My recent surge in frivolity requires a proper send-off (temporary, of course!), hence sharing my greatest current fictional infatuation.
I have moods where I act like a complete airhead and my favourite conversation topics are other people. Such moods tend to alternate with more serious, intellectual or melancholy moods, where I prefer to discuss the nature of selfishness, the shortcomings of personality theories and my lack of prospects in life. In my reading habits, I tend to alternate between serious literature (usually classics) and light literature (usually children’s books or adventure novels). In films too, I cannot imagine watching three comedies in a row without having a good dose of drama in between. And the dramas I divide into those that might personally impact me (due to being able to relate) and those that most likely won’t (war films, hero films, stuff like 12 Angry Men). In short, I like varying things up a bit and cannot imagine spending time with only one type of things or indulging only one side of my personality.
There is an embarrassing side to it, however. A side I’d really much rather eradicate but which probably is just another manifestation of my general tendency of liking low culture. Except I can’t say I liked THIS, I just do it.
I read internet comments and internet forums quite often. Sometimes I visit blogs and websites by the kind of people you’d meet in reality TV. I’m sure there are decent people in some reality shows too, but it shouldn’t be hard to deduce the type I have in mind. It’s not something I particularly like doing, but I do it out of habit. It gives my brain a rest, and at one point, I must have done it to keep myself informed about how the average person thinks. I no longer feel like I care, but the old habits die hard. Sometimes I feel grateful my world is so different. Other times I feel alienated and depressed that I must live in a world where mentalities like that predominate.
Mostly though, and this is why I wanted to write about it in the first place, is that it has left its mark on me. One cannot consume anything on a regular basis without it leaving a trace on their thinking and being. My core personality and values are relatively fixed since the dawn of time, but subtle changes can be produced. And these changes are hardly flattering.
I’m far too impressionable and sponge-like and I ought to make that quality work for me and not against me. When I read good literature, I’ve noticed my writing automatically improves and takes on slight style influences from the author I’ve been reading. It’s not deliberate, but it happens. I read Keats and Lucy Maud Montgomery during my first years of university and my writing was really a poor imitation of their work in hindsight, although I never consciously meant to imitate it. And those two I liked. A year ago I read A. S. Byatt and started writing my novel roughly around then, her influence had crept in, even though I didn’t even like this novel of hers and didn’t finish it.
The gist of it is, I shouldn’t consume so much things I don’t like out of sheer apathy because such things breed apathy and mental stagnation. And I may have moods when I want to be emotionally dead, this is why I read such stuff, but I do not like it.
There is a vast difference between consuming high culture and low culture on an emotional and intellectual level for me. When I’m exposed to truly beautiful, engaging, challenging art (in any form) or ideas, it makes my eyes shine and I feel enlivened, inspired. My mind is a lot more alert and I’m brighter. When I indulge my base side, I just feel apathy. I feel like I imagine a stay-at-home-housewife must have felt in the old days. You stop using a part of your brain and all you can think of is new hair curlers and shoes and what your husband is doing. Difference is, I do that to myself. I feel a lot of people are doing it to themselves. Too tired after work for worthwhile things, so you just watch TV series on the internet.
I’m light-hearted by nature sometimes. This I don’t really have a problem with. It alternates nicely enough with serious moods. But the baseness just gives me a bad feeling, like I was constantly lowering myself. What a pompous narcissist, true enough, but I can’t help how I feel. I do feel it degrades.
It’s my single filthy habit. Like other people have smoking or drinking or casual sex, I have dumb internet content. I try to quit it but never quite seem to. Maybe I should make a new year’s resolution the next year. Or get myself a motivational wristband.