Hell is Other People's Brands

One thing I've found particularly striking about the general social media cycle during Lockdown is the way it's contracted, like a sphincter. Used to be you'd go weeks without a shit-storm or profane drama - you'd have some absurd, mockery-worthy post or tweet and then we'd go right back to posting shit.


I cannot remember the last day we weren't all at the throat of some poor sod or other for having and sharing farcical opinions. None of it makes sense. We're bullying, through word or deed, expliclty or implictly, dozens of neurodiverse, queer, BAME or BIPOC people on the daily - not even getting into the limitless number of churlish white cis men who cannot open their mouths without absolute garbage spilling out.


We're so angry. Fuck, we're so angry.


And like, fair? The world's hideous right now. Fascism ascending like a false moon, luring out bestials of all kinds. Pseudo-progressive semi-intellectuals with no grounding in their proffessed fields should be the least of our worries, but the Machine of social media expects - nay, demands - that we share and share and share, conflate our cultivated Identities with our actual Selves, curate nonsensical labels that only serve to divide us because someone didn't do the reading and thinks being two things is a logistical impossibility.


Grant Morrison once wrote in Book of Lies that one of the great sins of what we now call Image-Based Culture is that it lulls us into mistaking the scaffold of the building of the Self for the whole structure. The transient, surface-level constructions that serve to provide repairs or support to a vast mansion-house are assumed to be the only constructions - thus the cycle of creating a Personal Brand (usually with diverse elements pilfered, magpie-like, from Actual Brands or Other People's Brands) that represents a handful of facets of the diamond-like Human, and then allowing it to grow unfettered like a tumour until it's overwhelming the person beneath, with barely any space for growth, reflection, etcetera etcetera.


It's worth noting, of course, that the failing of the Personal Brand (which exists, to my mind, in opposition to the Personal Ethos) is that Humans are not ideas, like Coca-Cola is. When the Coca-Cola Company boils itself and its product down, you get this

image one can not only see, with the eye, but taste, smell, hear and even contemplate in the Mind's Eye. Memories suffused with colours suffused with letters suffused with flavour, sound, scent.


You can't do that to a person. I've tried, lads, and it ended really badly for everyone involved.


So why do it to yourself?


"He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man."

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