The New Normal

image from is it canceled yet? Yes, that’s really a website. It’s funny and you should visit.

OR The same normal with added anxiety…

Sigh. Oh, where to begin. 

A lot has happened in two months. It’s been difficult for most people to find footing and just be able to think straight. Or even, in some case, to simply get by.  Trying to think of something uselessly funny or odd in pop culture to write about in the hopes of maybe lightening your mood has been difficult to say the least. The struggle for tone- some level of acknowledgement what we’re all going though, and gently finding a way to chuckle at the anxiety bubbling underneath. 

I’ve also been struggling to avoid anything approaching earnestly saccharine. Because let’s be honest here, my optimism level cap is ridiculously low in the best of times- it’s not going to work any miracles now. 

Everything feels weird. Everything feels awkward. Oh look, another virus task force briefing.  And then, one from every state. Delightful. And now back to Kelly Clarkson. Stay safe- fear everyone and everything!

It’s just not easy to pick up where I originally wanted to go with this thing. That seems more inconsequential and stupid than it usually is. 

Wait- did CNN really just do a stay home segment with GWAR?  

Yeah, sorry. Where was I? 

Welcome to April 2020. We’re doomed. Again. Good to get that out of the way.

One of the most painfully obvious things I’m seeing in this situation is actually a new strain of something that’s brewing for years: 

Maybe, just maybe, that is a thing you shouldn’t broadcast. For reasons.

I get it. You’re staying home. Maybe you’re by yourself. Or maybe you’re spending way too much time with people you say you loved at the beginning of this. You need something. And you just can’t help yourself. You’re trying. I understand. I really do. 

But still- with the entire catalog of, well, everything that has ever existed on demand (except, of course, everything that went up in the UMG fire, the original Let It Be documentary, the first cut of Star Wars, legit ports of all the Earthbound/ Mother games…), you feel this is your moment. To contemplate. To express. To create. 

And that’s ok. Even sharing, to a point, is fine. But, is it possible we could maybe dial some of this down a bit? 

Edit, maybe? Hmm, no…

Curate! That’s the right buzzword. Your pent-up quarantine enthusiasm simply needs a little focus. Curation. 

According to at least one of my rotating Twitter account bios, I’ve been watching things professionally for years. I think I may be able to assist in getting you- in getting all of all us- the content we so desperately need in these times of plague. 

Some brief examples to help in the collective brainstorming.

No, really- what do you think about the virus?

I know you’re going to find this shocking, but it would seem that everyone has an opinion on COVID. And they just can’t hold back their enthusiasm to tell you about it. It’s what every crisis truly needs- more unqualified punditry from all corners. It’s human nature. Your inner Cliff Clavin demands it. Even if you have no idea what that means.

Look, I’m sure you’ve spent a whole twenty seconds stretching out your virus hot take and you feel good about how it sounds in your head. Likewise, the horribly researched 5G conspiracy pulled from Bible scripture, the wiki on the 1918 flu outbreak, and your dad’s ‘solid’ theory how the internet really works is equally as irrelevant as the most pointless knee-jerk analysis 24/7 cable news has to offer. 

Congratulations. Well done. You are not helping, though.

You want to give a hot take?  What is your experience? How do you feel? What’s the thing you’re most worried about right now?  Try that. That’s compelling. It’s honest. Most importantly, It’s real.

Everything else is you babbling to keep yourself talking in a moment of crisis. And lots of people are already out there doing that. Be different.

Celebrity sing-alongs

To paraphrase most talent show judges, the problem with the celebrity sing-alongs is not in the intent, but in the song choices. I could go on at length about exactly how wrong any celebrity cover of Imagine is. But that song, by those people, at that moment was perhaps a bit misguided.  

And while you would think it should go without saying- the only state anyone should ever cover an Oasis song is in complete intoxication. No one should ever make that choice sober.

Otherwise- they’re not terribly offensive and, like the virus, can be avoided if the proper precautions are taken. And as long as Bob Geldof stays well away from it-as we all agreed to in 1987. 

Amateur Virus Progress statistics. 

Don’t armchair moneyball the impending Apocalypse. Stats ruined sports, and now there aren’t any. Look what you’ve all done to Around the Horn. Leave well enough alone.

You. Streaming your instrument rehearsals.

That’s good. Something productive. Learning an instrument is great- gets you closer to the art you like. Maybe you can get to the point you feel like you can share what you’ve been able to learn and do. Feedback can be good to learn from. 

But-not to discourage you- you may want to share that with a small group of people you know and trust before you broadcast out to the world at large. You’ve seen Twitter, you know the internet tears everything apart. Its constantly hungry for things to shoot down, justified or not. 

Also, you came here. And you thought that Oasis dig was funny, too. But don’t let that be you.

Conversely, just a suggestion-you don’t have to be content. You don’t have to entertain anyone if you don’t want to. You don’t have to make a cooking video, or stream how horrible you are at Tetris. You can just binge Life On Mars again, or just try getting better at Tetris without anyone looking. 

Not sharing with everyone is an equally valid response. And, as a bonus of not broadcasting, you can lie about how good you are at Tetris. And, so long you’re not asked to pack the vacation vehicle or enter a Twitch tournament, no one has to know.

As far as content you can watch / listen/ interact with that does not involve your own personal embarrassment, I’m sure we’re all have some ideas. I’ll try to get back to sticking a few ideas around here shortly.

Look, you’ve been practicing staying home and watching TV for years. Why stop now?