If you look at the trending hashtag #WorldDreamin6Words you’ll see such tweets as: “Less ‘Them’ and ‘They’, more Us.” And “No More Violence in the Streets.” And “Self love and acceptance for all.” And “Ending the Stigma on Mental Health.” And “We all get a hamburger today.” And “A world free of animal abuse.” And “Love each other NOT imaginary dictators.” And (from the same person) “International Casual Friday with Keg Parties.” “Ham, eggs, and corncob pipes for everyone.” (That last one is from “Mark Twainz.”)
When there are terrible things happening in the world—always, in other words—it’s easy to see grotesque contrast wherever you look. It suddenly feels obscene that the newspaper should, after detailing riots and death, contain a recipe for crunchy glazed calamari. Or that the movie marquee should feature Dior and I. Or that #HumpDay should be trending. Or that anyone cares that Hulu has licensed Seinfeld. But then, feeling this self-righteous disgust is itself a luxury. Certainly paralysis is.
Still, I keep returning, in revulsion, to #WorldDreamin6Words: “Good that isn’t pizza becomes pizza.” “No more killing in this world.” “I’m pretty sure it involves Beyoncé.” “People come equipped with mute buttons.” And many, many more—always more. You can’t keep up with hashtags, of course; or, at any rate, keeping up with them is a full-time job. And for all I know, #InternationalDanceDay or #HumpDay are every bit as unnerving. It is all a question of what you ignore.
Sadie Stein is contributing editor of The Paris Review, and the Daily’s correspondent.