Over-Saturation, the Mean of Coltrane and Wire, Vienna Sausages

Over-saturation is deadly. It kills me. Devastates my interest and forces me into depression. Social media is largely a system of netting your interests through your clicks and visits and then ushering all such similar into a corral to constantly feed to you. It wants you to love it for finding you the familiar. The brains behind the robots that serve you this menagerie of shit suppose they’ve tapped into your desires. They think because you like tacos or cars or women or Frank Zappa albums that you’ll be pleased with an endless parade of tacos, cars, women, and Frank Zappa albums. Maybe that works for you, but for me it’s an annoyance because I’m an aficionado. It’s not every possible individual specimen of my favorite things that I want to have contact with. My ex-wife used to like to deliver tomatoes to my plate at restaurants. When I’d get annoyed with her constant redistribution of her dreaded tomatoes she’d gaily sing, “But you like tomatoes!” I do like tomatoes but I don’t need every goddamned tomato available on my plate. Thank you.
How much of a good thing is enough? The old adage of even a steak every day being tiring has often been applied to relationships, where we look at the most beautiful human specimens around us and imagine a partner or spouse somewhere totally fed up with them. The darkly humorous version of this idea taken to the extreme is the old story of Bluebeard who so rapidly tired of the most beautiful wives (it might be said he was hard to please) he offed them in variously complex ways.
Can a machine actually locate your favorite things for you? On Pandora if I put in Wire and Coltrane (punk and free jazz, things I don’t think of as that dissimilar because of the edginess of the playing) the most usual artists that are selected for me are Nico and Johnny Cash. I suppose there’s an idea of a middle ground there someplace but I feel like there’s an unwritten understanding that those artists are the correct hipness for for basically everyone. I would never have imagined that John Densmore, the drummer for the Doors, was such a fan of free jazz, but it’s the case. And so I suppose somewhere in the mix that association could be included. Maybe “Riders on the Storm” could bounce up between my punk rock and wailing saxophone records.
My ex-wife’s mother was a collector of a few special brands of tea pots. She rarely used them for tea but had them strategically displayed around her home. These were generally expensive and fancy things that were hand cast from clay or other materials and artistry was important. One Christmas my ex spent hours on the old Ebay bidding on a particular expensive pot that she knew her mother would flip over. In those days it took vigilance to acquire items on that service, I’m not sure the bidding robots even existed yet. The funny part was that she did get this gift and give it to her mother who enjoyed it very much, but the daughter-in-law who also had the idea to chase the fancy tea pots had bought an entire collection of various pots large and small, however, she had missed a key element of the occupation and that was basically that the old lady really wasn’t interested in vast numbers of tea pots. Of course politeness reigned and everyone was happy, but the expression was clearly gormless.
Facebook is perhaps the best known active culprit for spitting out piles of things that algorithms assume I should be interested in. This is tricky business because, one, I don’t want every tomato in the world because I happen to like some tomatoes, and two, there are difficult nuances within what we love that aren’t easily registered even by clever human minds, as the discussions above entail.
So how do we survive the onslaught of saturation? How do we maintain the zeal of freshness in our romance (with all things)? It is the trick of maintaining the effect of something being a “treat” with the things we love. Keep it a treat. Let’s not over-indulge. It does sound like a diet book but the fact is eating is a fairly good metaphor for many aspects of life. One of the reasons we get fat easily is that having a meal, a special meal, one of favorite items is an easy way to get that satisfied feeling. You don’t need any help or complicity. You go buy the materials, you sit and you stuff yourself on the treats, or you do it at a favorite location. It is genuinely a kind of masturbation. Unfortunately over-indulgence can lead to catastrophic problems. And so we must learn to self-regulate. At least if we care to live longer healthier and more satisfying lives. On the other hand, well . . . it is your choice.
Luckily the world is a big place and we can shift our attentions and loves with capricious whimsy, at least, if we can afford to! Though even on the bottom end of the living economics there are some treats to be had. No doubt about it. Remarque had a character in one of his books state it flatly: don’t refine your tastes too much, you can enjoy more in life that way. I think about this when I pop a can of Vienna sausages.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *