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It’s 10:09am on Thursday and I’m staring at a mostly empty Google doc. “You were the hardest in tha game,” I tell myself softly. “You’ve just written three articles in a row and now you’re on top of the world. You can do anything, go anywhere. The opinion issue is your only chance to unleash your self-indulgence. The acclaim, the plaudits, the sexily gyrating men and women! You can’t leave that behind! You have to write something; splay the canvass with the darkest hues of blues and greys. Write something that yearns and longs amidst the clatter of digressions and navel-gazing asides; that takes the reader on something that approximates a journey, like the best journalism does”. But what the hell do I write about? Error_404_opinion_not_found
Go with your original idea: a socialist critique of Golding’s, that dive in the middle of town. Talk about why it represents everything that’s wrong with capitalism. Insist that you want to impose a moratorium on any more “craft beer bars” being created for the foreseeable future—it creates a false dichotomy that enforces ideas of class and superiority amongst already susceptible professionals and means you can’t get a cheap brew anywhere in town any more, which contributes to the dearth of student culture in the city.
Too fucking niche, too stilted, too pedantic. Fuck. Umm. Why not just submit an empty page, a blank canvas? Make a comment about how people should listen, or how they impose their own values on a given page? It’s been done you blundering incompetent, you’ll bring shame upon your house and family if you keep up like this. O.K. How’s this? “I think Radiohead should change their name to Boomboxxxhead and write hip-hop songs. Skeet Spirit! Hail 2 da thief! OHKAAAY Computer ft. Lil Jon!” That is the most offensive sentence I have ever read.
The music theme might be a fruitful and fecund line of enquiry, though. Talk about your favourite album this year! John Fahey’s “Record Plant, Sausalito”, a bootleg of a live show recorded while he was in his prime, after the epochal “Fare Forward Voyagers”. It’s finger-pickin’ good; the man’s prowess behind the guitar, the juxtaposition between euphoric guitar lines that sooth like cooling balm and sinister ones that grab you by the throat and don’t relinquish their grip until long after, despondence breathed into every note, a man drinking a quart of whiskey, smoking a pack and playing guitar on his porch on the last day before apocalypse.
Not bad, but is it serious enough? Especially in light of the theory I’ve been mulling over for a while: that society relies on notions of “purity” and “palatability” to achieve its imbalances, to encourage us to ignore suffering or elide it or pretend it doesn’t exist or grapple with it tokenistically? Jesus Christ Philip, save it for the Foucault symposium. God forbid you ever give anyone a straight-forward opinion.
O.K! I can do that! Pop music is good. Duck is an amazing food you’ve already talked about that, at length. Hmm. I could talk about my dislike of #redpeak? Topical! and low-hanging fruit. Touche.
Of all the Meek Mill diss tracks AR-AB’s is the most unfathomable. “I heard Nicki fuck you in the ass with a strap-on”? Like, are you trying to make me jealous? Good one. I’m not joking.
Prefixing a sentence with “I’m not trying to be rude, but…” should be outlawed unless you’re R. Kelly performing Ignition (Remix) live.
That WINZ health and sickness forms don’t inquire about health but one’s ability to work demonstrates that if you’re sick and disabled you’re actively a burden of capitalistic government.
There are two kinds of mental illness: the more palatable, and the ones—psychosis, schizophrenia, manic bipolar—that render you “crazy”. Think of how many first-person pieces on depression and anxiety you’ve read; any discourse on any of these other illnesses always comes focalised through medical treatises or “suffering” family members. Our culture excises people’s vocal chords, amputates their hands—one of the pitfalls of falling to the “crazy” side of the “sane/insane” dichotomy.
What’s the deal with Houdini Poos that are also no-wipers? Also, is there any worse feeling that needing to poo straight after you’ve taken a shower? I think not. You are a monster of unspeakable vulgarity.
Forcing Japan to play Scotland three days after their last match is fucking bullshit and proof that the Rugby World Cup favours “better teams”, while “minnows” are only there to help the big teams rack up points.
O.K. This isn’t working. Think of one salient (ha!) thing worth saying. How’s this? We all have internal voices putting us down, telling us that we’re stupid, unoriginal, that we’re not important. Everyone feels like an imposter, a fraud, an ersatz adult blundering their way through a life that has its cards stacked against us. This is true. We don’t know as much as we think we do. You’ll always realise how fuck-witted you were a year too late. That’s life.
But that voice in your head that’s telling you you’re in the wrong place, that everything is shit, that you’re unoriginal and stupid and immature? Fuck it. Tell it “hush yo gums”. You’re entitled to your opinions, you’re allowed to be wrong, you’re allowed to have opinions on a huge range of things because we live with such an influx of information, of overwhelming issues, that you shouldn’t have to limit yourself. It’s hard, damn hard, being a young adult in the twenty-first century. Don’t let your inner voices make it harder.
If I can be frank, I think that opinion is a bit contrived. Go fuck yourself, Frank.
Philip McSweeney bribed his way into being the Senior Feature Writer for Salient this year. He is currently dole-bludging and rationalising it as a government grant to write short stories and promote indolence.