Dedicated Follower of Fashion

I am a man of impeccable taste. When I Tweet, each message is pithy and wry, worthy of Re-Tweeting. The photos I post on Facebook are artful without being pretentious or cliches; people I hardly know “Like” my pictures and the YouTube links I share. My music playlists are perfect for the hippest parties… eclectic, yet each song connects to the next either lyrically or through the melody. The people I follow, and who follow me, are trend-setters. We are in fashion even when we purposely try to be anti-fashion. Yes, I am the ultimate social media machine: a complete and utter phony, who needs to check my blog hits and FB/Twitter follower counts every fifteen minutes for affirmation of my popularity in the online world.

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The above is an opening paragraph for a short story or essay of some sort, inspired by the songs of Ray Davies. I’ve been thinking a lot about him and the music of the Kinks lately. When the movie CAPTAIN AMERICA was about to be released, lines from “Catch Me Now I’m Falling” (1979) played in my head:

I remember, when you were down
And you needed a helping hand
I came to feed you
But now that I need you
You won’t give me a second glance
Now I’m calling all citizens from all over the world
This is Captain America calling
I bailed you out when you were down on your knees
So will you catch me now I’m falling

So I pulled out a more recent CD by Ray Davies from 2006, titled “Other People’s  Lives.” Did you know he was 61 when he released that first solo album? Many of his songs are like mini-movies or short stories about characters. Not coincidentally, he wrote music for movie projects and rock operas that yielded mixed results. But they were always about something. He would comment on society, the times we live in, the state of the world… or something much smaller and closer to home, like your neighbor and what really goes on behind the respectable facade they put up for others to see.

I thought of his songs while watching that Bravo reality series, Platinum Hit. The young songwriters were talented and ambitious. Most could sing fairly well and were attractive. Yet nearly everything they wrote as part of the competition was about themselves or what they wanted — be it a love interest, success, or recognition. It was all Me, Me, Me. I can’t recall one song any of them wrote that was about broader social issues (other than being gay because one of the guys was gay).

How this connects back to my opening paragraph is this is the Age of Me: Twitter, Facebook, blogging… and yes, this blog is about me too. The irony is the more people I “connect” to via social media, the less time — and interest — I have in trying to keep up with other people’s constant stream of FB updates or Tweet and Re-Tweets. It seems like everyone is selling something. I keep hearing social media “experts” say it’s all about personal “branding.”

At first I bought into that idea. I thought I could use Twitter, Facebook, blogging, to promote my screenplays and myself as a writer. But I’m not a brand. I’m a human being, and what I want to say doesn’t fit neatly into 140 characters or short Facebook “wall” posts. Nowadays the facade of respectability isn’t scenes from suburbia as portrayed in old Kinks songs — it’s the way we interface via computer screens and smart phones or iPads. There was a time when I took pride in being an “early adopter” type, quick to try out new technology. Lately though, I’ve become nostalgic for vinyl LPs and album covers with lyrics on them, along with my old handwritten journal notes and actual letters written by friends in faraway places that I have saved — unlike the countless emails I’ve deleted or Tweets that are forgotten two minutes after I’ve scrolled through them.

I guess I’m not such a dedicated follower of fashion, after all.

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I’ve been putting off my latest update on this year’s screenwriting contest results and the ongoing Amazon Studios experiment since I’m still in the running for a couple of competitions and am working on two proposals for $40,000 project awards that Amazon will be doling out for test movies. What’s interesting is an old sci-fi script I had shelved a few years ago scored high in the Nicholl Fellowships and is a finalist in another contest, while screenplays of mine that did well before in the Nicholl bombed out this time around… which just goes to show it often comes down to the subjective taste of an individual reader. Or maybe “taste” changes over time, and what’s old becomes new again?

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3 Comments on “Dedicated Follower of Fashion”


  1. The ones who dictate the fashions have always been those who followed their own hearts.

  2. richfigel Says:

    LL – I’m not sure that’s true anymore because of the pervasiveness of so-called “experts” in our media-saturated environment nowadays… especially as it relates to the arts: with reality TV shows and peer reviews/ratings, seems like everyone or anyone can be an “expert” on writing, books, movies, music. And whoever has the most “followers” or fans seems to have the most sway with the powers that be, who can greenlight a movie or get a book published.

    It used to be people who could genuinely recognize talent were the ones that championed new talent. But now the public gets to vote on who will land a record contract, or get a movie deal based on the number of YouTube views their short 3-4 minute video attracts.

    But I guess “fashion” has always been a paradox… first, it’s being different or new. Then when it becomes widely popular, the same thing becomes a cliche or unfashionable.

  3. richfigel Says:

    Speaking of Facebook and social media, received this warning and checked out my own FB settings — turns out this is true: the phone numbers of my personal contacts on my cell phone were listed in my FB contact info! I was able to delete that info following the steps below:

    If anyone that you are friends with on facebook gets hacked YOUR number is going to be out in the ether. And you KNOW that there have been several right?

    #2 and # 3 are also privacy problems with facebook

    1. ALL THE PHONE NUMBERS of your cell phone contacts list are now on facebook! Go to the top right of the screen, click on ACCOUNT, click on EDIT FRIENDS, left side of screen and click CONTACTS.

    You will see ALL PHONE NUMBERS FROM YOUR CELL PHONE (FB friends or not) have been published. TO REMOVE, go to the right column below Phonebook Contacts, and click on “this page.” Please repost this on your status, so your friends can remove their numbers.

    ______________________________

    2. The new FaceBook privacy setting “Instant Personalization”, goes into effect. The new setting shares your data with non-FB sites & is automatically set to “Enabled”.

    Go to Account>Privacy Settings>Apps & Websites>Instant Personalization>edit settings & uncheck “Enable”. By the way, if your friends don’t do this, they will be sharing info about you as well. Please copy and repost.

    _____________________________

    3. Facebook has changed and said nothing (again). Take a look at your URL (top box on your screen.) If you see “http” or just “www” instead of “https” you DO NOT have a secure session & can be hacked. Go to Account Settings – click Security on the left top corner – click Edit next to Secure Browsing, check box, click Save. FB has automatically set it on the non-secure setting! Do everyone a huge favor, copy & re-post.


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