“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”
Seneca the Younger
I’ve been taking my time over reading Peter Conrad’s Mythomania. It’s a kind of spiritual heir to Roland Barthes’ Mythologies, containing themed essays on our current culture of consumption, narcissism and skewed reality.
I can proudly state that although I’m aware of who the Kardashians are (I don’t live in a bubble), I’ve never seen any of their TV shows and don’t even know what Kim’s voice sounds like – despite, thanks to the internet, having seen most of her body parts. In my mind, she sounds like Rosy Perez; all squeaky, nasal and New York, but doubtless I’m wrong in this assumption.
In any case, I don’t have any intention of finding out.
Conrad’s invocation of Barthes in his description of the Kardashians did, however, have me chuckling into my bowl of Weetabix this morning:
“On another occasion, Kourtney cattily remarks that Kim’s bottom might have become a bit too callipygian – or, to quote Kourtney exactly, she may have too much junk in her trunk. Khloé dismisses the objection […] ‘Her ass makes money, honey.’ Barthes said that myth enabled mute objects to speak, and in these impromptu poems Kim’s backside attains what he called ‘the oral state’.”
It’s a beautiful summation of the vacuity of the reality celebrity, where the doyenne of the cultural form is seen to be talking out of her arse.
Peter Conrad’s 21st Century Mythologies podcasts are available on the BBC Radio 4 website.
“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”
“Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.”
(Vincent Van Gogh)
No, this is not one of those adolescent ‘look at poor suffering me’ posts; I’m not into sharing my innermost turmoil with the world on the interweb. This is about the strange effect that my ‘Secret Santa’ gift is still having on me after nearly two months.
I received a Daily Mood flip thingummy which now sits on my desk in the office, and have become obsessed with making sure that it correctly reflects my attitude toward the day. It’s like social media, having a fitting emoticon that has to be updated, only it’s spilled over into ‘real‘ life.
A colleague took a liking to the thing last week and kept it on her desk for a few days. I found that after a while I needed it back in order to keep track on myself. Worse still, when anyone now asks ‘How are you?’, my eyes immediately turn to my thingummy to make sure that I give the appropriate answer.
It’s funny how small things can become big obsessions. And so I’m thinking of pulling the wire out of it and shredding the pages in order to restore my sanity.
But then, without my mood chart, how will I know how that act makes me feel?