Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Capture the Fun

It is curious how, the more 'fun' becomes the all-consuming mantra of modern times, the harder it apparently is to grasp. I am thinking of the new mobile phone ad which demands that we "capture the fun, share the moment." The 'fun' must be captured. It is trying to escape. Fleeting, elusive beast, this 'fun'. And then we are expected to share this precious thing? We must, we are told, first individually grab and store fun, and then, through our own beneficience, distribute this fun philanthropically amongst our friends and acquaintances and indeed, thanks to the magic of Twitter, the whole world.

Of course, the notion of 'sharing' has a particular resonance these days. Thankyou for sharing, implies the off-loading of some emotional debt in the manner of an at least semi-public confessional. It's AA speak gone mainstream. The underside of a 'fun' defined by consumption is of course precisely this debt, as the vogue for organic food and the subprime mortgage crisis both testify in their different ways. This is the double movement of modern hedonism: to seek out and seek to master this ubiquitous dyad of fun and debt, then, in failure, the penitential act of sharing and confessing in an endless circuit of the drive.

If fun is to be made our prisoner, caught and detained, shackled and hooded in extraordinary rendition, it seems to beg the question, well, where's the fun in that? Privatised and atomised, plugged into our iPods to keep the world at bay and bathe in that curiously tinny, infantalisingly oedipal, aural womb, we crave fun to the precise degree that it imprisons us. This fun is starting to look increasingly like work, and the technical prostheses through which we might access both are, of course, the same. Just as Blackberrys and mobile phones offer us a sharing shorn of any real sense of community, we are left with a fun drained of pleasure. The hardest prison to break is the one that you choose.