I’m following some libraries and universities on Twitter as I was instructed for networking purposes.  I’m not hopeful, but I do what I’m told.  I spent half an hour adding lots of libraries and universities in London.  I deliberately am not following anyone else, because I want to keep this for work/job hunting only, not for procrastination, let alone politics.  It is frustrating knowing that there ought to be a way of using Twitter for fun and socialising, particularly with other Doctor Who fans, without getting annoyed all the time.  Do people just use the mute function?  Or do they only follow people they always agree with?

Ironically, I shortly after writing this, I found a comment on a Den of Geek article about avoiding drama online that suggested that wanting a politics-free Twitter feed is “a lot like ignoring the freight trains being stuffed full of people on their way to Auschwitz.”  I know a lot of people see the political upheavals of the last decade as pushing them towards activism of one kind or another, but they (the upheavals, although some of the people too) have genuinely convinced me that people like me (calm, moderate, thoughtful) can not influence the political system at all and that those in power can ignore our thoughts either by targeting other, larger, more vocal or more powerful, demographic groups or simply by using legal loopholes to avoid implementing policies they don’t like.  I don’t particularly want to be insulted for my beliefs either and I certainly don’t want to continually be called a Nazi or a Trump supporter just because I don’t believe in the International Jewish Zionist Conspiracy as per Jeremy Corbyn and Momentum.  That people glibly invoke the Nazis and the Holocaust as if there was an easy way of stopping them that people in the ’20s and ’30s were just too stupid or lazy to consider is astonishing.  Still, if you think tweeting a meme is seriously going to affect Trump’s impeachment proceedings or the outcome of the 2020 presidential race, go ahead, signal your virtue.  (Also, I don’t like President Trump, but now he’s committing genocide?  Seriously?  I wouldn’t even accuse Jeremy Corbyn of that, and he has shilled for people who have actually tried to commit genocide.)

***

I’d forgotten that Twitter sends you a lot of clickbait ads.  One was “targeted” on me because the company was looking for people “who speak English and located here: United Kingdom.”  It’s good that they’ve identified such a narrow and precise demographic of people who might be interested in their product to avoid bothering other people.  Grr….

***

One of my shul (synagogue) friends asked me about my taste in music.  I have to say that I panicked because I was so worried about saying the wrong thing and avoided saying anything substantial.  I know some people in the frum (religious Orthodox Jewish) community won’t listen to any music by non-Jews or non-religious Jews because they consider music to be a particularly effective at passing on values that they might want to avoid, far more so than most other types of art, and I thought my friend might fall in that camp.  It turns out he likes Sting and Billy Joel, both of whom I like, but I’d painted myself into a corner by that stage by saying I don’t listen to much music.  Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so paranoid, but I worry that one wrong answer could basically result in my being pushed out of the community.  Is this really the case or am I paranoid?  I honestly don’t know.

Other than that, Shabbat (the Sabbath) was uneventful.  I went to shul in the afternoons, but not this morning.  I didn’t even get overpowered by depression and social anxiety; I was so exhausted after the employment meeting that I slept for about twelve hours, barely registering my Dad opening my blinds (I asked him to do that) and not noticing my phone alarm at all.  I dreamt I was Shimshon (Samson), but when I pushed the pillars of the building apart, the building still stayed up.  This was probably a delayed response to seeing some candlesticks in the shape of Shimshon pushing the pillars the other week in Israel, but it feels like it could be a commentary on trying to find work and failing, trying to get over my mental health issues and failing, or even the political disenfranchisement feelings I noted above.

***

My emotions do seem to be all over the place at the moment (since getting back from Israel), mainly deep depression, but weird subsidiary emotions.  Something that I don’t think I can talk about here has been making me feel quite morbid.  I also have strange feelings of wanting to buy various things, but tied up with completism with regard to book or film series rather than consumerism per se.  I do feel that I set high moral standards for myself and I’m not sure what to do with myself when I inevitably can’t meet them.  I was thinking yesterday or today about the way that my religious life makes big demands of me, but I don’t get the rewards that other people who make those sacrifices get in terms of equanimity, family, community and so on that would make coping with those sacrifices possible.

I end up making trivial questions into questions of great moral import and maybe they – or I – can’t bear that weight.  Do I want to watch Joker?  That’s admittedly partly a question about whether I can cope with sad or angry and violent films as much as the moral content of them, but the question is still there.  Do I want to watch James Bond films as I did when I was younger (I was a Bond obsessive even before I was a Doctor Who geek, with a scrapbook filled with newspaper articles and the like.  I could probably still list every pre-Brosnan Bond film in order, and tell you the years of release of a good few of them – and they said I’m not autistic!)?  I put Bond away years ago because I decided I disapproved of his morals, but lately I’ve been wondering if I want to wallow in the nostalgia of watching things from my childhood again.  Would Bond’s lifestyle seem escapist fantasy or would it just make me feel pathetic and lonely?  I don’t know.  I ask all this because my parents were watching The Living Daylights downstairs, which was always one of my favourite Bond films.

***

I tried to work on my novel this evening, but by the time I had helped with the post-Shabbat tidying and spent time finding Twitter accounts to follow for work, it was very late.  I started writing, but was overcome with depression and didn’t manage to write very much.  I didn’t go downstairs and watch Bond, but I did find a funny thread of James Bond film title anagrams on (inevitably) Twitter.  And so to bed, I suppose, although I don’t feel tired, just depressed and unable to do very much.

8 thoughts on “Licensed to Kvetch

  1. Oh my gosh! Watch the Bond! Get down with your consumerist self! Buy things just for fun! Plant a flower and watch it grow. (Okay, Meg, seriously, rein it in.) I just can’t grasp how hard you are on yourself! It’s okay to not be philosophizing all the time about every little thing, I promise you! I’m saying this from a place of great respect… you’re a bit uptight. Let your hair down! Get wild and sing some karaoke.

    Also, the dream sounds good to me. I think it means you’re strong-minded.

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  2. Granted, this is easy for me to say because I’m a hermit, but self-censoring responses to questions because of how others in the frum community might react sounds absolutely exhausting. Again, easy for me to say, but if you were to be more open and it turned out that the community was unwilling to accept you for who you actually are, would that really be the kind of community that you want?

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    1. I guess it is exhausting. I didn’t really think of it like that.

      I already know it’s not the ideal community I want, it’s just that it’s the best one available, and a frum Jew, particularly a male, needs a community. Plus, I’m terrified of any kind of rejection, even from people who I already know I disagree with (hence also the Twitter politics avoidance).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Twitter politics is really tiring. I get caught up in it when my OCD symptoms flare up. Maybe there’s some kind of browser or Twitter app that will screen out the words of posts you don’t want to see. I’m using something like that on Facebook, and it’s helped as I’ve filled it with all sorts of words to posts I don’t want to see.

    Is there a MO shul near you? If you go to a more liberal shul, maybe you’ll be able to be as observant as you want without feeling like you have to hide these (harmless, imo) activities.

    As far as Joker goes, it was a well-made movie but heartbreaking. Summed up: Hurt people hurt people. The movie stays pretty dark without really any relief, unlike most movies that end on an upbeat or hopeful note. I’d recommend that if you do see it, go when you’re feeling pretty decent.

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    1. I think there is a function on Twitter to block certain words, but these things aren’t perfect.

      My parents’ shul is Modern Orthodox and I used to go there, but I don’t like it because (a) it’s enormous and I feel completely lost in all the people, (b) it’s not terribly friendly (although the rabbi is nice), (c) many of the people are traditional rather than religious and don’t take davening or Torah study very seriously and I find that frustrating, (d) related, there is a LOT of talking during services and (e) I had no identity of my own there as everyone knew me only as my father’s son. I do still go there occasionally e.g. on Yom Ha’atzmaut, as they celebrate that and my shul doesn’t, but most of the time I prefer my shul, with all it’s flaws.

      Wow, thanks for the Joker review, I’ll steer clear for now.

      Liked by 1 person

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