About every six months or so, I get awfully tempted to become a real blogger, the kind that generates thousands of daily hits and tons of followers on Twitter. I make a deal with myself to sit down and craft content that will draw eyes and ire, generate reblogs and rebukes, and just in general put my name on the minds of people who troll/scour the Internet looking for that sort of engagement. I tell myself it’ll be easy – two to three times a day, I’ll post a list of things that are wrong with the church, or I’ll attack a strawman argument on a hot political issue, or I’ll wade back into one of the denominational war zones that always draw attention and alarm from the masses.
I plan all of this, and I’ll even give it a go for a couple of posts, and inevitably, it falls by the wayside. I can’t do it. I can’t keep up. My brain simply can’t conceive of a way to keep writing about the same things in the same ways over and over again.
Apparently I’m neither creative nor outraged enough.
Regardless – whether my lack of imagination or indignation – I have recently begun to marvel at those who can crank out that kind of content on a regular basis. My Twitter feed is filled with such people; I can’t refresh my feed without someone new posting a blog about 5 Reasons the Resurrection Is Absolutely, Positively REAL or 10 Secrets to a Dynamic Church or 39 Things You Must Do To Make Jesus Happy or Else He’ll Revoke Your Salvation.
(I’m kidding about that last one. Kind of.)
There’s one particular gentleman that I follow that posts links and blogs like that non-stop everyday. I know he’s not writing all of those posts himself, but I am utterly gobsmacked at the fact that he does write an awful lot. And they’re usually good. Some quite so.
Writers like that simultaneously inspire and deflate me. Inspire, because I love the fact that they sit at their keyboard and let the ideas flow down like mercy. Deflate, because so often those ideas are either recycled or reheated. They don’t add much new to the conversation.
I know, I know – there’s nothing new under the sun. Heck, even what I attempt to do here is admittedly what another writer did to far better effect. But what I always try to do is to make whatever I write in my voice, in my honest voice. I fail sometimes; there are occasions when I get up on a high horse and either try to sound smarter than I really am, or try to write with an authority I don’t possess, and when those occasions come along, I am reminded over and over again why I don’t write like that all the time.
Because it’s not me.
So why am I bringing all of this up? Lately, it seems like I’m drowning in noise, endless, repetitive noise. The same people clanging the same gongs for the same audience. Mostly, these posts are on some political or cultural issue, and they only exist to get someone’s dander up, or undies bunched, or pick another metaphor for useless agitation. The same medium through which I find my greatest outlet of expression – blogging – is the one that allows untold others to beat our collective cultural dead horses again and again, and to present the blogs on those poor, flagellated equine corpses as fresh and new and unique, when really they are none of those things.
And this harsh rehashing of the yada-yada-yada isn’t confined to one particular spectrum of the web; it’s not just the church people who do it; it’s not just the liberal media; it’s not just the fringe wackos or reality stars or any other specific class of people. It’s all of us. All of us. Adding to the noise, transferring information because we can, not because it’s needed. Even the very words I’m typing – noise, noise, noise. For some reason, today, it’s exhausting.
It creates a sense that the world will always be irretrievably broken, but if we try just that much harder, we can fix it – yes, we can! If we can get rid of the fundies, the gays, the illegals, the GOP, the Dems, the rednecks, the hippies, the commies, the druggies, the libs, the unenlightened, and the downright socially awkward, then we can all live in the glorious utopia that Our Forefathers first envisioned when they arrived on this fair continent and poisoned the Native Americans after swindling them out of their land.
Ugh. Just make the voices stop, Brain. If you don’t, I’ll stab you with a Q-Tip.
So what’s the take away? What do we do? Personally, I’m culling my Twitter feed, starting today. I’m getting rid of all the counterfeit voices, the people who simply channel the outrage of others without contributing thought themselves. I’m going to delete the emails that merely generate sound and fury. I’m going to hide the Facebook friends who only share tiresome photos and memes from random quasi-political groups.
And I’m quite sure that there will be people who decide to delete this post – and any of my subsequent posts – from their information flow. I can live with that. My style isn’t for everyone, and that’s fine by me.
Today’s just one of those days to take a stand against the people who want to manipulate us with fear or anger or both. I’m not gonna dance to their tune anymore. I’m stopping the band, and killing the noise.
Hopefully, it will give me more time for my own voice.