Musings of a Cyber Minx Manqué…
by Cynthia Kazandjian
Nedra: “The thing I really would like to know is, must fame be a part of greatness?”
Reinhardt: “Well, that is a difficult question. The answer is, possibly, no, but from a practical point of view, there must be some consensus. Sooner or later it must be confirmed.”
This is dialogue between characters in James Salter’s novel, Light Years.
My life is governed by a tyranny of desires. The fates have infused me with an endless stream of wants and wishes. I am host to a distinct mixture of feelings that are desirous in nature and open out my life like dandelion spores carried aloft by mysterious winds. My deepest longings, shallowest urges, and life situations I create, or recreate, most all of it has chosen me.
At least that’s how it feels.
A predetermined nature/nurture algorithm guides and influences my life like a formidable force, supernatural in origin, and impossible to fully decode. It provides me my yearnings; yearnings that range from the unique to the universal, yearnings interwoven with riddles and clues.
And I see patterns.
Much like a burlesque dancer performing a fan dance, the universe likes to tease- a little bit of leg and a little bit of cleavage but never the naked whole. And although I can not see far enough down the obscure roads that will eventually intersect, I can see the intersections. I walk around these crossings until I’ve memorized as many details as possible. My goal: to achieve a sense of intimacy with the iceberg tips of submerged mysteries that consume me.
I always ask myself, “Why these patterns?”
A wise man once told me matter-of-factly, “People are patterns.”
For better or for worse, I have known this to be true.
In the incredible film The Mindscape of Alan Moore, Alan Moore describes fame:
What fame has done, it has replaced the sea as the element of choice of adventure for young people. If you were a dashing young man in the 19th century, you would probably want to run away to sea. Just as in the 20th century you might decide that you want to run away and form a pop band…
He goes on to share more insights. His observations are free of judgement, something I find especially impressive and rare nowadays.
And in the book Hitchhiking with Larry David the author asks himself,
Have I joined the ranks of those who look to the famous for fulfillment? In our culture, we worship fame in the same way that people used to admire virtue. The celebrities of today resemble the saints of medieval times. So we mortals wish to get as close to them as possible hoping that some of their magic will rub off on us, thus transforming our meaningless lives into something magical, worthwhile and well lit.
I think author Paul Dolman nails it. What he describes applies to a very unfamous me. My transfixion with ‘the famous’ has almost always been limited to artist singers such as Lady Gaga or Madonna. If I could, I would ask them for life advice on a regular basis. Crazy perhaps, but true. Yet despite the fact that I have always existed within a celebrity culture, I have never had a desire to be famous. This is also the case with my children. Again, no judgement, only observation.
But I have always wanted to be an intellectual.
I have always wanted to want to be an intellectual.
In a playful and goofy attempt at self-caricature, I can easily envision myself as a cyber minx (minus the manqué of course). In this fantasy I dazzle everyone with my preternaturally prolific and captivating offerings of online witticisms. And the fame aspect is so irrelevant to me. Honestly.
Imagine if you will a happy version of Melissa Broder (check her out, she’s fascinating https://twitter.com/sosadtoday). In my fanciful mental image, my initially anonymous and hugely popular twitter @calltomytwinflame is turned into a best seller!
It all started with the amazing idea of tweeting to an imaginary soulmate. And although I never found my soulmate, I found online glory instead. What’s more, had you lifted the digital curtain on me, you would have discovered a joyful, youthful and sparkly personality behind too much genius for one person.
The reality: I don’t even make the cut as a wannabe cyber minx. I wasn’t an early adopter of Facebook or Twitter. I love Facebook but Twitter and I will never have the right digital pheromones for it to work. I say this because I can’t get arrested on Twitter. And I understand why. I don’t come to the table with the right digital pedigree. I am not the right fit to make it into the Twitterati gene pool.
I never published online until I discovered Medium less than a year ago. I don’t have Instagram or a cell phone. And it’s highly unlikely I ever will. What’s more-I have nothing to sell. Believe me, I know my place in the universe when it comes to social media mojo. Besides, I am too old to play minx. Let me rephrase that, I am too old to want to play minx.
But reimagining myself as an intellectual in the same league as say, Jean-Paul Sarte- this is another intriguing exercise of the imagination.
In my habitual reverie-the one where I am an intellectual of great reknown- Not only do I give Sartre a run for his money, but I’m a thoughtfluencer of superhero proportions-ever-ready to save the day in a dangerously dumbed-down society. I am lauded as the perfect antidote to a famous Armenian whose name I am sure you can easily guess. I’ve got Elle Macpherson legs, a dizzingly high IQ, extraordinary beauty (both inside and out) and so much ‘fuck you’ money that I have no choice but to place it in offshore tax havens. Exhausting really.
Alas, in the unforgiving reality of the analog world- where I actually have to use a toilet and brush my teeth- at best, I am an intellectual manqué, at worst, just another curious mind. In the analog world, I nervously ask my accountant if I need to consult a tax lawyer and he replies, “Oh PLEASE, you’re not exactly a business tycoon,” before unleashing a cruel and condescending laugh.
The fact is I have never genuinely wanted to be an intellectual. Not that there is sufficient societal or cultural reinforcement and encouragement to be an intellectual these days. My society does promote the desire to be famous and provides an avalanche of incentives. Still, I have never lusted after fame and I doubt this will ever change.
You can simulate desires. But over time, you will tire of the charade. Sometimes I can counterfeit a desire, as I have when it comes to being an intellectual. Still, I can’t seem to untangle my genuine and authentic desires from power-sapping desires that don’t come naturally to me.
I am held hostage by the tyranny of my desires. Should there ever be a shift in the status quo, you can be sure I’ll write about it. Until then, perhaps our dandelion spores will cross paths riding the winds.