Tips that will usually appear in midrange style mags and in the onslaught of organizational mantras that rain down on us daily (the 21st century version of the Victorians’ fastidious obsession with “hygiene,” I suppose) tend to berate you by saying things like, “When you buy something new, you have to get rid of something old,” and variations on this theme, presented by Tim Gunn or those What Not to Wear people.
Buy new shoes from Aldo? Bequeath those old Keds to the Salvation Army in their place! New t-shirt with ironic witty writing on it? Lose that very similar t-shirt with not so different ironic writing on it! What about your kitchen? No one needs three ice cream scoops!*
Presumably, social media should follow this “One out, one in” rule. Start using Facebook, MySpace goes out the door. No one needs to be on Digg and Twitter and Tiw.DiggRedMaxxMixxMeme.ous or whatever the fuck it is now. THIS IS TOO MUCH CRAP. Pick one. One. Two.
That should be sufficient, right?
The same should probably, then, be true of television. How can one person humanly keep up with this streaming downpour of content? As Charlie Brooker says, in a way I could only hope to palely duplicate,
I’m fairly certain I recently passed a rather pathetic tipping point, and now own more unread books and unwatched DVDs than my remaining lifespan will be able to sustain. I can’t possibly read all these pages, watch all these movies, before the grim reaper comes knocking. The bastard things are going to outlive me. It’s not fair. They can’t even breathe.
Confession: all this British comedy watching is putting me excruciatingly behind with my American reality television shows. I haven’t seen the last six episodes of The City. And lord knows I love Kelly Cutrone. Not to mention everything Olivia Palermo has worn, ever.*
I am similarly crazy behind on my American reality-cum-competition-type shows. Didn’t even finish Top Chef Masters, not watching Work of Art, haven’t touched the new season of Top Chef, sort of dreading the return of Project Runway because my backlog of current television –– The Wire! Rewatching Mad Men with the commentary! Every episode! Maybe annotating them! Probably need to see what Modern Family is all about, right? And Deadwood! — and then this comedic education I’m forcing my partner to undergo — Black Adder! TheYoung Ones! Monty Python! Fawlty Towers! Maybe we should watch Arrested Development again from the beginning, right? What’s The Fast Show like? Should I give Spaced a second chance?– it’s just all…too…much.
There are downloads aplenty on my external hard drive, shows — shows which I LIKE– that have been unceremoniously dumped like a pair of jeans that make your ass look fantastic but whose zipper always seems to be creeping down enough to make wearing them an endless struggle to keep from flashing strangers inadvertently. What is the appropriate response? Pack them off to Goodwill? Try to take them to the dry cleaner in the hopes they can salvage them? Keep them in this Trader Joe’s bag for two years and then pull them out again when they no longer fit you and now you decide to keep them for purposes of inducing guilt and being held up periodically as a painful reminder of a-time-when-you-were-marginally-thinner?
This is the problem with digital technology, it’s tinytinytiny. You could have acres of prOn and downloaded music and screencaps of every episode of The Muppet Show and 14,000 icons for your LiveJournal and still, still, STILL not even come close to taking up the space of one small closet, which everyone knows you should have organized by season and color and frequency of use and OH MY GOD IS THIS WHAT IS NEXT? It’s like Hoarders, but for a digital age. If TV Go Home still existed, you can bet yer ass I would have fictionally pitched that shit.
So the last ten episodes of America’s Next Top Model are just sitting there, forlorn and unwatched, despite the fact that Tyra looks fantastic and Andre Leon Talley was sort of hilarious. Same deal for Big Love, which, despite the very real pull of Anne Dudek, Harry Dean Stanton, and a staggering perfomance by Chloe Sevigny has at least a third remaining. I managed to stick with Six Feet Under despite how yelly and shouty and soapy and unsexy it all got, but the same can’t be said for Queer as Folk in either its US or UK incarnations.
No wonder we’re all staggering under the weight of these endless ones and zeroes. I’m off to read a book.
*I have three ice cream scoops. I could make excuses as to how they are all very slightly different and at least two of them may have sentimental value, but why should you listen to me? I have three ice cream scoops.
**She’s a bitch with an epic underbite, but that hair! Those clothes! She was undoubtedly the inspiration for Blair Waldorf, make no mistake. Boring as hell, but still. Shiny!