That’s Not Writing. That’s Typing.
When a person speaks truth to power, everyone nods in solemn agreement. And by everyone I mean everyone — the solid majority — which means The Power. So when a person speaks truth to power they’re really talking to themselves and the hordes who already agree with them. It may seem rad or ultrahip or def or whatever you call it these days to make some bold statement about the way it is, a courageous challenge to authority, but it’s just another bland statement of agreement with your ultracool brothers and sisters, a bromide, a sugar pill, sure to be popular among your group and earn you lots of claps.
After that one paragraph most of you stopped reading and clicked on to something else. Probably because it bored you or made you angry. Because it was a challenge to your authority. Because I spoke truth to power. Because The Truth is boring as hell. Because you don’t want to be challenged, you want to be entertained. Because you’re a child who wants their candy now, just as you’ve always gotten it, with the click of instant gratification.
If you’re still reading you must be a total masochist. Because I’m really letting you have it. I’m pummeling you with truth — The Truth, not your truth. Everyone needs to speak their own truth, right? Well, your own truth is a total fiction. If your truth differs from someone else’s truth, it can’t be truth, can it. Someone must be wrong. But we no longer believe in The Truth, just like we no longer believe in facts. If anyone dares to correct your facts you cancel them. You’re a baby who can’t stand to be corrected so you block them, as a toddler sticks their fingers in their ears and says “nanner nanner neener neener” to not hear The Truth.
One of these people who speaks truth to power once said to me, “Everyone’s an artist in their own way.” Wow. So profound. I know professional artists who studied hard and work long hours to perfect their craft. They don’t appreciate this kind of all-inclusive remark. So I responded with “I’m a neurosurgeon in my own way.” They laughed because they still believed I was part of their solid majority. They thought that I was one of them, part of the cutting edge. But the only cutting edge a flock of sheep encounters is the shears.
Driving fast on the wrong side of the road with friends doesn’t make you a bold cutting edge risk taker, it makes you a reckless idiot. Getting arrested will get you street cred but it also gets you no job, no livelihood, no trust, no credit. It will make you real popular among those who speak truth to power. But you didn’t go to jail because The Man oppressed you, you went to jail because you made a dumb mistake. You didn’t adhere to The Truth.
If you haven’t stopped reading by now you’ve probably jumped to the comments column to say nasty things to me. You’re speaking truth to power. But I have no power. I’m not part of the cutting-edge mass, not part of the mutual admiration society. I don’t have a following. Because people don’t follow The Truth, they follow what makes them feel good. So if you’re verbally attacking me now in the comments section, you’re attacking a minority, and that’s a hate crime.
You never learn anything new if you don’t get out of your comfort zone, if you never talk to anyone who disagrees with you, if you never listen to anything but your faves. And it’s harder than ever to learn anything new because the algorithms are all designed to steer you back to your faves, where you feel nice and comfy. You still have free will, but it’s been heavily sedated. The anesthesia whispers in your ear, “You are a unique individual with your own truth, you’re an expressive person with a special voice, and you have important things to say.” And you feel great about yourself when everyone nods in solemn agreement to your profound words of wisdom.
So move over Shakespeare, make room Faulkner, because here comes blah blah blah with their special voice, who never shuts up.
That endless dialog streaming through your head urgently needs to be typed in all its unedited glory for your peers to read and nod to. You’re speaking your truth, saying groundbreaking provocative things that everyone agrees with. You’re a rebel.
Maybe you have some great advice about how to be super successful because you’ve saved a few bucks living in mom’s basement. Or maybe you feel like demonstrating your expert marksmanship by shooting fish in a barrel, informing the public how stupid a belief in God is, because you cherrypicked a couple of Bible passages and now you’re a freakin’ scholar. Or perhaps after a year of yoga classes you’ve achieved enlightenment, and you feel it’s your duty to let us all know that the universe is pure consciousness. Yes, please, share your narrative about how what’s-his-face did such-and-such to who-knows-who and how awful or delighted that made you feel. Because it’s not about The Truth, it’s about Your truth, Your feelings, Your one-of-a-kind drivel. And the claps.
Because “Everyone’s a writer in their own way.”