The Tattler |
I admit ignorance as to the history of the open letter; therefore I will speculate that it became a forum to vent one’s opinions only after unsolicited, direct correspondence had gone unrequited. In recent times, however, the first step in the process, an attempt at direct communication with the recipient named in the salutation, has been deemed unnecessary. Much easier it is to pen an open letter to be posted on social media outlets, knowing full well that the person to whom your missive is intended will unlikely engage with the message or in any way be affected by your efforts. Its futility is prodigious. The hubris to write it is ineffable. It’s as pointless as the wings on a flightless bird.
Recent subjects of open letters to embattled public figures or controversial organizations include: Paula Deen, George Zimmerman, Teach for America, teenage girls who post sexy Facebook photos, the mom who wrote an open letter to girls posting sexy Facebook photos, Miley Cyrus, Miley Cyrus by way of Sinead O’Connor, the Supreme Court, the President, Congress, and show runners of successful dramatic television series.
I, as is now custom, would like to address the authors of open letters in my own open letter. In doing so I scream uselessly into the echo chamber of modern life. Behold world, not my achievements or contributions to the betterment of person kind, but these fickle words meant to satisfy nothing but my fragile ego. I am disconnected from my family, nature, the market place of ideas and goods, and sex- so long it has been since I had sex. These deprivations coupled with a robust online footprint give me the confidence needed to generate content equivalent in its contribution to the internet as a molecule of water in all the oceans and seas of planet earth.
Dear Authors of Open Letters,
Don’t write them anymore. Do something else instead. Take a nap or call a friend. Prep a bunch of vegetables to cook for the week or pick up your shoes from in front of the front door. Buy a magazine and read it on your porch with a cup of tea. Just stare out the window for a while. Masturbate. Did I already suggest taking a nap? Your letter won’t change anything. It’s dumb. So is what I’m doing. This especially is dumb. I should be doing something else right now. Like paying some bills or arranging my hat collection. Maybe learning a new song or putting away the cordless drill that I used three weeks ago and is still sitting out cluttering up my tiny apartment. What are we doing with our lives? What the fuck is going on anymore? I’m so bored. Maybe that’s why I’m writing this dumb ass letter to no one. Boredom. The truth is I don’t feel heard. And I don’t feel like I’m doing anything of significance with my time. What am I going to leave behind? A digital record of search behavior and purchasing patterns? Sometimes I create video and things but it’s mostly to keep myself from going goofy. I’m in my head too much. I need better distractions than television and food and booze and watching someone else have sex on my Macbook. “I have a good distraction for you,” says someone far less fortunate than I, “how about hunger or not getting shot.” Ah fuck, that makes me feel even more like an asshole. Good point voice of the downtrodden. In closing, an open letters is a poor man’s editorial, like monkfish or paddlefish roe.
Will Meinen | The Omaha Tattler
OMAHA, Neb. – Since when does a serious demeanor brand you an ill-fated sour puss? My great grandfather, Alowicious, was valued by village elders for being serious, meaning one who considers issues carefully. Perhaps rather than being a conscientious steward of the land I could tweeter about Nan’s Sunday roast. Or maybe I should use what time I have that isn’t laboring to help feed the country to tend to a digital plant in some cockamamie “garden” in a township called Facebook. Social networking doesn’t hold a candle to sitting around the kitchen table drinking weak Folgers from coffee cups handed down from your grandmother discussing commodity prices and irrigation.
If social networking is not how you choose to numb your instincts there is always celebrity gossip media. You know what’s even more impossible than staying current with the private lives of people I hardly know? Answer: doing the same with people I will never meet. I read the Bible, which is full of tales more salacious than a John Mayer interview. At least in the Good Book moral reasoning is challenged and reassured by the steady hand of the almighty in the context of universal struggles. For the life of me I can’t see how the story a 21-year-old starlet with an eating disorder getting drunk at the club and wrecking her Escalade translates to my life.
Some call me provincial, small minded, or simply unwilling to keep pace with the modern world. I counter such accusations with the supposition that I am more attuned to the experiences of the majority of the planet than those anesthetized by CSI and processed food. Most people don’t have enough to eat and drink or 300 channels of pabulum to entertain them, let alone a way with which to post photographs of their roommate passed out at a College World Series game.
I am part of a brotherhood, farmers, of which all members have a sacred purpose. Farming fulfills man’s most basic needs; as an occupation it operates above petty party politics and culture wars. All of us adhere to basic principles of hard work, community, and reliance on God to nurture seed to plant.
Much can interrupt that process, be it flood, hail, pests. The success of the farmer more than any other occupation is subject to factors outside the control of man. No accountant has every blamed rain on his inability to balance the books in a timely manner.
You might accuse me of being serious but why the hell shouldn’t I be? I am serious about my responsibility to my community, by which I mean my physical neighbors not the “friends” on whose status I’m expected to comment (Betty is bummed out 🙁 that her boyfriend didn’t call after softball practice). I am serious about my calling as a farmer, about my marriage, my role as a father, and my faith. It occurs to me that the problem these days is not that there are too many serious people in the world, but not nearly enough.
Now if you will excuse me, Glen Beck is on the venerated Fox network- that man sure can preach.
Yes, she really is that cool
Will Meinen | The Omaha Tattler
OMAHA, Neb. – A recent poll of Omaha’s cute, quirky female Barista’s found that only a fraction of them are interested in what customers are listening to or reading.
This news was a shocking disappointment to almost every male patron, regardless of age or literary and musical preference. Soloman Trapp , an interior lighting consultant who works from caffeine dreams, was incredulous even after being confronted with the data.
“I just can’t believe it. When I told Emily that I was reading ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ in Spanish, she seemed intrigued. I regaled her with stories of my time in Chile while serving the Peace Corp, and parlayed the conversation into grape varietals grown in Curico.”
According to Trapp the Barista called Emily acknowledged the book’s authorship by saying that she read Marquez last summer while visiting friends in San Francisco. She also expressed an affinity for wine, regardless of where the grapes were grown. To Trapp this was sufficient evidence of interest in the subject matter, however, he failed to recognize the monotone ‘uh huhs’ and lifeless ‘sures’ mixed in with sprightly dialog.
While most regulars of coffee shops and bars are seeking camaraderie and like-minded conversation, some are hoping for a more intimate connection. Mike Sullivan, a sophomore Philosophy student from UNO, is loathe to acknowledge repeated Blue Line Coffee visits as unrelated to anything but a quite place to study and good jazz. “I think the coffee is good. Also, I’ve tried Starbucks, and the workers there are way too polite and have never heard of Sartre,” said Sullivan defensively. “I don’t see anything wrong with wanting to order a latte and have a conversation about Velvet Underground B-sides with a girl wearing designer glasses and vintage jewelry.”
When asked how they knew if a repeat customer was interested in seeing them without makeup, a young women in a ‘Lake Ogallala Lutheran Summer Camp’ shirt explained it this way: “Well, I might make the mistake of mentioning to a guy shorter than my dating cut-off that I’ve been reading a lot of Vonnegut lately. I can tell if he’s smitten if, on his next visit, he brings in a copy of ‘Cat’s Cradle’ and suggests good places for brunch. Usually when that happens, I wait for him to express affinity for British folk artists, and then I respond by asking if the coffee is for here or to go.”
According to ultra hip dating specialist Joan Medeioros (she’s multiracial), the modern dating ritual would appear very foreign to older generations. “Potential mates are no longer vetted by inquires about family, religious beliefs, attitudes towards money and children, or life goals. Educated, middle-class members of the younger generation have replaced these pragmatic techniques with a complex system of literary, music, movie, and television cross-referencing. They have concluded that differences on issues like whether to educate children in public or private schools can be overcome, but disagreement about the necessity of another R.E.M record are irreconcilable. You might not get a second date if you haven’t seen ‘Arrested Development’ or miss an obscure ‘Mr. Show’ reference.”
Ms. Medeiors was asked to dissect the scenario described earlier by a Barista attempting to dissuade a potential suitor. “What this young woman has described is a classic technique. The male suitor has shown interest by placing in plain sight a book by an author referenced in a previous conversation. The stakes of the game are raised when the male suitor weighs in with his favorite new location for Sunday brunch. The ball is now in the woman’s court. When the suitor goes out on a limb and talks about seeing Richard Thompson of Fairport Convention perform, the woman can either prolong the game by asking him to educate her on the musicians back catalog. Or, she can end the game abruptly by returning to the transactional language of, ‘Did you want this to stay or to go?’ I like to think of it as displaying one’s hipster plumage. One miscue can be the difference between eating leftover Chinese alone, and spooning on the couch watching a marathon of ‘The Wire.'”