Allegorical Nonsense

An allegory. Nonsense. Put them together. Okay, not really.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The McDonalds Effect

I was told by friends that used to work at McDonalds, that after working at McDonalds for an amount of time, they were no longer able to eat at McDonalds. This was despite the obvious financial incentives that their employer would give them to do exactly that. And the reason for it was, primarily, that they had seen the production process, and that they were therefore too disgusted to eat the final product.

I think that for a long time, this was my attitude to producing any kind of expressive art - fear that by the fact of participating in the process of writing, I would be turned off the consumption of that art - in this case reading - by the fact of having seen the inner processes of the art itself.

And this is perhaps one of the tragedies of my generation - that because processes in which, otherwise, participation would only increase the appreciation of the product, have become so degraded as to have quite the opposite effect, we are encouraged to accept and generalise this as the rule, and not as some form of demeaned and demeaning exception.

It is perhaps the fate of humanity that in every generation there must be a tragedy, however that tragedy is not defined until writers propose and argue and repropose and reargue exactly what that tragedy is. And by the time the tragedy is defined, it has most likely already changed.

There is a lot in how you define something. A leader returns after years in "exile", yearning all of that time to return to his/her homeland. What does that mean, "exile"? Does it count as exile if the person happened to leave for that period of time, for economic reasons? Because they got accepted to a university there? Because their family moved there? Does it matter? There is no formula for leadership - a leader maximises the story that is behind them into something which becomes a story with a moral, a message - a leader creates around her/himself an epic. Or maybe it's just got to do with money. Or maybe the way other people see you. But which people? Again, it probably doesn't matter.

I always wonder why people read other people's biographies and autobiographies. Perhaps it is because they are looking for the formula of that person's success, for something that they can mimic and become that person. But the whole point is that that person is that person because they did not mimic someone else - they acted as only they knew how and did, and then they told lots and lots of people how great they are for doing so, and wrote about it a book, and then sold that book for money. Potentially lots of money. And they spent that money on building up their image, and the whole thing starts again.

It probably doesn't matter.



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