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Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy.

Yesterday, I made the monumental and quite a Braveheart numbing decision to leave all social media platforms.

The reasons for this had been building for a year because of uselessness of it all, at least to me, and then came to me in one hurtling attack of guilt, and Fardashian anger, mainly to move away from trolls, any herd mentality and be the king of my own, well, domain.

It was also being reminded first thing in the morning through a message by someone I don’t know nor will never meet that artist Gary Larson didn’t want his work posted online.

One hopes that this person also spends his time spreading this news to Facebook and Google.

As I had been posting Gary Larson’s cartoons on my Instagram page almost every day for the past six months as they gave many, especially myself and friends in Hong Kong, something to laugh about in this sad, mad world, I felt that I was disrespecting Gary Larson’s wishes.

Simply and suddenly having these thousands of “followers” and “interacting” with people I didn’t even know seemed silly- but especially dealing with those who lie in wait for those Gotcha moments.

Who needs this crap and what does this even mean other than spending more time and other kinds of crap dealing with hashtags and all types of social media anxiety?

We live or survive in very petty and tenuous times where priorities are lost and too often working or being alongside very petty people with warped mindsets and morals.

It’s sad, children, but when lusting for fame and fortune by playing with marbles and having watched “The Social Dilemma” one too many times…

Was Gary Larson going to go all primitive and take on the online world- in 2024- for posting his brilliant work that shows how stupid many of us in the human race have become?

The night before, again on Instagram, the New York Times had posted a well-balanced piece on the onslaught of news that the new Taylor Swift opus was creating- you know, the record and media event with the rather pompous sounding title accompanied by all the bells and whistles and ceaseless same old news about everything to do with setting new records and more new records to come yada yada yada.

The main thrust of the intelligently written article was simple: Was everything around this release of “popogranda” and everything else released in the past year by the artist created possible “Taylor Swift fatigue”?

Jeez, there are studies being conducted to learn how to be as successful as Taylor Swift whereas I have made a fairly long term wager that the lady will enter politics by 2030.

The bar appears to have been set so high that everything to do with Pop music has become a one woman show- even the Super Bowl.

Real popularity or the perception of popularity, and if the latter, well done on a relentless marketing and promotional machine rolling over everything in its way- which is what successful marketing and retaining leadership roles are meant to do.

Once upon a Penny Lane, the Beatles made news back when John Lennon mentioned that they were more popular than Jesus.

About two years later, some of us were made to believe that Paul was dead.

The tsunami of comments about the New York Times post, possibly from Swifties, read as being mainly about a gender equality issue: Would this question about “fatigue” or overkill be asked of a male artist had he scored the most mega of mega hits- or at least what appears to be one?

I really didn’t understand where those against what was written were going with their comments.

While understanding that this is social media, where everyone is an expert on everything and have all the freedom in the world, I was thinking that if everything possible has been done by Taylor Swift, there then should be a clean slate for new talent to make themselves known- and through something that has as yet to be created or thought about?

As for Taylor Swift, though respecting her business acumen and taking on the big old boys including the not-very-nice Scooter Braun and winning, and fighting for the rights of artists by setting an example, I had only heard snippets of a few of her songs over the years and thought they were, at most, innocuous- but millions of others are drawn to them.

Nothing wrong with this.

I guess, it’s not dissimilar to the instant popularity of the early songs of a young Carole King, but, at least to these ears, those Goffin-King songs were melodic and real in a simple way. But this is down to one individual’s opinion.

I also loved- and still love-the more eclectic work of Joni Mitchell like when she moved away from the simplicity of “The Circle Game” and “Both Sides Now” to the complexities of “Hejira”, “Mingus” and “Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter”.

Taylor Swift, 35, however, suddenly singing about Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, Patti Smith and the famous/infamous Chelsea Hotel from the beat generation just didn’t sit well with me. 

Was this an attempt at being overnight hip and part of her somewhat late discovery of beat poetry?

Had she perhaps realised that maybe she was becoming a parody of herself?

She was now covering new ground on the heels of her record breaking Eras Tour and not the usual teenage tattletales about her ex and current lovers.

Wait: There are still inside looks into her tortured soul and the joys of her current relationship.

But isn’t this also what Joni Mitchell did through her music?

Maybe it’s these times and the curse and power of social media and how we have become far more cynical and intolerant or too protective of what one’s favourite artists say through their music or in their public life?


Gnawing at me all the time meanwhile are questions about copyright laws, and the lack of them, especially in the free-for-all online streaming world of music and how this is robbing artists of what’s rightfully theirs- and millions of dollars in revenue.

This seems to have been forgotten or accepted by those millions craving online fame and losing sight of the role ageism plays in popularity and business.

What is all this everything and nothing doing to the world, or has already done it?

What are those too young to work out this thing called life going to make of social media when it comes knocking?

More importantly, instead of apologising for opening up Pandora’s box and shrugging their shoulders, the onus should be on them to payback for everything that has been stolen and lost.

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