Sunday, 3 February 2019

Peak drivel

Much academic and political anguish has been generated by the internet and its potential to damage the ancient art of drivel. Yet the word drivel is usually used in a pejorative sense and has been for centuries.

And therefore this proverbe is seyd ful sooth,
Him thar nat wene wel that dryvel dooth;
A gylour shal him-self bigyled be.'
Geoffrey Chaucer

However, if we take a wider perspective we soon see that drivel has always provided the basis of hierarchical societies, the language we use to describe ourselves and what we do. It has always been the glue binding social structures together. The sticky stuff which seals critical lips, gums up institutions and generally avoids the ultimate damaging question – what the hell is going on?

There is little doubt that in both the spoken and written word, drivel is the traditional and by far the best way to justify and find reasons for – well absolutely anything.

For example, radical trans philosopher Tammy-Lou Klukke has spent many years working with drivel and all its numerous manifestations. She praises drivel rather than condemning it. She is convinced of its crucial economic and social importance, putting its value to the global economy at a little over five trillion dollars. The exact figure has been disputed, but most academics working in the field are convinced that the value of drivel may simply be incalculable. It is certainly the case that millions depend on it.

This is what Klukke has to say

It's all about boundaries because boundaries are oppression. So get rid of them. Okay we all know drivel isn’t a great way to label one of our most valuable and liberating existential tools. But folks - we simply have to take a hand in weaving the beautiful poetry of our being to escape the oppressive corruption of the patriarchy. Drivel helps us with that. It expands our existential boundaries way, way beyond the tyrannical reach of power. It is the poetry of what can be without boundaries, without the razor wire of existence. Drivel is freedom - freedom from the absurd, killing restraints of what has to be – restraints deliberately engineered by the oppressor.

So hey – just embrace it. Listen to its possibilities and take hold of them. If that doesn't work just get rid of it and spin some more. You know you can do it. So just live drivel and see where it takes you because the journey is the thing, not some shrivelled up notion of bleak and cheerless destinations we never wanted to visit in the first place.

It’s a powerful message but on the other hand I think those power brokers know perfectly well what they are doing when they tirelessly promote drivel in all its myriad flavours. Klukke may claim that we all need drivel to escape from under the thumb of power, but it is those self same power brokers who feed and nourish the drivel in the first place.

No – what the power brokers fear is not drivel because they wallow in that. What they really fear is peak drivel. What they fear is a drivel drought where their sources of drivel dry up simply because the internet allows people to identify drivel as drivel. That isn’t how drivel works. It goes incognito and needs to remain that way. Peak drivel is the real threat posed by the internet.

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