Connecting 10:04 to Social Media

Upon reading part four of Lerner’s novel 10:04, I stumbled upon an idea that connects well with our more in-depth focus on social media. Upon reading page 185, I realized maybe Lerner was trying to make a point throughout this part of the novel… The narrator started part four in Marfa, however, started in a manner of isolation. At one point, the narrator realizes he has not interacted with another human being in over two weeks. The narrator has been on his own reading, writing, and working on his craft to create excellence. Is this what Lerner thinks is required to be successful in writing? In any field? And is that cause because of our constant distraction and short attention spans because of never ending emails, alerts, and social media off-springs seemingly purchasing real estate in our heads. Furthermore, if we are to isolate ourselves as the narrator has done in 10:04, is it possible to maintain that strong will power to continuously focus on ourselves for a given time period. The novel suggest otherwise, and maybe Lerner concurs. For example, the narrator begins in isolation, and in his ideal environment. The isolation does not persist for long. The narrator goes from saying yes to museum to then going to dinner. The narrator then finds himself at a party in Marfa in the same night. Then he finds himself smoking with individuals at the party. Later the narrator ends up doing cocaine off of a coffee table… The narrator goes, from complete and pure isolated silence, to a chain-smoking cocaine user. The story in the novel may be used simply for comedic purposes, or to show the stages of the intern and how Lerner felt empathy for him. However, I believe it relates to the constant pressures of us to interact with others, and how our will power can be so easily tested given the right situations. With an increasing social media presence every day, we may begin to experience this more and more. Our attentions may be diverted even more, and when we do hold our will power to focus on ourselves in order to work on our craft, will we be able to be consistent. Does this consistency end with success? In order to master something or be “successful” whether it be power, wealth, or fame, does this level of isolation need to occur?  This concept of the trade offs of success and enjoying life’s simplest pleasures is something I think about very often. Am I willing to sacrifice my social experiences furthering my friendships and relationships with loved ones in order to see the true potential in myself? Where do we draw the line? More importantly, why should we have to? In general, working towards your own aspirations in life can be lonely. Despite having strong relationships with friends and family members, you may still experience loneliness as if you are living life all by yourself. You are working towards your own goals and success, and often times, others around you cannot relate. Individuals around you may have different level of ambitions, or they may not be as competitive as you are. Maybe you are not a competitor yourself? Nonetheless, social media I believe has had a large impact on me in regards to this situation, and I often ponder on how it will affect me and others around me in the future.

One thought on “Connecting 10:04 to Social Media

  1. I really like how you connected some of the more subtle progressions of the story, such as his sudden transition from isolation to extreme interaction, to the idea of being with and without social media. I especially love the idea that the cocaine is somehow a comedic metaphor for the internet. When I was reading the first 3 parts of the novel, I took Lerner’s perspective on technology to be fairly neutral. It had negative undertones sometimes but even the jarring section where he talked about finding out a friend had killed himself over text and immediately having to move on with his life didn’t seem outright harsh against social media. It seemed more like a matter-of-fact statement, that that is just how things are now whether we like it or not. I almost wish Lerner had stayed neutral instead going against technology outright because I found his most interesting ideas to be in the earlier chapters when he was reflecting on how technology had changed everything from almost an outsider’s perspective. But when he comes out swinging and claiming that isolation is key, at least to make great works of art or literature, his stance changes from an outsider’s perspective to something more stereotypical. He seemed like the trope of the angry middle-aged man who despises the internet, though to a lesser extent. I still enjoyed the novel, but I found the change in stances frustrating.

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