New Experiences?

For several years I had been bored. Not a whining, restless child's boredom (although I was not above that) but a dense, blanketing malaise. It seemed to me that there was nothing new to be discovered ever again. Our society was utterly, ruinously derivative (although the word derivative as a criticism is itself derivative). We were the first human beings who would never see anything for the first time. We stare at the wonders of the world, dull-eyed, underwhelmed. Mona Lisa, the Pyramids, the Empire State Building. Jungle animals on attack, ancient icebergs collapsing, volcanoes erupting. I can't recall a single amazing thing I have seen firsthand that I didn't immediately reference to a movie or TV show. I've literally seen it all, and the worst thing is, the thing that makes me want to blow my brains out, is: the secondhand experience is always better. The image is crisper, the view is keener, the camera angle and the soundtrack manipulate my emotions in a way reality can't anymore. I don't know that we are actually human at this point, those of use who are like most of us, who grew up with TV and movies and now the internet. If we are betrayed, we know the words to say; when a loved one dies, we know the words to say. If we want to play the stud or the smart-ass or the fool, we know the words to say. We are all working from the same dog-eared script.

- Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

I've already written four different posts about what this paragraph means to me, but in the end I deleted them all. I about choked up reading this part of Gillian Flynn's outstanding new novel Gone Girl. For me, as a child of the same generation, I couldn't agree more with everything said here. There's a lot of relevance to the booze world in these words as well. However, we've already established on this blog that booze is life, haven't we?

What happens when life becomes complete media mimesis? Do we even know why we like what we like anymore, or are we simply playing a part? A part we've seen numerous times on television or in a movie. What happens when we drink spirits because we want to be like other people who drink them? Will we even recognize quality then? More importantly, where will actual entertainment exist if entertainment is merely mimicing what others are doing or have already done? Will we even know when we're having fun or if we're actually having it?

Do you not drink Merlot because you don't like it, or is it because the guy in Sideways doesn't drink Merlot?

I'm freaking out.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll