The Sunday Paper

I read it with my iPhone.

No, I don’t read it ON my iPhone, (oh wait, that’s not true, I do, the night before, when I can’t wait for tomorrow’s news), but with my handheld wireless device by my side, in my pocket, ready to look up anybody who says something provocative or intimate…I want to know them.

Kind of like that guy who was flummoxed when his anonymous dating profile was sussed out by a prospective date. There is no such thing as anonymity anymore. Unless you have neither computer nor smartphone, nor tablet too, almost forgot that one. You’re leaving digital cookies not only for corporations, but sleuthers. If someone is interested in you, and most people are not, they can dig down and find out who you are.

That’s right. As you’re trying to get famous, e-mailing people you don’t know to try and get them to write about your music so others will follow you, the girl you’ve ignored next door, the geeky boy who can never seem to get the words out…they’ve assembled a full dossier on you, they know where you went to college, what you’ve eaten for lunch… That’s what Twitter and Facebook are best for, your secret admirers.

But the Internet is also good for curiosity. Not only what happened to those high school colleagues, but what is the history of the writer, what do they look like.

I just started reading Rachel Kushner’s “Flamethrowers.” There are so many good insights. Unfortunately, what’s in between them is difficult to read. But books are just like records, hipsters don’t want to admit they like the mainstream, they’ve got to trumpet what most people can’t digest, what they won’t put enough time into, so the arbiters can feel superior. But what fascinated me most was who this Rachel Kushner was. The pic in the book (yes, a friend sent me a hard copy as a gift, thank you Daniel!) seemed at odds with the story. I Googled, I checked the images, I wanted to know more.

You think you want to become famous.

But what you’re truly looking for is to become known. That’s why you post. Sure, sometimes you want to demonstrate that you’re better than the rest, but usually you just want to share.

And the truth is you are. You’re building a cobweb of information that lies dormant until someone, a person you may have never had contact with, becomes intrigued.

Kind of like me and Sarah L. Courteau, author of this week’s Modern Love column. Her boyfriend said she hogged the bed, was she a large woman?

Oh, it doesn’t really matter, thin, fat or otherwise. It’s just I wanted to flesh out the details of the story. I wanted more. That’s what the Internet provides, more.

We used to think a little was enough. But the truth is humans are voracious animals. If we become intrigued, we become insatiable.

And everyone is a star. Just like Sly Stone sang.

Those people up on stage may have throngs of fans, but they’re oftentimes lonely, and there’s a limit to how many people you can screw and have a conversation with and…

The truth is very few deserve and command this attention. In a world where everything’s available, we gravitate to excellence. It’s why there’s one Google and one Amazon and only one Taylor Swift and one Justin Timberlake. We don’t need another Taylor Swift, certainly not a local one, when the internationally famous one is all over the Internet for us to size up and listen to.

So instead of being frustrated that you’re not world famous, know that you are part of the fabric of this great nation of ours. And the more you reveal your identity, your truth, the more we become intrigued. We don’t want to listen to you implore us to buy your album, we don’t want to be sold something, we just want to know who you are. Testify about your thoughts and dreams and imperfections and we’ll go down the rabbit hole with you.

Will this deliver monetary rewards?


But if you think money solves your intimacy problems, delivers happiness, then you know no rich people.

I’m not saying it’s good to be poor, to be struggling, to worry about food and shelter. But I am saying if you’ve got the basics covered, we live in an era where it’s very easy to connect.

There are dating sites for those with Asperger’s, those who are fat, those who are Muslim and those who are gay. Used to be you lived in an empty silo, now you live in a vast cornucopia of like-minded people and if haters decry you it makes no difference, usually because there’s little penetration between worlds. That’s what the old music guard can’t get over, that no one is listening to them as they say hit music sucks. The people who enjoy it…are enjoying it.

So you can look up my life, examine my digital cookies, but if you think you truly know me…

But that’s the nature of life. We all believe we know those we don’t, that if we just interacted with someone else our lives would be complete.

And this mashup of old technology and new has so many confused. Stalk someone and reveal this information and your prey will run.

But instead of sitting home alone, watching the tube, now you can surf endlessly, learning about your heart’s desire, so when you encounter them live…

And it’s all about live. In an era where Billy Joel makes no new records but has Brian Johnson comes on stage at Madison Square Garden to sing “You Shook Me All Night Long” it’s all about the experience.

Billy Joel / Brian Johnson “You Shook Me All Night Long”

And my experience is dreaming who these people might be, those who feel it necessary to reveal their truths online, like me.

“An Act of Protection, Even as Things Fell Apart”

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