Tim Perry and Rob Oberdorfer of Ages and Ages, an indie-pop group from Portland, Oregon, find the laughter in a climate of lunacy. Their newly released music video for 'Needle and Thread' dives into the dichotomies that pull apart us all. Drunkenness and sobriety, movement and stillness, madness and sense, are walls we smash against in the struggle to gain balance. Amidst struggle, we need levity to keep from smashing ourselves. In this dialogue, written by Rob and Tim, the two offer a healthy dose of high spirits to combat some of the greater problems in society.
When you want to stay informed but you feel like the news is a churning, profit-driven apparatus which seeks to keep you glued with a barrage of graphics, sound effects, and slogans, depicting over-dramatized “breaking news” segments, intended to scare the shit out of you or just make you plain mad with stories that otherwise wouldn’t have even made it to yesterday’s newspaper, but which today are endlessly picked apart and dissected as if the fucking world depended on it by a trough of partisan “experts” who are paid to keep the kettle boiling and called upon by hosts with perfect hair and maybe some cleavage...
…that’s when you need to remind yourself to steer clear of the shit bath of corporate news altogether – it’s not designed to inform you, so don’t expect it to. You’ve got to put some effort into seeking out what’s really happening in the world: non-profit news organizations, foreign news sources, first-hand reporting via social media, etc. You also need to remember that there is no such thing as 100% bias-free journalism, so you’ve always got to keep up your bullshit detector turned on.
When you feel like the internet has become a place where people go to reinforce, not question, their own preexisting beliefs with any perspective that supports, not challenges, their darkest and most ignorant convictions so they can justify, not correct, their own shitty behavior.
…that’s when you should remind yourself that the internet is also the most powerful democratizing force the world has ever known. Knowledge used to be accessed only by a privileged elite, and the ignorant masses were really easy to control and dominate – because they didn’t understand how really basic shit worked. Yes, information alone isn’t going to make us all get along or instantly get all the old racist assholes out of power, but it is an incredibly powerful tool if we learn to use it wisely. We’re still in the infancy of the whole thing for fucks sake. Patience! Vigilance!
When your phone is a vortex; an infinite distraction loop; a web of self-promotion and lifestyle branding, where celebrities, activists, politicians, corporations, and friends all curate their feeds like a gardener manufacturing the perfect crop, removing every possible blemish but the flower.
…then it’s time to put that shit down for a minute and take a walk outside. Stick your hand in some dirt. Hang out with a friend in the real world. Rub your face in your pet’s fur. If you have a reptile or something un-furry, then pet their scaly ass. The point is, you’ve got to make a point to connect to the physical world regularly. Then, when you do plug in, look for the cracks in all the vanity and posturing. - there are a lot of real people trying to connect out there.
When the only way to engage is to participate, but the only way to participate is to put yourself right there in the shit, then it follows that one can’t possibly act without acting like shit, which only makes you part of the problem, which means that even if you win, you actually lose - which all makes disengaging seem so much more reasonable to anyone who doesn’t want turn into an asshole.
…this is a more metaphysical problem. In reality, there are no winners and losers, as we’re all fucking roadkill at the end of the day. At any moment the dump truck of mortality is going to mow all of our asses down. The best thing we can do with our short time is to be kind, empathetic roadkill. Ignore that whole win/lose dichotomy and you won’t get sucked into the shit. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t act on what you think is right, you just don’t have to be an asshole about it. I know that’s really hard to do when the other side is full of hate and willful ignorance. They want to pull you into the shit because it’s all they’ve ever known - poor shitty bastards! But seriously, don’t let them. As fucked up as they make things, remember they are just as doomed as the rest of us, only they are worse off because they’ve spent their precious time rolling around in shit. Take some pity on those stuck in the shit bath. Do what you’ve got to do to get yourself clear, then do what you can to pull others out. It’s what we’re here to do!
Tim & Rob