I opened a CuriousCat account.
You know, it was Friday, I was bored, the button was there…
For those of you who don’t know, CuriousCat is an app that is added to Twitter and allows anyone to ask the user whatever they want.
I wasn’t expecting many questions, any questions really. But interestingly, on the first day, I received one. It’s the only one I’ve ever been asked and it’s the one you see in the picture.
“I’m not going to ruin my CV of failures with a lousy victory”.
I might seem a bit cross with my answer. On the contrary, I can assure you that the question, and it isn’t the first time it’s been put to me, be it with a question mark or as an assertion, stirs a reaction in me that is a mixture of humour, endearment and empathy.
You see, other issues aside, I’ve been able to not betray my principles, I live happily and in peace, I do what I like to do, what I’ve liked to do since I was a child, in one way or another, and it doesn’t take much to make me laugh. The clichéd aphorism could also apply. I have planted some trees–the cherry tree you see in the picture, I have had a daughter, and (cross my fingers and stay tuned on Twitter) I have written a book.
What is interesting, though, is not to analyse my well-being (Don’t worry. I’m fine. My cholesterol is a bit on the high side, but that’s all.), but rather how a profession like ours ends up using a strange criterion for failure or success based on certain aspects skirting celebritydom, public recognition and admiration. All too often, this is stripped of content to be transformed into an a-critical, oppressive fan phenomenon able to dash hopes and callings in a quest for fame, at times as absurd as it is trivial.
For me, anyone working honestly and in earnest, without betraying minimum principles of civility (doing their job, making an effort, treating others with respect) has already succeeded. The rest, as Houellebecq would say, is logistics.
So, I couldn’t care less if someone “triumphs” by being recognised as a success in the specialised media if the way there is based on exploiting peers, waiving ethics that stand in the way of money, and reactionary lying to the tune of “this is the way it’s always been done”.
You will discover that in no case do I care what is produced, or, while we are at it, whether nothing is produced or whether the work is for someone else. The former is a discussion of another ilk (aesthetics, design, theory…), and the latter is responds to the phantoms of a profession that for too long has believed a stupid legend that those who succeed are heroes whose glory makes him impervious to any questioning at all.
Do I feel I have failed? I don’t. I feel I have tried to leave things better than I found them, that I’ve tried not to betray myself and behave towards others as I would like them to behave towards me. There is not much more to say. Nor is there much less.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to play Mario Karts with my daughter. She’s going to beat me! That will be a failure for me as a driver… and at the same time a success.
See? It’s not that hard.