Recently, my roommate downloaded the app TikTok. Being in the room while they watch videos allows me to listen to whatever is on the app without necessarily watching it.
Some of the content is outright hilarious. I absolutely love the funny dog videos with cartoon voice audio scripts. They are usually pretty entertaining.
Other things I enjoy but despise on TikTok are #vanlife videos because it is always some young woman with whisper voice explaining their build with the–at this point annoying–song “Home” by Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeroes. I used to love this song, then all these social media videos started using it. Unfortunate.
Another common song often heard is Welcome Home by Radical Face, which is an amazing song that I do not want to hear whisper voice over or constantly see it in relation to filming from inside a van out into a beautiful scene.
Separate, I love all these things. On the social media and combined, it gives me anxiety. I knew TikTok would ramp up anxiety, so I never downloaded it.
Let’s talk about anxiety for a moment. Social media is awful for anxiety, depression, ADD (which we call ADHD these days, because apparently we want people to think they are the problem and to feel shame instead of the problem being the social milieux or environment we inhabit), body dysmorphia, suicidal tendencies (which are not “self” injuries so much as social injuries manifesting as “self” injury), and all sorts of other supposedly mental illnesses.
Why are the mind and body treated as separate anyway? Are we not a singular unit of mind and body? We are, but our medical professionals are not trained to see it that way because our educational system is not structured that way because our science is flawed.
Anyway, anxiety is awful. It raises that feeling in your chest like you’re kind of on fire, kind of weightless, maybe a little dizzy or nauseous. All of these things. For me it makes me unable to focus.
Social media exploits your anxiety. It wants you to feel these things because that is how you get people to buy stuff. Hangover Throat (the blog/website you’re reading) is not about that life.
Here at Hangover Throat, we want you to be self-assured and proud of who you are (but not white pride, because racists ought to be dealt with). We embrace the contradiction in alcohol consumption. That contradiction is between using alcohol as a release from the toxicity of contemporary life on the one hand and using alcohol as a tool for communing in solidarity with others.
Communing in solidarity. There’s a statement! What does it mean? Communing is a term associated with food. Food has typically been a place of communion, where people join together to engage in that unity of mind and body: eating.
Sitting together at a table, more often to eat but also to drink, is a space of solidarity. We are unified in a celebration of life, life taking (in terms of the energy we consume) and life making (in terms of transforming that edible energy into ourselves).
We all need energy to survive and in communing at a table we are recognizing that fundamental fact of life. Energy keeps us alive and at least historically we celebrate life.
Contemporary life is unfortunately broken and we no longer celebrate life. Think about that insurrection that happened in the United States. Think about all those hate groups around the world, some of which occupy governmental power.
In the U.S. there are large groups of people that think they believe in the right to life, but when it comes down to practice, they act in ways that deny life. They judge who is worthy of life. They make up rules to deny access to resources. They literally play god while claiming to be a believer. .
Am I sorry if you are offended? No, think about things a little more! I’m not a bible/church person. But I’ve read some of the bible and I’ve been to churches. I don’t remember reading or hearing about that in the bible/church they hold so dear, or at least they say they do. Quite the contrary actually!
So what does this denial of life look like? This denial of life occurs in the dehumanizing representations of and speech against public figures, dehumanizing statements made against the poor, elderly, and young, and the practice or act of elevating the acquisition of money through work as the be all end all of what makes you deserving of life. Let us not forget denial of science and most importantly climate change.
This is distressing! This is anxiety inducing for those who grew up learning about climate change in school.
Back to this question of social media. You don’t see climate change represented on social media, and ever since the insurrection these private companies that operate social media spaces have started curating what you see much more closely. This gives them great power to control how we think about the world around us. Ultimately, we need to get off social media.
But first, lets talk about some more about TikTok. These videos on TikTok are filled with girl-women trying to be both small children and sexy. Apparently pedophilia is the preferred aesthetic and sexuality?
Other girl-women have this need to film themselves working out and torturing their bodies into the plastic surgery aesthetic of a Kardashian ass.
The dancing is cool, except that it is the same song and the same moves on repeat. Boring! Well, I think its boring. It was cool for a few videos, but given how they control your scroll they just keep putting them up in front of your face to keep you staring at your device.
I always love coming across a woman whose body doesn’t conform but she rocks the fun side of the dancing. Those are the best videos. But there are far too few.
Then there’s the girl-women who think their conformation to gender norms and aesthetics is somehow empowering. That is not my feminism sister. Figure it out.
In the past there were great benefits of social media, but then “fake news” arrived on the scene. And conspiracy theories are far more appealing than reality when reality is so messed up you need some wild idea that appeals to your preconceived biases.
Conspiracy theories are therapeutic and fake news is a great way to control a population prone to them. Let us not blame those believers, but find ways around their brainwashed minds to bring them back to reality. This means offering them an experience outside the (excuse the language) cray.
To celebrate life, we put our screens away for a few hours. Maybe we abandon them. But the world wide web (aka internet) is a great place to connect with people. There is a phrase: don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
If we put our minds to it, we can create change not by going out and seeking to change other people. That is a super stressful endeavor and can be very depressing. Instead, be a change maker by creating a life affirming space and being open to change (critique) when it presents itself.
So go drink a pint in your favorite social space. May we suggest a None the Wiser IPA from Blind Owl Brewery?