Back during the Dot Com bubble, you could hardly open a newspaper without running into an article talking about how the internet would radically change life as we know it. There was a lot of hyperbole involved, and in retrospect,…
So what exactly is the difference between polyamory and non-exclusive dating, if none of the people involved are married?
We’ve been busy here at Splinter. We’ve recently started a blog, and head poetry editor Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo has a radio show on the World Wide Radio Network called Splintered Thoughts.
So if you have a moment, come by and see what us editors are writing and talking about. Click through for links .
So a few days ago I was watching Angels and Demons (don’t judge me) with my friend Matt. When the movie’s action halted (for the third time) in order to lay down some clumsy exposition, Matt sighed and asked a seemingly obvious, but nevertheless powerful question: “What the hell do people see in this [stuff]?”
It’s a good question. As much of a lit-snob as I can be – I can’t deny that Dan Brown has caught on to something. Nearly everyone I know, from the cognoscenti to the dope-patrol has read at least one Dan Brown novel – or at least they gave it an earnest try.
What does Dan Brown do that makes people like him so much? More pointedly, what might this have to do with The Splinter Generation?
Well, for one – I believe Robert Langdon (the Tom Hanks character) to be a stunning example of the Hipster pinup-girl. He’s the master of the esoteric – a symbologist. A character who knows absolutely everything about subjects we’ve never even heard of. He can (and often does) namedrop obscure figures and events of history in casual conversation. He’s a character whose importance and popularity are directly proportional to how exhaustively pedantic he can be. Robert Langdon is an action hero in rumpled corduroy. I can’t tell you how many people I know who try for this.
More importantly, though – what I find most interesting about Dan Brown’s success, is that it seems to connect to a larger trend in popular entertainment.
Dan Brown is writing about the interconnection of things. In the silly worlds of his literature, history is not just some pile of dusty corpses and yellowed pages. It is instead a trail of breadcrumbs leading to something of unquestionably melodramatic importance (the supposed war between faith and science, for example – or an attempted abduction of Christ’s pouty progeny). History isn’t about the past, according to Dan Brown – it’s about the present. It’s everywhere – in every painting and sculpture – in architecture – in religion. We are all caught and tangled in its web, and it is only our illusion that we exist beyond it. Brown’s Langdon suggests to us that if we look closely at the symbols, we can see how interconnected all things actually are.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that A. he’s doing this on purpose, or B. he’s any good at it (for further evidence on this, I direct you here). But Langdon has been whispering in my ear for a few days now… and I can’t help but see a bit of what he’s talking about.
I think it’s safe to say that over the last decade, our society, in its fervent attempt to digitize absolutely everything on the planet, has grown more and more remote. This is the central irony of the internet generation – we’re all so connected, that we’re disconnected. And yet when I stop to consider the stories we’ve told over the last decade, a large number of them a seem to hinge on the contrary.
Babel, 21 Grams, Black and White, Crash, Magnolia, Signs – each of these movies has spoken to some general sense of interconnection. They suggest to us, like Langdon does, that our disconnection, our remoteness, is merely an illusion. That beneath every choice, every turn, there is an unbreakable causal web.
I see these symbols everywhere – even in crappy disaster movies – which ever since Independence Day (which, I acknowledge, came out prior to the last decade), have revolved around disparate groups of people brought together by calamity.
Everywhere I turn, I see interconnection. So why do I still feel so disconnected?
If my observations are correct, they lead me to a more serious set of questions:
Are these stories we’re telling an attempt to ferret out the truth? Are they a capitulation to Langdon’s condescending, yet hopeful lectures?
Or might they be darker than that – a prolonged period of creative mourning for what we’ve lost? A facsimile of something that once was, but no longer is – like a viewing for a deceased relative?
Are we telling these stories of interconnection because we are, in fact, interconnected? Or are we trying to convince ourselves that we still are, when deep down we know we’re not?
We here at The Splinter Generation would love to hear what you think. So strap on a Tom Hanks, 50-year-old-dad-belly and look at the symbols with us!
Post Script: Splinter editor and Grand Poobah Seth Fischer pointed this out to me – Dan Brown was actually a workshop partner with David Foster Wallace. I can’t get the image of a manuscript covered in scribbled lines and red footnotes out of my mind. x
I was sitting in my blue bathrobe one gray afternoon when I realized the Splinter Generation was going to save the world. The US markets had closed a few minutes earlier and I had MSNBC on in the background. The…
What do you think? Who will be the Millennial generation’s (or, as we like to call it, The Splinter Generation’s) Kurt Cobain? Will there be more than one? Put musical, artistic, and literary nominations — especially artists we haven’t yet heard of — in the comments section. We’ll contact our favorites for interviews.
Welcome, everyone, to the new Splinter Generation blog. Here at Splinter, we want to find the best new literary and artistic minds out there, voices that can define who we Splinters (otherwise called millennials) are, and we’ve spent the last few years going through submissions and finding some really, really excellent work (and getting so many submissions we had to turn some of it down, even!)
And now, we’re starting a blog.
We’ll be posting links and random musings about our generation and fiction and poetry and nonfiction and music and art. We’re gonna have fun with it and we’re gonna nerd it up and it will be spectacular. We’re going to cull the Internet for things you’ll be interested in, and we’ll also, hopefully, be able to talk about ideas that are important to our generation and to literature and to art in a less formal way here.
But that’s not it. We also want this blog to start conversations. That’s one of the things Splinter is about: we want to get people who aren’t talking to each other to start talking to each other. So we encourage comments, and we want to hear from you about what it means to be a part of this generation. If you feel like a story needs to be told, or if you have a generational rant that isn’t necessarily literary but you want your opinion voiced, you can email us at splinterblog (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll post some of your thoughts as we get them.
We’ll be here a couple times a week! Check in often. x