I wrote this one a plane, coming back from Mexico, thinking about something I was rather fixated with at the time; identity. I like the extended food metaphor, and the internet references. Still pretty valid today, I think. It’s kinda goofy, but kinda poignant. A little juvenile, but I like it.

Xerox

You’ve selected all the tastiest pieces from this culture buffet
All neatly arranged on your pre-heated dinner plate that a man with white gloves was kind enough to hand you
An impressive display of the latest in trendy, inernational fusion cuisine
All the colours neatly compartmentalised.
All the ingredients fresh.
A little swirl of fresh cream, just for effect.

But you haven’t cooked any of it yourself.
You haven’t written any of the recipes.
You haven’t raised or grown any of the ingredients.
You don’t even have your own silver platter.
Have you ever even seen an oven?

You’re no Jamie Oliver, although you act like you are
You don’t grow exotic tomatoes in a greenhouse you built by yourself
You don’t hand-select the type of oreganum you need from your own windowsill
You don’t experiment restlessly through the night, mixing vinegars with slow-reduced partridge stock to achieve your vision
You don’t delight in the culinary failures that add up to a new sensation

You just grab the shiny silver tongs, pick what you want, and waddle around with your look-what-I-made” attitude and your spectacularly average nose high in the air.
You need to get into the kitchen a bit before you look down on anyone’s slightly sunken crème-brulée.
Mine can be a little lopsided sometimes. I know.
But they crack like a motherfuckers when you hit them with a spoon, and they taste of custard, sugar and years and years of walking uphill with no raincoat.

Download yourself a better attitude.
Trawl the forums for an identity that’s your own,
Because your collage of printed jpegs that you wear in place of a face is pixelated and shit.
If it’s not yours, you can’t sell it.
If it isn’t your art, you can’t sign your name on it.
No, I’m not impressed.
I’ve been in chatrooms before and I didn’t find the bastard-language cute.
I would have learnt it all off by heart if I had the time, but I was too busy sharpening my own quiver of words to bother with your plastic ninja stars.

My friends all have real names, and the ones who have handles have earned them.
We’d all be fucked in a chatroom, but in the real world, we are legion.
Awesome, omnipotent legion.
Doing all the things you flaunt your well-researched knowledge of while you sit in a chair passively receiving someone else’s electronic impulses.

Fucking carbon copy of a carbon copy with a bad attitude and an ill-deserved arrogance.
Even if you can can draw Goku from mind, you’re still drawing someone else’s drawing.

Fw: Personality
Fw: Witty statement
Fw: Sense of humour
Fw: Cultural input
Fw: Relevance
Fw: Contribution to art

Impressive, but I’ve read that email before.
Except last time it had someone else’s name on it.
And my inbox is full.

– Gord Laws 2008