We spend a lot of time talking about imaginary things. I do, you probably do. It’s sort of weird actually. Last week the two biggest conversations online were:
- Was a movie about a particular soldier accurate? Not “were the wars he was sent to just?” Nothing about our culpability as citizens of a society that both glorifies war and at the same time is hampered by our profound inability to adjust to the reality of conflict in the 21st century. The discussion even took an absurd twist into the legitimacy of “snipers” who have been around since the invention of firearms. Next time you go to Boston look for the big wooden platforms ¾ of the way up the masts of the USS Constitution. You know who hung out there during a battle? We settled that argument a long time ago.
- Something about deflating balls for a football game. This topic created near critical heat-overload emergencies at server farms last week. No one seemed to come forward with the thoughts: “Who gives a fuck?” or “maybe they can work that out using their internal process” which are completely reasonable reactions to this non-story. Football is a game. It’s imperatives are completely imaginary, they exist solely in our minds.
Ha hahaha. Sorry. Amused myself there. The imaginary, it turns out, is the most important thing. like ever. Take two more facts into account: The gunmen who killed the satirical newspaper folks in Paris had to pretty much drive by an atheist church to get there and Johnny Depp is worth 350 million dollars.
The atheists say that Allah, the god of Islam, does not exist at all. You’d think this would piss off the terrorists more than the depictions of the prophet Muhammad, right? “Hey assholes, you are wasting your time believing in and willing to kill for a complete fantasy and you and everyone you love are wrong about every fundamental fact about the nature of the universe.” That’s worse than, “Your prophet has a bomb in his hat” or whatever, right? Apparently not.
It’s like the arguments that crop up among Star Trek fans. The Next Generation people will just go off on the Deep Space Nine folks, but never on people who don’t like Star Trek at all. Isn’t that odd?
And Johnny Depp. Let’s think long and hard about him for a second. Do we enjoy his movies? Of course we do. The swishy pirate thing is hysterical. Did he get to date Winona Ryder our late ‘80s movie star crush? Yes he did. Is he worth 350 million dollars, and by worth do I mean is the service he provides to society really as valuable as the companies owned by Stephen Wolfram? No. No it is not, Winona notwithstanding.
This is just some food for thought, but I suggest we calibrate our relationship to the imaginary. It has taken on an outsized role in our lives. I’m as guilty as anyone, I can get into hours-long debates about the Lord of the Rings or the existential suckiness of the Star Wars prequels. And most certainly we here at The Clam find plenty of A-grade satire material in pop culture in general. But it serves us all (and I’m pointing the finger at myself as much as anyone) to remember we have real problems and real issues and real relationships and loves and lives that need at least as much attention as any one of is compelled to put toward rehashing Breaking Bad.
Oh. Wait. It’s “Oscar Season.” Never mind.
Winona Ryder? Really?