Stories All the Way Down

There is an idea called binary opposition that comes out of structuralism.  I don’t know that anybody studies structuralism anymore, but in 2016 after 10 years of social media it seems relevant.  Social media is narrative building on a global scale that has never been seen before.  Humans build narratives constantly and on Facebook or Twitter we can build them together 24×7.  Binary Opposition says that two theoretical opposites are strictly defined and set off against one another.  It is what we see on social media every day in the arguments that go on and on and on.  Every post and argument extends the narrative which sadly is extremely boring and disheartening to most of us.  If one side doesn’t have enough people to tell their side of the narrative it can be easily accounted for and efforts can be ramped up by bots.  An equal measured binary response.  In the digital age there are no lulls in the narrative or no intermissions. At this point I don’t think we are defining what each side of the narrative stands for.  The structure of the narrative is more important than the content.  The structure defines the elements of the narrative itself based on the corridors of human cognition that we can’t even see.  We can’t seem to stop the narrative. The momentum is too great. Maybe someone can tell me how this ends or gets reset?  I am not sure we know.  This is new territory.  Maybe I’m telling myself a narrative and none of this true at all? Maybe, but I don’t think so.  I don’t think it’s turtles all the way down, for humans I think it’s stories all the way down.  Personally I am going to do what I always do when I am clueless about the world or depressed.  Pull out some old world narratives and read them for a few years.  Books.  At least most of those narratives have beginnings middles and ends.

I Went Looking For My Form

I went looking for my form

My individual aspect

Didn’t find it on Facebook

Despite my best intentions

Wasn’t on Twitter

Checked my DM’s and mentions

Wasn’t in the digital ether

In the mist of one and two

Then I dug a little deeper

Almost all the way through

I found it dwindling and neglected

Dusty and asleep

To my overwhelming shock

It was made of meat

Sinew and bone

Blood making my heart beat

It was not of the virtual alone

The narrative had over taken me

The glowing luminous binary song

But the longing did awaken me

Seeking appeasement of the wrong

Shaking the dust from me

I did slowly arise

Taking an account of me

I slowly opened my eyes

Gene G. McLaughlin 2015

Internet Hype Train

Internet hype train

Runs all night

Ignore any pain

Next new thing will get you right

Yelp it at 5 stars

So so good

Cell service is five bars

Instagram posts fast knock on wood!

Don’t stop to think

Engine don’t run on calm

Craft cocktails to drink

Handmade booze balm

Walk past the bathroom mirror

Glance, but don’t slow down

Hey did you hear her?

Next door is the hot place in town

Latest and greatest!

Wait what was that?

Latest and greatest!

Where you at?

Be there next

Leaving here quick

Got to stay in motion

Or I feel a little sick

Wake up tomorrow

Do it again

Don’t feel the sorrow

Ignore the shackles and chain

Gene G. McLaughlin 2015

The Digital World Skinner Box

The digital world Skinner box

Tightly closely in

In moments of clarity we take stock

Of where we are, but have not been

The time Twitters away

Which causes true dialogues decay

There is little left to say

That doesn’t sound like cliché

Step up away from the digital

Step into the physical aspect of today

Gene G. McLaughlin 2014

Emma Bovary’s Facebook Posts

Emma Bovary’s Facebook posts in the modern day

Remain ever misconstrued

Her tweets don’t express the love with which they

Are carefully imbued

That which emerges and disrupts

Might not affirm and renew

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013

Words Like Thunder

Words resonated more

Before they were written down

Crashing like thunder

Confined to only sound

Now they are echoes

Lost and found

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013

The Glorious Web Of Things

As you look at the flickering profiles

Pictures of food, vacations and babies

Status updates of bright proclamations of joyous lives

Full of that which you may lack

Recall there is no physical timeline

Only where you stand in relation to your feet

Only where you are in relation to the real of it

The solid physical aspect of it

The digital world is a not a fabrication

It is a trick of angles presenting only what side

Looks best on the LCD screen

If your phone is not in your hand

Or you have no followers or likes

You still exist in whole

Your timeline intact and uninterrupted

No screen between you

And that which it so inadequately represents

The glorious web of things that preceded it

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013


#140 Characters

140 characters to sum up the day

140 characters to find a new way

140 characters for what I gotta say

140 characters timeline’s slipping away

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013

We Of The Divided Mind

We of the divided mind

Whose digital selves

Diverge from our day to day

Where the blacksmith

Once became

The hammer and tongs

Where the painter

Once became

The ladders and brushes

Where the man

Once became

The actions of his day

We of the divided mind

Whose dual selves

Drift between two worlds

Transverse two identities

Evolving best we can

Seek the moment

Where we become

That thing

We do

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013