Monday, February 18, 2013

a digression


Cardigan Roxy Second-Hand $20 / Dress Victoria's Secret $15  
This is probably one of my favorite dresses in my closet.  It makes me feel a bit like a little kid, which is odd considering it's from Victoria's Secret..., anyways, it's super flouncy and just adorable.
I was planning on making this a post entitled "Currently Reading", and then doing a new one probably almost every week since that's how often I read a new book!  However, I decided to put a digression in here.  More on that in a moment.  I'm currently reading On Liberty by John Stuart Mill and Our Nig, Or Sketches from the Life of a Free Black, In a Two-Story White House, North Showing That Slavery's Shadows Fall Even Thereby Harriet Wilson. 
On Liberty is an outstanding work of true brilliance.  That sounds quite lofty, but it really is.  It's just so wonderful.  It was written during the Victorian Era and deals with the nature of freedom and individuality.  (A discussion on this from my class is where my digression stems from.)
Our Nig, on the other hand, is not so good.  First of all, my edition sucks so bad.  It's almost twice as large as a regular book, i.e. Mill's, regarding width and length of the pages.  In reality, this edition is only about 30 pages.  I feel like I'm reading a picture book.  Furthermore, it's missing what is called the 'white envelope' by African-American literature scholars; this is a set of authenticating documents written by esteemed white people.  There's mistakes in the type and just whoever set this book up in this manner is clearly an idiot.  This is what I get for ordering off Amazon!  The book is not well-written and is particularly frustrating when random characters are suddenly spoken of with no prior introduction, yet play major roles.  I haven't gotten to this part yet, but apparently the narrator switches between 1st and 3rd person frequently.  I'm just really not a fan at the moment. 
So, in class, we were discussing Mill's chapter "Of Individuality" and the notion of originality.  Our professor asked if this still applied to today and I could only answer ABSOLUTELY.  (This is a terribly contradictory thing to put in a blog, however, at least I acknowledge it!)  In my answer to her I focused primarily on social media and it's impact on individuality.  At the most basic level, anytime in which you communicate with others you are making a construction of yourself as language is a socially constructed method of communication.  You can only express yourself to others in a manner they understand, therefore, it is no longer individual.  As soon as you speak as a child, you are necessarily acculturated.  Right, so there is nothing one can do about this.  Mill argues that all people are individuals - although many do not know this or don't show it - but I can't entirely subscribe to that because of our immediate socialization through language.  We cannot be pure individuals, regardless of how 'unique' we appear to be, because we are in a society.
Nonetheless, I do believe individuality and originality, to an extent, exist.  So, we are in a culture in which we are necessarily enveloped and cannot ever completely remove ourselves from, this is clear.  We can, however, attempt to be original simply by acting as ourselves.  This is somewhat possible in everyday life, as we choose certain actions over others, certain modes of dress opposed to others, etc. etc.  Granted, nothing is original and one cannot escape culture.
My main point (this digression is a bit scatter-brained and not fully fleshed out by any means) is that social media cannot, will not, and does not allow us to express our 'true' individuality or originiality.  It simply CANNOT happen.  Just as I said with language as a cultural construction, social media forces us to create a character of ourselves, or to the extreme, someone totally diffierent that the person you would encounter on the street.  I find this particularly emphasized with 'hipsters', of which I have been called frequently, much to my annoyance.  Anyways, hipsters constantly need to assert their originality by buying goofy mugs from thrift stores, finding a female songwriter with an awkward tamber, shopping at Urban Outfitters, and doing the same DIY they found on Urban Outfitter's blog, or whatever they do.  Oh, and get fashionable tattoos.  These people exemplify what social media, i.e. Instagram, does.  I'm not even sure if these people are trying to be original, honestly.  Any form of social media forces you to construct yourself in such a manner that other people find you interesting.  You go along with the prevailing moods of the people you want to attract and thereby forgo your individuality.
I'm well aware that this is hypocritical to post on a blog, but I feel it is important.  It seems to me that most people on social media who find themselves interesting and original are the most unfriendly, egotistical, copiers around.  (Shout out to the person who literally copied the same idea I used in a picture on instagram after I deleted my picture because I felt like the caption I used was too narcisstic.)  I think that it is necessary to acknowledge that as a blog, this is not me.  It cannot possibly be me.  I'm constructed a very particulary and highly-crafted version of myself that I think will appeal to you viewers.  Let's be honest, blogging, social media, etc. etc. is all a bunch of bullshit.  Adults always are like, oh kids don't talk anymore!  Facebook is ruining communication!  No, what it's really doing is separating us because we cannot possibly get to know each other.  I know your blogging persona and you know mine.  I don't know you as you and you don't know me as me.  We can't possibly because we're constructing ourselves at every waking moment. 


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! They're from Target; they have tons of really cute colored knee-highs.


  2. Great post! Would you like to follow each other?