December 14, 2012

Product Review: Panasonic PT AX200U (Hipsters On Food Stamps Part 3)

 Second prize is a set of steak knives.jpg
but how will you afford a steak?

Part 2 here

Three questions, open book:

1.  Did Hipster Gerry get his money's worth from the University of Chicago, either $100k in future income or knowledge?  No.

2. Did society get their money's worth in sending him, i.e. by permitting/facilitating the diversion of his intellect into whatever it was he majored in?  No.

Neither of those questions have the force to change reality.  This one does:

3. Did the University of Chicago get their money's worth out of him, was $100k worth the dilution to their brand?   No.

Universities are going to need to differentiate themselves as something more than a processing plant for future consumers of Chinese textiles, local produce, and California  pornography.  But that time is a long, long way off.  What can universities do in the meantime, to keep up their brand in the face of thousands of product recalls every year?
 
Time for the go team: The New York Times.


II.

The NYT has an article criticizing hipsters.  How much would you pay for such an article?  (NB: you paid zero for mine.)  That's a legit question, not "you get what you pay for."  Ten cents?  A dollar?  Remember that figure, we'll come back to it.

This is how the article begins:

If irony is the ethos of our age -- and it is -- then the hipster is our archetype of ironic living.

If your reservoir for archetypes goes back only one generation, you need your eyeball scanned, you're probably a replicant.  Keep that in mind, we'll come back to it, too.

The ironic frame functions as a shield against criticism. The same goes for ironic living. Irony is the most self-defensive mode, as it allows a person to dodge responsibility for his or her choices, aesthetic and otherwise.

So this is true, but that's the secondary purpose of irony, not the primary purpose:  in exchange for this self-defense, it puts all of the ironist's energy in the service of the thing it is defending against; that while he affects a distance from "all this", he participates 100% in it. However much the "not corporate" hip coffeehouse needs the barista's extensive roasting knowledge or values the ambiance he creates with his MFA and thoughts about 2666, it is way more than the $7/hr no benefits it is paying him, but they got him, making skinny lattes for an organ donor in a light blue North Face coat while he and his Julliard buddy Garf roll their eyes disdainfully when she asks for two Splendas.  "You're saying he's underpaid?"  Yeah, but not the point, the point is why does he accept it?  It's only because he can roll his eyes about how mainstream she is that he stays, it offers him a perch from which he is better than her, while simultaneously and no less ironically, this woman thinks she is better than him because she's on the correct side of the counter and her husband works on Wall Street.  In math terms, the difference between what he is actually worth and the amount he is paid is how much he values feeling superior to MILFs.

Or, if I can be permitted a judicious use of psychoanalytic jargon: it's the rationalization that allows you to blow a guy you can't stand, "I hate him but I'm going to make him cum so hard he'll just want more of me, which will be his punishment."  Let that analogy sink in for a moment.  From his perspective, not only did he still get blown, he liked it even more.  NB: in this analogy, the guy is capitalism and you're not.

III.

Christy Wampole is an assistant professor of French at Princeton University, so right away you should be suspicious of  her allegiances, so I figured this was just another NYT hit piece for its overeducated and overpaid demo.  But then this happened:

[The hipster] is merely a symptom and the most extreme manifestation of ironic living.

Hold on, something is amiss.  There's a gigantic difference between an "archetype" and "merely a symptom", e.g. one is cause and the other is effect, and for a Professor of Confusing Words it's a big mistake to make-- especially when it's been reviewed by the editor at the NYT.  It's about as big as missing the primary purpose of irony.  Cause, or effect?  They are almost opposites, which means she's wants them to be the same, which makes this evidence of a defense.  So this article isn't simply "kids today are lazy."  There's something else happening:

For many Americans born in the 1980s and 1990s -- members of Generation Y, or Millennials -- particularly middle-class Caucasians, irony is the primary mode with which daily life is dealt.  One need only dwell in public space, virtual or concrete, to see how pervasive this phenomenon has become. Advertising, politics, fashion, television: almost every category of contemporary reality exhibits this will to irony.

"Will to irony" may mean she's an idiot, and if this were true I could happily close my computer and buckle down to another night of alcoholic hallucinosis, but she's not an idiot, she's probably smarter than me, which means something far more sinister is going on: conflating the irony of the kids with the irony of the "public space."  Who does she think made the public space?  20 somethings?  Who is running the advertising agencies?  Who is running for politics?  How old is every legit fashion designer?  Who is responsible for the human rights violations of the ABC Network?  She's not decrying the hipster generation, she's describing hers.


IV.

Here is a paragraph so preposterous I was sure this was a McSweeny's gag.  But she didn't mean this to be ironic, which is itself ironic, good luck not laughing:

Born in 1977, at the tail end of Generation X, I came of age in the 1990s, a decade that, bracketed neatly by two architectural crumblings -- of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the Twin Towers in 2001 -- now seems relatively irony-free. The grunge movement was serious in its aesthetics and its attitude, with a combative stance against authority, which the punk movement had also embraced. In my perhaps over-nostalgic memory, feminism reached an unprecedented peak, environmentalist concerns gained widespread attention, questions of race were more openly addressed......



"Relatively irony-free!  Architectural crumblings! Socially conscious!  Bosnia Herzigova or whatever!"  I realize Aspirational 14% wants their beloved 90s to be about something more than just bicuriosity and JDSU, but I was there, it wasn't.  Anyone who thinks the grunge movement was "serious" and "combative" and who thinks feminism "reached a peak" also thinks The Hunger Games was a step forward for women and 50 Shades is poorly written "but still hot."  Just because you call yourself a progressive or a feminist, doesn't make it true, your progressive passions may end up setting women back five hundred years-- that's right, 500 years.  Even 200 years ago Catherine took power away from her husband and became something great, Walpole's is the generation that admires Hillary Clinton as a female role model, not because she became Secretary of State, but because she stayed with her husband so that she could become Secretary of State.  Read it again if you didn't get it the first time, it's important.  I forbid you from having daughters.  Or oxygen.  I know, I know, I don't have any real power, but maybe someday a man will give me some.



V.


When someone hates something that to outside observers looks exactly like themselves in every way, you should quickly consult a French book to see if they don't have a word for that phenomenon, and they do, it's called projection.

Before you nod and use it to hate on her, you should understand what projection is.  It sounds like you project unwanted feelings onto another person, which is both wrong and impossible.  It's not an action, it's a problem of perception.  The unwanted feelings don't make sense coming from someone like you, so you conclude they must be coming from the other person.

To use the frequent example of "homophobia": a guy feels gay impulses and can't "handle it" but he doesn't get rid of them by putting them onto someone else, he confuses them as coming from someone else.  He smells gayness, "Where is it coming from?  Me?  Impossible! Jesus washed my feet.  Must be that guy."   Sorry, wildman, whoever smelt it dealt it.  Projection is the most primitive of defenses, circa age 2, and the description should make it clear it is a narcissistic defense: one's perception of the world is inextricably, concretely the result of one's inner states.  There is no "objectivity" possible. 

The purpose of projection is not to get rid of the feelings, but to explain their presence, to defend the self against a label: "I'm not gay..... even if I have gay sex once in a while."  The point isn't to avoid gay sex, the gayness isn't intolerable to them-- e.g. observe the high hat Christians caught in various rest stops across our land-- but even thought they've committed the act, it doesn't affect their identity.

My use of gay as an example is unfortunate because half of you will see "gay" as "bad," but the projected impulse doesn't have to be "bad", merely incongruous to the desired identity that you are trying to solidify.   If you doubt this, consider the sullen engineering student at a party, "I'm not like these superficial sorority girls with perfect smiles and condomless sex" who then perceives great happiness in these people.


find and replace.jpg 
You could be happy, too, dude, if you weren't so invested in not being happy.  If you want a partial understanding of why 19-21 Saudi/Egyptian terrorists could live in America and enjoy our strip clubs but still want to crumble our architecture, there you go. 

The article continues with a "nuanced" criticism of irony and the hipster mindset, and then towards the end she tries a reversal, but it's a trick, not because it's not genuine, it is, but precisely because it is genuine:


Obviously, hipsters (male or female) produce a distinct irritation in me, one that until recently I could not explain. They provoke me, I realized, because they are, despite the distance from which I observe them, an amplified version of me.

So true; totally wrong.  When people "figure themselves out" and then applaud themselves for their "brutal self-honesty", you can be sure it is further defense.  The easiest way for a self-aware person to protect himself is to "figure out" something that is actually correct so that he stops there and doesn't go any further, which is also the problem with most therapies.  "I'm learning a lot about myself and my motivations."  No you're not.  "Figuring yourself out" not only fails, but is the defense itself.  Stop doing it.

She thinks she "realizes" hipsters are an amplified version of her, i.e. that she is projecting-- which is in fact/duh correct, but never asks the question, "Why am I projecting?  What do I benefit from this madness?  How does the system benefit?"

There are so many ways, let's just take one.   Is the result of her work product ironic?  Yes.  Then it's in the service of the system, while she is able to affect a distance from "all this" she participates 100% in it.

However much the NYT values her PhD, however much they value her intellect and opinions, it's way more than what they paid her, which is nothing.  The question is, why didn't she demand to be paid?  I'm not saying you have to do everything for money, god knows I write a lot of blog and drink very long rums and neither one have delivered profits commensurate with the labor.  If she was promoting something of course I'd understand writing for free, but what can she do after writing for the Times except write for the Times again?  See also Princeton, where you will pay them more to get the degree that they will then pay you less to use for them, in no other profession is learning how to do something more valuable than actually doing it. Is that ironic?  Then she is able to affect a distance from "all this" while she participates 100% in it.  Undoubtedly she's thinking, "well, hell, I got an article in the Times!" as if that has some incalculable value, but that's the trick.  It doesn't.  It's a scam.

"I'm not a vicious capitalist, I don't always have to get paid for what I do. I like to participate in the public debate."  I. I. I.  Stop it, look around!   This isn't charity, the Times is a billion dollar corporation and Princeton is in actuality a gigantic hedge fund-- why are you giving them your work for free?    "That's the system, I can't change it."  Exactly.

No different than the person who doesn't ask for a raise because they're nervous, "should I ask for 5% more?" and they agonize about it for a month, ten months.  The point isn't whether you deserve the extra money, the point is whether you deserve it more than the company, because if you don't take the extra money home to your kids, the company takes it to theirs.  Note that no one ever frames it this way, it is always about "making a case" or "explaining how you can both benefit."   Note also that in most cases the person you'd ask for a raise is a manager, one who has no investment in that money, it doesn't come out of his pocket.  Yet he is the biggest obstacle, he will put sugar in your gas tank to stop you from getting that raise.  Is that ironic?  Or totally the point? 

Glengarry Glen Ross is on Netflix, you should watch it a lot.  The easy "critique of capitalism" is that "second prize is a set of steak knives" because that's how little it costs to motivate you to work harder for them, and if that doesn't work there's always "third prize is you're fired."  But the real wisdom which is not about capitalism but which is about narcissism comes from understanding that first prize isn't a Cadillac Eldorado, you think Alec Baldwin needs a car?   There is no first prize.  Real closers don't want the prize, they want to be the best, that's why they will practice practice practice and don't play the lottery.  The car is a temptation only for people who do not know their own value, the value of their own work, who won't lift a finger to advance themselves, who are motivated only by threats or by rewards, who would rather have the appearance of success than actual success. "I got an article in the Times!"  celebrates the person whose brain is broken.  "Alec Baldwin's character is a raging narcissist!" Jesus are you stupid, Alec's name is MacGuffin, that's why he's in Act I and never again yet propels the story forward.  It is irrelevant whether Alec Baldwin has metal testicles or pathological grandiosity, what matters is that after years of C minus work, what finally gets those dummies fired up is First Prize or Third Prize, left to themselves they meander in mediocrity while deluding themselves that they are more than what they do. "I was number one in '87!"  So was Alf.   And the system knows this, which is why it lets Wampole call herself a professor but pays her like a TA-----  and she's upset at hipsters.  Is that ironic?  

She's criticizing-- sorry, critiquing-- hipsters for their defensive posture against society, and for not working, but, look, at least they are not working for free, like a Matrix battery propping up the very system that sucks the life out of them.  "Well, it's cool that I got an article in the Times, maybe I'll get to write another one."  I know, I know, the temptation of a moment of celebrity was too great to resist, only a fool would pass it up.   Meanwhile Princeton is happy to use her to market their anti-hipster brand to the demo that has the money to send their batteries to Princeton one day.   However much Princeton values her article to the NYT, it is way more than they... never mind.

The thing is, if I tie her to a chair and shine the heat lamp on her and ask her whose fault "all this" is, she'll answer the Republicans.  Since she's a nuanced thinker she'll probably say George Bush.  And when she has to get a job at Rutgers because Princeton won't give her tenure, she'll blame the tax cuts or "an undercurrent of sexism in academia."  But she will save and save and save to send her own daughters to college one day, hey, if you send them to Rutgers they'll generously give a 10% employee discount.  Sweet!

You gave the system you don't like a spectacular blowjob, and then try to punish it by making it want you more.  From the system's perspective, not only did it still get blown, it liked it even more.  In this analogy, the system is the system and you're not.



http://twitter.com/thelastpsych






Comments

What if I don't hate hipste... (Below threshold)

December 14, 2012 3:31 PM | Posted by MMD: | Reply

What if I don't hate hipsters, but find them mildly amusing? What does that say about me? And what am I projecting?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 35 (57 votes cast)
Love the article, but one q... (Below threshold)

December 14, 2012 4:17 PM | Posted by BDM: | Reply

Love the article, but one question - why is it titled "Product Review: Panasonic PT AX200U"? Is that supposed to be... ironic or something?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 23 (29 votes cast)
Google it. You won't be di... (Below threshold)

December 14, 2012 4:50 PM | Posted, in reply to BDM's comment, by butterflymcdoom: | Reply

Google it. You won't be disappointed.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 71 (79 votes cast)
<a href="http://www.cracked... (Below threshold)

December 14, 2012 7:08 PM | Posted by Dovahkiin: | Reply

http://www.cracked.com/funny-4573-hipster/

The NYT doesn't know much about hipsters. It isn't irony, it's pretension and there's nothing ironic about pretending that you don't like anything that's popular. That's what a hipster does. If it's a mainstream band, they hate it. Same with movies and music. It's a way to say "I'm better than you because I'm ahead of the trends."

I said this before on the hipster on foodstamps thing, but it's not the way people who are into a subject act. If I like books, I like a style or an author, and I don't hate them when other people start to like them. I'm always happy when people discover what I like, because I think they'll like it too.

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Is this part of three of th... (Below threshold)

December 14, 2012 8:03 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Is this part of three of the hipster series?

But anyway. Picking over how shit the culture seems a bit worthless (though an interesting read).

Seems to me that this blog is all about feeling superior ...

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (98 votes cast)
Unrelated - With r... (Below threshold)

December 14, 2012 8:06 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Unrelated -

With regards to the CT shootings, I'm interested in hearing what TLP has to say. His interpretation of the obvious points about gun control vs. no gun control would possibly be interesting, but what I'd really like to get his perspective on is the relationship between the mental health industry and crises like this. I feel like there might be some useful analyses that could be pulled from that.

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What's a "TA-----"</... (Below threshold)

December 14, 2012 8:27 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

What's a "TA-----"

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -15 (25 votes cast)
I think TLP is saying that ... (Below threshold)

December 14, 2012 8:48 PM | Posted by Heytor: | Reply

I think TLP is saying that the author of the hipster article is wasting her time, and projecting onto hipsters that they waste their own time is her defensive mechanism. And if she were to be psychologically more healthy, she would be telling people like herself that her name is "fuck you" because that's what Alec Baldwin's character does in Glengarry Ross, and being motivated by money, prizes, or prestige is wrong, or weak, or mediocre. Alex Baldwin's character is outside the system, and everyone else is in it. The author is in the system, because she is undervalued by the system just like the hipsters.

Let your up and down votes confirm or deny.

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It follows, if the hipsters... (Below threshold)

December 14, 2012 8:50 PM | Posted by Heytor: | Reply

It follows, if the hipsters and author are part of the system, that the goal of psychological wellbeing is to get outside the system, which you do by...oh we're all out of time for today folks. Check back next week for more insights on how everything that affects you personally is caused by narcissism and everything that affects you broadly is the intention of the system (which you support, believe it or not, with narcissism).

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 160 (168 votes cast)
What if the system is into ... (Below threshold)

December 14, 2012 9:03 PM | Posted by indigo: | Reply

What if the system is into anal?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 55 (69 votes cast)
teacher assistant... (Below threshold)

December 14, 2012 9:23 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

teacher assistant

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 9 (13 votes cast)
"consider the sullen engine... (Below threshold)

December 14, 2012 9:45 PM | Posted by mackytrajan: | Reply

"consider the sullen engineering student at a party"

Okay, I laughed because this is literally me. But I laughed in an ironic way.

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The only thing wrong with t... (Below threshold)

December 14, 2012 11:25 PM | Posted by XN: | Reply

The only thing wrong with this article is the dig against grunge music. You are totally wrong about that, TLP.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -29 (67 votes cast)
If you want further proof o... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 12:21 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

If you want further proof of the truth in this article, just read the comments section. It is hilarious that all top does is criticism narcissists, yet his readership is made up primarily of them, assuming most readers comment

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Hi - I wandered into this s... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 4:34 AM | Posted by confused: | Reply

Hi - I wandered into this site from the lawn and garden department and now find myself very confused. I wanted to buy a garden gnome (so unhip it's hip) but now realize that I was projecting my own desires onto it in the hope that he would put a small statue of me in his garden. Anyway, I mistakenly bought a set of steak knives and would like to know if I could exchange them for a blowjob, preferably from a French major.
Lessons learned - Avoid the New York Times and punch Alec Baldwin in the mouth before he has the chance to say anything.

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I call the rutgers people "... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 4:57 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I call the rutgers people "the scarlet retards" because they are.

I live in new jersey and it is a simple fact that when you see a shit mobile riding around with that scarlet R, you know it stands for retard. Expect horrible driving.

I am apt to shout out "FIGURES YOU would cut me off, SCARLET RETARD"

Ever heard of the bumper sticker index, i.e. the more bumper stickers the greater the insanity of the driver? A single scarlet R on your vehicle negates this rule and you are automatically insane.

PS, TLP really how do you know everything about me? So much of your writing reflects what I write/think. Is this a sign of early schizophrenia, isolation, or are you creeping me? Please answer. Love, God.

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On my blog I wrote an in de... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 5:00 AM | Posted, in reply to XN's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

On my blog I wrote an in depth analysis of nirvana, other 90s bands, and why they were fabulous but never posted it. Then I deleted it by mistake. The insight, the brilliance! This is still a tragedy I have not recovered from. It's like waking up with a great idea and forgetting to write it down!

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Are we not doing the same a... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 5:19 AM | Posted by 720p?1080p!: | Reply

Are we not doing the same as Wampole? She complains about hipsters, TLP catches her projecting, so is TLP / are we not also projecting our disdain for own narcissism onto her?

You think about mankind's faults so you don't have to do something about your own.

You are what you do. I need a beverage.

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In this analogy, TLP is the... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 7:05 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

In this analogy, TLP is the patient with Narcissistic personality Disorder and you are not.


Heytor wrote;
"Check back next week for more insights on how everything that affects you personally is caused by narcissism"

Anon wrote;
"all tlp does is criticism narcissists, yet his readership is made up primarily of them"

TLP seems deeply narcissistic in her/his assumed superiority to the shitty she comments upon.
I remember hearing somewhere that narcissism is untreatable in therapy., TLP is happy being stuck where she/he is, stuck in an illusion of her own superiority, railing against morons.

I view this blog as a celebration of/advert for narcissism, while it thinks it's the opposite.


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The jist of this is that th... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 7:53 AM | Posted by thestage: | Reply

The jist of this is that the system is going to win whether or not you lose. And "the system" isn't a concept, it is a metaphor, and what it is standing in for is "everyone who is not you."

So you might as well win.

The undercurrent is an attempt to help a demographic that might broadly, terrifyingly be labeled "smart people." TLP never said that humanities students were stupid or that education was a joke. He (or she--go fuck yourself) is not saying Ms. Princeton is stupid or bad. What TLP said was that this doesn't work, so we might as well think about trying to fix it instead of think about thinking about how it doesn't work.

"The system," which by meaning everyone precisely and intentionally means no one, is going to bilk you in every sense of the word because bilking you is the definition of the system. It isn't run by Joe Evil in the CEO's chair, and it isn't run by Barrack Hussein Bush Jr. in the white room house. Their positions are just as crucially pointless as yours, they just pay better. The system self-perpetuates. How it got there, what or who instituted it, I don't know, talk to someone smarter than anyone here. All you (me) have to know is that intuiting every ounce of this when you were twelve years old is a recipe for suicide, you cannot fail to play the game in any way that doesn't involve failing to live.

But the pragmatics are off. The barista is "valued" at more than 7 an hour, and if he wasn't stupid he'd instead be a professor also valued at more than the 7 an hour he is also making. So ok. I can feel the crushing waves of empathy, TLP, I really can, you want to help even more than you want to lament or disdain or drink. This is the uneasy answer: even economically useless, socially displaced, intellectual crippled people are worth something, they deserve life not in the sense of an SSI check and an IOU slip traded by banks, but in the sense of both being and feeling useful. It is uneasy in that it has no real weight, the barista cannot trade in the intellectual conclusions of a member of his class for a raise from McCoffee. That is the system too, it protects itself from recognition, it devalues thought in an economy of power and materiality. What does the barista professor do? Do something? Become "the best" barista? He can claim he's worth a million, no one is going to pay him. The "best" professor our Princeton Sweetheart can be is still going to earn the same, she's still going to be shredded by the tenure-and-prestige buzzsaw. She does not think it's cool to be in the times because it is the times, she thinks "if I'm not in the times, I won't have the cache to get into a respectable journal, and if I'm not in a respectable journal I am going to be fired." Is she supposed to use the powers of self-actualization to wish this one away? The mindset that she gifted to herself, that is necessary in her becoming what I'll generously call a member of the class of factory-professors, is always going to curb her scholarship, it is always going to contaminate thought and knowledge with the spectre of her situation. If she was ever able to do something For Real in the space of human intellectual advancement, which is entirely unlikely in the first place (we can't all by superheroes), her making the conscious decision to be a professor in today's world will have already pushed her down the stairs.

I went to college a nice decade after I should've already been dead, and I went after telling myself I'd never go for all the reasons you might say or think, for all the reason you might think I would think. Then I went, and the system won. But I read in my head what you wrote in the blog, and I told myself it is going to win whether I'm dead or happy, so I might as well make it the latter. But, of course, the project is already a failure if this is how you think, you're going to win but you're only going to do it to spite yourself. The only time in my life I ever did something was when I went to school and succeeded by any metric but my own, having come away not caring about the grades and the advancement but, in fact, caring so hard about those things even as I made damn sure that I would profit in spite of them, that I was actually able to finish, actually able to get them. And for this all I got was more self-loathing, and an even greater inability to do anything that someone didn't tell me to do. Even as I recognized at all possible moments exactly what was happening.

So I Just Did, and the result was nothing. If I Just Do now, who is going to pat me on the back, where is it going to take me or anyone else? Guy in Alec Baldwin movie can Just Do and he'll get ahead, he'll make more money that he can fail to do anything useful with. But I'm not a salseman, Jack, no one is going to pay me in consolation prizes for the blowjob. You can ask for more, but no one is going to give it to you. When your particular talent, should you have one, is in telling everyone why they are not going to give you more, so to speak, it's not more they're not going to give you, it's anything. Pretend for a second that TLP is actually a singular practicing psychiatrist writing a blog on why the world is terrible. I don't care if it is true. The point is no one is paying this theoretical person for writing this blog. Instead, shehegofuckyourself is getting paid, probably rather well, for giving the system a blowjob in a particular quantifiable and practical field for which heshekillme went to school for a decade in order to practice. And this blog can only exist because sheheaojisdg;ue is able to be rewarded for the blowjob to begin with. Which is great for TLP, but I'm 29 years old without a helpful degree in drugging people, I'm not able to Just Try Harder in a way that will both pay me and allow me to not want to kill myself, sorry, that boat sailed. And it sailed for the barista too; he doesn't know it yet, but the irony isn't to protect himself and it isn't to allow him to serve a system that hates him while allowing him to pretend he hates it back. it's to allow him to not want to die.

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and, for the record, I wrot... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 8:16 AM | Posted, in reply to thestage's comment, by thestage: | Reply

and, for the record, I wrote that post maybe two hours after completing and submitting five applications to PhD programs. Welcome To The Matrix.

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Yeah? Well, I stuff three r... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 11:23 AM | Posted by Reader With Stockholm Syndrome: | Reply

Yeah? Well, I stuff three rolls of socks and a bar of beauty soap down the front of *my* pants.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 7 (9 votes cast)
Well, we can win, in a sens... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 11:45 AM | Posted by Dovahkiin: | Reply

Well, we can win, in a sense. Who do you think "The System" is? It's all of us, we are the system, and the idea that THEY made it is a comfortable myth. We created every part of this system, in fact, if we all opted out, then it wouldn't be the system anymore. So whining about how the system has screwed you, well we all built that system. Why is Fifty Shades of Grey the book the system wants you to read? because lots of us bought it. Why is it that most people are materialistic and merely good consumers? Because that's how we actually behave. We think of ourselves in that way, and so when we look at the world, it's all we see -- good deals at Target and consumer demographics

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TL;DRYou're a wank... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 12:38 PM | Posted, in reply to thestage's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

TL;DR

You're a wanker. Stop being a wanker.

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"TLP seems deeply narcissis... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 12:51 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by tornpapernapkin: | Reply

"TLP seems deeply narcissistic in her/his assumed superiority to the shitty she comments upon.
I remember hearing somewhere that narcissism is untreatable in therapy., TLP is happy being stuck where she/he is, stuck in an illusion of her own superiority, railing against morons.

I view this blog as a celebration of/advert for narcissism, while it thinks it's the opposite."

Bingo! I think you nailed it. Explains the weird fandom as well. I envy it a bit. I think it is a celebration of narcissism, and what it is to be a fabulous narcissist, and don't we all wish we were.

Well, actually I do kind of. But I'm amazed that what I do find in reading this is that TLP has constructed a world where people like me just don't exist. This isn't an issue of superiority or inferiority, I'm sure the author could make up a narrative for me. I'm sure some one in the comments can too. We can all make up narratives to force people around us into so that the world confirms to the story we already wrote for it...

that's not the point.

The point is that I think I'm finally ready after all these years to stop loving narcissists.

So, with that, my middle name is "fuck you" and so on...

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I'm not sure how anyone can... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 1:42 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I'm not sure how anyone can say that this blog celebrates narcissism. It may shine a light on patterns of behaviour and say "this is why you do what you do", and the writer and its fanbase may exhibit these behaviours, but this can be done with the grim recognition that we really shouldn't be doing so, that we are acting in bad faith, and that we know we should "be the change you want to see in the world", even if we lack (and are ourselves aware of the lacking) the moral fortitude or sheer balls to effect this change.

I can only speak for myself (hah!) but reading this blog is like looking in a mirror that reflects back to me my black soul. It does not patronise, it does not offer an easy way out, a product that will give me success and happiness in small monthly payments. It is telling me what, perhaps on an unconscious level, I already know but refuse refuse refuse to accept because it undermines almost thirty years of identity construction and threatens to shatter my entire paper-thin worldview.

Time for another drink.

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damn, you died for all that... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 2:20 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

damn, you died for all that time and now all these articles in a row! Don't burn yourself out man, I hope you have enough rum to fuel this writing frenzy. And all this while writing that book of pornography (or was that a joke)?

a concerned reader

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I do not get Alone's hatred... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 2:23 PM | Posted by SusanC: | Reply

I do not get Alone's hatred of "hipsters"; to me, they seem relatively harmless - there are more deserving targets of vitriol. Kind of like I don't get why some guys are so averse to homosexuals.

The inevitable conclusion is that Alone is a closet hipster.

Alone's professional practise must be a pretty ironic mode of living: writing DSM diagnoses so you can get paid, while also blogging about the meaninglessness of same diagnoses, is an act of irony.

As is play-acting a narcisist, at the same time as pointing out the narcisism in others.

====

P.S. I was really unsure how to respond to the "funeral" piece. The pseudononymous/fictional format gets in the way here. If it'a a true story, and Anon is the woman in the story (or her husband) one respone is in order. If it's a fictional case history, and Anon is taking the "psychiatrist" role, expounding what we should do in situations like that, a different response might be in order.

So what can I say: hey, I'm sorry dude.

Also: we're headed for the shortest day of the year, and people who are susceptible to the lack of light go a little crazy, sometimes dangerously so. I caught a little hint of that in the piece, or my reaction to it. At this time of year, everything comes back to haunt us.

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Can you point to where, exa... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 3:06 PM | Posted, in reply to SusanC's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Can you point to where, exactly, Alone says something unambiguously nasty and mean about hipsters?

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yeah I really don't get how... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 4:08 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

yeah I really don't get how susanc can read this and the other articles and get "vitriolic hate towards hipsters". I don't think she actually read them.

Anyway I think she has a point about the lack of sunlight and this being the time when things come back to haunt us (even if not in relation to this blog)

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" can only speak for myself... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 4:10 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by tornpapernapkin: | Reply

" can only speak for myself (hah!) but reading this blog is like looking in a mirror that reflects back to me my black soul. "

And you just keep looking in that mirror. After long enough, you'll die in it.

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TLP seems deeply n... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 4:54 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Writer: | Reply

TLP seems deeply narcissistic in her/his assumed superiority to the shitty she comments upon.
Superiority == narcissism? Maybe if you're the DSM. In this example...

Fuck.

Is it possible (not the absence of the word likely) that the perception of superiority is actually an attempt to minimize the value of the conclusions based upon your own inability to draw the same conclusions, because you must be the type of person to notice something so obvious?

Time machine back two years (to when TLP was quite obviously a man)

I just want to know where you came up with it.

You mean, "I just want to make sure you didn't make it up." Because if I made it up, then it stands entirely on my back. Like an American, the shortcut you use for difficult issues is to judge their proponent as a proxy. If you don't like some ideas, look for hypocrisy, discredit the speaker. Which will be easy to do with me, I assure you. Heavy drinking, womanizing, misanthropic... maybe not even a psychiatrist. There. Do you win?

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really nice comment, much m... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 5:10 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

really nice comment, much more brilliant and insightfuller than whatever TLP writes in her\his\fuckyou inane and rambling articles. Be sure to comment again because I will check this site out just for your insight. Comment bookmarked and printed will read again before going to sleep

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the Panasonic PT AX200Uh is... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 5:13 PM | Posted, in reply to BDM's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

the Panasonic PT AX200Uh is a projector

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I take it back about Alone ... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 5:39 PM | Posted by SusanC: | Reply

I take it back about Alone and hipsters: theres a lot of rage (real or pretend) in those three articles, but it's not really directed at the hipsters themselves.

I still feel there's something really strange about it, though. Maybe (as a European) I'm seriously missing some cultural context here.

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The tone in the "funeral" p... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 5:52 PM | Posted by SusanC: | Reply

The tone in the "funeral" piece seemed much angrier and intense than Alone's usual style, and I was wondering what triggered it, with my guesses being either that it was the effect of winter or that it's a true, personal story.

Alone is clearly a guy in most of the pieces (or at least, a male character being written by someone else; I would usually assume a male author too). But some of the recent ones make me doubt who the "Alone" character is, and who is writing him/her. The joke about wanting to be in Playboy was presumably just a gag, but there's more than that.

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"However much the "not corp... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 5:57 PM | Posted by TheMayansGotItRight: | Reply

"However much the "not corporate" hip coffeehouse needs the barrista's extensive roasting knowledge or values the ambiance he creates with his MFA and thoughts about 2666, it is way more than the $7/hr no benefits it is paying him,. . . " You got that one wrong, shrinky. It's 2012, and it's 5 days away. Enjoy your last rant. . . . . we'll all be on the same plane in less than a week.

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RUM sucks. MARIJUANA rules... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 6:19 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

RUM sucks. MARIJUANA rules.

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"shehegofuckyourself"... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 7:19 PM | Posted, in reply to thestage's comment, by Donny: | Reply

"shehegofuckyourself"

I had a good laugh at that.


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2666 is a novel, you illite... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2012 8:16 PM | Posted, in reply to TheMayansGotItRight's comment, by thestage: | Reply

2666 is a novel, you illiterate spam bot

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Nice post TLP, there may be... (Below threshold)

December 16, 2012 12:09 AM | Posted by Rookie: | Reply

Nice post TLP, there may be no objective perception, but I always enjoy these analyses because they're not about attacking something, but understanding. Great examples for defences we all apply to our own lives. The only solution is to be more aware of yourself doing it... not easy. :P

TLP said:
"Meanwhile Princeton is happy to use her to market their anti-hipster brand to the demo that has the money to send their batteries to Princeton one day. However much Princeton values her article to the NYT, it is way more than they... never mind."

Two thoughts: (1) send their batteries to Princeton, batteries as in people, a matrix reference? (2) Princeton values her article in the NYT more than they pay her. She gave them awesome free advertising for what is essentially her own demo. The readers will read it and enjoy the irony themselves, send their kids to Princeton for sums far beyond what the education is worth. Their kids will give the same "blow job" and be underpaid, using irony/projection to handle the dissonance. Meanwhile the author's teaching at a different uni, and Princeton's got their payoff and a new generation of staff willing to work for less than their value?

Argh... come to Australia. Government pays for most degrees, you pay it back in your taxes if you ever earn enough and even then the cost isn't heinous. Some degrees are even worth the cost. :P

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It seemed to me that the au... (Below threshold)

December 16, 2012 1:02 AM | Posted, in reply to SusanC's comment, by tornpapernapkin: | Reply

It seemed to me that the author was writing about a wife, partner or sister, but was not the woman in question.
It's my favorite thing written here. That felt like a real person talking.

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Every generation tries to r... (Below threshold)

December 16, 2012 2:34 AM | Posted by confused: | Reply

Every generation tries to rebel against what they have been taught by elders who turn out to be oh so imperfect. I even sympathize with young people who must rebel against post, post, post modernism. I am optimistic as I find a lot of common sense bubbling out of young people forced fed PC pablum. I might even understand "Stupid Girl" by Garbage.
Hey Rookie - is Ausi-land still relatively free of PC nonsense. I've had several friends move down there. Best light infantry in the world I'm told and people who will bluntly say whats on their mind - and the strong beer helps. On a side note - do other nations think we are crazy with racism, sexism, homophobia type nonsense?

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stage - You have the abilit... (Below threshold)

December 16, 2012 2:58 AM | Posted, in reply to thestage's comment, by confused: | Reply

stage - You have the ability to coherently write sentences and paragraphs. There are not a lot of people that can do that, so please keep writing, and looking, and discovering knowledge that most people in this word have no access to at this time. You've found out the world is unfair - so write about it and share your knowledge. It's only human - but not hip.

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I still don't understand wh... (Below threshold)

December 16, 2012 4:15 AM | Posted by BDM: | Reply

I still don't understand why the title leads to a home theater projector.

http://www.projectorreviews.com/panasonic/pt-ax200u/index.php

That's the first hit I get when I google it.

Seriously - why is this titled after a home projector?

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Beacause the article mentio... (Below threshold)

December 16, 2012 4:56 AM | Posted, in reply to BDM's comment, by xnfec: | Reply

Beacause the article mentions the psychiatric term projection?

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He wrote 99% of his stuff a... (Below threshold)

December 16, 2012 7:23 AM | Posted, in reply to SusanC's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

He wrote 99% of his stuff as a guy* but people started to speculate on his real identity... even way back then someone was convinced he is a woman. Then I think alone joked about being a 15 year old girl and started playing with his perceived identity seemingly in response to the increased speculation in the comment sections of his articles. I think the point is that his real identity is not important, so speculating so much about his sex is actually missing the point.

*ok, it may be possible that he is a 15 year old girl who does 40 pushups every hour, drink impossible amount of rum, is into sexy women, mantain his cool in hostage situations and beat people up at the gym, especially if the character is entirely fictional- but in the end it's up to you, if you want to believe he is a woman because it makes you feel better you're welcome, also keep in mind that you can also just completely ignore the problem of his real identity

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So it sounds like the profe... (Below threshold)

December 16, 2012 11:29 AM | Posted by Jay: | Reply

So it sounds like the professor dislikes hipsters for their insincerity, which is a projection of her own inability to be sincere about her work, which means that like most of us she finds her own place in the system to be incredibly tedious.

Real closers don't want the prize, they want to be the best

So real closers love the system and sincerely want to suck it off?

Fuck that. (Possibly a poor choice of words)

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who is this catherine from ... (Below threshold)

December 16, 2012 5:13 PM | Posted by yargo: | Reply

who is this catherine from 200 years ago? sorry for the ignorance

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yargo - catherine was the r... (Below threshold)

December 16, 2012 5:45 PM | Posted by confused: | Reply

yargo - catherine was the ruler of russia and actually figured out a way to have sex with a horse. I think it is explained in 50 shades of grey mare, or something.

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Since I don't have a techni... (Below threshold)

December 16, 2012 8:16 PM | Posted by JohnJ: | Reply

Since I don't have a technical understanding of narcissism, what helped me find what I believe to be a better understanding of what TLP is saying was redefining narcissism. I simply use it to mean any rationalization that discourages changing. So hate itself isn't narcissistic, but when you use hate to justify refusing to change, then it is narcissism. Same with vanity, fear, etc.

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JohnJ, it's poor form to co... (Below threshold)

December 17, 2012 7:33 AM | Posted, in reply to JohnJ's comment, by anon: | Reply

JohnJ, it's poor form to comment and then immediately vote yourself up...

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If they're reading it, it's... (Below threshold)

December 17, 2012 11:15 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Greg: | Reply

If they're reading it, it's for them!

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is TLP really a psychiatris... (Below threshold)

December 17, 2012 1:23 PM | Posted by na: | Reply

is TLP really a psychiatrist or just an anonymous person venting frustrations?

don't read into that too much, I'm just curious that's all.

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Everyone seems to be asking... (Below threshold)

December 17, 2012 2:19 PM | Posted by bergsonisme: | Reply

Everyone seems to be asking the same question.

There's no guarantee that it's the same person writing the blog now and in the old days, or that the transition towards a focus on psychodynamic analysis, partialobjects.org, etc. etc. wasn't already driven by a change of hands.

But. It does sound like the same person (even if Pastabagel's guest posts also sound the same); he alternates between meaner and more compassionate modes, which just testifies in favor of it being an actual person's reactions to the world, and not a crafted persona.

If it's the same person all along, it's a real psychiatrist, or a research neurologist with a long psych background. Look back in the archives, this place used to be all about poking epistemological holes into medical psychiatry as a way of protecting against denialists, idiots who debate "meds vs. therapy" as an abstract moral stance and so on. Lots of biochem going around. Google for "Geodon isn't BID", it's classic TLP starting from the facts and spreading into the repercussions. He just tries to do it with movies and news and commentary about the news these days, with mixed success.

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I agree with a good deal of... (Below threshold)

December 17, 2012 5:12 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I agree with a good deal of your commentary, but you really need to stop using Glengarry Glen Ross as an example, because the main points of the movie are basically directly opposed to what you think they are. Does Alec Baldwin need a car? Fuck yes he does. That's one of the things he waves under Ed Harris's nose. Does he talk about a difficult sale he made? Fuck no, he talks about how much money he makes. He doesn't care about being the best, he cares about making money. That's what "real closers" do; do you think so many people go into investment banking these days out of passion?

Also, I'm not sure if you've watched past Alec Baldwin's speech, but what it inspires in the characters is not "firing them up for First Prize"; instead they attempt to subvert the system that's been screwing them over. Their leads are crap, and the only good leads they have are locked away from them, where they are worth precisely shit. Why does the management screw over their own business by keeping their best leads from their own employees? Something to ask the Hostess managers.

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what the "main points of th... (Below threshold)

December 17, 2012 7:49 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by thestage: | Reply

what the "main points of the movie" are is completely irrelevant. particularly if you don't care about the movie. no one cares about the movie.

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Hi, I didn't want to commen... (Below threshold)

December 17, 2012 8:38 PM | Posted by Francisco: | Reply

Hi, I didn't want to comment as much on this article as on the blog in general.
Would it be presumptuous of me to say how brilliant i find it. It was really an eye opener in some cases and a lot of food for thought. Was supposed to be studying for boards and spent the whole day in the archive -_-

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1) Baldwin's character is g... (Below threshold)

December 17, 2012 9:42 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by willbolton: | Reply

1) Baldwin's character is giving a motivational speech. He is communicating with the crappy salesmen in words that he thinks they will understand. He waves his car, his watch and his money under the noses of the salesmen because he believes that is what they are interested in; that is what will motivate them - the paraphernalia of success.

And he's right - it does motivate them, although in this case it motivates them to cheat. Not entirely unpredictably.

The salesmen are inside the system. They don't know what success really looks like. It's being defined for them.

2) So you think all those investment bankers who have no passion for their work are successful? Then you are inside the system* and don't know what success really looks like.

3) Those leads are more valuable locked in the office than they are in the hands of useless salesmen. Does management want their employees to succeed? Remember - employees are a cost. Management wants to get rid of the unproductive employees. Most of those leads are going to Ricky Roma anyway.

*I am also inside the system. Is that ironic?

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1) You really have no prete... (Below threshold)

December 18, 2012 2:42 AM | Posted, in reply to willbolton's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

1) You really have no pretext for making a judgement that Alec Baldwin's character believes that this is merely what he thinks will motivate the other employees. You can only take what is in the scene, not whatever Randian ubermensch rhetoric you care to read into the scene. What is Baldwin's character interested in? Money. That is all he talks about as a metric of success. That is all he talks about in relation to himself. How can you read this as anything but Alec Baldwin's character seeing money as the definition of success?

2) Take a look at the architects of our current financial crisis. I'm not sure what other motivation you could ascribe to them besides a desire to make as much money as possible. Unless they are like Andy Kaufmann-good communists who are trying to secretly undermine capitalism by making it benefit as few people as possible.

3) If you think employees are just cost then I'm not sure what to say. Leads have no value if they are not being followed. They are not being followed while in that vault. Will those leads still be good in a few months? A year? A decade? No. They have no value. Management that does not want their employees to succeed are terrible managers, and make for terrible business. Again, see the Hostess managers pillaging their company for all it was worth, in in the face of bankruptcy. But I guess not believing in the world ideally being a Hobbesian nightmare means I've been trapped by the system and have no idea what success is.

To respond to another comment, if nothing in the movie is important, then why use it as an example?

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"To respond to another c... (Below threshold)

December 18, 2012 4:09 AM | Posted by thestage: | Reply

"To respond to another comment, if nothing in the movie is important, then why use it as an example?"

the people in the movie are not people, they are characters. what alec baldwin believes or does is irrelevant because he does not exist. if TLP or you or me or anyone in the world can take the scene or the character and use them as cogent examples for anything, then it is good enough. it does not matter what alec baldwin or Other Guy do later, what the movie "is trying to say," or what color the director's jacket is, because the movie is not the point. the post is the point, the words are the point. so does it work within the context of those words? that is all that matters. if you veer into what else happens in the movie, then you are not talking about the post, you are talking about the movie. which no one cares about. if it helps, imagine that the scene TLP keeps referring to is not from some shitty commercially released movie that you could theoretically watch if you hated yourself, but that it is instead something he wrote and filmed in his basement for the purpose of illustrating his post, because he is crazy.

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I like TLP. It is refreshin... (Below threshold)

December 18, 2012 5:08 AM | Posted by Oelsen: | Reply

I like TLP. It is refreshingly different. Like the exiled or fred on everything. At least they are openly aggressive, not closet thugs.
Btw, "the system" as a description of something is the same as ideology. The System used to describe autopoiesis by action, a state of progress; now it is just the faint and blurry intention of every participant to act according to some idea. Convenient for the money elites to discredit everything that would be a true systems theory, and with the questioning of the powers that be, discourse analysis.
Exactly the same as with the "digital dividend/automation dividend". It's redistribution and we know it. But calling it that is not possible today.

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I thought we were discussin... (Below threshold)

December 18, 2012 7:37 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by willbolton: | Reply

I thought we were discussing the movie in the context of TLP's post. Instead you seem to want to discuss it in the context of your political worldview.

Comments on this site don't amount to anything, it's all just exercise for the mind.

So that's the disclaimer out of the way.

1) My understanding - in the context of what TLP actually wrote - is that Baldwin's character is motivated by winning, by being top dog, by being the best.

2) The investment bankers with no passion for their job have sold their souls. They lie to themselves that they are more than what they do. Of course they are motivated by money, but they tell themselves that they are just saving up so they can follow their true passion, and then 20 years later they are still at the bank.

3) I didn't say employees are 'just' cost, I said that they are 'a' cost. This is a fact. Employees have to be paid wages.

The leads have value in the vault - which will be realised when handed over to a 'closer'. The leads lose their value when handed over to mediocre salesmen who cannot close. It would be poor management to give good leads to bad salesmen.

I don't know what Hostess is or what it has to do with this blog post.

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I project therefore I am.</... (Below threshold)

December 18, 2012 7:05 PM | Posted by David: | Reply

I project therefore I am.

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TLP is definitely a crafted... (Below threshold)

December 18, 2012 8:27 PM | Posted, in reply to bergsonisme's comment, by JohnJ: | Reply

TLP is definitely a crafted persona, but I believe with a real mental health background.

Pastabagel isn't the same person. PB is much more liberal, relatively speaking.

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What's ridiculous is that t... (Below threshold)

December 18, 2012 9:38 PM | Posted by max t: | Reply

What's ridiculous is that the article she wrote has been written a thousand times over the last twenty or so years. It was even a Spy Magazine cover story in 1989: http://i.imgur.com/VX5Gw.jpg

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fuck. your readers are dumb... (Below threshold)

December 18, 2012 11:56 PM | Posted by puppylander: | Reply

fuck. your readers are dumb. really, really dumb.

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Just discovered this blog y... (Below threshold)

December 19, 2012 3:16 AM | Posted by John: | Reply

Just discovered this blog yesterday and have really enjoyed reading a handful of the more recent essays.

As with most social critics, I admire the observations, but can't help wishing there were a parallel, coherent plan of action for self-improvement. These posts provide readers a variety of issues to be worried about and more complex means of worrying, but no clear escape hatch.

Is it the experience of the writer or other commenters that seekers do a better job of 'liberating' themselves only when 2 criteria have been: #1 the nature of enslavement is clarified & #2 the path to emancipation is obscured? Is there legitimate psychology research to support this strategy or is it merely the literary showmanship of an illusionist unconcerned with his audience?

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Are you sure you're a psych... (Below threshold)

December 19, 2012 7:10 AM | Posted by Esc: | Reply

Are you sure you're a psychiatrist and not a sociologist?

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As with most social critics... (Below threshold)

December 19, 2012 1:16 PM | Posted, in reply to John's comment, by bobbye: | Reply

As with most social critics, I admire the observations, but can't help wishing there were a parallel, coherent plan of action for self-improvement. These posts provide readers a variety of issues to be worried about and more complex means of worrying, but no clear escape hatch.

God has painted you in a corner and the only escape is for your life (identity) to be hid in Christ Jesus. No other escape exists,sorry.And religion has nothing to do with God, so don't even go there.

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John, If you haven... (Below threshold)

December 19, 2012 2:30 PM | Posted by Ed S.: | Reply

John,

If you haven't read them all of TLP's essays, go to the beginning of the archive and start. Read all of them -- and then read them again (maybe one read on the pharmaceuticals essays is enough). Here's a small bit from one that I particularly like ("Can Narcissism be Cured?" 1/26/09 )

....You are so unsure of your own identity that you don't know if you are supposed to be feeling, what you are supposed to be feeling, when you are supposed to be feeling. This is the same trouble actors have when rehearsing a character. They want to get it just perfect-- would Tom feel this? What's his motivation? And similarly you ask: would I-- the person I am pretending to be-- feel this?

V.


Narcissism is imitating by being. It is method acting all the time.


VI.

The....problem was the absence of adults, real adults who took seriously their responsibility to the next generation, who lead not by words, but by behavior. Who, even if miserable or unfulfilled or unconnected had the decency to fake it for the next generation, for the people they touched. Who didn't cheat on their wives not just because they loved them, not just because it was ethically wrong, but because what kind of an example would that be to their daughters?

I know, everyone will disagree. Everyone, except daughters under 20.

There's so much more in the essays -- they are well worth your time. I think that TLP points to an escape hatch but it may be too small to fit for most of us to fit through.

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Newton's First Law of motio... (Below threshold)

December 19, 2012 3:31 PM | Posted, in reply to John's comment, by sacha: | Reply

Newton's First Law of motion: An object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion. An object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction, unless it is acted upon.

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HTML issue in my comment ab... (Below threshold)

December 19, 2012 4:56 PM | Posted by Ed S.: | Reply

HTML issue in my comment above: evertying from the italics to the end EXCEPT the last paragraph is a quotation.

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Can I vote yes yes yes fort... (Below threshold)

December 19, 2012 5:09 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by nostalgic: | Reply

Can I vote yes yes yes forty-seven times for this one?

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"The system lets Wampole ca... (Below threshold)

December 19, 2012 9:19 PM | Posted by Cypher: | Reply

"The system lets Wampole call herself a professor but pays her like a TA."

So I suppose she ought to go in and ask to be paid like a professor, then? And after they say no, she'll either quit in protest or be fired, and they will hire one of the hundreds of Ph.D's who would be happy to be paid -at all- to teach French. The value of your labor is not only determined by the benefits to your employer, but also to the relative supply of potential laborers, and once you've won the postgraduate lottery to actually benefit from your worthless Ph.D it doesn't pay to complain too hard. Did you earn a Ph.D to make money? You were stupid, but at least you aren't on food stamps. Did you earn it to do something you like? Then live the dream, what's to complain about? The system wanted to give you a worthless diploma and nothing else. You got them to admit your diploma was more than worthless, got existential satisfaction, and even got a little money. That's not surrendering to the system, that's beating the system; taking more than it wanted to give you.

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"But the real wisdom which ... (Below threshold)

December 20, 2012 12:08 AM | Posted by Gene Callahan: | Reply

"But the real wisdom which is not about capitalism but which is about narcissism comes from understanding that first prize isn't a Cadillac Eldorado, you think Alec Baldwin needs a car?"

TLP, have you never encountered the semi-colon?

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"if it helps, imagine that ... (Below threshold)

December 20, 2012 12:29 AM | Posted by sunny day: | Reply

"if it helps, imagine that the scene TLP keeps referring to is not from some shitty commercially released movie that you could theoretically watch if you hated yourself, but that it is instead something he wrote and filmed in his basement for the purpose of illustrating his post, because he is crazy."

thank you, commenter, this is amazing and I plan to use this technique in my everyday life

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PT-AX200U is a projector. T... (Below threshold)

December 20, 2012 2:00 AM | Posted, in reply to BDM's comment, by Ivy: | Reply

PT-AX200U is a projector. This post is about projection... get it?

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She's not decrying the hip... (Below threshold)

December 20, 2012 3:03 AM | Posted by Dan: | Reply

She's not decrying the hipster generation, she's describing hers. - someone had to say it.

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Maybe a somewhat obvious co... (Below threshold)

December 20, 2012 4:09 AM | Posted by WhatAboutBob: | Reply

Maybe a somewhat obvious comparison, but I haven't seen it pointed out in comments so far on this blog: there are some interesting similarities between TLP's 'narcissism' and Nietzche's modern person who has turned 'inward'.

"A contemporary man magically forced to return back into that world would presumably find the Greeks very “uneducated.” In that reaction, of course, the secret of modern culture, so painstakingly disguised, would be exposed to public laughter. For we modern people have nothing at all which comes from us. Only because we fill and overfill ourselves with foreign ages, customs, arts, philosophies, religions, and discoveries do we become something worthy of consideration, that is, like wandering encyclopaedias, as some ancient Greek who strayed into our age would perhaps put it. However, people encounter the entire value of encyclopaedias only in what is inside, in the contents, not in what is on the outside or in the binding and on the cover. Thus, all modern culture is essentially inner. The bookbinder has printed on the outside a phrase he knows by heart, something to this effect: Handbook of inner culture for external barbarians. In fact, this contrast between inner and outer makes the outer even more barbaric than it would have to be, if a rough people were evolving out of themselves only according to their basic needs. For what means does nature still have at its disposal to overcome the super-abundance forcing itself on it? Only one means, to take it as lightly as possible in order to shove it aside again quickly and dispose of it. From that arises a habit of not taking real things seriously any more. From that arises the “weak personality,” as a result of which reality, what exists, makes only an insignificant impression. Finally on the outside people become constantly more negligent and more comfortable and widen the disturbing gulf between content and form until they are insensitive to the barbarism, so long as the memory is always newly stimulated, so long as constantly new things worthy of knowledge flow by, which can be neatly packaged in the compartments of memory. " - On the Use and Abuse of History for Life

http://records.viu.ca/~johnstoi/Nietzsche/history.htm

For us we fill and overfill ourselves with popular culture, but the point is the same, no? The so called 'narcissist' of TLPs blog seems to share many of the characteristics Nietzsche sees developing in people, especially the 'gap' between inner and outer.

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Yeah, anyway...Chr... (Below threshold)

December 20, 2012 6:29 AM | Posted by LaVernon: | Reply

Yeah, anyway...

Christy Wampole is HOT!

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Thanks for the in-depth inf... (Below threshold)

December 20, 2012 5:54 PM | Posted by Joe Strandell: | Reply

Thanks for the in-depth info!

I love your blog! So many great articles... I thought you might like to know that www.dentist.net is offering 10% off their products with the code ORALCARE :)  Happy holidays!

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But does that come with a s... (Below threshold)

December 21, 2012 12:05 PM | Posted, in reply to Joe Strandell's comment, by 79 zombies: | Reply

But does that come with a set of steak knives?

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"I view this blog as a cele... (Below threshold)

December 21, 2012 6:59 PM | Posted by Hugh Eadschitt: | Reply

"I view this blog as a celebration of/advert for narcissism, while it thinks it's the opposite."

That's the smartest and most insightful comment I've read at this pretentious blog maintained by an arrogant idiot who thinks (s)he is brilliant because (s)he read a book about narcissism.

The commenters busy themselves trying to out-narcissus the host, and/or speaking/writing in bogus pop psychology terms. Bigger syllable counts per word seem to impress most commenters here. As does jargon, and quasi-jargon.

If the host were as smart as (s)he thinks itself, host would have noted that what Hipsters call "irony" isn't even remotely close to irony. Irony is not a situation where a young, privileged child of upper-middle parents feigns boredom and resignation to lethargy.

That shit is nothing more than Spoiled Brat Behavior.

And there's nothing ironic about being a spoiled brat.

There IS, however, something greatly ironic about a pretentious, arrogant person thinking (s)he has the world by the short hairs by reducing everything to narcissism while using the dignostic jargon of mental health witch-doctors.

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not you, though: you're bet... (Below threshold)

December 21, 2012 11:26 PM | Posted, in reply to Hugh Eadschitt's comment, by thestage: | Reply

not you, though: you're better than everyone

whoops

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hey stager,I'm not... (Below threshold)

December 22, 2012 9:36 AM | Posted by Hugh Eadschitt: | Reply

hey stager,

I'm not better than anyone, but you just made a glorious attempt to belittle me and thereby make yourself my superior.

Talk about a "whoops" moment. You just ate your own feces and tripped over your own used condom that helped keep your hand free of semen while masturbating gleefully about your superior sense of snark.

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"There's so much more in th... (Below threshold)

December 22, 2012 9:46 AM | Posted by Hugh Eadschitt: | Reply

"There's so much more in the essays -- they are well worth your time. I think that TLP points to an escape hatch but it may be too small to fit for most of us to fit through."

It's fantastic when this blog's host posts "comments" referencing him/her/itself as a sage on the mount, but posting them under various names as if to appear that there are actually throngs of lifelong fans of this blog's pathetic pretense at wisdom.

The blog host doesn't offer "escape hatches" any more than I offer you billions in bullion for life. This blog is a bunch of lies offered in pretentious writing style, pretentious enough to gull a whole classroom full of 10th grade Psychology students.

There's no wisdom in these posts. What there is? A bunch of lame satire, barely funny when not infuriatingly wrong. Oh boy, I reduce all problems to narcissism!

How is that different from some idiot NPR fan saying all the world's problems are due to redneck reactionary christians?

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Hipster catchphrase: 'could... (Below threshold)

December 22, 2012 10:12 PM | Posted by etype: | Reply

Hipster catchphrase: 'could you give me the last 5 minutes back'
(that I wasted reading this idiotic article?)

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I'm a daughter a bit over 2... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2012 10:50 PM | Posted, in reply to Ed S.'s comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I'm a daughter a bit over 20, and, boy, are you right. My father brought his paycheck home and provideda middle class lifestyle for us as a sole earner, didn't cheat, didn't drink, asked for good school report cards from his kids for his birthday and Christmas, read us books, helped with homework, helped with housework, joked around a lot, didn't lose control of his emotions, punished us for doing wrong while taking time to discuss what we could've done differently,and was, in general, pretty close to a nice sitcom dad. My mom, on the other hand, wanted attention from everyone, acted unhappy, blew up a lot, had multiple affairs, overspent severely, critisized us kids in the meanest most hurtful ways when in a bad mood, accused us of not loving her as much as good kids would and constantly confided in us about what a pathetic piece of trash my dad was, airing out each of his failures to us kids from that time as well as from far in the past.

Now, as a young adult, I seem to feel angry, frustrated, helpless and overly sensitive in most aspects of my life. The smallest things upset me, and I just seethe, unable to speak up and clear the air because I'm afraid of making it worse.

The only area of my life that has always been comfortable, rewarding and free of unnecessary stress is my relationships with men. I've always been able to find a sincere ,good guy who wants a serious healthy relationship. From my high school boyfriend to my fiance, they all have been great people. Obviously, I've had a couple of break ups, but if any of my exes called right now in need of urgen help, I'd do everything I could without a second thought, and I'm certain they'd react in the same way. Even though things didn't workout, there is still amity and respect there. Same with my fiance. Hopefully, its forever, and I'm confident that our chances of that are more than favorable. But even if not, I know that neither of us would hurt or disrespect the other intentionally.

Well, the point is that I don't think that my problems and successes in adult life are accidental. I know my dad wasn't a perfect man, but he cared enough to fake an image of a good man and father for his kids. Not a cool one, sexy one or a unique one, but a good one. And now his daughters know what a good man is, feel compelled to seek out only good lovig men and had never been attracted to jerks. I'm sure dad would've prefferred to see himself as James Bond. Surely, he thought about walking out and forgetting my mom exists many times. But he chose to stay and play sitcom dad, so he could parent first hand. And he never gave a hint that itsa sacrifice on his part. He wasnm't trying to come off as a martyr father of the year. He was trying to be a dad. I always felt safe with him, like he could handle any problem and know the right thing to do. To me, my dad is way cooler than James Bond. I think that I understand that James Bond is a shallow, 2 dimensional character whose questionably cool traits are overglamourized because my dad presented me with a better alternative.

I also think that my mom did suffer and was legitimately unhappy. She didn't mean to make everyone's life hell. It's just that finding happiness and getting others to understand the real her and her needs was the most important thing in her life. If she loved her kids more than she loved herself, she woulldn't trash talk our father to us. IF she cared about us growing up healthy more than she cared about being loved and understod, she would swallow her own pain instead of giving it to us. She would try to provide us with a stable childhood and a fair, balanced, caring mother who'dappear to value doing the right thing. BTw, the only one of the kids who has an erratic, unstable and unhappy love life is our brother, but he is stable and confident in all other areas of his life and has strong personal set of values to which he is always true.

So if Alone's cure for narcissism is to act in the interests of someone else, even if you don'tfeel like it all the time, then I can tell you that it works... for that someone else. And if you choose to not change, that someone else will still be affected.

Now I got to remember that part tomorrow at work, when someone makes a light joke and I start shaking in anger from the possibility that this person might have meant something specific which she chose to say just to hurt me. Have to remind myself that the work is more important than the slight possibility that someone tried to disregard my feelings. Easier said than done. But, hey, the thing is that if the world would stop each time I needed the issue of my feelings to be addressed, I'd probably be just as frustrated and unhappy by the time my next preceived injury would take place. But if I could effectively pretend that my feelingsdon'tmatter all that much, perhaps I'd get more work done and contribute to a friendlier work environment. So while the narcissist within will never be satisfied because nothing is ever enough, by ignoring the narcissist's need to be satisfied, there is a good possibility to actually create something useful and lasting.

Thanks for listening

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I think TLP is a narcissist... (Below threshold)

December 25, 2012 11:05 AM | Posted by Dovahkiin: | Reply

I think TLP is a narcissist. Why else have a *blog* in the first place, even if you had some insight into human nature? Read any blog, it's the same shit, I have the answer, I know based on my experiences something that I think is valuable to my readers. There's no writer on the planet that didn't think that on some level. Bloggers especially, because they think that people need to hear what they have to say. It's fair enough. What did you think was going on here?

It's also true that the topics interest me, and especially when referring to some human bahaviors we seem confused by, honestly for whatever reason some of these answers make sense. So do the answers from some other bloggers (actually, I read another by a convert to Christian Orthodoxy, and a lot of her comments about Western culture as seen from the Orthodox perspective make sense as a cure). I doubt this is the one and only thing that people read on line. I like it, sure, I like the discussions that follow. it's just something that comes from a perspective that's different than mine.

Maybe this holds and answer to narcissism to a degree.
http://orthodoxwayoflife.blogspot.com/2009/10/spiritual-deception-taking-stock-of-our.html

Basic idea is that if you make the goal something other than your personal satisfaction, for something other than today, you won't be as self seeking.

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Alone, Merry Christmas to y... (Below threshold)

December 26, 2012 3:17 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Alone, Merry Christmas to you

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"I admire the observations,... (Below threshold)

December 26, 2012 4:35 AM | Posted, in reply to John's comment, by will: | Reply

"I admire the observations, but can't help wishing there were a parallel, coherent plan of action for self-improvement."

Take a moment to picture exactly what form this plan would take - whatever you're imagining I bet it's useless.

TLP says that you don't need a "plan of action for self-improvement" - such a plan would be masturbation, and either uselessly general or specific to only a few individuals.

Like with narcissism, where TLP says "stop, just stop," the crucial thing is to take action.

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I think a licensed psycholo... (Below threshold)

December 26, 2012 4:54 AM | Posted, in reply to will's comment, by John: | Reply

I think a licensed psychologist should be able to outline specific strategies for circumventing narcissism and one who presents him or herself as a social critic in addition might be bothered to do the same with career advice when this individual obviously has sharp words regarding another writer's publishing choices.

Martin Seligman, for instance, discusses very specific (but broadly applicable) strategies for combating learned helplessness, which he identified as a leading cause of depression through research, in his famous self-help book Learned Optimism. In my experience, they work pretty well.

In my experience, many more 'amateur' intellectuals are keen on observation and critique but very thin on practical advice. After the problem's been revealed, a bit of guidance is quite helpful.

I really cannot accept your argument that there is no more specific advice available then 'stop being narcissistic' or 'start acting.' In regards to the latter, I could simply fulfill this directive by either baking cookies or shooting up a school.

If TLP and similar armchair gurus studied success as much as failure, I imagine we'd see a slightly more well-rounded discourse.

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"famous self-help book"<... (Below threshold)

December 26, 2012 6:41 AM | Posted, in reply to John's comment, by thestage: | Reply

"famous self-help book"

well there are your first and second problems

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Oh?Have you read i... (Below threshold)

December 26, 2012 7:15 AM | Posted, in reply to thestage's comment, by John: | Reply

Oh?

Have you read it and debunked the decades of research on the specific connection between learned helplessness (i.e. unconscious self-defeating patterns of thought) and depression that the book supports through numerous examples of rigorous scientific study?

It's a pretty good read. The fact that it is widely available should not distract from its convincing arguments and clarity of prose.

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What a great many words Alo... (Below threshold)

December 26, 2012 11:43 AM | Posted by Dystopia Max: | Reply

What a great many words Alone uses to avoid calling for violence!

And how stuck is he in the 80s that he thinks that cultural milieu has any relevance for today?

Let me make it simple for you: Alec Baldwin would never, ever, ever give a speech like that today, in the modern workplace. HR and the 'fuckin faggots' might have been to pussy to interrupt the speech, but he'd be out the door (escorted by a security guard played by Ed Harris) with hipster-ish passive-aggressive rejoinders in a second.

Nowadays he makes his money playing a much more playful and mediocre asshole on 30 Rock. Women and alpha males are great at being dutiful chameleons of the age, and the age is ruled by old women doing mostly make-work while Republicans wank over the 80s and Democrats play on the feeble-minded for their own enrichment.

Alec Baldwin's son was Adam Lanza. He was closed. Oh my, was he ever closed. He carried out that closing philosophy to its logical conclusion in a far purer manner than anyone could have dreamed.

His first target was an archetype of those currently in power(that the Alec Baldwins of the world would rush madly away from confronting on screen or in real life!) his subsequent targets archetypes of those who serve that power.

For the greatest joke of biology is that children are generally serious about the philosophies you give them.

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"you need your eyeball scan... (Below threshold)

December 27, 2012 12:59 PM | Posted by markps2: | Reply

"you need your eyeball scanned, you're probably a replicant."
I think we are all replicants.

Thank you for the humour.

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Or maybe some people have m... (Below threshold)

December 27, 2012 5:51 PM | Posted, in reply to thestage's comment, by nizza: | Reply

Or maybe some people have major depression ( ie: you ) and some people don't ( ie: the hypothetical barrista)

Maybe your suicidal thoughts are simply a product of a chemical imbalance (serotonin whatever) and the reason you aren't getting anything out of life is simply because your depression is out of control and forcing you to feel useless and unwanted.

If you can make yourself feel useful in ANY capacity and if you can see how your being alive might have some value to someone else at some time ( past present or future) then maybe you can keep the suicide fantasies at bay but I reckon what you need is a prescription for SSRI's. That and cognitive therapy or maybe even religion!!!

People who are all jaded and "smart" but don't feel motivated by money ( or "the system" as it were) might benefit from finding something else to believe in.

Maybe (maybe?!) that's why humans invented religion in the first place. Find a religion. Yep. That's my advice. Did you want advice? I don't care! Maybe we only exist because it's too much hassle to kill ourselves! Maybe. SO what? But religion will sooth your angst. No need to ask these questions! Just have faith and " keep on truckin' " Yeah man... just keep on truckin!

Oh yeah um... Blessed are the weak etc etc .

Your pain is forcing you to "think outside the box" therefor you have an advantage that some folks do not have. Most religions exist too help people deal with "whats the point of life?" and " why do I have to suffer?"

You don't have to. Go get some paxil and/or religion!

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A projector? Oh man that is... (Below threshold)

December 27, 2012 6:02 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by nizza: | Reply

A projector? Oh man that is GOLD!

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Of course his feelings are ... (Below threshold)

December 27, 2012 6:13 PM | Posted, in reply to nizza's comment, by Will: | Reply

Of course his feelings are a result of a chemical imbalance in his brain - all feelings are... If he wanted to feel really good I'm sure he could figure out to fuck around with those chemicals - the issue is, do you really want to drug yourself to experience more pleasure? Whether it's real opium, or the opiate of the masses, who cares - it's signal spoofing.

The issue is whether happiness is a reason enough to live. I could make myself feel much happier than I do, I just don't see the point.

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Apropos of nothing, this mi... (Below threshold)

December 28, 2012 6:55 AM | Posted by xnfec: | Reply

Apropos of nothing, this might be of interest

http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/1492

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I like the way you break do... (Below threshold)

December 28, 2012 7:55 AM | Posted by Ana: | Reply

I like the way you break down the article and analyse it. It would be great to have read the original NYT article, but it's currently out of order or whatever. Maybe they got really sensitive and took it down. I don't know...
Anyway, I sometimes think that hipsters are hipsters because that's what they think they should be based on whatever media sound byte their encounter. I can't say I hate them, but I do scratch my head and feel like asking them how long they plan to go on with the ruse.
I'm not a big fan of Freudian terminology, the reason being that every single behaviour can be whittled down to a Freudism in order to explain something conveniently, and even then, most defense mechanisms were further developed by Freud's daughter, not Freud. As for projection (and all other defenses), no one can escape it, so I think it's a little harsh to charge the NYT author with that.
Could hipsterdom just be an ordinary existential crisis?
Some days I wonder if I have hipster moments - have been made redundant twice, went on to work in corporate shit hole for the first time in my adult life, left that to return to university to requalify and raise my job prospects (as a mature aged student), to graduate and to -so far - experience 6 months of employer apathy irrespective of the resumes I send out. Yes, I spend more days at cafes now drinking coffee and writing short stories (putting the degree to use) and...I don't feel guilty at all, because I'm sick of the corporate shit and agencies attempting to brainwash me to be a compliant 'bitch.'
Maybe hipsters in their early twenties experience similar?
These days, workplaces no longer care to nurture any employee. Most large corporations don't bother with career development (look at Apple 'geniuses' and their miserable lot, they sell a ton of Apple shit and receive no commission - according to another NYT article/investigation and yet they continue working because of the positive reinforcement spiel, that makes Apple resemble iffy marketing company Appco, that prompted many UK investigations on fairness), and adopt the view, 'well there are a 1000 people who'd like your shit job, so just STFU and take it like the bitch you are.' This isn't just a corporate thing, they're allowed to do this by elected idiots who rule states and countries. Like Galafianakis' character says in The Campaign. "It's a Mess."
Our globalised world is rather shit, does not foster any type of sentiment and breeds apathy and sows the mutated seeds of anomie and all the NYT can publish is an article on hipsters. To think that some writers spend more than 3 years obtaining doctorates to write or be published writing articles on hipsters.

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by the way I found out a re... (Below threshold)

December 28, 2012 1:19 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

by the way I found out a real woman who consumes alone-like amounts of rum (violin instructor) and it reminded me tlp, internet's misteriously-sexed mistery blogger

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Bravo/a, thestage!!! That w... (Below threshold)

December 28, 2012 11:28 PM | Posted, in reply to thestage's comment, by Rio40degrees: | Reply

Bravo/a, thestage!!! That was brilliantly written and absolutely the truth. I still appreciate TLP's article, as it is good think about this topic.

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I described a lovely kind o... (Below threshold)

December 29, 2012 12:50 AM | Posted, in reply to xnfec's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I described a lovely kind of person to my social worker roommate recently. The concept that these people exist at all is an inspiration to me. Alan Watts calls them "non-joiners". People who live up in the mountains or the woods, and don't pay taxes or use any municipal services. People who don't interact with society in any way. He told me that those people are schizoids and are considered mentally ill by the DSM IV.

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I doubt they experience any... (Below threshold)

December 29, 2012 11:38 AM | Posted, in reply to Ana's comment, by Dovahkiin: | Reply

I doubt they experience anything out of step with what any other generation lived through. If you think your boss doesn't care about "professional development", I'd like to introduce you to your counterparts of 100 years ago who didn't get anything more than a pink slip for severed limbs. Point being, that I don't think business owners have changed one bit, simply that people living today have an outsized view of their own value to the workforce.

To put it bluntly, the economy has never cared about your feelings. It has never cared about your "career", it only cared about what you can produce for the boss to make him money. You aren't special, you aren't even particularly valuable, and if it's 10 cents cheaper to replace you with someone who is younger or to hire a new grad to do the next tier in the supposed career, that's what happens. The only reason "career development" became a real thing is that when it started, there was a shortage of workers. That's not true today. Today, it's cheaper to hire a Chinese worker, or to replace you with a machine, and we still act like there's a shortage and we "deserve' to be coddled and supported. Not the case.

Hipsters are the future, because we raised them to think they're special while making sure that there were other people who would do the same job for less. Now they have nothing but the irony of being too "special" to admit that they're working class, while being too well off to get the jobs that they're qualified for.

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Hipsters, hmm... It ... (Below threshold)

December 30, 2012 10:04 PM | Posted, in reply to Ana's comment, by Tim: | Reply

Hipsters, hmm...
It has been decided that young people work for free. In the same way as we agreed that they required a college education, we have now agreed that they must work for free, for some years, as interns, in order to get an aspirational (lower middle class) job in the creative industries (whatever that means).

So, I've watched many of my peers work 7 days a week, for 3 or 5 years, but only receive payment for the 2 of those days that they wait tables in a coffee bar. The rest of the time, they sit in offices, doing things that you and me get paid for.

Because it does sometimes work, eventually. Those that saw out that long period claiming unemployment or foodstamps, now have better paid jobs than I do in science.
Those who gave up and got a real job have a really low paid job.
Typically they are teachers assistants, although some of them work in hospitals as domestics.

An important part of landing one of these eventual 'creative jobs' is looking right, having the right attitudes. Or being genuinely creative. Either way, the rest copy these people in a cargo cult like way, and the minor creative employers look for a good imitator when hiring, for paid work or not.

So a generation that already did a strange thing (spend 5 years pretending post-modern literature was worth 5 years of precious life) in the hope of some promised reward, spends 5 years living on rice and lentils, pretending they are ironically vegan, because sometimes, someone gets that reward.

Sort of like that hunger games thing.

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It's interesting that TLP m... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2013 1:22 AM | Posted by ProfessorRocketSurgeon: | Reply

It's interesting that TLP makes a reference to Glengarry Glenn Ross immediately after David Wong linked to TLP's blog in his most recent column,

http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-harsh-truths-that-will-make-you-better-person/

and made the exact same reference. I don't know what this means, other than that TLP surfs around to see who's talking about him and nobody point out that if roles were reversed, TLP would explain why this behavior means you're a narcissist as he beats away with his narcissist hammer EVERYTHING IS A NAIL!

That sounded negative, unintentionally. This is the greatest blog I have ever read, without a doubt.

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"We must convince the paran... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2013 5:12 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Some Hornets: | Reply

"We must convince the paranoiac that his wife isn't cheating on him, even if his wife is cheating on him!"

TLP might be a narcissist, but it sees itself as a vanishing mediator, and charges you with attempting to make it's insights disappear by searching for hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is ad hom. Why do you think it pretends to be a little girl and stuff?

Wanting to diagnose TLP is like being one of those fucking idiots who actually enjoyed it when Yoda drew a lightsaber in the prequels.

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Anti-hipsterism, like anti-... (Below threshold)

January 3, 2013 8:32 PM | Posted by lemmy caution: | Reply

Anti-hipsterism, like anti-douchbag sentiments, is weirdly focused on grooming and clothes for a critique that pretends to be a moral one. As far as I can tell hipsters are just dudes who have developed a community around new music, new hobbies and having fun. It all seems pretty appealing to me. Those douchbags seem to be having a good time as well. For a free country, America gets pissy real quick whenever some group tries to do anything different.

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Your article has much that ... (Below threshold)

January 4, 2013 6:06 PM | Posted by Leo Morgan: | Reply

Your article has much that I still haven't fully taken on board. If "I got an article in the Times" is worth nothing, then what am I doing "Getting a comment on a blog..."? I have much to think about. Yet I do have one quibble.
I wonder whether your comment "yet still enjoy our strip shows..." is accurate. When I heard of this visit the night before Seprtember 11, I figured they were satisfying themselves that America was so hopoelessly immoral and decadent it was worth giving their lives to bring it down. The easy assumption that they were visiting for sexual gratification is often made, and remarked upon, because it seems so inconsistant. My interpretation seems to me to be more consistant with their motivations and future actions.

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@Leo: The hijackers could ... (Below threshold)

January 4, 2013 7:46 PM | Posted by Will: | Reply

@Leo: The hijackers could have been motivated by arousal and contempt at the same time.

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arousal and contempt are, i... (Below threshold)

January 5, 2013 4:32 AM | Posted, in reply to Will's comment, by thestage: | Reply

arousal and contempt are, in fact, quite often linked. see: the internet.

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tlp got in contact with won... (Below threshold)

January 5, 2013 5:06 AM | Posted, in reply to ProfessorRocketSurgeon's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

tlp got in contact with wong a long time ago and twitted about it I think, they e-know e-each other. I don't know why I know this internet minutia

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Tlp, don't know why but at ... (Below threshold)

January 5, 2013 7:38 PM | Posted by Virus: | Reply

Tlp, don't know why but at times it has occurred to me that you're not actually interested in what you are writing about, that your texts are about something else than what's spelled out explicit.

What make me think that?

At times I've had difficulty computing that someone as with an seemingly elevated mind like yours would be authentically interested in some of these topics you're writing about.

I enjoyed your article, and perhaps you deserve better than having a paragraph hijacked, but please read it. It's one among several details that make me doubt your motivation. Sure you're not writing merely for appearing cool?

The article continues with a "nuanced" criticism of irony and the hipster mindset, and then towards the end she tries a reversal, but it's a trick, not because it's not genuine, it is, but precisely because it is genuine:

What? Only thing being reversed is consensus use of language. It sounds cool but obviously, if it's genuine, it's not a trick per definition - leaving the whole paragraph more or less semantically meaningless.

On average you tend to have a strong sense of logic and awareness of language so I'm left wondering whether this paragraph is a typo or.... you're just writing for the sake of writing.

Minor point but the continuation also strike me as rhetorical. It is correct that people express insight of self as mean to avert change, but certainly to figure oneself out is the first step, preceding action, and is of course a necessary (but not sufficient) condition on the path towards a better life.

I'm not saying you have to do everything for money, god knows I write a lot of blog and drink very long rums and neither one have delivered profits commensurate with the labor.

Really? From one of your other outlets I observe that you are of the opinion that our actions are ultimately rooted in self-interest (in a wide sense, probably so wide that it's meaningless). If your labor don't have sufficent return, why than do you?

Btw, anyone here care to explain that theory, that our actions are rooted in (wide) self interest?

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certainly to figur... (Below threshold)

January 5, 2013 9:45 PM | Posted, in reply to Virus's comment, by TheCoconutChef: | Reply

certainly to figure oneself out is the first step, preceding action, and is of course a necessary (but not sufficient) condition on the path towards a better life.

That's a strong assumption that, as I see it, runs counter to Alone's argument.

If figuring oneself out is a defense, and if a defense is a protection against change, it follows that stopping figuring yourself out is a necessary condition for change. I'm not saying this is true, only that it's his argument.

But, since the blog seems to be geared toward narcissists, I'm pretty sure it's intended only for a fraction of the population, albeit an allegedly endemically large one.

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There's an economic aspect ... (Below threshold)

January 6, 2013 12:53 AM | Posted by Big Cynic: | Reply

There's an economic aspect to all the hipster baristas rolling their eyes at the clientele: jobs that provide a comfortable living to college graduates with what-the-fuck-were-you-thinking degrees are much scarcer than they were a generation ago, hence the larger gap for the ego to fill between one's perceived capabilities and one's actual economic status.

Whether the gap is filled with vinyl albums, an NFL jacket, or aluminum alloy rims, it's just variations on a theme, no?

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Hugh,Wrong, wrong,... (Below threshold)

January 7, 2013 2:55 PM | Posted, in reply to Hugh Eadschitt's comment, by Ed S.: | Reply

Hugh,

Wrong, wrong, wrong suggesting that I'm a sock puppet for Alone/TLP. Just a middle age guy who read the essays and gleaned some interesting thoughts from some of them. And why the rage?

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Spot on.And Nietzsch... (Below threshold)

January 8, 2013 11:35 AM | Posted, in reply to WhatAboutBob's comment, by anon: | Reply

Spot on.
And Nietzsche is the title of this blog.

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He told me that t... (Below threshold)

January 9, 2013 7:56 AM | Posted by SusanC: | Reply

He told me that those people are schizoids...

I'm really puzzled as to why Schizoid Personality Disorder is considered pathological (and so gets an entry in the DSM). I know lots of people with autism spectrum conditions, and can see why that can be a problem (although a serious argument can be had about whether the higher-functioning end of autism is an inmpairment or just a personality trait).

But at least from the DSM definition, SPD lacks anything than might be termed an impairment or something the "patient" wants help with.

I am not aware of ever having encountered anyone with an SPD diagnosis, so I don't know what it looks like in practise. (And if I haven't met any, this is possibly sampling bias in that such a person would have little reason to meet me..)

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I shall quote myself (as... (Below threshold)

January 10, 2013 8:54 AM | Posted by Bonze Anne Rose Blayk: | Reply

I shall quote myself (as I so often do):

*sigh* - I've said it before, I'll say it again:

Wampole has no clue as to what "irony" is.

"… people who move things in the political landscape, regardless of the sides they choose, are never ironists …"

"A Modest Proposal" -

For Preventing The Children of Poor People in Ireland
From Being Aburden to Their Parents or Country, and
For Making Them Beneficial to The Public

By Jonathan Swift (1729)

”… I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled ...”

I SUNK YOUR BATTLESHIP

Wampole does not even qualify as an "idiot".

What she describes as "irony" is in fact detachment and disengagement, with those who have given up on accomplishing anything meaningful trying to attach a prestige label to their state of loserliness.

(… from a Facebook discussion on Wampole's article)

I find the argument that she's mired in projection here very interesting, and likely true.

Sincerely,
- bonzie anne

PS: Socrates was an ironist.

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Just a note... when you you... (Below threshold)

January 10, 2013 1:53 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Just a note... when you yourself are critiquing others on matters of societal standpoint, I feel that it's relevant that you make an effort to express who you are in the whole scheme of things. In this article you open up an issue where apparently most people are caught in a cycle of projected labels and self-realization which only functions to defend them against agency in their own lives. What about you? Are you immune to this phenomenon? To be honest, you come across as the next layer in the whole 'hipster' plague you've described:

The person who writes blogs criticizing the critics of hipsters for people who are more than likely mentally masturbating to his own 'superior' viewpoint on society.

Writing a blog supported by hipster mentality which criticizes the original critics of hipsters? You've achieved a fat triple layer of irony.

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Punch him... IN THE MOUTH, ... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2013 2:43 AM | Posted, in reply to confused's comment, by Flying Tiger Comics: | Reply

Punch him... IN THE MOUTH, eh?

Very interesting*.


*Nah, it isn't. Neither am I being ironic. Or indeed steelonic or aluminumonic.

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I think the hipster is u, m... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2013 12:22 PM | Posted by Earth's Scum Universe's Master: | Reply

I think the hipster is u, me and every single person that walks on this earth. We think we know value. We think we know right. We think we know wrong. We think we know whats worth fighting for. We think we've won. We think we've lost. We think we're alive.

If you didnt die last year, you are a hipster. Dont deny it. Dont boast it. Dont waste your time arguing about it.

Here's why:
In order to conquer there has to be divide and it will keep going in that direction until a species is alone. Every strategy or survival tactic strives to get to 1 on 1. So lets say that it gets to that: you and me are left bc we've backstabbed, loved, cheated, prayed, studied, toiled... At that moment you realize, if I eliminate my opponent then I live alone forever. What do you do? The both of you have each others lives in your own hands.

Too smart not to think we wont be killed, too dumb to not have died sooner.
Theres no law, value, virtue, win or lose at that point. There is no surrender or retreat or gain to discuss.

If you were that person, think, what would you do?

But to get to that point, two very clear emotions sparked 1 billion ppl to a mere 2: greed and fear. Think about Gordon Gekko's perspective on Greed (if u dont know this speech, find it) Greed is the reason to live, Fear is the reason to live as well. Either or sparks the charge to begin the divide, and like a game the greedSTERS fight the fearSTERS while the count shifts.

Every lesson, quote, virtue and vice is thrown among each other as it shifts. Some die in the first year, others remain until the final table. No award, no goal, no "light" at the end of the tunnel.

I think Maya Angelou said something like, in the small ways we're different but in the big ways we're all the same. We help and teach, we steal and kill. But to sway our side, we use the little things to keep the score tight but continue the divide like sibling toddlers that fight for 2mm of space in the backseat of the car.

So now what, purpose is lost in this workd..Do we believe in a higher being? Pick your choice but the afterlife scenario of hell, heaven, paradise or suffering wont be it enough.

But thats the this world is. We can accept it or deny it, fight it or nurture it. We cannot all be combined as one and we cannot constantly be divided up to end up as one.

And finally, what does attached at the hip mean? Some will disagree, some will agree... I could care less to prove myself in this regard.

So hipsters all around the world, stop the fight but start the quest. A stalemate perhaps? another movement will come where we play can only say that none of us know what this is all about......

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Doesn't anyone ever think t... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2013 3:33 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Will: | Reply

Doesn't anyone ever think that Alone's decision to remain anonymous is part of his personal defense against narcissism?

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I am a narcissist. I don't ... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2013 5:11 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I am a narcissist. I don't deny it and I have no shame about it. Here's some food for thought: you give her a cunninglingus so good, she'll just want more of it, and that's her punishment. She's Whampole, you are TLP. The cunninglingus = free publicity And yes, I realize the "value" of this publicity is only a "construct" of the batteries.

Disclaimer: I really, really like the stuff I read on your site, do keep up the good work! (not trying to "project")

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I think it has more to do w... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2013 6:03 PM | Posted, in reply to Will's comment, by TheCoconutChef: | Reply

I think it has more to do with its reader than with him.

Basic psychoanalytic technique tells the analyst that he has to remain as self-effacing as possible in order to let the transference unfold.

When people speculate that Alone is "x-y-z", where could those idea and identity qualifier be coming from? The anonymous, impersonal blogger, or themselves?

To paraphrase Alone:

"It's a reflection and a projection. What do you see?

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I'm anti a certain type of ... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2013 6:58 PM | Posted, in reply to lemmy caution's comment, by Dovahkiin: | Reply

I'm anti a certain type of hipster -- the kind that only pretends to like what they say they like. The ones that aren't into the same music they were a year ago because now (horror of horrors) that band has become popular. I don't like it because it strikes me as a pose. It's not about liking new music, but about liking what no one else does. It's not about liking books, it's about liking books that no one else wants to read. It's not about liking comics, it's about liking obscure Japanese comics directly imported from Japan that you learned Japanese to read. In other words, the name of the game is to signal "special little snowflake" by liking things no one else likes, and wearing things that no one else wears. If you honestly like a band, you'd still like it when they make the big time. If you honestly like a certain type of fiction, you wouldn't dump it the instant that type of thing got popular. If you honestly like comics, especially manga (the japanese stuff) then you'll still like it if it's professionally translated and on sale at Wal-mart.

I think pretension of any type is a bad thing. Don't put up a front about who you are and what you like.

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The type of person you desc... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2013 12:38 AM | Posted, in reply to Dovahkiin's comment, by John: | Reply

The type of person you describe probably does not exist in a pure state (i.e. only liking the most obscure possible cultural product and nothing at all mainstream), but many individuals come very close. The reasons for this type of affect are varied, but one feature that you, and critics like you, fail to note is that a lot of individuals enjoy the moment of discovery as aesthetic experience in and of itself. Especially people who have consumed a large and eclectic variety of media. The more one becomes self-aware of the process of naively engaging, say music, and how repetition produces familiarity and eventually staleness, the more one 'self-consciously' seeks to consume culture in its most innocent state (free of hype or assaulting marketing campaigns), largely because the process itself is exciting, fun, and novel. At its most basic level, this searching and longing is an attempt to encounter reality before reality is distorted, digested, and pre-procssed for us, stripped of all its ugly glory. The perversity of course is that so many hipsters become involved in branding, but that's a far more thorny issue than I'd like to get into now.

It's also worth pointing out that a lot of broadly popular culture shares uniform attributes (this homogeneousness and universality is why it is so popular in the first place), whereas fringe culture may offer greater degrees of diversity. A lot of people simply can't identify with a larger collective.

So there are really many different reasons 'hipsters' behave differently than other people and it is simplistic to continue painting them all simply as 'posers' as if they are trying to convince YOU (of the sedentary, laptop-bound anthropologist elite) of anything at all.

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The Onion seems a little la... (Below threshold) Wrong, wrong, wrong sugg... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2013 5:04 PM | Posted by Hugh Eadschitt: | Reply

Wrong, wrong, wrong suggesting that I'm a sock puppet for Alone/TLP. Just a middle age guy who read the essays and gleaned some interesting thoughts from some of them. And why the rage?

Gleaned? You actually gleaned something? What is this, a verbal SAT question challenge to see who can use an awkward, pretentious word in a post, in order to seem erudite sagacious and perspicacious?

Is "glean" a word you use in conversation normally? If so, when talking with whom? A child? A university professor? A pretentious knob on the internet?

As to "rage," I'm very interested in how you can assess mental states through a mere internet post. I don't spot any particular mental state in your post, apart from the grasping at pretense while typing "glean" in a post.

So, maybe, insecurity.

But "rage"? That's a big emotion. How does someone show "rage" in a post?

You wouldn't know.

You have to imagine someone's disagreement with you is unhinged anger, rather than rational observation with a clear emotional state unclouded by rage, or even mild anger.

How's the taste of that dog-doo on your shoe right now, since you've put your foot in your mouth?

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Good lord. Ok. If you see t... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2013 6:49 PM | Posted, in reply to Hugh Eadschitt's comment, by Madness: | Reply

Good lord. Ok. If you see through this blog so clearly, please help the rest of us by providing some kind of insight and not just slandering the author and favorable commenters. Some of us are here trying to learn about ourselves and the world to help make it better for everyone. A lot of what is discussed on this blog rings true. And no, i am not saying "I totally see how other people do that" but rather, "wow, i see where i do that and cause disconnect and hurt to those around me...", and such personal realizations of responsibility for how my life is going.

Look. Your posts do seem rageful. How so? Bc you attack things w meaningless (besides being demeaning) statements that aren't otherwise helpful. Fine, you say the author is a narcissist and the comment section is a narcissist's pissing contest. I'm willing to listen and read more of what you have say to consider this, so i may perhaps see something new. But if all you can do is talk about poop and call everyone blind and pretentious, i don't see how your posts aren't just prime examples of what much of this blog's discussion is: defense.

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A couple more blue collar b... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2013 7:20 PM | Posted, in reply to Hugh Eadschitt's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

A couple more blue collar beatdown paragraphs about that impenetrable NPR jargon and they just might make room for you in the YouTube comments for the next Opie and Anthony upload.

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I neither hate nor love hip... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2013 4:33 AM | Posted, in reply to Dovahkiin's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I neither hate nor love hipsters. I just think they are stupid. Regardless if they are sincere or just posing, they remain fucking stupid in my eyes.

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regardless of whether you l... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2013 4:03 PM | Posted by xnfec: | Reply

regardless of whether you love hipsters or hate them, the difference is all just epaulettes!

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waitsomeone actual... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2013 4:11 AM | Posted, in reply to Hugh Eadschitt's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

wait

someone actually thinks "glean" is an uncommon and "pretentious" word? were you raised in the wild?

(here's a tip: you don't know what pretentious means, which happens to make your usage of it more pretentious than anyone you have ever accused of being pretentious in the history of your life)

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The thing about these mass ... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2013 8:22 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by BobNesbo: | Reply

The thing about these mass shootings is the absence of in-depth inof regarding the shooters. Specifically, I wonder what kind of, and how many anti-depressants they were taking.

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Who's claiming to be "elite... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2013 9:24 AM | Posted, in reply to John's comment, by Dovahkiin: | Reply

Who's claiming to be "elite", I never said that. I dislike people who brag about liking a band or an author only to call attention to how much they suck once other people start to like them. It's not even about "trying new things" at least not the ones I see. Ask a hipster for a list of books, and you get something that an english teacher would have given -- very literary, mostly because it seems to have been cribbed from the college reading list of any college prep high school. I just don't get that stuff -- If you like an artist, then why suddenly hate him just because other people are into him now?

I'm not trying to impress people with my knowledge, I'm just not finding anything but "ooh look at me, I'm edgy, I hate what you like and like what you hate" You say they like the new and novel, maybe for some people, but i think it's showing off when you make a big deal about how you like a band and how they've "sold out" now that other people like them. I like what I like and don't like what I don't like, and I'm not trying to impress people.

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love this. i have witnessed... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2013 1:33 PM | Posted by Shamsi Ruhe: | Reply

love this. i have witnessed the hipster thing with what i consider to be largely irony-free P.O.V. i AM jealous of their money and their total confidence that they are awesome and everyone else sucks, but i don't want to be one of them. they offend me in every possible way.

pretty sure i'm not projecting, but i love reading anything that makes me question myself.

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The Hipster is all of us...... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2013 2:02 AM | Posted by A_Ghost-In_The_Machine: | Reply

The Hipster is all of us... the system is all of us.
We are both Neo *and* The Matrix.

The ancients understood this yet still allowed some to be kings while others were baristas.

There is no 'new world order' because the world is too old for new games like that.

The one thing that we all need to understand is that we are nothing but blips on the face of time and space. You want to be the Mr. GoFuckYourself? Fine, be my guest. I will not stop you.

The pit of self-loathing we climb into is lined with our failures... it can be mighty deep and there is only slime and decay at the bottom... take a light because you'll need it.

The climb back *out* of that pit will be on top of all of those failures and self-incrimination... if we even decide to climb out. The hipster is too hip to do that. The NYT pop psych writer is too.

I got out of the system before it stole my very soul when i saw that it was simply going to chew me up and spit me out... yes, quit school right there before I spent another dollar on the system.

Got into the world and saw that it was an oyster... so I made some soup and traveled...

Had the last laugh... the piece of paper on the wall? Never got it yet am now paid to do what I would have done with the paper - but on my terms and not that of an egotistical boss who only knew that he/she/it (he.sh.it) held my metal gonads and possible future but NOT my dreams and desires to climb out of that pit.

Have a happy life because if you don't, don't blame the system nor anyone else... it all your fault... or your success... but it is still *your* choice. Wisely we must choose for long is the ride to the end of the merry-go-round.

Nice article, TLP. Will watch for the next one. ;-)

Happy day to all!

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i honestly don't think i'm ... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2013 8:49 AM | Posted by Shamsi Ruhe: | Reply

i honestly don't think i'm a hipster, but it's interesting that you think the hipster is in all of us but that *you* got out of the system and had the last laugh.

if you knew MY life it might be that i was laughing longer and harder than you. ever thought about that? i have bucked the system at every turn and will continue to do so, if only because i see it and it feels wrong and insincere and lacking in substance.

i have always seen it, before they named the phenomenon of doing what society dictates "hipsterism" it was always something...going to school, making money, being important, social climbing...i even find people who brag about bucking the system to be suspect...

if it feels wrong, don't do it. yes, people who throw their lives away for money feel sad and empty, and so do people who spend their lives making fun of them and knowing the best bands you've never heard of. it's still mean-spirited and competitive.

listen to what you like. watch what you like. do work you like. be kind to people. tell the truth.

i wear all black and have tattoos and listen to pop radio without irony. i like james taylor and i don't like cats and i've been to private schools and lived in my car. nothing i do is to show anybody anything. truly. maybe this is the gift of the introvert or someone who never fit in and gave up trying.

anytime you want to hear about my life, i'll tell you all about it. odds are you *are* a hipster and would be deeply embarrassed to have a friend like me who is so openly myself and not obsessed by pop culture or my relationship to it.

i also love pop culture. i'm just not counterculture and i'm also not part of the system. this is a real thing. you don't need a doctorate to like what you like and be ok with yourself.

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...and i thought the matrix... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2013 8:50 AM | Posted by Shamsi Ruhe: | Reply

...and i thought the matrix was stupid. and "edgy" green lighting.

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and i'm not in a pit of fai... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2013 8:52 AM | Posted by Shamsi Ruhe: | Reply

and i'm not in a pit of failure.

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Re: projection, I'm having ... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2013 9:35 AM | Posted by Andrew: | Reply

Re: projection, I'm having trouble understanding the difference between "putting them onto someone else," and confusing "them as coming from someone else."

Projection in this article is presented as always present, inescapable. Author is saying "it takes an asshole to recognize an asshole." That's not a useful, or even correct, insight.

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Does TLP realize how flippa... (Below threshold)

January 16, 2013 1:17 PM | Posted by Jim: | Reply

Does TLP realize how flippantly and incorrectly she uses commas? Is that supposed to be a statement or something?

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First, sorry to have to poi... (Below threshold)

January 16, 2013 2:54 PM | Posted, in reply to Shamsi Ruhe's comment, by A_Ghost-In_The_Machine: | Reply

First, sorry to have to point this out, but my comment *was* directed at the author(s?) of this blog. Your comment just happened to be before I posted my comment. I generally do not read comments prior to adding my own - I find that to be a waste as getting sidetracked is a pitfall to be avoided if one wishes to make a clear concise point. Mine being that what the author(s) rail against is part and parcel of each and every one of us - exactly how much varies; depending on the day, how much sleep, too much / too little caffeine, etc. But it is really *our* choice to continue without realizing that little 'tidbit of truth' (objective case)

That now out of the way, I will respond as you *did* direct your comment(s)to me and my comment... and I also dislike those how appear and act oafish towards others when no harm was intended but harm was taken. None intended, I assure you.

So, I would not like you as a friend? That is also projection as mentioned in the article/post/blog. I have friends in many parts of this globe, speaking many different languages, yet we all - despite our differences - understand that each and every person on earth is more alike than different. I do *not* and will not *ever* look into the eyes of someone that g-d does not love, so why should others do so? I also choose not to do so. That guides me in life. That, it seems, is the big answer is search of a question to many more than it should.

Re: the 'pit', sorry we are all victims of the evil that surrounds us whether we admit it or not. It comes in many forms, ostracizing, politicizing, name-calling, backstabbing... and that is just from those who want to considered 'friends'...

By seeing exactly who and what we want for/from this time (we call 'our life'), we have realized that we are in a pit and can start our climb (some say at the base of the mountain), but either way, we must climb. Or walk, or whatever your particular mental image may be. And behind us, is the past (or beneath us when climbing... et al)

The truth is that as we are all the sum total of all we have learned, experienced and felt, those are the things that have and will effect us on the climb. Some call it the road, or the path or the journey... whatever, it is life and unless we start to live it for ourselves, we only have ourselves to blame when we reach the end ('end of the road', the 'destination', the 'top of the mountain', the 'edge of the pit'... i.e. death) and realize that what we spent all that time 'doing' was for nothing.

Personal philosophy statement:
"Do for myself and be ready to give more to others than I do for myself".

I think (hope?) that at the end, I will look back and say, "OK! That was a good ride! (climb, walk, etc...)"

Not trying to confuse anyone by mixing the metaphors, some just will not 'get it' anyway it is stated.

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Looks like that product is ... (Below threshold)

January 17, 2013 6:43 PM | Posted, in reply to BDM's comment, by Kierkegaard: | Reply

Looks like that product is some sort of projector...

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I really, really want to ge... (Below threshold)

January 21, 2013 9:25 AM | Posted by Whatever: | Reply

I really, really want to get out of the college system, as I feel like all I'm doing is paying $5000 semi-annually for the privilege of justifying the jobs of professors who know less about computers than I do, while they pay me $240/week (before taxes) to work in their offices and prove this is true. I don't get out of the system because I'm hoping that I get a research grant that leads to doing more interesting things, and I don't know how to get that as a non-degreed non-student. Meanwhile, people who didn't go to college at all are getting paid $1400/week (before taxes) to do the same thing I'm doing, minus the research grant hopes and paying for the privilege of spendng half their time taking classes on subjects they already know or could know if they spent a few hours Googling it. I don't know if this is worth it.

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holy fuck.... (Below threshold)

January 21, 2013 9:35 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

holy fuck.

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TLP has been an interesting... (Below threshold)

January 25, 2013 1:51 AM | Posted by Joe: | Reply

TLP has been an interesting resource. I'm curious as to what a "Gerry" is to do now that he is out of college and his future looks bleak. I'm especially curious as to what this actually MEANS;
1. Did Hipster Gerry get his money's worth from the University of Chicago, either $100k in future income or knowledge? No.

2. Did society get their money's worth in sending him, i.e. by permitting/facilitating the diversion of his intellect into whatever it was he majored in? No.

Neither of those questions have the force to change reality. This one does:

3. Did the University of Chicago get their money's worth out of him, was $100k worth the dilution to their brand? No.

So basically the question is is the University of Chicago the victim here? Or am I misinterpreting his implication?

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this is a real presentation... (Below threshold)

February 1, 2013 4:29 PM | Posted by J: | Reply

this is a real presentation at MOCA (LA) :
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 3

1:00 - 1:50 pm, Mezzanine Theater
CERTAINTY OF HOPELESSNESS: A PRIMER ON DISCHARGING STUDENT LOAN DEBT by Christopher Glazek and Sean Monahan
Student debt cannot be erased through the normal bankruptcy process. Most people believe it’s useless to even try, but nearly half of all student debtors who initiate discharge proceedings get some or all of their student loans forgiven. All you have to do is prove “certainty of hopelessness”. After the event, attendees will be invited to complete discharge application at the Paper Chase Press booth, which will be submitted to the LA County Courthouse the following Monday morning. Presented by Paper Chase.

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well no thats not entirely ... (Below threshold)

February 3, 2013 10:13 PM | Posted, in reply to Dovahkiin's comment, by yoshi: | Reply

well no thats not entirely true. you can work to change the system if you have enough people but you cant just opt out. the system isnt JUST the people. the system is also how things work. everything from the concept of a 9 to 5 work day to how much rent you pay is also part of the system. people both operate in and comprise part of the system. opting out in any real way in the current system means one of two things being dead or leaving civilization.

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Still reeling, didn't expec... (Below threshold)

February 13, 2013 2:10 PM | Posted by t-bird: | Reply

Still reeling, didn't expect so much depth. I'd award you a PhD for this article, but that might be considered an insult.

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Yes, though to be fair I th... (Below threshold)

February 13, 2013 5:26 PM | Posted, in reply to Hugh Eadschitt's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Yes, though to be fair I think the author does not actually say whether this take on irony is right or wrong, since critiquing a critique is mostly pointless, especially a critique on irony (whether correct or incorrect.)

Also, it's worth noting that while Hipsters are not themselves ironic, there is a tendency to use it as a defense, which given the nature of post-modern critique and whatever else, rapidly becomes a wheel-within-a-wheel of irony / critique.

Post Modernism as a whole is a reaction against the system; like Marxism it is a shadow, or if you will, the big adolescent 'f you' to the Modern system. The trouble with pointing fingers about narcissism is just the same as with all forms of critique and comparison; are you a narcissist for not liking narcissists? Are you a critic for disliking critics? Narcissists of course, at least as I understand it (which isn't much frankly) are very keen to move criticism away from themselves and their own constructed or idealized identity. If you can manufacture a way of making self critique a way to protect that idealized identity, then you are pretty much screwed forever and don't get to become Ubermensch. However, given the rules of local/absolute maximums in math, you may indeed feel like you're the top of the world.

This is perhaps one reason why penances used to be so massive - granted, they only issued them for adultery, murder and apostasy - because the herculean struggle (that you must end up failing on your own) to do a penance kills narcissism like weed-b-gone. I'm not saying that the early Christians understood narcissism; that's an anachronism. I am saying that they understood suffering and purity of heart - stuff that only comes through blood, sweat and tears. 'A camel will enter the Eye of the Needle before the rich enter the Kingdom of God'. The Eye of the Needle was a tiny gate only a man could get through, ducking. There may be a little irony in Christ's statement, but I think it's mostly just saying you don't ride your camel into the Kingdom - the camel (the worldly possessions) don't come at all. And you come in probably dragging your face along the ground.

Another point in the argument about the movie; the author already tried to establish that his interpretation of the scene is that Alec Baldwin's character has no emotional investment in the act he pulls. Given that assumption (which I don't know if I totally buy) the rest of it follows. He may indeed simply be using his wealth -- if he actually has it, mind you -- we seem to assume he's telling the truth about the cost of the watch and car. If it's an act - it may as well be a con game too. Not to say the guy is a con artist, but if their company is going down and he's trying to save it in his own a-hole way, he will probably lie about those things just to motivate the guys. I think the point is the steak knives are an insult. The car is an insult. But that also might just be my own thought about such things.

However, it's a clever ploy if it is one, because if they're little materialists, they'll bug out over a nice Caddy and try harder. If they're not, they'll say 'f you' to the rewards and find a way to make it through anyway. No man wants to be considered useless, to be considered baggage. We're made that way, probably - and thus why it's all a bunch of middle aged men. The key is that he threatens to fire them if they don't do well; if they're not materialists, they're existentialists at least, and if neither if they're not extra-talented their company doesn't benefit from employing them.

To think what happens in this movie is a critique of capitalism is itself projection. What happens in this movie is, if anything, a general critique of human systems, as that sort of stunt he pulled could be translated to other systems (even the supposedly 'opposite' communism) and still work. Do you think Lenin and Stalin killed rivals for peace? Or was it the same, get the heck in line or we cut you off? From that perspective Baldwin's guy is a hero - getting fired beats losing your actual head.

The final argument is whether the system is justified in itself; if so, Baldwin's character is a hero. If not, his antagonism is wasted whether he cares that it is or not. If the system in question (which may be of any size or character) is completely unjust - by which I mean in the old fashioned sense of being plain wicked and not unfair - then any defense of it is itself evil.

So differing interpretations of the scene make sense; if you see a real estate company as a kind of wicked thing, you will see Baldwin's character automatically as a bad guy, even though he may be at worst an antagonist. Likewise with capitalism itself or as the case may be, usury (which is what enables Real Estate to be such a big business in our society, probably.) However, if you set aside that pre-judgement he becomes a nondualistic character.

Still, I don't agree that succeeding in the system is necessarily bj material. That ultimately depends on the reasons, motivations and aspirations of the person who succeeds or achieves. There are plenty of ways to win while maintaining your dignity (as the author's metaphor would have it, or I guess, 'have it not'?) but clearly enabling the system angrily isn't the way. I think that's a pretty simple take-home from this series. Some people have vellity towards their dignity; since they are already enslaved they will just be bastard slaves so they feel like they're somehow bucking the system. But if the system is sadistic (which it might very well be) this only makes it more enjoyable for whoever happens to be pulling the strings at whatever point. Pretty much everyone - ideologically speaking - has gotten a turn at being puppet master to some lesser or greater extent. Except that none of their ideologies made a bit of a difference in the grand scheme of things.

Instead of wanting to be the one on the receiving end, you ought to want to have nothing to do with it entirely. And yet the sex-addicted metaphor is apt...

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A lot of interesting opinio... (Below threshold)

February 13, 2013 11:55 PM | Posted by eric : | Reply

A lot of interesting opinions on a subject that's costs us all recieving a paycheck but are you saying you have to be black or live in the hood to get food stamps?

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It's also discontinued- obs... (Below threshold)

February 14, 2013 3:04 AM | Posted, in reply to Ivy's comment, by Monty Washington: | Reply

It's also discontinued- obsolete. Also reflective of our consumer culture, mixed in with mass media.

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Very interesting observatio... (Below threshold)

February 17, 2013 2:40 PM | Posted by Eric: | Reply

Very interesting observations about projection. If "figuring yourself out" is itself a defense mechanism, what does a person do instead? How does a person internalize these feelings, and deal with them for the better?

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wow, thelastpsychiat... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2013 5:21 AM | Posted by meh: | Reply


wow, thelastpsychiatrist! you sure have a lot of energy, don't you?. i really hope you experience some catharsis when you finish
these lengthy rants. just reading these three articles has left me drained. i couldn't possibly seethe about another thing.

p.s. i am not a hipster.

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"To use the frequent exampl... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2013 11:48 AM | Posted by homophobehurr: | Reply

"To use the frequent example of "homophobia": a guy feels gay impulses and can't "handle it" but he doesn't get rid of them by putting them onto someone else, he confuses them as coming from someone else. He smells gayness, "where is it coming from? Me? Impossible! Jesus washed my feet. Must be that guy."

Is that the state of the art opinion on how homophobia comes to be? Wow.

What about incest? We all consider incest to be creepy and disturbing. Does that mean we really want to screw our siblings? In fact our disgust towards it is very much like homophobia.

Why would anyone not be able "to handle it"? I mean, this is recursive. "They don't like it because they are insecure". About what? Why am I not insecure about gaving a foot fetish or a lactation fetish? How can insecurity about being a homo be the reason for homophobia when you have to identify a reason other than insecurity in the first place?

Maybe it is because it seems like you have to be a sick fuck to be attracted to someone you have no business to be attracted to in the first place. Sure it's not a sufficient reason to legally ban taking it up the ass from another man. But it sure as hell has more merit than bringing up the "insecurity" argument.

Hey guys, just in case you are horryfied by /d/: you can't handle your love for guro/furry/incest, that's why you despise it.

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except your not distinguish... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2013 3:48 PM | Posted, in reply to homophobehurr's comment, by yoshi: | Reply

except your not distinguishing instincts evolved from the beginning of homo sapiens as a race, and possibly further back then that. from the social implications of being say homosexual now. we have an instinctive disgust for say incest because tribes who didnt died out due to the genetic problems caused by inbreeding. the tribes who had had a "gut feeling" that was wrong are among our ancestors. but theres no such generalized feeling towards homosexuals, and there have been cultures in the past who were accepting of it. the insecurity about it comes from the fact that the man in question identifies with being a man in a certain way and being labeled as gay would break that image. so he reacts by projecting, "these gay feelings can be comming from me i'm a Christian man which i couldnt be if i were gay. it must be that homo over there"

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You are literally my favori... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2013 8:27 PM | Posted by Danny: | Reply

You are literally my favorite person on the internet.

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Your comment sparked a coup... (Below threshold)

February 21, 2013 2:32 PM | Posted by HelpMeControl_IT: | Reply

Your comment sparked a couple of silly thoughts. I got hung up on a word. This perhaps isn't a contribution, but perhaps someone have appropriate comments.

defence mechanisms

What are those exactly? I looked it up, and thinking is that we are conflicted and mental processes which hinder us from resolve are thought of as defence mechanisms. These mechanisms enable the mind to compromise.

I don't feel at home with this. Are you conflicted? I'm not even sure what it mean in this context. This is meant to depict something more or less universal, an insight on how people function, right?

Let me make it personal and use drug addiction, or any sort of addiction, as an example. I've found myself to be an addict. It used to be thought of as not giving a fuck, character weakness and indulgence giving way to anything that pleases the body. My ways evolved and what once were symptoms of something else being wrong, later became a cause to a life off track.

I recognize that there are tricks of mind which facilitate the continuation of my addiction, as I'm sure most of the readership is aware of: excuses and explanations, bending the truth and the emphasizing of anything that support those (wrong) decisions.

Are those the "defence mechanisms"?

I don't have much to add on the subject except to claim that I don't understand how "defence" and "conflict" can be appropriate words in these kind of situations. I've heard of ambivalence though.

I don't feel conflicted. Perhaps I don't know where to go, but I'm sure of where I'm not aiming to head. No conflict to resolve here. I even know how I could get out of this, but I can't. Don't have the resources so to speak but that's another story. I'm tired from writing this and while I know tomorrow it will be felt differently, today I feel lone. Have no-one to talk with, though I'm getting mixed signals.

Most of the time, all we need is someone, to talk with.

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Honestly, the best advice I... (Below threshold)

February 22, 2013 11:00 AM | Posted, in reply to Eric's comment, by Dovahkiin: | Reply

Honestly, the best advice I ever got was in a sense own everything you do. If you want to know what you're really like, it's what you really do. If you spend your time reading, you like to read, if you spend your time playing Halo, you like that. If you tear people down, that's who you are. No running, no BS, if you do it, it's because some core of you is that way. especially if it's something you don't want people to know about. If you read lit because you want the "literary cred" it doesn't count as much as if you were reading the same books at home with no one around (and you don't talk about it on facebook). The person you really are has more to do with guilty pleasures and unguarded moments than any image, so I think the trick is essentially, the stuff you do when you don't think anyone is watching is closer to who you are than the things you tell yourself about yourself. I think it's a start at any rate. YMMV, of course.

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"except your not distinguis... (Below threshold)

February 22, 2013 9:11 PM | Posted, in reply to yoshi's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"except your not distinguishing instincts evolved from the beginning of homo sapiens as a race, and possibly further back then that."

I like when people make grandiose claims like that without a single shred of proof. How can you tell that this disgust "evolved" from our ancestors? You know that many theories about why something "evolved" is just guesstimation, right? (and please, this is not me denying evolution)

"from the social implications of being say homosexual now. we have an instinctive disgust for say incest because tribes who didnt died out due to the genetic problems caused by inbreeding."

You have no fucking idea what you're talking about.

What kind of "genetic problems"? Do you even know what causes these "genetic problems"? Not to mention, that is even more evidence that homophobia =/= evil, as it makes even more sense from an evlutionary standpoint to be disgusted by homos as these are people unfit to reproduce since they are not attracted to people they should be attracted to (opposite gender) but their own, which is a waste of genetic material, therefore people shunning homosexual contact at all cost were more likely to pass on their genes.

"the tribes who had had a "gut feeling" that was wrong are among our ancestors. but theres no such generalized feeling towards homosexuals"

Erm what?

"and there have been cultures in the past who were accepting of it."

And there have also been cultures who were accepting of incest. Hell, if you include first cousins, the majority of cultures accepts it TODAY. (in fact my own parents are 1. cousins and I am only 23)

the insecurity about it comes from the fact that the man in question identifies with being a man in a certain way and being labeled as gay would break that image. so he reacts by projecting, "these gay feelings can be comming from me i'm a Christian man which i couldnt be if i were gay. it must be that homo over there"

Yeah, but clearly, insecurity can't be the root of it as something must've made them biased in the first place or else the recursion/induction would never get off. (how do I get insecure about something before I have no reason to be insecure towards it in the first place?)

Furthermore, anal sex with women also is against Christianity. Why does nobody condemn it because they feel "insecure" about not beinga true Christian? Pre-marital sex is also sinful, why has this kind of phenomenon never been observed here?

Let's not even talk about the fact that many, many non-Christians are "homophobes".

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This is the kind of thing I... (Below threshold)

February 27, 2013 2:44 PM | Posted by warped: | Reply

This is the kind of thing I wish I read when I was still picking a major. Now I have a useless degree, and in my 30s, a decade of useless experience. The fuck do I do now?

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You can keep trying to make... (Below threshold)

February 27, 2013 2:51 PM | Posted, in reply to warped's comment, by Jensen: | Reply

You can keep trying to make it work for you. You can learn some skills, be self-employed, start a business. You can accept it and start over in the system on your own dime. Is there another option?

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Very smart and deconstructi... (Below threshold)

February 28, 2013 12:23 AM | Posted by Nobody (Like as in -totaly- the reference to Odyseus in Homer's the Odyssey and not just some random: | Reply

Very smart and deconstructive article explaining hipsterism and irony, Doctor. I enjoyed every word of it. I especially appreciated the articulation of the sentiment that gets the hard-working riled up when they read a puff-piece about some hipster getting by on their tax dollars. The thoughts were in the back of my mind but I could never adequately express them out loud.

Consider this site bookmarked.

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Ha. It's a projector. I get... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2013 3:46 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Ha. It's a projector. I get it.

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Projection. Projector.... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2013 5:00 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Projection. Projector.

It's funny, because I once thought I knew what words meant. Now, I find myself looking them all up and find my definitions out of sync with the standard.

"Psychological projection" - once again the thinking is in terms of "defense mechanisms". It's got a certain smell, of being very not true. Yeah yeah yeah Freud was great for his time but we're not there. And if I was a real man, I'd come up with a new vocabulary instead of pecking at the giants of the past.

Can anyone explain projection. In one sentence or two max?

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Yeah Alone is one of the gr... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2013 5:13 PM | Posted by Rockstar: | Reply

Yeah Alone is one of the greatest. I'd give my left arm for a dinner with him. I'm a great admirer of both his mind and how he put it to use.

And the way many of his opinions shine through without he being explicit about it! All these many honorable opinions. Must be a really great guy, I thought for myself.

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Hahahahaaa!!!! Oh man, that... (Below threshold)

March 3, 2013 11:36 PM | Posted, in reply to butterflymcdoom's comment, by Infinite5oul: | Reply

Hahahahaaa!!!! Oh man, thats hilarious!!!

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wrong....... (Below threshold)

March 13, 2013 7:18 PM | Posted, in reply to TheMayansGotItRight's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

wrong....

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An excellent article with a... (Below threshold)

March 14, 2013 1:29 AM | Posted by Ricky Bobby: | Reply

An excellent article with a lot to say about our modern values.

I sometimes get confused with a hipster. I'm bearded and tattooed, far too intelligent for my job (which I like and pays pretty good), drink Pabst (when I drink), use "big words" and grammar, ride a deathtrap bicycle and listen to all kinds of odd music. Here's the rub: I'm also a blue-collar guy, not a college degreed barista.

I wonder what that makes me?

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A hipster; being a barista ... (Below threshold)

March 14, 2013 7:17 AM | Posted, in reply to Ricky Bobby's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

A hipster; being a barista is a blue-collar job.

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But I actually like Pabst. ... (Below threshold)

March 14, 2013 11:11 AM | Posted by Ricky Bobby: | Reply

But I actually like Pabst. Bud drinkers hate on Pabst because it tastes like beer and they are unfamiliar with that.

What I'm getting at is that I'm not doing the "ironic living" thing, and I won't even pretend to know what that means. I'm a mechanic for a trucking company. I ride a Harley, too. I never went to college, I'm not on the dole and I've supported myself and made my own money since I was 15. I bought my old clothes when they were new. I do not look down on others for their tastes in music, art, film, food, etc. Yet, even though I am nothing like "them", I am still branded a hipster.

Who knows, you could be someone else's "hipster".

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Teaching Assistant.... (Below threshold)

March 14, 2013 4:25 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Cas: | Reply

Teaching Assistant.

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I wouldn't say that barista... (Below threshold)

March 14, 2013 8:04 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Dovahkiin: | Reply

I wouldn't say that barista or fast food or retail in general is "blue collar". To me Blue Collar would be a skilled trade -- carpenter or auto-repair, plumbers, stuff like that. Barista is more of a retail/sales position, and I'm not sure there is a collar for that.

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Clever one, I see what you ... (Below threshold)

March 18, 2013 6:27 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by brrr: | Reply

Clever one, I see what you did there.

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Just found your blog, loved... (Below threshold)

March 19, 2013 9:47 AM | Posted by Z. Carter: | Reply

Just found your blog, loved this post! I will be back on a regular basis, great commentary!

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Just found your blog, loved... (Below threshold)

March 19, 2013 9:48 AM | Posted by Z. Carter: | Reply

Just found your blog, loved this post! I will be back on a regular basis, great commentary!

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If you're still arguing abo... (Below threshold)

March 20, 2013 4:35 PM | Posted by Styrofoamboots: | Reply

If you're still arguing about what a "hipster" is or isn't, then you've completely missed the point.

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How so? What do you mean? A... (Below threshold)

March 20, 2013 4:47 PM | Posted, in reply to Styrofoamboots's comment, by ITexperimentNOgood : | Reply

How so? What do you mean? Are you suggesting that hipsters know how to handle technology? I'm not sure they respect their neighbor though. I just don't know.

And why do act shy? Or is it all in my head? Oh my mind.

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I am the "hipster" with the... (Below threshold)

March 22, 2013 3:11 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I am the "hipster" with the Art Degree and no job... Well not anymore anyway, I asked for the raises and after receiving them was fired because they could no longer afford me. So I took the unemployment gig for a while, and applied for food stamps, however, I wasn't offered much for food stams, so I decided it wasn't worth the time to gather up the necessary proof and paperwork. Then I managed to screw myself out of unemployment by taking a shit job and quitting a few weeks later. And now I'm back in school taking psych classes so I can apply for grad school and live off loans for a while longer. Hopefully people are still willing to pay for art therapy when I graduate...
Anyway... I found the article interesting and challenging.

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This was one of the best th... (Below threshold)

March 26, 2013 3:03 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

This was one of the best things I've read in awhile. Blew my mind, turned my perceptions on their head, and made me not have any further hatred for hipsters. Being a college grad myself, my degree has done little but collect dust and look fancy on my wall, so a lot of what you said really hit home.

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Teacher's Assistant... (Below threshold)

March 27, 2013 6:34 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Teacher's Assistant

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I love Alec Baldwin, I'm no... (Below threshold)

March 29, 2013 5:56 PM | Posted by Altostrata: | Reply

I love Alec Baldwin, I'm not ashamed to admit it. He can do relentless.

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That was really a fantastic... (Below threshold)

April 2, 2013 4:09 AM | Posted by Hunter: | Reply

That was really a fantastic post. I like those that really make the time to create top notch stuff - it is all an education at the end of the day. Well planned out and put together. Thanks.

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I agree and also would like... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 2:19 AM | Posted, in reply to Dovahkiin's comment, by Dana: | Reply

I agree and also would like to reply that there is a certain PR in hatred. If you criticize and hate something that others like it attracts attention. I think this is the reason why we have negative feedback about successful products.

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Haha, hipster...... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2013 1:13 AM | Posted, in reply to confused's comment, by Kelly: | Reply

Haha, hipster...

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Really great post. Amusing ... (Below threshold)

April 25, 2013 3:57 PM | Posted by Doc_Mo: | Reply

Really great post. Amusing and accurate. Interesting perspective.

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I think I am in love with y... (Below threshold)

April 27, 2013 9:53 PM | Posted by SNORKEL: | Reply

I think I am in love with you.

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Labor is just another globa... (Below threshold)

May 3, 2013 1:22 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Labor is just another globalized commodity.

I have technical degrees, both IT and engineering, and I find it almost impossible to find work.

Anything I can do is already done cheaper and more efficiently in Asia.

I wish I had not wasted my youth studying so hard. I spit on my degrees and wish I did not have them. They are less than useless. Instead I should have learned to do something useful like weld pieces of metal together or use a plastic extruder, and moved to a third world "exploited" country. There is still time.

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Actually, Rutgers gives 100... (Below threshold)

May 7, 2013 12:58 AM | Posted by Value Shopper: | Reply

Actually, Rutgers gives 100% (or 50% if you make more than about 100k, or are Associate Prof or higher)
http://uhr.rutgers.edu/benefits/tuition-remission

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:) you wondrous human :)</p... (Below threshold)

June 18, 2013 3:56 PM | Posted, in reply to confused's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

:) you wondrous human :)

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You will (win, that is). </... (Below threshold)

June 18, 2013 4:01 PM | Posted, in reply to thestage's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

You will (win, that is).

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holy shit youre a genious</... (Below threshold)

July 20, 2013 7:34 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

holy shit youre a genious

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Just wanted to swing back b... (Below threshold)

August 3, 2013 11:02 PM | Posted by The Sanity Inspector: | Reply

Just wanted to swing back by and congratulate TLP for this triptych post, which is still generating so much comment.

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Hmm... This reads to me mor... (Below threshold)

December 16, 2013 1:20 AM | Posted by AnoNymous9: | Reply

Hmm... This reads to me more like a diatribe than a perspective. That is ironic in and of itself, but I don't really want to go there, because frankly, that'd be unhelpful.

I'd like to instead recommend that the author read the book "Thinking Fast and Slow," by Daniel Kahneman. His psychology of decision making touches more cogently on most of the points given in the article. For example, hipsters and PhDs save up to send their kids to college not because they are adopting a defensive position of irony, but merely because those are the actions which are familiar to them, and which have been made familiar to them through repetition of society's exhortation that such action is right or good. It is not desire for self-aggrandizing narcissism that traps a person within a set of self-defeating behaviors; rather, it is the pleasure-comfort derived from cleaving to what is familiar... that is what drives us into loops of self-defeat.

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99% of these commenters are... (Below threshold)

January 1, 2014 6:09 PM | Posted by R: | Reply

99% of these commenters are missing the point so hard, in ways which are described several times in the article

I love this article I want to kiss it

every comment should be prefaced with a statement that either rejects or accepts the article's claim of college degrees being an abysmal investment, so we know where people's comprehension of the article stands (so we know who is a precious college student and just lashing out)

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So if I disagree that colle... (Below threshold)

January 1, 2014 9:51 PM | Posted, in reply to R's comment, by Snonymous: | Reply

So if I disagree that college is worthless, I didn't understand the article?

I left college when I first attended, fresh out of high school - not even a full year in - because two things were abundantly clear: everything that interested me could be just as easily pursued independently, and I absolutely lacked the discipline or motivation to even behave like a sane person, let alone actually do something productive there.

Now after a few years of the brutal reality of life and hard work, and with my own mental state in reasonable order, I am going back to school. My interests before were in history and literature. Now? I realized through working that the best part of my work day is when I get to do paperwork, when I work with numbers and figures. And that the only tangible skills I have now at 23 are in the restaurant industry, which is grueling work even for the highly successful. So I'm going to school for accounting. There is no path for me to have the life I want - holidays off, a chance to be able to afford to have children and get things like maternity leave and actual time off (With the hours I work now, it would be unethical to even get a dog, as the poor thing would be alone 12+ hours a day.) - without going to college. With a degree in accounting? I might just be able to get a real job that I won't come home filthy from. And that would be fucking worth it.

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No, you're right. The arti... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2014 4:49 AM | Posted, in reply to Snonymous's comment, by ladyb: | Reply

No, you're right. The article isn't about how college degrees are inherently worthless, but that certain disciplines produce graduates with essentially worthless degrees.

My life story is strikingly similar to yours, but I found the article to be spot on for the outcomes for some of my friends who chose soft majors when they were too young and now work jobs that don't require a degree or are returning to school to get a degree in something that will pay the bills. And in truth, only one of them could be classified as a hipster.

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The problem with that post ... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2014 11:29 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by a. nony mouse: | Reply

The problem with that post is, even if a reader had no intention of commenting, in order to respond to your post, comment is required. Since I don't care about my 3 seconds or less of internet splendour, and won't use my real name, this is the only way I can respond and yet convey my antipathy to how I am rated by others for posting, etc., because this one won't track it after this. Don't know, don't care. But just wanted to ensure you caught the irony of your almost tautological posting.

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Not mentioned but since thi... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2014 4:34 PM | Posted by CB: | Reply

Not mentioned but since this blog post the latest ranking of high school students in reading, math and science has come out for 65 OECD countries and the U.S. is now 36th. This comes as colleges are more actively recruiting to justify the large investments they have in facilities and staff -- the only possible solution is to lower qualifications (other than shutting down colleges). The issue of unrequited investments in college educations is going to get much worse.

Added to this infrastructure problem is the "academic and vocational counselling" students get at the start of high school. Counselors are the students' friend, they want the students to stay in school and to enjoy it and to give positive feedback to the system. So they route students where they want to go and where freshmen in high school want to go is to be popular: for the majority this means easier academic paths.

I teach in a statistics program in a PAC12 university. The number of graduating high school students who are academically prepared to major in math or science is small because of what they have taken in high school, state requirements notwithstanding. This means they need to find a college major that allows them to be accepted and graduate on time, at least by forecasted time required. And because social relevance and fame are too motivators for young people, they choose things that are eclectic in content, develop no fundamental skills -- things like degrees in communications (maybe they can host their own morning show!).

Once out and under- or unemployed they are bitter toward a system that took their money and time and then abandoned them to a frustratingly difficult, uninspiring and (for some) even a despairing life. They vent this frustration in many ways including "not caring", taking from the system (food stamps), floating hostility toward any form of constructive commentary, all of which appears as irony, perhaps, but is often low-grade anger at being, as they see it, suckered and then dumped.

A root contributor to this spiral is the parent-counselor team at age 14 and 15 when kids are making choices in curriculum, friends, life-style, and world-view that severely impact what options are realistic when (or even if) they get to their senior year of high school.

I enjoyed this 3-part post. Thanks for taking the time to make it as provocative as you have.

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Great piece.... (Below threshold)

January 4, 2014 2:33 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Great piece.

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Wait, wait. A woman is empl... (Below threshold)

January 7, 2014 3:52 PM | Posted by Mikhail Ramendik: | Reply

Wait, wait. A woman is employed at Princeton. She writes an article promoting her employer. Newspaper prints the article.

And you are asking why she worked for free? She did not work for free, she gets a salary from Princeton.

The only people who did anything for free are the NYT, because it costs hell of a lot of money to get advertising stuff printed there, but for all we know they did not charge Princeton. Or perhaps they did. Anyway this is between Princeton and the NYT.

But your criticism of the lady is entirely misguided. She is a loyal employee doing her friggin' JOB. Many multinationals these days expect their emloyees to blog about work stuff, on work time. But if you work for Princeton, you get to blog about work stuff on work time in the New York Times!

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"3. Did the University o... (Below threshold)

January 7, 2014 5:51 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"3. Did the University of Chicago get their money's worth out of him, was $100k worth the dilution to their brand? No."

Universities don't base their branding on undergraduate programs. Little can be done for undergrads. Little needs to be done for graduate programs candidates.

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"If figuring oneself out is... (Below threshold)

January 17, 2014 3:09 PM | Posted by John T.: | Reply

"If figuring oneself out is a defense, and if a defense is a protection against change, it follows that stopping figuring yourself out is a necessary condition for change. I'm not saying this is true, only that it's his argument."

This comment, circa a year ago, raises an interesting question. In analyzing the defense of “figuring onself out,” it’s important to recognize, as the author tries to make clear, that the real narcissism lays, for all that, in “figuring,” rather than in “oneself.” The key here is the transferential illusion, the innate supposition on the part of an individual that the “answer” to oneself exists—more so, the individual supposes not just that this mythical solution exists, but even that it is articulable in language and that its explication will somehow magically heal him. In a final analysis, narcissism isn’t a feature somehow possessed by individuals, but is a constituent feature of the signifying structure itself.
What the author offers is, in other words, a critique of ideology, one in which ideology is not seen as a sort of lens that the wearer can simply remove, something from which an individual is able to establish a certain distance, but rather as the very shape of an individuals gaze. It doesn’t operate on the level of signification, there is no “key,” some intonation to unlock the secret of an individuals desires. It operates instead as the very form of that illusion; the only key is the mystery itself.

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This is an older article, b... (Below threshold)

February 4, 2014 10:15 AM | Posted by Lisa: | Reply

This is an older article, but a very interesting one. I do have to say, though, about one of his comparisons... I wasted MY youth on a lot of bad relationships And a stupid marriage. Then, at age 45, I started dating like I was 17 and did a lot of wild things.

Oops, found a decent guy and settled down at age 49. Just saying, old people actually do date and interact, and forgive past experience. Perhaps you should use another stereotype as an example.

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I barely understand.<... (Below threshold)

March 31, 2014 3:52 PM | Posted by Orphiex: | Reply

I barely understand.

This whole post scares me, and not because of the content. It terrifies me because I can only half-understand the concepts expressed within. The words all make sense, the base concepts line up, but at some point the whole thing twists sideways in my head and I can't grasp it.

It feels like one of those 3D magic pictures, where you're supposed to be able to see a dolphin in a picture of wavy lines but you just can't. I kept thinking about Oda Nobunaga, who was called an idiot by everyone who couldn't understand his ideas. I feel like one of those people who couldn't understand ideas outside their frame of reference, and that scares me.

In short, to use TLP's own terms, my brain is almost broken. After years of living inside the system, I very nearly lack the mental framework necessary to grasp the concepts laid out here. And no, the college education that I basically wasted isn't helping here. What do I need to do to rebuild the mental framework necessary to both understand and internalize these concepts?

So what I'm asking is this: How do I unbreak my brain?

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Read. Think. Be cynical. ... (Below threshold)

March 31, 2014 10:36 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Read. Think. Be cynical. Be skeptical. Question everything. Don't accept the form of the arguments people present. Realize that there's always more than two choices. And when it comes to the system, remember, "the only way to win is to not play the game".

That was awful. Hopefully someone does better.

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Three good questions and pr... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2014 12:29 AM | Posted by friv 4: | Reply

Three good questions and problems can be put in place, we can look at things in a comprehensive way possible. To truly understand the problem.

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I thought that was pretty g... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2014 11:25 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I thought that was pretty good, person who is 2 comments above this. Much better than the person who is right above this. That was awful.

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<a href="http://www.youtube... (Below threshold)

April 2, 2014 12:10 AM | Posted, in reply to Orphiex's comment, by Sophistophile: | Reply

This is what you do. The how-to on how "not to play."

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Hilarious... (Below threshold)

April 4, 2014 1:01 PM | Posted, in reply to Sophistophile's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Hilarious

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Hilarious until you think a... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2014 3:44 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Hilarious until you think about the taser metaphor, then a glimpse of reality sets in.

The superposition is: the difference between the "haves" and the "have nots" is lube.

Read that again.

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What an incredibly enjoyabl... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2014 5:09 PM | Posted by Roy Batty: | Reply

What an incredibly enjoyable rant. I want the author to sit on my face while downing rum. She deserves a special treat.

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Dear TLP,Though I ... (Below threshold)

April 20, 2014 10:21 PM | Posted by Neal: | Reply

Dear TLP,

Though I must be silent,

Danke.

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He has plenty of problems b... (Below threshold)

May 6, 2014 2:20 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

He has plenty of problems but does not offer any solutions.

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Peasants tribunal? at least... (Below threshold)

July 3, 2014 5:54 PM | Posted, in reply to Heytor's comment, by Rasp U Tin: | Reply

Peasants tribunal? at least you could had used any "reduction ad hitlerum" at least -.-'

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Very informative blog post.... (Below threshold)

July 12, 2014 6:19 AM | Posted by vacations to tahiti from los angeles: | Reply

Very informative blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Keep writing.

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A bit late to the party, bu... (Below threshold)

July 14, 2014 1:50 AM | Posted by Genre Slur: | Reply

A bit late to the party, but the Psychiatrist seems to be moving in a similar current as RD Laing. Or am I way off base? #fuckingspectacle

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AMAZING ARTICLE... (Below threshold)

August 15, 2014 3:29 PM | Posted by capedcrusader: | Reply

AMAZING ARTICLE

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