’t “passionate.” It wasn’t “intimate” or “longing” or “joyful.” It wasn’t “like a ray of sunshine” or a fucking “breath of fresh air.” She didn’t just look over. She didn’t just smile.


And so our minds struggle, day after day.
Replaying the same moments.
Watching the same memory loop over and over.

Wondering if it really ever happened like you remember, on the edges of language.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Dear Donald Trump

Dear Donald Trump,


The past two months have felt like a terrifying nightmare for a large percentage of Americans, and for citizens of all nations around the world. Many are afraid that their values are not being protected, that their voice is not being heard, or that you might just nuke CNN.


Today, I don’t want to ask you about any of that. I don’t want to discuss policy or the fairness of the media. I have one simple question that I hope you can answer.


Who the hell do you think you are?


Now hang on- I am not trying to offend or insult. Please close twitter, allow me to explain.


For two years now, it seems like no one has been able to shut up about you. Whether they’re painting you as an incompetent idiot or a media-savvy genius, no name is said as loudly or as frequently as “Donald Trump”. There isn’t a single media outlet safe from the flood of reports and speculations about who you are. In the same night, I can flip between echo chambers to hear you described as “A pawn in Putin’s game of chess”, or as “An anti-establishment hero for the American people.” You’re either the worst thing to happen to Western democracy, or the best. On and on, again and again we hear it. Trump the businessman. The puppet. The racist. It seems like the most profitable business in journalism is trying to get inside of your head.


So Donald, I thought I would take this moment to get to the source. To personally ask you, beyond any chance of journalistic dishonesty- Who the hell do you think you are?


I think this is a question you have never really answered. You’ve put on a mask, playing the character of “Donald Trump”, the strongman who crushes and abuses anyone in his path. You’ve insulted your enemies and lavished yourself as the greatest political hero the United States has ever seen. But all of this political theatre is exactly that. It’s theatre. And under all the hatred and the fear tactics, away from the insults and the greed and the narcissism, a real person exists. And I think he’s crying.


Your lifetime quest for power, fame and success has left you just as hollow as before. Not even the Presidency can fill the empty pit inside of you, can’t make you hate yourself any less. So you sit there, arguing about how many people came to see your inauguration or the validity of your popularity polls. Desperate to be loved. Deeply insecure. At the end of the day, behind closed doors and without an audience, the one person who hates Donald Trump the most is you.


From one actor to another, I want to give you some advice. Nobody else can tell you who you are, that is something you need to do for yourself. So please, ask yourself that question. And please do it fucking soon.


Matt

Sunday, 12 February 2017

6 Word Films


Doctor Strange:

Eastern medicine effective, says strange doctor.

Lord of the Rings:

Midgets take down evil jewelry corporation.

Finding Nemo:

Fish learns to stop touching butts.

Fight Club:

Capitalism bullies man into hitting himself.

Harry Potter:

Magical journey through puberty. Dumbledore dies.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

A Life of Variety

Our culture has a tremendous focus on working to achieve a comfortable life. Success (for the majority of people) is a steady position at a well paying job, a nice house, a family, and eventually retirement. When we look to the future, we are expected to have a structured and foolproof plan for how to get there. A pathway to college, a structured career choice, and a firm commitment to stick to this plan. Essentially, how to "win the game of life".

This is a lovely, comforting sentiment, but there is something strange about it. Even the most successful and comfortable people do not seem to be fulfilled. They may have more reason to be happy than any of us, but they report to be just as content as we are. To understand why, we need to understand how humans perceive the world around us.

If you were blindfolded and asked to hold a wooden box, would you be able to tell if I placed a pack of gum on top of it? Could you feel the difference in weight? The obvious answer to this question is, "It depends on the weight of the box". If the box weighed 1 ounce, you would feel the 500% increase when I placed the 5 ounce pack of gum on top. But if the box weighed 10 pounds, you would hardly be able to tell the difference.

This is because human beings do not perceive weight, we perceive changes in weight. It is our minds way of understanding the world around us. The same thing happens when you close your eyes in a car. You can not tell how fast you are going, but you can easily feel when the car speeds up or slows down. This is also why someone can come inside on a hot summer day and feel totally refreshed with room temperature air.

Human beings perceive changes, not absolutes.

So then why is it that we all want to be so damn comfortable? Why do we seek to live in the same house, in the same city, at the same job, with the same people, for the best 50 years of our lives? The reason people can have everything in the world and still not be happy, is that they have become used to it. Luxury becomes the new normal. It is comfortable. In other words, "That which is repeated, day in and day out, becomes invisible."

To me, a happy life is everything that "comfortable" isn't.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Tattoos

Her mom hates her tattoos.

She wears long sleeves to hide them, acting like the person she's supposed to.
Sweating through a long sleeve tee in the middle of July because family is over.
It's just for one day.

Truth is, She doesn't like her tattoos either.
It's funny how much can change in one night,
with one disappointing mistake,
alone in the bathroom
with a razorblade.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

"Why are you going into _____?!" (Drama, Philosophy, Arts, Literature, History)

I am not optimistic about the future of drama. Society's increasing focus on consumption and herd-mentalities has left us with a serious problem. As a culture, we do not know what drama is for. In fact, we do not know what any of the humanities are for. Our society considers anyone who goes to university for philosophy, literature, history, art, or drama to be wasting their potential as future employees. And it's true, unemployment has never been higher for graduates of the humanities. But the truth is they are not unemployed, they are misemployed.
Our economy recognizes the value of the logging industry or the cement trade, but humans are more than just practical creatures who need food, drink, and luxury items. Religion once called it our "souls", the humanities once called it our "psyche", but our society calls it a waste of time and money. This is because nobody knows what problems the humanities could solve.
We still don't know how to make our relationships work, that could be a billion dollar business. We still don't know how to understand what we are feeling, or relate those feelings to others. We still don't know how to have empathy for the millions in this world who need it most. We are very bad at interpreting our emotions and making good choices. A lot of the time we are sad and anxious.
Philosophy is a practical and pragmatic strategy to learn how to think. Novels are guidebooks to understanding human relationships. Drama provides us with cathartic experiences, art teaches us to reframe our perspectives, and history has infinite case studies of political and social scenarios. Simply, they solve problems.
The humanities as we know them will be long dead if our economies do not realize the value they produce. The humanities are not outlets or hobbies, but practical tools to understand the deepest parts of ourselves: The parts our society tells us to hide.
(For more on this topic, see "The School of Life - The Underemployment of Arts Graduates")