I recently took a BuzzFeed test on Facebook that tells you which punk rock icon you are most like. Before I saw the results, I was pretty sure I was going to be Johnny Rotten from the Sex Pistols.
The test says that Johnny is smart and clever, and constantly disappointed that the world doesn’t measure up to his high standards. He has a mean streak and a very bleak sense of humor.
Truth be told, I was proud. And, while I don’t believe any of this bollocks, and can’t believe I actually wasted time taking six or seven of these tests, the result safety-pinned a portion of my identity through the cheek of my social media family. The fact that I own a mean streak in proportion to Johnny’s was enough to splatter endorphins all over my brain because, well, I always knew it was true.
I value the truth no matter how ugly. Ask anyone who loves me.
I’m sorry, but the joy I found in this experience severely strains the assertion that I’m smart and clever. What kind of Buddhist am I? Especially when the test results are, of all things, cute.
Johnny Rotten, forty years later, ensconced in a social medium, is cute.
He stands side by side, metaphorically speaking, with Justin Bieber, videos of talking dogs on skateboards and Lady Gaga’s helicopter dress. Apparently, Marshall McLuhan was right, the medium is the message. It distills all but the most outrageous stuff into jalapeno pablum. No matter how spicy, your memory fades and your taste buds cool.
Then again, given the venom that fills the comment boxes following any blog or YouTube video, perhaps Johnny was even more ahead of his time than I originally thought. Viewers and readers lie in wait, ready to type with two middle fingers about absolutely anything. Our culture has a mean streak and, instead of one guy hating an entire class, the entire culture hates itself.
Johnny, apparently, was the first comment box.
He is us and we are him; a capitalist pig who loathes the previous generation of capitalist pigs because they ruined everything. He was raised in poverty in a working class town where it was okay for factory owners to spit into the mosh pit of another class and another soul.
Consider the fact that Facebook — History’s comment box — spawned from the mind of a suburban guy who was pissed off at a girl and wanted to spit in her face in front of as many people as possible. Zuckerberg was raised with money and as close to the top of the food chain as Johnny was to the bottom. Everyone has access now — even the rich.
The entire BuzzFeed experience is an auto-erotic möbius strip of intellectual delusion that I’m too stupid and arrogant to create and too curious not to inject.
What kind of Buddhist am I? A struggling Buddhist - trying to quiet my mosh pit and not spit into another person’s soul.
God save the Queen.
I’m not Johnny.