In general I don’t agree with the idea of ‘guilty pleasures’, if you enjoy something, then go enjoy it. I mean, imagine being so Oedipalized that you legitimately feel some form of shame or guilt because you enjoy something considered by others to be silly, lame etc. With this said, I currently have 3 rather peculiar guilty pleasures. Now I consider these guilty pleasures because they can all be placed under the same rather rough headings: Western Detritus, What-the-Fuck-Happened, Peak Society, Surrogate Activities etc. Perhaps if I list them you’ll get the idea. My 3 current guilty pleasures are all visual. Speed-eating videos, video game speedruns and – very recently – watching Fortnite.
Wait, Meta, you said you never really watched TV or anything of this sort? It’s true, I don’t, usually. And this is why I actually count these as guilty pleasures. Unlike stereotypical guilty pleasures – which are actual pleasures – I don’t really enjoy watching any of these things. I watch them in the same way you watch ants carry bits of wood back to the nest, the same way you watch a dog try solve a put-the-shape-in-the-hole problem. I watch them in a sort of trance. I think to myself ‘This is where we’ve got to, this is it, this is the magnum opus of society’. And I can never get past these thoughts. Perhaps this is why they interest me so much. With my rather extensive education in the arts and philosophy I can generally tackle a problem – intellectual or personal – and figure it out in some way within a short space of time (Guess what, the answer is usually just to fucking act.) But with these 3 things I can’t get anywhere, I can’t work it out, it’s like ants on speed reveling in nonsensical excesses.
Don’t worry, this does relate to the ‘getting into a trade’ and ‘exiting marketing’ part of this post, but I do need a little more exposition. So firstly, the speedeating. I watch this channel called BeardMeatsFood, for a sample of this content – if you’ve never come across ‘competitive eating’ before – check out this link for his 100,000 calorie challenge. In the words of one of the bystanders in an episode of Man Vs Food “This is the stuff of legends!”
And perhaps that man was right, perhaps these are our legends now, these are our myths. Doughy soyboys who utilize facial hair as personality to promote a Youtube channel where they eat…lots of food, interspersed with tinny rock music, a time-frame and a calorie counter. I cannot assemble these parts into any coherent whole, there’s no unification here that modernity will allow me.
I wont link video game speedrunning here as I imagine many of my readers will know of it already, if not, just look it up. Basically it’s completing a video game in the shortest time possible – with defined limits and rules etc. Now, I guess as some form of challenge it’s intriguing. But there are many people currently playing years old games attempting (daily) to scrape mere milliseconds off their completion time. Ted Kaczynski calls activities that we’re doing other than aiding our survival or fulfilling our actual needs ‘surrogate activities’, God only knows what he would call these activities. I call them nothing, apathy and lack of self-discipline. At least in a practical sense. Other than those forms of criticism I can’t find anything in them.
Much like my recent guilty torture of watching Fortnite. This came about because a friend kept going on about it and intrigue got the better of me. I watched a good 30-40 minutes of a ‘professional’ (send nukes) Fortnite live stream. And well, after that time I still couldn’t figure out what was going on, honestly. I get the general gist of a battle royale type game of course, but it just makes no sense to me anymore. This is going somewhere, I promise.
See, I ended up in this marketing job for a camping company. The job, and I stress, this is what we consider a job these days, consisted of looking after their social media, creating digital adverts and the occasional bit of customer service work. Now, the days were 8 and a half hours long with an hour commute time each way. For the first 2 hours I’d answer emails and social media queries and then…I’d sit and look at the computer screen or wait for the phone. Now, many people would find this absolute bliss, doing fuck all all day, I’m sure many could have stayed there for the rest of their lives mindlessly scrolling away on their phones, or eating junk. But it made me realise something. Marketing is one of the few ‘skilled’ office jobs. By that I mean, there’s little to no actual skill in customer service or admin type jobs – and before you shout at me, I’ve done these too – a well trained monkey could honestly do many of these jobs. They’re for slaves who adore being told what to do, people who not only take no pride in their work, but take no pride in anything, have no principles or ambitions and wish merely to grind until death. Fuck them, go away, I hate even thinking about such an existence. Anyway, back to marketing being ‘skilled’. If this is a skilled office job, the majority of people are working these jobs which are – to paraphrase Dmitry Orlov – “The embroidery on the fabric of society.” And here I go full Peterson, I don’t care.
I realized that most people cannot contribute, help or even understand the very basics of how society functions. Most people are so incompetent that they truly believe things just happen and appear, that stuff can actually be thrown away, to some mystical land. I started having very practical realizations of things I had thought about in abstract but had yet come into contact with. People don’t know how to do shit. Most people are spending their lives tailoring their energies towards being able to make a better phone call, take a better photograph, create a better advert, write a better piece of content etc. I’m going to take for granted here that my readers understand that I understand these things can of course have their place, but in my opinion, not after the basics have been taught.
There I was, dwindling away at a laptop, for all intents and purposes…pissing time away on idiotic nonsense. Creating little bits of bullshit to sell someone a tent, a tent which both I and the consumer have absolutely no idea how it’s made, nor where or who by. It is just a thing which I communicate we are selling. As far as I’m concerned the job was beyond meaningless, it was odd, a surreal experience of life in the office. Hell, to be quite honest.
It was much like the speed-eating, speedrunning or Fortnite viewing, it was an odd nothingness. It was fluorescent lights humming for 8 hours until I could leave. It was a person, sitting in a room, tapping at a small black object and not diverting their attention anywhere else for 8 hours. It was a being, with the potential to learn, help and form a self, dwindling their finite time away into a vortex of modern bullshit. It was, quite seriously, a mind-numbing form of sterilization. A slow death. No wonder everyone is so tired, depressed, anxious, paranoid and chubby. Their lives consist of sitting for 8-9 fucking hours in the same spot, staring at the same 30″ screen, moving only their fingers! This is your fucking life! You’re a fucking rat in cage! A cage you willingly stepped into because you’re too scared of the risks of the alternative! Get the fuck out! Find somewhere with some beauty, some peace, some people who are of your own and discussions which make you feel at home. Find heart within a skill, a trade, something other than being an automaton who promotes the ideology of the corps out of the mere comforts it brings them. And this is why I mentioned those videos. If you wish to feel how I did, or how the somewhat awake, lonely, alienated and ostracized (from their animalistic biology) office worker does, then watch one of those videos, it is the static death that modernity leaves at your door right after wrapping it in pretty paper.
Luckily a friend told me of a job going at a joinery place he worked at, I also knew the owner (so I’ll be very honest here), considering I have only amateur joinery experience, it was a stroke of luck I got the job. Right place, right time. However, I jumped onto that opportunity around 3-4 hours after hearing about it and didn’t look back. My first week has been extremely basic in a meaningful way. I finish, prime, assemble and prepare bespoke doors, windows, stairs etc. for people who’ve ordered them. People need windows and doors and I’m part of that process. At the end of the day I can see the work I’ve done.
I feel worked too. And no, I’m not one of these people who believes you should have to feel exhausted at the end of every day. But if you believe it is unusual to feel tired or physically knackered at the end of the day…if you come home and you complain, just one time, of feeling physically knackered, then guess what, your privilege levels are through the roof. You just don’t have a clue. You whine about suffering, but when will you realize that once you realize life is suffering then it no longer is. The more you keep it at bay, the more it will haunt your day.
I beg you, friends, from the heart, to exit the office. I understand of course that many of you simply cannot do this. Many of you with families are making the sacrifices needed, and many of you many have monetary problems which I do not understand, both of these I can empathize with. For those of you who feel locked in, strapped to your chair like a prisoner, whose minds are darting back and forth in fits and starts, whose brain matter in eroding, whose legs are tapping constantly. Those of you who want to step up onto that shitty Ikea desk and shout “WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?! WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE DOING?! THIS IS NOT LIFE! THIS IS NOT LIVING!” I honestly beg of you to think of your commitments, tally them up, write them down, see if you can survive an exit from modernity. Do what you WILL and exit that place which wishes only to keep on capturing your spirit…