Did you know Facebook just bought the company that makes the Oculus Rift? The VR headset I am wearing on the cover of The Future’s Void? People ask me about themes of paranoia on the record but obviously I am not the only one with dystopian dreams of our plugged-in future. Here’s what Zuck had to say about it.
I’m excited to announce that we’ve agreed to acquire Oculus VR, the leader in virtual reality technology…
This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures…
One day, we believe this kind of immersive, augmented reality will become a part of daily life for billions of people.
Shit. Homeboy doesn’t even think in anything less than billions at this point. I don’t even really have a stance on this. The Future is a Void.
And then that same day I had stayed up until 6 in the morning posting these #sad2ndlife pics and I wake up and Pitchfork has written an article about women on the internet. I feel caught in a strange and unexpected zeitgeist and it makes me nervous to be invoking concepts like AI and the void. I don’t mean to mistake coincidence for conjuring, but prescience and paranoia can be similarly spooky.
So today we are releasing “3Jane”, which I feel like is kind of the lyrical centerpiece of the record. I’m trying to think about what to say about it.
No one was really ever that mean to me on the internet. I never had that “thing” that happens when you wake up one morning and somehow your life is ruined because a mortifying picture goes viral or a “funny” tweet becomes horribly misread. Sure, there were bitchy things in the comments of videos, but organized trolls never unleashed a wave of death threats on me, and only a few people suggested that I kill myself.
So the internet never actually did that to me. But it did that to somebody. And now we all have this stupid crippling fear that someday it will happen to us. And the likelihood increases as you move from relative obscurity to becoming more broadly visible on the internet. There are more cameras on you, more chances to be quoted saying something stupid, and more people out there who relish seeing successful people disgraced and dethroned.
Do you have that fear yet? Do you want it?
Another thing that really fucked me up is that somewhere along the way I feel like I lost control of my image. I feel very confident in making the music I want to make, but I’m not a Mouseketeer. I can try to do it all myself but I run out of time. I don’t know how to pose for a photographer and sometimes when I’m in front of somebody else’s camera I don’t know what to do. So I would do the thing that I had seen before a million times in fashion mags and advertisements because I wanted to do a “good job.” And little by little, these pictures became more sexy and pouty until I didn’t recognize myself anymore. And those images went all around, and the bold-faced pull quotes from articles that didn’t quite get it right were right there next to the too sexy images until they became a thing both separate from me and also made up of me. I got weird disassociation. I got a weird neuromancer and I dyed my hair black and unplugged.
Disassociation is a modern disease
I didn’t set out to write this song and I didn’t know when I wrote it a year ago that right now it would be ok to talk about the internet, because at the time it felt forbidden and shameful to talk about. It just all came out in a flood, a stream of consciousness. And I’m still kind of self-conscious that I said those things out loud. But I don’t think these feelings are unique to me, and I often find that the things that scare and embarrass you are the things that are worth saying.
At the end of the day all I can really do is tell the truth, the truth of what happened and how it made me feel. And if at that point, if you wanna call me a cunt in the youtube comments, that’s on you
PS –so i wanted this missive to be perfect but instead i kind of just partied IRL. I found myself suddenly with friends and we are imbibing and watching funny videos and laughing. So that’s why this post is a little raw. And I think I’m ok with that.