After recently completing my (partially) ‘live’ digital novel – The Seven Seals, and with some controversial elements and activities that were all about saying absolutely anything (especially on social media). That wasn’t to say that I agreed with everything I had posted (despite elements of truth being important for the series) but rather the failings of social media networks to single out hate on their platforms.
As a writer who is officially banned from Twitter (trust me it will be cooler than being on there at some point) due to my last series and the extreme posting that was involved. I did this during ‘live’ digital performance art pieces where I would be tweeting @ a range of people, replying to important accounts and otherwise ‘screaming into the void’ that is social media.
This was something I wanted to explore for some time, ever since my “I Wear White” project resulted in receiving a mental health assessment (I passed – yay me!). You can see that finished project here. Oh, and it’s supposed to be a bit loopy.
Now as someone that has been subject to questioning regarding my art and writing, and my performance work on social media, I feel equipped to discuss this issue of saying what you want, when you want – especially in the context of Covid-19 (Coronavirus – or as it is called in my digital work The Seven Seals – “the Coronation Virus”) and more broadly on social media.
We have seen the United States of America falling over itself with conspiracy theories and false cures for Covid-19 but the most bizarre phenomenon is the virus deniers. For those unaware, these are people who simply believe the virus does not exist. It’s made up.
So let’s be logical. Every nation on Earth has conspired to (excuse my language) “fck themselves in the arse” as they say. Firstly, what would be the point? Secondly, that’s an amazing coverup if it were true! So this obviously fake conspiracy theory is demonstrably wrong – but yet in a liberal democracy, we still tolerate the groups that want to cling to that false belief. A delusional belief.
We generally accept someone else’s ‘opinion’ as their own, so at what point do we say “no, that’s wrong” or even censor individuals and groups? For instance, if I go to the train station and start to talk to random strangers about my underpants, then it would most likely cause some concern. So is it about context as well as facts when it comes to creating a line in the sand between acceptable and unacceptable communication?
Americans have made themselves particularly vulnerable because of the foundation stones on which the nation was built – The Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. So how can a document that was the source of so much genuine freedom become the seeds of its destruction?
All men are created equal
That famous statement does not stand up to logic. It is a nonsense statement when you line it up next to reality. Think about 5 people you know – are any of them exactly equal in any way? Did they all have equal childhoods? Equal access to suitable housing? All of their parents earning the same wage?
Of course not.
Then there is the ticking time bomb of American Democracy:
Freedom of Speech
I am pro-freedom of informed speech. This means in some discussions there are people who are better informed about certain subjects. For example, your doctor can give you better health advice than your barman. Also as someone who has sat down with law enforcement to answer questions regarding my own art, writing, and conceptual digital works (see here), I understand that there are clear boundaries of what is acceptable and unacceptable both in real life and the digital realm. Meanwhile, in the United States of America, you are generally free to express any and all ideas (no matter how based in reality they are) under the protection of freedom of speech (unless it’s anti-American?).
America itself is an experiment in saying and doing what you feel – damn the consequences. This isn’t the America of principles and enlightenment. This is an America that is winning at all costs, but the coronavirus hasn’t listened to the rhetoric regarding the exceptionalism of the United States of America. Make America Great Again. Unless this is America telling us all it will win that grim race to the top of the coronavirus death toll as well.
For heaven’s sake, they have a president who epitomises everything the rest of the world sees as “American”, but Americans themselves cannot see – he is obnoxious, wealth-obsessed, loud, and easily swayed by popular culture. Trump is, for all intents and purposes, a product of that culture of outspokenness. A television president for the people of the screen. A man unafraid to “grab them by the pussy”.
It really doesn’t matter if he is loved or hated, as long as he keeps saying whatever he thinks (or in many cases tweeting) the media cycle will continue to promote the idea of “Trumpism”. A Utopian fantasy where everyone can just do whatever it is they want, and damn everyone else. A reality where truth is moulded into whatever you wish it to be.
It’s that or it could be just a product of demon sperm and alien DNA…
Please America, you need to calm down.