Tater tots. Tot tot tot de tot. One time I made an entire podcast episode about potatoes… I think I talked for an hour about potatoes, rank-ordering them from least favorite to favorite. Tater tots weren’t high on the list. I would always eat tater tots if somebody was like “hey, have some tater tots,” but I don’t seek them out. I mean, there are just so many better forms of potato.
I am up to be persuaded, though. I remember putting scalloped potatoes on the bottom of the list. I think I remember saying it’s almost impossible to fuck up a potato, but apparently the person who was trying to make scalloped potatoes tried. I was wrong. I was very wrong. I had simply not encountered the right batch of scalloped potatoes. When I did, I LOST MY FUCKING MIND. Immediately, I conceded that scalloped potatoes were now number one and I would become slave to the maker of said scalloped potatoes for eternity. I still don’t know who made those scalloped potatoes, but if you need anything done around the house, I’m happy to help.
I need to get back into doing my podcast… If you have iTunes, feel free to check out “The Treason Show.” I put a lot of work into the first ten episodes, but I became too busy with work and other commitments, so I wasn’t able to put the time into it anymore. So, I just stopped doing it completely. I have the time to do a podcast, I just don’t have the time to do the podcast I envisioned. I try to talk about difficult things on the show, and it takes a lot of research and preparation to roll something out that’s interesting and funny for an hour.
I’m thinking I should maybe continue the podcast, and let it be more casual. Ooh, I think that could work. One of the main reasons I started the podcast in the first place was to work out ideas so I could better understand and articulate them. Speaking out loud and knowing there’s an audience provides a unique challenge for the brain and is a great skill to develop. Sure, I’ll occasionally lay in my bed at night and worry about all of the stupid stuff I’ve said, but I think it’s worth it.
It’s a weird risk, putting out your thoughts into the digital world, because they stick. They’re just there. The words don’t disappear with the breeze like they would in the real world. Anyone can play the recording at any time they want, as many times as they want, and listen to those same words. The speaker opens themselves up for constant criticism, judgement, and characterization.
Yesterday I was thinking about the ways someone like Joe Rogan, who has spent thousands and thousands of hours saying things that have been recorded, could be perceived. Someone could take the worst five minutes of all of his recorded content and paint him one way. Someone could take the best five minutes and paint him another. Someone could make him look like a strict Republican. Someone could make him look like a radical Liberal. He has so much content out there, if someone wanted to edit him into something, they could. And the ignorant would believe him. And most of us are ignorant on most things. It’s pretty scary.
There’s a cost to everything in this world, though. If you’re going to put some ideas and some thoughts out there, people are going to look to destroy you for that. Especially if you’re successful. Envy manifests in ugly ways. When envy is mixed with ego and dissent, it gets real gross. People do gnarly things when they think they’re right, they’re better, and they deserve more than someone who is known. BEHOLD THE MONSTER!
Something I’ve come to understand more clearly of late, too, is how most people view the world through an emotional lens. At least primarily. I’m someone who views things hyper-rationally, and I used to wonder why people couldn’t just relax for a minute and think things through; but I understand now that rationality isn’t the basis for most human action.
When I speak rationally to get my words across to people, I am able to connect with people who are already rational. Or at least people who are in a rational mood. It’s difficult for me to connect with people who are heavily driven by emotion over reason. Personally, I’m a painfully unemotional person. I frequently speak in monotone and I’m very unexpressive. It’s not that I don’t feel emotions, more that I don’t express them. That’s the downside of being hyper-rational. I’ve always struggled to connect with people on an emotional level.
I guess that’s one of the reasons I write. It’s easier for me to connect with people emotionally through a story or a poem. My poetry is often quirky and absurd, sometimes grotesque and outlandish, but it’s my way of expressing emotion. A professor once told me that the reason people write funny things is to show off. I understood what he was saying, and agree it can sometimes be the case, but not for me. I didn’t start writing funny things to be funny, I started writing things to write things, and people thought they were funny.
I write the way I do because I have to. If I don’t have an outlet for the absurdity in my head, I become the absurdity. My poetry is an expression of the self. I don’t try to write anything in particular when I write poetry, I just write. What comes out is me. Most people don’t get it, which I like. I take pride in being different. I doubt my poetry will ever resonate deeply with a wide audience, and I’m cool with that. It’s sad for me to watch people sell their individuality in order to retrieve a mass audience.
Just look at any of the popular instagram poets. Their perpetual peddling of propaganda is nothing short of painful. How about that for alliteration? Suck it, Shakespeare. Here, I’ll do the work for you.
Okay, these are all posts by a poet named r.h. Sin. He has 1.5 million Instagram followers.
Oh shit he deleted most of them. Maybe he realized what he was doing. There was a string of aggressively obvious posts that were pandering to an audience. Anyways, here are a few that I still found or wrote down earlier because they made me laugh. And not it a good way.
“You are more than enough and he will never be worth it.”
“He cheated on you because he’s insecure. Stop blaming yourself for his inability to honor and respect the love you gave him. He’s too weak to be committed and you are strong enough (sic) move on.”
“The way he apologizes with no intention of changing his behavior is abuse.”
“It’s not your fault. Sometimes brave women fall in love with cowards.”
Okay, you get the idea. He’s great at marketing. He noticed there’s a large market for heartbroken women on Instagram, and he’s taken full advantage. You gotta give the devil his due. I don’t agree with it morally, but to each his own. I don’t think art is something to be sold, primarily. Art is an expression. There is no expression here. There is only manipulation, where the speaker tells a large audience exactly what they want to hear: “It’s not your fault.” “You are more than enough.” “You are strong.” It’s a classic example of using people’s emotions for your own gain. I think it’s sickening.
And don’t get me wrong, I would love to have 1.5 million followers. You could say there’s a degree of envy within me for that. Every artist would love to make a living through their art. Actually, that’s not true. Every artist would love to be able to make their art without having to make a living. Marketing is an important aspect of becoming a successful artist, but it’s separate from the art. If the marketing sacrifices the art, it’s no longer art. I think art must be created with no audience in mind.
After it’s creation, I have no problem with the artist marketing their work. I do it. Most people do it. If you can create something and get paid for it, that’s a win-win for the audience and the creator. It gives the creator the flexibility to do more creating, and the audience benefits by receiving more content. Which is why I have a Patreon page. It allows people to help me create (by giving me money) without a middle man. I mean, Patreon is still the middle man, but they don’t tell me what I can and can’t write. Though I did hear some people got kicked off for some things they said… I’m not sure what the details of that are, though.
Anyways, if you enjoy my writing and want me to keep writing, consider giving me some money. If you think I suck, please don’t give me money. It’s always awkward asking people directly for money, but I hope I’ve explained it well enough: I love to create, so I post my creations for free, and I hope to gain an audience/money so I can have the time to continue creating.
God I hate marketing. I need a super rich person to just give me like $5,000 a month so I can write a bunch and never have to sell anything. But that’s highly unlikely, so I’m hoping I can get 5,000 people to invest a dollar a month in me. I think it’s more doable. Then again, maybe I blow giant ass and I’m really supposed to be a giant ass blower and not a writer. I hope that’s not the case.
3 thoughts on “Tater Tots, the Cost of Expression, Rationality and Emotion, and Selling Yourself for Money.”
I don’t think art is something to be sold, primarily. Art is an expression… art must be created with no audience in mind.
Spot on Jason.
Thanks Kevin! 🙂
First, let me say I know absolutely nothing about Instagram. But then, please also let me say that I am one of the women who Needed to hear those things. I was being abused and didn’t understand that I was valuable and worthwhile. Sometimes it’s nice to be reaffirmed when you’re in that sort of situation, because it’s so hard to be strong.
I think it’s the intent of the creator, really, that is the deciding factor. But how can we truly know someone’s intentions? So then it comes down to the audience. And there are people who don’t need to hear those things, thank God! But there are also people who do – and to those people, those affirmations can be very important.
So there’s my two cents. 😀
Oh, and I completely agree with you and The Biscuit Factory that art in itself is a medium of expression, and should not be created in order to be sold. I feel like that pollutes the art; it’s not as clear and beautiful with the specific intent to sell.
And so it comes back to intent. Hmmm! Thanks for writing, Jason.