Kayla's lovely touchy-feely post about our current squeamishness when it comes to internet feelings got me thinking about how just the opposite's en vogue over in the Tumblr World of Teen Girldom.
Duh, info-age histrionics have been all the rage with the brat pack since long before the invention of LiveJournals and their drop-down menus of readily available feelings. But these days, youngish people with hightumblarities are crafting a wide scope of text/image confessionals and re-blogging these emo.jpegs amongst one another thousands and thousands of times over. Think anonymous backrub trains and friendship bracelet chains ad nauseam.
These artists create images that convey usually short, pseudo-ironic/embarrassingly poetic and/or "sincere" short poems that, at their most successful, function like little monuments to feelings. How it feels to be in a relationship online. How the Internet arrests and limits our forms of expression; how we must distill our emotions to emoticons...Especially suited for a Tumblr context, it is at once very personal and extremely vague; “I am sad,” “I hate myself,” “I am pathetic,” etc...Reblogging...allows a viewer to align him or herself with...sentiment.
What forms do these sentimental viruses take? Try these:
- The Handwritten Dear Diary Camera-phoned Notes of the only thing that keeps it a part of your life is that you keep thinking about it. Or this one or this one or this one or this.
- The Film Still Closed Captionings of I Cried for You, or the refrained alones of a karaoke lyrics screen, and I could easily see myself spending the whole month this way, and That's why you why you want to meld your body and soul with someone else's, or the genre-bending Film Still Subtitles of Translated Handwritten Dear Diary Notes.
- The Screencapped Stickie Musings of all i ever wanted to do is creep you out, and the even gruesomer, or the more direct, boyz make me sad, and nothing to flaunt but my loneliness, or their animated gif varieties and more sentiment backdropped in water.
One of the reasons I lurk about teen Tumblr feeds like some Humbert Humbert sincerity tourist is to better understand the characters I write about, the teen characters who are merely extensions of some deep bucket of inaccessible id. I lurk about teen Tumblr feeds to better understand myself, to feel comfortable with emotivenesss. Like Kayla, it's the crowd that makes me feel like a good sob is coming on.
I once got in a ridiculously petty argument once with a fellow writer about whose internet feeds were the sincerest. He had been following hopelessly devoted Justin Bieber fans on Twitter, and I asked him if, like me and my Tumblrs, it was to research a character.
"A character?" he asked, as if I had boxed up his Bieber fanatics and their manic outpour into too tidy of a box. "There are no characters," he said.
But essentially, we were expressing an equivalent belief: that whether it be online or on page, the manipulative snake of presentation swallows genuine mouthfuls, sure, but ones that in their contours point back to authentic sentiments—a bona fide body and soul through the peristalsis of its emotions when digested. In the character's (or avatar's) bowels a real human is seen.
Or as artist Kevin Bewersdorf's "Maximum Sorrow" gif of cycling information exchange attests, the art happens here. Here, thumping with each pump of internet flow and its poetries, is the artist's heart.
All images courtesy of Tumblr