Thursday, 12 August 2010

Facebook | Music | Cultural self-diagnosis, or, Dr Zuckerberg will see you now

Zuckerberg gets SO MUCH BEAN theze dayz...

Were the British Isles to be, I don’t know, sunk tomorrow (I would say ‘by North Korea,’ but I can’t help suspecting Kim Jong-il actually wants us around these days, purely to prove that his football team isn’t the very worst in the world) all that would remain of me would be my Facebook profile. At least, I assume that’s the case – I can only assume my Facebook profile is controlled/spied upon/vetted the other side of the pond, although to be honest with you, I have absolutely no idea what actually goes on at a Facebook HQ. Beyond the image of a Jewish fellow in flip-flops gangling around bellowing nasally about how he’s ‘redefining notions of privacy’ or something.

Basically, something of my Facebook profile would surely survive. Where all other records of my existence, be they familial, governmental, school or university-based or, indeed, on internet sites relying upon UK hardware, would be lost at sea. As would I myself, me myself, it can be assumed. Which begs the question, what would I then constitute? Who would I then be?

Eschewing for the moment quasi-philosophical notions of one’s internet avatar somehow preserving an existence within modernity far more consistent and comfortable than one has reason to hope for from their actual, pissing-and-shitting-and-sneezing existence etc. etc. etc. – not to mention sidestepping the frankly bizarre phenomenon of Facebook ‘tribute pages,’ dead people’s Facebook profiles that are preserved by their family in order to provide a kind of artificial graveside wall for people to continue to pay their respects to the deceased in texty misspellings and opaque acronyms – there is, I think, both an ever-growing self-defining tracklist and a comparable reading list on everybody’s Facebook profile that is rarely, if ever, thought of as a whole. And it is this, this above all, that I suspect might provide the most interesting basis for the Facebook reconstruction of a human being who no longer exists. The relationship between their reading and their music.

Because people who don’t read and don’t give a shit about music don’t, let’s face it, actually exist at all. In real life or on the internet.

I refer, of course, to the totality of what one has himself linked to, to what one’s friends have linked to on one’s own wall, and to what one has ‘liked’, referred to in statuses etc. etc. over a given time. Far more representative than what the person claims to be in the ‘claims I wish to make about myself’ profile-boxes (for various brilliant ways of dealing with an ‘about meee’ box, have a look at the LRB classified ads). For here is an account that factors in what you like, what you don’t like, what you want people to think you like, what your friends think you like, what your friends want you to like, what your friends wish to show the world that you do in fact like and so on – the whole multi-dimensional kaboodle. Here’s mine, since my little brother’s birthday last year (not that I picked the date because it’s my little brother’s birthday – it’s just where the ‘older posts’ Facebook button took me. What did I tell you, Zuckerberg controls us all…):

Tintin, Edward Lear, New Statesman, some pre-Copenhagen blog about environmentalism (back when environmentalism was cool and stuff), Eurovision, Stewart Lee, Adebishi Shank, Jonsi Boy Lilikoi, Lightning Bolt, Bunny Munro, Sir John Mortimer’s Summer’s Lease, Giles Coren’s letter to the Times’ subs, the Antlers, the late Jay Reatard, Bliar’s forthcoming memoir, Brad Neely’s masterpiece-take on the first Harry Potter film, Nancy Banks-Smith’s reviews, American Psycho, Edward Elgar, Ian McEwan being a bellend, China Mieville, Keston Sutherland’s Beckett lectures, To Rococo Rot, Eliot Smith, Nick Cave, Fellini and Germaine Greer having it off, Geoffrey Hill, the Fall, the writers behind the Daily Show, Marina Hyde, Le Grand Meaulnes, …the elegant prose of a homosexual, the National, Slaraffenland, Kraftwerk, La Blogotheque, Black Cab Sessions, Final Fantasy, Tanya Gold being an even bigger bellend, Hans Teeuwen, Stagger Lee, Penny Red, Melanie Philips (hahahahahahahaha), Bret Easton Ellis, Italian hip-hop, Laurie Anderson, Tom Jones feat. Janis Joplin (it really happened), the writers behind EastEnders, INXS, Salman Rushdie, Les Savy Fav, Mark Mordue, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Jeremy Clarkson As Author and Goebbels.

Three readings of my Facebook self:

I am a Belgian-colonialist Zionist Nazi-sympathising anti-Islamic Deutchophile who likes ultra-violent novels and unjustified swearing.

(Tintin+Melanie Philips+Goebbels/the sinisterly-titled Black Cab Sessions/Italian hip-hop+Hans Teeuwen/Bliar/Clarkson+Krafwerk/To Rococo Rot/Nick Cave+Easton Ellis+Giles Coren)

I am a silly middle-class pinko-commy Francophile Guardian-reader with a penchant for avante-garde nonsense, made-up words and bum sex.

(New Statesman/Copenhagen blog/Stewart Lee+Le Grand Meaulnes/La Blogotheque+Marina Hyde/Tanya Gold/Nancy Banks-Smith+Laurie Anderson/Keston Sutherland+ Adebishi Shank/Jonsi Boy Lilikoi+…the elegant prose of a homosexual)

I am the worst kind of student pseud.

(All of the above)

Sam Kinchin-Smith
Music Editor

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