I saw a lady with down's syndrome on the bus today. She was probably around my age, but she dressed like an old lady. There she sat, silently and dignified. I felt a rush of warmth in my chest. I couldn't help but smile. I looked away and wondered why this feeling felt so familiar. I realized it's the very same feeling I have when I see a very cute dog. Suddenly I felt like shit.
The TV aims at us, with streams of images only separated by our blinking, like eye-gulps... Watching is water-boarding that no shades can stop. But ofcourse there are intermissions, like when the policeman grabs the steering wheel of his Hummer because he's just received a clue - and then - we're carried off to being blasted with adds appealing to us to please get behind the wheel you too if you have a clue, your drives drive the economy, buy this be happy we have money for you just buy the money and it's fresh it's new it's you
The black TV screen is warm still and before its plastic will pop as it adjusts to the room temperature, you sigh that "Whatever Floats Your Boat"-sigh. And you want to leave it at that. But there's another sigh, deeper and with clenched lips. Because now the first sigh can't be anything but a surrender cross-dressing as recognition! This damn economic boat is Titanic! you whack the coffee-table. And its supposed buoyancy is derived only from the number of airheads with decent cabins!
In 2000, Salman Rushdie penned his excellent "Fury," a book which is a depiction of the times, the prosperous times, just before 9/11 and Al Quada; before new wars, and bank busts and reports of climate change. This was written before social media like Myspace, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram existed. Yet, reading this passage from it, and with all the dolls on Instagram and their vast popularity in mind, it seems more fitting than ever.
"In its origin, the doll was not a thing in itself but a representation. Long before the earliest rag dolls and golliwogs, human beings had made dolls as portraits of particular children and adults, too. It was always a mistake to let others possess the doll of yourself; who owned the doll owned a crucial piece of you. The extreme expression of this idea was of course the voodoo doll, the doll you could stick pins in to hurt the one it represented, the doll whose neck you could wring to kill a living being, at a distance, as effectively as a Muslim cook deals with a chicken. Then came mass production, and the link between man and doll was broken; dolls became themselves and clones of themselves. They became reproductions, assembly-line versions, characterless, uniform. In the present day, all that was changing again. --- now living women wanted to be doll-like, to cross the frontier and look like toys. Now the doll was the original, the women the representation. These living dolls, these stringless marionettes, were not just "dolled up" on the outside. Behind their high-style exteriors, beneath that perfectly lucent skin, they were so stuffed full of behavioural chips, so thoroughly programmed for action, so perfectly groomed and wardrobed, that there was no room left in them for messy humanity." - Salman Rushdie