On Superficiality

My first exposure to this year’s Big Brother televisual extravaganza occurred tonight: entirely by accident on the nineteenth day of the run. Is it just me or has there been far less media chatter about BB events this summer compared to those of previous years? Admittedly, I’ve not been in the vicinity of much tabloid press of late so it’s entirely possible that my egocentric world has missed out on it due to simple circumstance. (I did, however, stumble across a massive and notably intrusive ‘eye’ poster after staggering out of a Merchant City bar a couple of weeks back. Deciding that a semiotics-based blog entry might be inspired by its peculiar wordlessness, I took the photo you can see on the right).

An odd-looking blonde girl looked vacantly through me from her bubble world. She was sitting in a radically blinged-up incarnation of the perennially regenerating diary room chair, which made me feel as though I was Captain Kirk on the bridge of the Enterprise and I was looking through the viewscreen at some allegorical alien princess, third daughter of Emperor Boobjob of the Planet Peroxide IX.

The alien princess was dishing the dirt on one of her housemates. She doesn’t like some guy or other because of his being overly “superficial”.

Putting aside the fact that this was probably a textbook reification of a parable involving a noir-tinted coffee pot and a similarly afflicted kettle, what is wrong precisely with being superficial?

Superficiality is used increasingly often as a derogatory adjective isn’t it? A put-down. A garden variety criticism. “He’s just so superficial,” they say, “so 2D”. To be honest, I’d like to spend a little more time with some interestingly superficial people: people without too many secrets or complicated desires. Everybody’s gotta be someone, say something interesting, market themselves as having “layers”, as having so many hidden sides that elevate themselves above the simple skill of ‘being’ that everyone else has. What’s wrong with just being an aesthetic?

Everysoften, I am taken off guard by someone I have known for a long time. My mother, my father, old friends. They decide to do things entirely out of keeping with what I had always perceived to be their character yet they don’t seem to make a big deal out of it. In these situations, one realises that one can live with an individual for such a long degree of time and never really know them. I mean, how easy is it to know everything about a person? How can one ever believe that one has found one’s “soulmate”? Surely it’s easier to achieve this in the case of Mr. or Ms. Superficial. Why can’t we just ‘be’ together instead of spending years figuring each other’s guts out only to realise too late in the game that we don’t like what we find in there.

I like superficial people. I do. Their personalities are not filled with labyrinthine tracts so difficult to navigate and impossible to ever really understand. Instead, they are humble aesthetics who can provide comfortable familiarity and honest company without the conceited fictions that we attribute to “personalities”. Whatever one of those might be.

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