Murmurings of the less blessed

By Louis Eksteen

Real feelings seldom find traction on the anti-social media landscape of today. Either everything’s absolutely fabulous (“I’m sooo blessed”), or so horrifically terrible the world’s going to end. No “I’m just sommer feeling slightly blue today because I stubbed my toe a little bit and it made me remember that one fabulous holiday in Durbs when I was young and innocent”.

None of that. Just “Pizza Day! So blessed.”

Don’t get me wrong. I shouldn’t be pointing fingers. I’m as fake-ish as the next person on social. Who doesn’t want to be blessed?

Instafame is my current favourite five-star pet-love-hate social frenemy of the moment. But man, the FOMO’s gonna kill me yet.

Luckily the tone of aspiration in the fabulous Lightroom preset bought pastel hue square world of zoomable fantasy permits less anger and more being blessed. Life through those rose-colored sunnies has never looked #amazinger.

What worries me, a bit, with a tinge of self-induced guilt, is that no one seems to care that Instagram is in essence bought personality. But as we all know, personality goes a long way #pulpfiction #writtenanddirectedbyquentintarantino.

What I truly love most about The Gram is the caption culture. You know, Googled quotes that preferably have zero to do with your Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious beach / wine glass / mountain / music festival / travel / food or friend group tagged-to-death, auto-edited, corrected and retouched, posted reflections in the looking glass of your ideal self.

Just some random copied and pasted thing you think will attract the most heart-click likes for self-actualisation of the lowest order. Where’s Maslow when we really need a rest on his couch?

My best one is “Weekend don’t leave me”, pasted below a cold-looking Pizza Day feast and shared on a random Tuesday morning at work. Oh, the irony of a #real #life #missing #in #action.

Sameness is another trend. If a fake influencer wears a throwback 80s skateboard culture Thrasher magazine T, in minutes it’s all over Instafame like a rash of megapop proportions #Coachella. You’re allowed to be different, as long as you’re the same.

It’s as if there is a deep desire to project a personal image of individuality, but with enough colour corrected charm to still shine through as “one of us”. Kinda like that tattoo parlour slogan “Let’s be different together”. Have you ever? #imeanreally.

It’s during these Blue Lou times of my self-evident social anxiety, currently brought on by my Instagram angst, that I’m super glad for always being able to turn to His Bobness for a dose of #truepoetry.

And you can caption that, my friend. Caption that.

“An’ though the rules of the road have been lodged

It’s only people’s games that you got to dodge

And it’s alright, Ma, I can make it

Advertising signs they con

You into thinking you’re the one

That can do what’s never been done

That can win what’s never been won

Meantime life outside goes on

All around you

You lose yourself, you reappear

You suddenly find you got nothing to fear

Alone you stand with nobody near

When a trembling distant voice, unclear

Startles your sleeping ears to hear

That somebody thinks they really found you”

Bob Dylan, Bringing It All Back Home, It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) (1965)