Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Facebook: The New Symbolism?

Facebook est un temple où de vivants piliers
Laissent parfois sortir de confuses paroles;
L'homme y passe à travers des forêts de symboles
Qui l'observent avec des regards familiers.

shameless appropriation of Baudelaire's Correspondances

Catching up on my blog reading gaps, I unearthed an awesome piece from danah boyd on social steganography. I think many (if not most), people do this...a lot. I've done it on FB and on the blog. Different communities attach different meanings to different snippets of pop culture. You could throw up a reference and a YouTube video and be directly addressing 1, 2, even 3 of your several discourse communities. If someone is able to consistently decipher the message of a particular discourse "channel" they are welcome into the community. If not, tant pis.

Do you find yourself doing this at all? I personally find it to be a more entertaining and even easier way to channel messages than messing with Privacy settings.....

Dad Loves His Family

I fell upon my favorite duet this week:

I always imagine the story behind it to be heartwrenching. It was written for Betsy Asher, the wife of the album's producer, Peter Asher. They were apparently in the throes of an ugly divorce, and the song was meant to convey Betsy's emotional vulnerability during this time. But you have to remember that JT and JD were also in the throes of ugly breakups . So you essentially have three guys producing a song that had to be like constantly picking at painful emotional scabs. Painfully cathartic, perhaps. But painful nonetheless.

I can only fathom what is going through JD's mind about the "Faithless Love" of Linda Ronstadt as he is singing this song. I think JT's story is even sadder for me. I'd like to think that he saw his music as medicine. He married someone who loved music. But when you have a family, you no longer live in a vacuum (not that you ever did, but families will make that more pronounced). Carly Simon seems to have chosen to sacrifice supernova status, to settle for being a star, and to spend time with her family. She was understandably upset with JT for placing a priority on the work of the music career, as opposed to spending time with the family. She gave him an ultimatum: cut back on the work, or it's over.

I can only imagine what a wrenching decision this was for him! If your experience is that your well-being is wrapped up in a particular flavor of creativity, then any choice you make is going to be painful. His ultimate answer was in the title of the album: Dad Loves His Work. A year later, she got the house and the garden, he got the boys in the band...

I'm just the opposite. While such a decision would be likely just as painful (because I love what I do) I would boot it all to the curb to keep the family, because my experience is that my well-being is wrapped up in the creativity I make, find and foster at home.

Of course, no one wants to make that decision if they can avoid it. As a result, there have been and continue to be sacrifices to afford me the opportunity to fulfill some part of my reason for being. But those sacrifices go both ways...fortunately, technology has allowed me to make those tradeoffs easier to bear and manage. But that is a part of my life that I never get to shut off, and that is an arrangement that I have made.

I respect people that make the conscious choice to compartmentalize their lives. I have made a conscious choice not to be able to compartmentalize mine as much, and during times of major life events, I commit all sorts of breaches of etiquette, and might even come off as downright impolitic at times. But the most important discourse community I belong to knows that they are the most important discourse community. Let the consequences follow....