Issue 1: "Idols"
The following is a modified version of the prompt sent out to the writers for this issue.
It should and should not make sense.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about idols and the act of idolization, about fandom and about what access means in the digital age. I’ve been thinking, accordingly, about alienation, and loneliness, and the human impulse to grab onto something as we spin in the dark. This is all because I sit increasingly uncomfortably at a nexus of industries that, with varying degrees of transparency, are based around the selling of a person-or the idea of a person-as a product.
I don’t like being sold things and yet, as I get older, I find myself perversely doing the work of selling myself on people as products. I’ve found that this is because, in my mind, they usually represent something intangible that I value or crave. I’m assigning human beings, pink and fallible, to be physical representations of certain ideals or concepts I find appealing, and I find that a little off-putting but also a little thrilling. Sometimes the relationship evolves into something adult and sometimes these people stay totems (Yerin, The Laughing God, for example). It’s dangerous, obviously, for obvious reasons; I don’t think you can ever know someone, not truly, but we do live in a world where you can get as close as people-or PR managers-will let you. The amount of comfort you have with that gap, however, is up to you.
What I’m interested in is, well, a lot. How do we fill in the gaps, how we cope with that Not Knowing? As time and technology marches on, is that infinite gap between “me” and “you” even closing? Or did the walls simply move in, while growing higher? Is the moat designed to keep us out, or you in? I’m interested in how aging and ”growing up” changes the dynamic, and how we view and treat technology as savior and destroyer. I think a lot about the choice to be seduced by idols, to consciously give into the irrational, for what and why.
I think about the zealotry and idolatry of New Atheism, and how much I Fucking Love Science. I also obsess over fan fiction, and the concept of shipping, and I think about the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the people who stan corporations and franchises; I also think about how identifying with nerd/geek culture is decreasingly about the culture and increasingly a simple reflection of what you choose to consume.
I think about how admiring someone is, at its core, an act of faith, and how being on the other side, being admired, is terrifying. I think about being disappointed in your idols, and how that betrayal can linger far beyond reason, and I dream about basking in the afterglow of learning that someone is exactly who you hoped. I think about sports, a lot, and I whisper two words: “LeBron James.” I remember Chuck and how He Was Not A Role Model, and I also think about Kanye West (this is an everyday thing, though).
I think about a lot of things, but I also think that I might not want the answers to some of my questions.
The following should make sense.
As you might have concluded by now, this wasn’t so much a prompt as a monologue, a loose cloud of words and phrases signifying something. Also, you’ve probably concluded I have no idea how to use punctuation; English is, after all, my only language. I apologize if that’s frustrating—the former, not the latter—but these themes are always going to be…loose. The goal is always going to be to cast a wide net, provide plenty of rope, or any other metaphor that puts a bee in your bonnet. We want to be surprised and we want to see people surprise themselves.
Omakase Magazine is like a garden: you plant the seeds, tend to weeds, and otherwise let plants do their thing. Plants usually know what they're doing; we're just here to help. Time goes on, stalks grow tall, and now, here we are, ready to share in the bounty of the harvest.