Blog November 8, 2006

No solutions here

Every now and then a blogger has a block. In fact, bloggers’ block must account for an enormous percentage of blogging posts…I’m currently in that phase myself. Since I got back from the US the muse has been absent and I’m curious about why.
I spent a lot of time reading blogs, pottering around in bookshops and watching TV news footage while I was in NYC. Being back in the sedate surroundings of Dublin is like coming down off some hallucinogenic. The personality driven hysterical “ultimate” solution focussed emphasis of much of what I observed, read and listened to really got under my skin. The dulcet and soothing tones of NPR presenters and now the BBC and RTE are a welcome respite.
I don’t have an ultimate solution to anything. In fact, I don’t believe in ultimate anythings – isn’t life a little richer and more sophisticated than that? I observed such a drive to create “syndromes” around the most ordinary experiences while I was in the US which naturally came with a range of “solutions”. Engaging with the media in most forms was an exercise in confidence eradication. If you thought you might have some kind of issue, well, 15 minutes in front of TV or reading a paper would convince you that you had more than an issue – you had a complex and potentially life threatening situation which needed immediate attention. How do you withstand that constant drip, drip nausea inducing stuff? It’s not possible in a city like New York to “switch off”…advertising is everywhere…my trip to DC was amazing because the streets are devoid of advertising hoardings, neon lights and the assault of images that are everyday realities in New York.
So the blog is sitting here, staring at me, wanting me to come up with 10 tips for the ultimate solution to a syndrome you didn’t know you had until I invented it 15 minutes ago and I can’t do it..maybe someone can offer me ten tips for moving out of my current predicament.
I adore New York…but really…how do you keep your head together in a place where so much of what you see and hear in public spaces reinforces the negative (albeit with “solutions” at a cost, to remedy it)…I’m genuinely curious.

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  • Ric November 9, 2006 at 10:37 am

    That’s OK – we’re not always looking for solutions. Sometimes knowing somebody else has an issue is enough respite for us – so be comforted that you’re not alone. “Solutions” are so over-rated …

  • annette November 9, 2006 at 11:17 am

    I sometimes think the business blogging world would come crashing down if “tips” and “solutions” were banned for a week…come to think of it, that sounds like a challenge I might throw out one of these days!

  • ESV November 13, 2006 at 11:51 am

    Annette, great post. Since so much of this attack on the senses is visual, you do simply dismiss a certain amount of it on sight; even the most basic bullshit filter will work overtime in a city like this, and a lot of what you’re being fed is quite laughable anyway, especially to someone reared on a diet of comparatively cynical or ironic Irish advertising.
    But a lot of it must get through, you’re right. I adore living here but sometimes feel that I am on one of those medieval torture devices which stretches you in four different directions at once – except I’d be lucky to get away with just four directions! Of course this is mostly my own fault, given that I try to do so many things (emphasis on “try”). But a lot of it is due to the sheer volume of media and messaging that I absorb every day. I spend time actively worrying about the newspapers, journals, magazines, and blogs I haven’t read in a given day – the Sunday NYT is always bought in this house, but gives rise to more guilt and anxiety than anything else, unread as it often goes (because I just don’t have 4 hours to devote to it) – and as for the exhibitions, concerts, plays, movies and other events I don’t get to…they feel like taunting whispers on my brain half the time. This is not exactly what you’re talking about here, but I have been thinking about this lately (actually losing sleep over it!) and I think it would be closely linked…a type of Cultural Failure Syndrome, always threatening and never resolved.

  • annette November 14, 2006 at 5:23 pm

    Lol, I love that ESV, and the fact that you’ve just invented a new syndrome…nice one