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  • Curtis Mutter

TikTok Cheese Plate

I’m a dying tape recorder. I’m a 35mm camera. I’m old. I’m good at what I do, but I’m old. And I’m being replaced, slowly, surely, I’m being replaced.


But I’m young. I would never make an actual phone call. Not with an actual friend on the other end! No, I’m SMS-Schmitt. I’m TikTok incarnate, baby. I’m Joey Youngblood, Johnny.


Wait, how do I select each photo with a stop sign?


I’m 31. I can T-9 text with the best of them. I remember a time when people thought LOST was a good show. I remember the fallout when people realized that J.J. Abrams doesn’t care about the characters or themes in his work, only the “punch” of each individual scene. I remember when, for some reason, somebody gave him the reigns of Star Wars, and for a further perplexing reason some people were surprised that he was incapable of delivering a satisfying conclusion to the space saga even though he’s never, ever delivered a satisfying conclusion to anything he’s ever worked on.


I’m old enough to remember LOST, so I was surprised that people were surprised that J.J. fumbled the touchdown on Star Wars. I’m old enough to remember Super 8, so I’m surprised that people expected a real, honest story from his Star Wars movies. I’m old enough to remember seeing Cloverfield in theaters, so I know that all J.J. cares about is superficial visuals — or, more accurately — the only thing he cares about is the visual explosiveness of his films. Characters? What’s that? Story? Nah. But there’s a polar bear on this tropical island! That’s weird, right?! I’ll find out why the bear is here later (JK — no I won’t. I’ll just add a smoke monster and hope you’ll forget about it!) Mystery!


My point is that you can fail upwards and become extremely successful. You can give about one tenths of a fuck about the art and industry in which you make your living and make ten times as much as someone who really does care about the work ten times as much as you. I’m not saying it’s evil, I’m just saying — why not be a plumber at that point? Oh, I guess because directing movies pays more? It’s not selling out if you never had integrity.


So, if I didn’t loose you there, here’s the rest:


I’m old enough that I know who Johnny Carson is. When I did something hilarious as a child I’d hear, “Wow, you’ve got a regular Johnny Carson here.” I’m also of the age that my memory of The Tonight Show is of some big chinned, grey-haired hack who hated Monica Lewinsky and loved misspellings in newspaper ads. So I’m young enough to know Leno, old enough to be aware of Carson, but young enough to adore O’Brien and Ferguson and old enough to know who the fuck O’Brien and Ferguson are while being old and pretentious enough to not care about how accessible my mentions of Ferguson and Leno and Carson are. Also late-night television. I watched it. When I was a teen I watched Late Night with Conan O’Brien every night on the newly HD 1080 x 1920 broadcasts.


Later, I bought a typewriter. I’m not that old, but I did it for shits because that’s the kind of thing people my age do. And I typed on my typewriter while kids dressed as characters from shows I’ve never heard of knocked on my door on Halloween. I don’t care to learn about these characters. I am that old.


It’s all bullshit, at the end of the day. We’re all going to die and our (valid) opinions of J.J. Abrams movies or late night talk show hosts become more and more irrelevant until they drown in the sands of time because anything either J.J., Ferguson, or myself ever shout into the void disappears along with all humankind, all life, and all everything. It’s the void, after all. Put your signature on everything. Watch as its meaning dissipates. Watch as your meaning dissipates. Watch as you — — —


Kind regards & happy Tuesday,


Curtis

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©2020 Curtis Mutter.