My Monolith and Me

Everything you can imagine is real.Pablo Picasso

There’s been a lot of news about monoliths appearing in different parts of the world. Some clever folks have been enjoying themselves, so I thought I would join them. What got me going was I saw some moneymaking schemers in the news saying they were selling these art pieces for a high price. The best way to drive down prices is to flood the market 🙂 Why buy a monolith when you can make your own. Let your imagination run wild and start making your own monolith. I was inspired by the craziness and made mine from tinfoil and took it to the beach. Things have been way too serious these days and I thought I’d have a little fun. Make your monolith from any medium.

Here in the US, serious problems keep happening every day. One of my many past jobs was in print as an editor/writer/journalist – the three go together. But now the 24 hour a day global news cycle demands to be fed gritty news. I love positive happy news, but that won’t sell advertising. And the news is a for-profit commercial business. Because of the bottom-line, we consumers of news are fed just enough terror and sadness to make us feel threatened or nervous. In this way we’ll come back for more. For months now, the news has taken on a dystopian edge. It isn’t Planet of the Apes (seen every movie) yet, but the media makes you think it could be possible. To paraphrase Charlton Heston, You maniacs, we won’t let you blow it all up. When the news gets too heavy, put it down and get creative. Take your monolith out for a walk.

One of my favorite quotes about politicians is: Politics is Hollywood for ugly people. There is a great movie called Elvis & Nixon. Both of those guys were strange in their own way. But Elvis was the King of strangeness. If you go to Las Vegas you’ll meet several Elvisses – or is it Elvi? I used to do a lot of impressions, and Elvis is one I can still do. So when I took my monolith to the beach, I was channeling my Inner Elvis. When I was a kid, I had a couple cousins who wanted to be Elvis – not the old Elvis with the big belly full of fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches. They wanted to be cool cat Elvis. In fact, Elvis’ Chinese name is “King Cat”, and everyone knows him by that name. The King was a monolith of music, and that cat was a kung fu hero.

When I was studying the media in college, one of the guys we studied was Marshall McLuhan. His most famous phrase was “The media is the message”. The form of the media takes the person’s mind off the fact that they are being subtly manipulated – not by the substance, but by the media itself. Where does the money come from to create the more traditional media like newspaper, magazine, tv, radio? Advertising. Advertisers pay to grab your attention and offer you a product. Advertisers target audiences through the media they select to sell their crap. But now, digital media targets individual users based on the activity the media manipulates them into performing. Do you know what social media markets? You – you are the product. Every click, every action is logged analyzed and cross referenced. And your time is the treasure. Second by second you are being massaged into lingering a little longer. The news media talks about people “going down a rabbit hole” when referring to time spent wandering around cyberspace. Just like Alice in Wonderland wondering through nonsense. The social media business is a global monolith.

The Social Dilemma is a truly frightening movie.

We can choose to fashion a new world. We, the billions of people whose lives are being influenced by monolithic corporations, can once again be the shapers of the future. The giant leap we can take right now is a leap away from time wasting crap. This weekend get busy and make something with your own two hands. Draw/paint/sing/dance/cook/build/sew/hammer/photograph/video … Choose the medium of creation that suits you best. Open your mind to the incredible world of imagination we all possess. Lose track of time making something. Creativity is yoga. Freeing your imagination is a spiritual endeavor. Make your monolith. Choose your future wisely.

Published by cewheeler

Writer/Artist:12 years in China – univ. lecturer: writing,poetry,culture; editor – magazine/newspaper & actor. 40 years students of the Tao. Traveler. Father. Read my books at:

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