Purpose & Audience

As I approach another semester of teaching, I wonder, like every year, how much more difficult it’s going to be to relate to my students. How much pop culture do I need to brush-up on before heading into lectures? Last year, I learned about twerking and then I penalized the students who told me about it. Another thing I punish my students with is the constant repetition of purpose and audience. Why are you writing? Who are you writing for?

I’ve been trying for the past several weeks to post something worthy of reading. Each time I finish a piece, I look back on it and realize how much of an asshole I am. I believe that most of what I write about on this venue is shit, but sometimes poop jokes are funny. It’s really nothing more than me being a bully, using the characteristics and absurd perspectives of the people who piss me off to humor myself and occasionally include some of my readers in on the joke. This is also; however, a place where I can filter out the nagging bullshit so I can make attempts to be more productive with my fiction. In other words, here is where I trace the colorless image with a crayon so it’s easier for me to color in the goddamn lines.

In the piece I wanted to post about signs, I got as far as this: “But these weren’t really “signs” as much as they were signs, big and screaming yellow, as obnoxious as her go-to photograph pose: tongue out like a dog’s lipstick, poking at sandwiches or dead fish—the dog-dick duck-face. It’s quite unique.”

I offered some handouts to a “friend” last year, something to help her with her re-entry into community college at 30-years-old. She looked at me disdainfully, rolled her eyes and said, “Ah, no.” I gave her a head-tilt reaction, similar to how I reacted when I listened to her talk shit about how other people had peaked in high school after one of her shifts waiting tables—a profession she’d held since high school. My purpose was to help, but I failed to consider the audience.

There are only so many times I can write about an ex or the dickhead who cut me off or the grimy hag who picked her nose with the same finger she used to guide the tongs at the salad bar. It’s just not funny anymore, and the humor is lost somewhere in the anger that I try to shed by writing these litanies. Sometimes, I feel my time would be better spent slut-shaming myself in a room full of my ex-girlfriends’ selfies duct-taped to the walls.

I wrote about selfies and horoscopes and memes, but these, too, fell short of anything more than a chuckle. Even the selfie from the toilet was as underrated and vapid as a “real” woman meme. One particular group of women is real while the rest are…imaginary?

The more I wrote about the obvious droll of selfies and memes, the less purpose I found even if it was simply a means to break through some cobwebs or perhaps offer a laugh or two. I recently watched a video where some guy talked about struggles and catcalling women and how stupid it was. I’ve noticed a rash of these videos popping up and I watch. Then I think about the audience that these videos are trying to address. Maybe they educate some idiot and he changes his behavior. Mostly, though, it seems more gratuitous than anything else because it’s obvious, at least it seems to be for anyone who would watch the clips in their entirety, and who probably don’t exhibit that type of behavior.

Pointing things out does little to advocate a solution to a problem. Most of the people listening are the people it doesn’t apply to. So, instead of talking in circles about the stupidity and entitlement that others exhibit, instead of making it a topic of discussion to break up your other topics of discussion that range from the crispness of your skinny-jeans to the new app on your iphone, why not call these assholes out? Yes, you, the person making such an effort to quell the catcallers and bullies. Why not address the issue the next time some Walmart regular smacks their kid around in the store? Why not say something to the prick catcalling? What’s it going to cost you? A punch in the face? An ass kicking? At least then you’d be making a fucking difference.

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