In the exhausting tumult of the expanded cafeteria lunch we know as social media, we need to take our paper airplanes where we can get them. The negativity bias ingrained in our own fight for survival often allows one sour tweet to sabotage an afternoon’s contentment. If we’re sad and moping, we’re often blinded to (or resentful of) others’ happiness, and we hone in on worries and strife rather than the bare necessities that allow us to be the Baloo we’re meant to be. Maybe I just took a “Which Jungle Book character are you?” quiz and was unsurprised to land in the Bagheera range of the Kipling spectrum.
Point being, social media feeds, by their very nature, expose us to the best and worst of humanity, and the careful curation of those lists mean all the difference between days of tedium, good humor, bile, or having to change your passwords again. We’re all in this together, or at least some of us are, and hope often comes from islands afar. Speaking personally, hope–or commiseration at least–often arrives through art.
— David Petersen (@mouseguard) March 6, 2015
Not that I tossed and turned over the fate of the woodpecker and the weasel last night (I’ve read that the woodpecker got away), but I got some spring in my step from David Petersen’s take on the latest photo memed ’round the world. And it occurred to me that many, many people on Twitter probably don’t follow any comic book artists, and how desaturated that experience must inevitably be. Sure, they’ll get memes or photo bombs up and down their feeds, but artists, particularly cartoonists with their knack for visual storytelling, offer the kind of commentary that enriches my every day in both subtle and staggering ways.
I think about the fallout from the attack on Charlie Hebdo, the death of Leonard Nimoy, even the mass social experiment that arose from a simple blue and black dress. Artists of this generation are sponges of pop culture discourse, and when time and circumstance send them through the wringer of tragedy or change, the results are touching, if ephemeral tributes. They are question marks and exclamation points molded into curious, colorful shapes. They are paper airplanes shot across the cafeteria to be unfolded and parsed and hopefully returned. “Did this moment send you reeling the way it did me? Circle Y or N.”
Who’s your favorite artist to follow on Twitter? Do you find that they enrich your feed with more than just pretty pictures?
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