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josef k.
15-01-2009, 02:27 PM
I will give a prize of one jellybean, dispatched through the mail, to anyone who is able to provide a definition of "pretentious crap."

Just to provide some brief context, it is really my interest in the political transcendental hermeneutics of ontology that has led me to ask this question. I feel that the subjective nature of what Deleuze calls "differenciation" (to be strictly opposed to differentiation) provides, if not a working theory of pretentious crap, then at least a libidinal matrix according to which an egalitarian theory of properly politicized militancy opens out onto a post-Heideggerean model of radical being-at-homeness.

vimothy
15-01-2009, 02:35 PM
I can't top that.

STN
15-01-2009, 02:45 PM
Is it Martin Amis thinking 'horrorism' was a worthwhile 'invention' of his, and not something a ten-year-old would (not could; would) come up with?

swears
15-01-2009, 03:04 PM
I hate people who are pretentiously unpretentious.

nomadthethird
15-01-2009, 07:34 PM
I hate people who are pretentiously unpretentious.

Word.

Best to watch a football game while drooling all over self in those off hours when I'm not happily being sold into wage slavery by my government--don't criticize the government, that's a hard job, you know.

Anything, anything's better than emasculating myself with the "arts"...

josef k.
15-01-2009, 09:02 PM
anything's better than emasculating myself with the "arts"...

yes. the arts are for girly men.

mms
15-01-2009, 09:43 PM
the arts are just there so you can talk importantly about the arts.

vimothy
15-01-2009, 09:47 PM
Stop being so pretentious, Josef!

Mr. Tea
16-01-2009, 01:11 AM
I'll say this for Joey K, he knows how to start an eye-catching thread ("Fascism!" "Mathematics!" "Genuine Lindsay Lohan drunk nude photos!"). Anyway, on new year's day just gone I found myself in a conversation that culminated with me saying "Is Heston Blumenthal the Slavoj Zizek of contemporary cuisine?", which is quite possibly the most obnoxious thing that's ever been said by me, or indeed anybody. But it amused me at the time, which is the main thing.

Tanadan
16-01-2009, 05:56 PM
Pretentious crap is when you say things you know are wrong to sound right.

nomadthethird
16-01-2009, 06:10 PM
Yes, Tanadan. It's what happens when people have pretenses that don't match their actual knowledge base or intelligence level.

nomadthethird
16-01-2009, 07:05 PM
the arts are just there so you can talk importantly about the arts.

Most of the people I know who are into critical theory and philosophy are very talented musicians, writers, painters, architects, videographers, film makers, you name it, they do it.

Believe it or not, not everyone who has talent wants to work in the entertainment industry. I know we live in an American Idol culture, but some people would rather forego the pleasure.

Sick Boy
16-01-2009, 07:16 PM
I hate people who are pretentiously unpretentious.

I hate it when people rebel against being typically pretentious by being pretentious about things you just can't even really be pretentious about. So they stop reading Foucault, listening to Ornette Coleman, and watching The Wire, and they start reading Tom Clancy, listening to Guns N Roses, and watching American Idol, but when they talk about it, they quietly assert that neither you, nor people who enjoy that stuff, "get it" like they do.

zhao
17-01-2009, 01:31 AM
i hate the casual and mis-use of the P word. but good topic, i wanted to write a piece about this at one time...

Mr. Tea
17-01-2009, 01:06 PM
I hate people who are pretentiously unpretentious.

I have a friend (more of a FOAF really), who's actually a pretty sound guy but sometimes gets so militantly anti-pretentious he ends up sounding really pretentious - as in, he's so anti-fashion he says things like "The only reason I wear clothes is so as not to be naked in public". :slanted:

mixed_biscuits
17-01-2009, 02:01 PM
Pretentious people are most harmful to themselves and others when they buy into the conceit that everything they do cannot but be a reflection of their essential excellence and refinement - that somehow listening to Duffy or wearing a shellsuit diminishes them as philosophers, scientists or writers (which of course, in the eyes of their pretentious peers, would be true).

Tentative Andy
19-01-2009, 11:55 PM
I worry a fair amount about being pretentious, but I worry even more about being ill-informed. It puts me in a moderately awkward position.
Anyway, couldn't give you a definition, but two things which always set my pretention alarm-bells ringing at the mo: the phrase 'cognitive dissonance', and the use of 'think' as an intransitive verb. Not sure I could rationally defend this though, it's more of a feeling I get.

Sick Boy
20-01-2009, 01:14 AM
as in, he's so anti-fashion he says things like "The only reason I wear clothes is so as not to be naked in public". :slanted:

I'm impressed by that simply because he implies that he is naked in private ALL THE TIME.

Mr. Tea
20-01-2009, 01:19 AM
I'm impressed by that simply because he implies that he is naked in private ALL THE TIME.

Aren't we all? I know I am, right now...

nomadthethird
20-01-2009, 05:19 AM
Pretentious people are most harmful to themselves and others when they buy into the conceit that everything they do cannot but be a reflection of their essential excellence and refinement - that somehow listening to Duffy or wearing a shellsuit diminishes them as philosophers, scientists or writers (which of course, in the eyes of their pretentious peers, would be true).

But then there are the inverse sorts who buy into the conceit that listening to Duffy or wearing a shellsuit makes them even better philosophers, scientists, or writers--you run into a lot of these in NYC, esp in humanities master's or beyond belief exclusive post-doc research programs.

It's because they're just so down to earth, see? Plus, they just don't even have to try at anything. They're smart AND they party their asses off. They don't even know who Pavement is, they've been listening exclusively to JT and Coldplay forever and doing stem cell research and getting spray tans and breast implants.

Guh.

Which is worse? I don't know.

It's just different degrees of overcompensation in different directions.

Edit: But then again, who cares about "pretentious people"?

It's like you don't want to end up coming across like one of the anti-hipsters who try so so hard to make it clear that they themselves are not in any way hipsters, even though they fit into the hipster demographic according to like any ad exec's definition of a hipster (which is obviously what matters), that it becomes achingly obvious that they are hipsters. What kind of person who isn't basically a hipster gives a shit about hipsters?

My mom is not a hipster, and you know what? She spends exactly zero time bitching about how hipsters are a blight on humanity. In fact, she probably has no idea what a hipster is. In her mind, when she sees hipsters, she thinks they're just "young" and trendy kids, doing what young people do--partying and wearing trendy clothes. (Just like they've been doing for quite a few decades now, like they did when she was a young, trendy hippy...)

nomadthethird
20-01-2009, 05:26 AM
and the use of 'think' as an intransitive verb.

I can understand where you're coming from on this, but it's a convention in philosophy and theory to use "think" this way when you're talking about not just describing something in basic terms but very precisely thinking through a problem and formulating a solution (usually complete with jargon and new terminology to match).

Of course this probably still sounds pretentious but it comes in handy in a philosophy class.

Sick Boy
20-01-2009, 06:20 AM
My mom is not a hipster, and you know what? She spends exactly zero time bitching about how hipsters are a blight on humanity. In fact, she probably has no idea what a hipster is. In her mind, when she sees hipsters, she thinks they're just "young" and trendy kids, doing what young people do--partying and wearing trendy clothes. (Just like they've been doing for quite a few decades now, like they did when she was a young, trendy hippy...)

I see what you are saying here, and if I am honest with myself, I definitely fall into the hipster marketing demographic despite my constant bitching about them (I even worked at an American Apparel, so the proximity is there.)

It's not really pretension that has ever bothered me, or how they dress, or what they do on the weekends, or any of that. For me, it is just what you and I have discussed in another thread before, that stinking attitude towards mostly artistic pursuits where they are mostly after the image ("I am an artist"), and aren't too bothered about doing any of the actual work, or investing time or themselves into it, or getting good at it or anything. This attitude has all but destroyed Toronto's downtown nightlife, and is working on doing the same to the art scene (to a much lesser extent though because learning to draw is typically a lot harder than learning how to use Serato).

Aside from that I'm not really too big on that glammy, false-celebrity culture they have going on, but maybe that's just in Toronto and a scene thing. On the whole, hipsterism has always been an attitude thing for me, not a demographic thing.

Mr. Tea
20-01-2009, 12:57 PM
I see what you are saying here, and if I am honest with myself, I definitely fall into the hipster marketing demographic despite my constant bitching about them

You betray a fundamental misunderstanding of hipsterism with this sentence: because of or what with would make more sense here than despite.

STN
20-01-2009, 01:17 PM
i just want to point out that my mum was into Animal Collective waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay before nomad's mum was.

josef k.
20-01-2009, 02:20 PM
I'd be inclined to make a distinction between "pretentious people" and "pretentious crap." We all talk pretentious crap sometimes. There isn't just one group of people - the "pretentious people" - who do it. Also, in my experience pretentious crap has mostly emerged as a function of narrow-mindedness or insecurity rather than straight-up malicious intent. I think a lot of it is about not recognizing your blindspots, or sort of papering over them with bluster.

Sick Boy
20-01-2009, 07:34 PM
You betray a fundamental misunderstanding of hipsterism with this sentence: because of or what with would make more sense here than despite.

haha, touché - I guess I'll start referring to them as "gits" then.

nomadthethird
21-01-2009, 03:55 AM
I'd be inclined to make a distinction between "pretentious people" and "pretentious crap." We all talk pretentious crap sometimes. There isn't just one group of people - the "pretentious people" - who do it. Also, in my experience pretentious crap has mostly emerged as a function of narrow-mindedness or insecurity rather than straight-up malicious intent. I think a lot of it is about not recognizing your blindspots, or sort of papering over them with bluster.

Given that I agree, and believe that this is indeed the case, I'd take exception with your initial example of what constitutes "pretentious" language or crap.

It itself was pretentious, because it demonstrated a superficial familiarity with certain writers/concepts (Deleuze was one, iirc) that was used opportunistically to demonstrate some sort of intellectual superiority, and if I'm not mistaken was meant to parody anyone who actually does engage full-time with them.

Believe it or not, it is possible to understand these writers and their work while in fact adding to the discourse surrouding them-- even to challenge them-- in a way that is not pretentious, because for some people these things are simply not that difficult to comprehend. It comes naturally, in the same way that for some it comes naturally to throw a ball into a basket from the 3 point range. Of course, not everyone is expected to be interested in contemporary theory and philosophy, but that doesn't mean that it's worthless.

I'd rather die than watch people play basketball, but that doesn't mean Kobe Bryant isn't talented, even if he's probably a rapist.

IdleRich
21-01-2009, 11:49 AM
"I'd rather die than watch people play basketball"
Surely something we can all agree on.

josef k.
21-01-2009, 03:50 PM
"Believe it or not, it is possible to understand these writers and their work while in fact adding to the discourse surrouding them"

Oh, I believe this. But often its just pretentious crap.

Agent Nucleus
21-01-2009, 07:12 PM
http://www.amazon.com/Just-Being-Difficult-Academic-Cultural/dp/0804747105

this may also be of interest: http://www.math.yorku.ca/SCS/Gallery/badwriting.html

i'm staying out of this one. apparently pretentious is a dirty word around here. i don't get it. being pretentious is one of the few things that really gives me joy in this world. but i draw the line at like Stelarc - or middle aged men who photograph themselves nude while translating avant-garde sound poetry into interpretive dance and shit like that.

josef k.
21-01-2009, 08:22 PM
"but i draw the line at like Stelarc - or middle aged men who photograph themselves nude while translating avant-garde sound poetry into interpretive dance and shit like that."

What are you talking about? Sterlarc is great. And the middle aged men thing sounds pretty good too!

nomadthethird
21-01-2009, 10:19 PM
"Believe it or not, it is possible to understand these writers and their work while in fact adding to the discourse surrouding them"

Oh, I believe this. But often its just pretentious crap.

Often? How often? Who gets to decide? You do? I'm guessing this means that anything you read and don't understand is pretentious?


Surely something we can all agree on.

I'd also rather shove bamboo shoots under my fingernails than watch soccer.

nomadthethird
21-01-2009, 10:21 PM
http://www.amazon.com/Just-Being-Difficult-Academic-Cultural/dp/0804747105

this may also be of interest: http://www.math.yorku.ca/SCS/Gallery/badwriting.html

i'm staying out of this one. apparently pretentious is a dirty word around here. i don't get it. being pretentious is one of the few things that really gives me joy in this world. but i draw the line at like Stelarc - or middle aged men who photograph themselves nude while translating avant-garde sound poetry into interpretive dance and shit like that.

Yeah, I know what you mean. Everyone has to draw a line somewhere. It's obviously a subjective distinction.

Like for me Sundance and a lot of independent film festival shit has always seemed really pretentious in that distinctively American way that's very not typically European and literary but it's still fucking pretentious as hell.

poetix
21-01-2009, 10:53 PM
Stelarc's ace, though. I've met him. Very unpretentious guy.

nomadthethird
21-01-2009, 11:19 PM
I don't know why I'd never heard of Stelarc until now.

But people outside the U.S. might not realize how much bad performance art there is in the U.S.

For every one Stelarc you've seen a hundred really bad copies. REally really really bad ones.

josef k.
21-01-2009, 11:24 PM
"Often? How often? Who gets to decide? You do? I'm guessing this means that anything you read and don't understand is pretentious?"

Not necessarily. For instance, I sometimes come across things that I don't quite understand and which seem to me needlessly confrontational. But I don't necessarily assume they're pretentious. They could simply be a sign that their author isn't especially interested in conversing with people in a pleasant and mutually respectful manner.

nomadthethird
21-01-2009, 11:37 PM
"Often? How often? Who gets to decide? You do? I'm guessing this means that anything you read and don't understand is pretentious?"

Not necessarily. For instance, I sometimes come across things that I don't quite understand and which seem to me needlessly confrontational. But I don't necessarily assume they're pretentious. They could simply be a sign that their author isn't especially interested in conversing with people in a pleasant and mutually respectful manner.

Ok, Josef. We all understand that your feelings are hurt because certain people don't agree with you about Zizek's alleged fascist status.

But do we really need to start thread after thread where we passive-aggressively refuse to address this issue (or those who disagreed with you on this issue) directly, and instead try to insinuate that everyone but you has some sort of massive character flaws that you yourself do not have, simply because they disagree with you on this one issue?

It strikes me as particularly immature.

You are not some sort of pariah because I've strongly disagreed with you. Take a look around. I strongly disagree with a lot of people. That's my personality. I'm the first person to admit that I'm outspoken and opinionated. I've done it plenty of times. I enjoy coming here to read diverse perspectives and weigh in, not to agree with everyone. Don't take anything I've said too personally, because it wasn't meant personally. I don't know you.

I'm also from New York, so there are cultural factors at work here. Based on New York standards, the way I express myself here is extremely polite. It always makes me chuckle when I express things here exactly the way I would speak them (which would be taken as entirely normal and not rude at all in person where I live) at home and people completely FLIP because they think I'm being intentionally rude.

I may be direct, blunt, and opinionated, but at least I'm not passive-aggressive. And I'm ok with that.

josef k.
22-01-2009, 12:05 AM
I have completely flipped, its true.

nomadthethird
22-01-2009, 12:12 AM
I have completely flipped, its true.

I never said you were the one who flipped. Some people don't seem to realize that there are regional and cultural differences in the way people express things, but especially in idioms that are just common and not considered rude or mean.

Based on what I've seen here of sensitivity to wording and swearing, if some of the people here went to Brooklyn and carried on a normal conversation they'd probably like cry themselves to sleep afterward.

josef k.
22-01-2009, 12:34 AM
That is one interpretation, certainly.

nomadthethird
22-01-2009, 12:40 AM
I even worked at an American Apparel, so the proximity is there.

I even shop at American Apparel, because the clothes fit me well and they're comfortable, and as an added bonus they're not sweatshopped (even if Dov Charney has a trillion sexual harrassment suits out against him).

I have a few of those skirts, that high waisted one. The spandex leggings, the long tank tops, the track shorts, a couple of hoodies. I even owned a bunch of those italian chains (the figaro chain for one) before they were in the AA store. And guess what? I don't care if that makes me a "hipster", I wear what I feel good in.

nomadthethird
22-01-2009, 12:40 AM
That is one interpretation, certainly.

Sorry, not sure what you mean.

Mr. Tea
22-01-2009, 01:09 AM
I think it's worth pointing out that pretentiousness exists outside the spheres of academia, literature and the arts. My brother works in IT at a fairly senior techincal level and has to attend these meetings with people from marketing; they drag on for hours and afterwards he says to his colleagues (the people he actually works with on a day-to-day basis, I mean) "So what was all that about then?", and just gets shrugs and blank looks in return. Or, after some marketing consultant wizkid has just delivered a huge spiel about synergizing this and leveraging that, he'll say "So you mean if we lower our prices more people might buy our product?" (or something equally simple) and they just go "Yes, exactly!". Except they've taken ages to say it and peppered it with obscure, voguish marketing buzzwords.

Point being, you don't need interpretive dance or references to Gilles Deleuze to be pretentious. There's a whole world of commercial pretentiousness out there.

Tentative Andy
22-01-2009, 10:16 AM
I can understand where you're coming from on this, but it's a convention in philosophy and theory to use "think" this way when you're talking about not just describing something in basic terms but very precisely thinking through a problem and formulating a solution (usually complete with jargon and new terminology to match).

Of course this probably still sounds pretentious but it comes in handy in a philosophy class.

Ooops, didn't reply to this, how rude. Yep I'm aware of its status as a philosophical convention, so not meaning to diss you or anyone else who may have used it as part of class requirements. Am I right to think this is especially a thing in philosophy done in the tradition of Hegel and German idealism?
I guess my main thing with it is that I always feel that 'think' ought to be qualified in some way - thinking about, thinking through, thinking carefully etc - in order to make more precise what sort of thought, what kind of mental activity we are dealing with. Using 'think' on it's own seems to give an impression of pure, abstract gnostic/Platonic insight on the part of the author (that Rodin statue often springs to mind for me! ;) ), which can come off as a bit self-aggrandising. But like I say, not a huge deal.

My own classic pretentious-person moment: taking out Derrida's On Grammatology from the uni library, reading about a quarter of it, then giving up and putting it back. :o/:eek:

Rachel Verinder
22-01-2009, 11:59 AM
ha! according to no less (pretentious? ;) ) an authority than ian penman (my wife was doing some research and asked him for advice re. where to start with derrida) yr much better off reading bluffer's guides to derrida than the man himself (and that itself is prob a v derrida-ish thing in itself but heigh ho)!

"pretentious" always gets used as a pejorative but to me it's the highest of compliments. what's art about if not to mimic god, exceed the artist? as i understand it "pretentious" in the negative corresponds with e.g. invoking derrida with no real grasp of what he was about and with no real correspondence to the prob. v. humdrum thing yr trying to put across (as i've just done) or pub rock wanting to be wagner (unless you play the rick wakeman 20 yrs after the event "hey i wz only joking" get out of jail free card) but generally it tends to get used as a sort of anti-societal fatwa i.e. EVERYONE ELSE is into A, why do you have to be DIFFERENT and be into B which is SO DIFFICULT for the rest of us to get into thus clearly you must be EVIL (or as one idiot broadsheet scribbler once proposed, equating Metal Machine Music/Kid A fans with pederasts/more generally equating Stockhausen Boulez et al with Soviet Stalin et al) and UNMUTUAL and fundamentally RIGHT WING and must be ERADICATED (apologies for all the Sun front page capitals here).

IdleRich
22-01-2009, 12:06 PM
"or as one idiot broadsheet scribbler once proposed, equating Metal Machine Music/Kid A fans with pederasts/more generally equating Stockhausen Boulez et al with Soviet Stalin et al"
Really, have you got a link for that article? For some perverse reason I love reading that kind of stuff.

CombinedHarvest
22-01-2009, 12:07 PM
What is the status of people who try and preemptively nullify accusations of pretentiousness by declaring their pretensions before describing a pretentious activity they once embarked on, but where one suspects that although the outward meaning of the statement is to assert the pretentiousness of the speaker it is really a thinly veiled attempt to put across the fact of the act itself without actually being regarded as pretentious i.e. "One time I was feeling so pretentious I just sat and read Alexandre Kojčve's L'idee du determinisme dans la physique classique et dans la physique moderne in one sitting whilst smoking a shisha pipe without even going to the toilet. Wow I'm so pretentious sometimes!"

mixed_biscuits
22-01-2009, 01:05 PM
What is the status of people who try and preemptively nullify accusations of pretentiousness by declaring their pretensions before describing a pretentious activity they once embarked on, but where one suspects that although the outward meaning of the statement is to assert the pretentiousness of the speaker it is really a thinly veiled attempt to put across the fact of the act itself without actually being regarded as pretentious i.e. "One time I was feeling so pretentious I just sat and read Alexandre Kojève's L'idee du determinisme dans la physique classique et dans la physique moderne in one sitting whilst smoking a shisha pipe without even going to the toilet. Wow I'm so pretentious sometimes!"

Preemptively dealing with objections = anteoccupatio; ostensibly self-deprecatory vainglorious anteoccupatio? Urgh.

Pretension involves the artist exceeding her or his normal parameters - and there is nothing wrong with that. The thing is that works that break ground in this way also can exceed the interpretative capacities of most potential consumers. The mere fact that this failure of reception can exist permits some artists to pretend that their work is of real value and merely misunderstood and tempts audiences to pretend that they possess understanding where there is actually none.

Pointlessness ensues when poor artists and incomprehending audiences become trapped in a mutually-dependent relationship, each having to pretend that they understand and meaningfully sustain the other.

baboon2004
22-01-2009, 01:50 PM
I think it's worth pointing out that pretentiousness exists outside the spheres of academia, literature and the arts. My brother works in IT at a fairly senior techincal level and has to attend these meetings with people from marketing; they drag on for hours and afterwards he says to his colleagues (the people he actually works with on a day-to-day basis, I mean) "So what was all that about then?", and just gets shrugs and blank looks in return. Or, after some marketing consultant wizkid has just delivered a huge spiel about synergizing this and leveraging that, he'll say "So you mean if we lower our prices more people might buy our product?" (or something equally simple) and they just go "Yes, exactly!". Except they've taken ages to say it and peppered it with obscure, voguish marketing buzzwords.

Point being, you don't need interpretive dance or references to Gilles Deleuze to be pretentious. There's a whole world of commercial pretentiousness out there.

Is marketing even interesting enough to be termed 'pretentious'? It seems to sail effortlessly into the in-tray (dustbin) marked 'bullshit'.

baboon2004
22-01-2009, 01:54 PM
What is the status of people who try and preemptively nullify accusations of pretentiousness by declaring their pretensions before describing a pretentious activity they once embarked on, but where one suspects that although the outward meaning of the statement is to assert the pretentiousness of the speaker it is really a thinly veiled attempt to put across the fact of the act itself without actually being regarded as pretentious i.e. "One time I was feeling so pretentious I just sat and read Alexandre Kojčve's L'idee du determinisme dans la physique classique et dans la physique moderne in one sitting whilst smoking a shisha pipe without even going to the toilet. Wow I'm so pretentious sometimes!"

So, so , SO true. Also, false modesty with regard to the intellectual labels being foisted upon one's work, is tha most annoying thing ever. "Oh, I don't necessarily see it as exclusively Deleuzian..."

Mr. Tea
22-01-2009, 03:44 PM
Is marketing even interesting enough to be termed 'pretentious'? It seems to sail effortlessly into the in-tray (dustbin) marked 'bullshit'.

It's both pretentious, and crap (or indeed bullshit). The title of this thread is, after all, 'Pretentious Crap'. So in a sense it's even worse than academic or artistic pretentiousness, because there isn't even the possibility of there being something worthwhile or interesting there once you've stripped away the pretentiousness. It's pure, unmitigated pretentiousness.

Tentative Andy
22-01-2009, 06:49 PM
What is the status of people who try and preemptively nullify accusations of pretentiousness by declaring their pretensions before describing a pretentious activity they once embarked on, but where one suspects that although the outward meaning of the statement is to assert the pretentiousness of the speaker it is really a thinly veiled attempt to put across the fact of the act itself without actually being regarded as pretentious i.e. "One time I was feeling so pretentious I just sat and read Alexandre Kojčve's L'idee du determinisme dans la physique classique et dans la physique moderne in one sitting whilst smoking a shisha pipe without even going to the toilet. Wow I'm so pretentious sometimes!"

If I had a penny for every time I caught myself saying that sort of thing... I kinda love it though.
I guess this posts counts as a meta-example. :D

Mr. Tea
22-01-2009, 07:04 PM
Prefixing words with 'meta-' in everyday speech is a bit pretentious. Doesn't stop me doing it all the time, though.

Tentative Andy
22-01-2009, 07:52 PM
My friends have given me a lot of stick when I've used 'neologism' in conversation.

Agent Nucleus
22-01-2009, 08:01 PM
everything is a pre-tense or premeditated isn't it?

Agent Nucleus
22-01-2009, 08:10 PM
I think it's worth pointing out that pretentiousness exists outside the spheres of academia, literature and the arts. My brother works in IT at a fairly senior techincal level and has to attend these meetings with people from marketing; they drag on for hours and afterwards he says to his colleagues (the people he actually works with on a day-to-day basis, I mean) "So what was all that about then?", and just gets shrugs and blank looks in return. Or, after some marketing consultant wizkid has just delivered a huge spiel about synergizing this and leveraging that, he'll say "So you mean if we lower our prices more people might buy our product?" (or something equally simple) and they just go "Yes, exactly!". Except they've taken ages to say it and peppered it with obscure, voguish marketing buzzwords.

Point being, you don't need interpretive dance or references to Gilles Deleuze to be pretentious. There's a whole world of commercial pretentiousness out there.

that's true - someone else mentioned marketing here i think - you could also throw in conservatism (talk radio), false-pretense like the Colbert Report, independent media, neo-marxists/subculturalists, message board hacks/failed writers - anyone with a smug tone of self-importance, but 'pretentious crap' to me means any postmodern art that tries to negate aesthetics.

also a good way to hold it over undergraduates and generally ignorant/stupid people.

josef k.
22-01-2009, 08:30 PM
Another one - using "we" when you really mean "I".

**

"but 'pretentious crap' to me means any postmodern art that tries to negate aesthetics."

Interesting... because in a way, I would say that a lot of modernist art is much more pretentious. "We are breaking down the fourth dimension", "We are building socialism through graphic design" etc...

nomadthethird
22-01-2009, 09:28 PM
ha! according to no less (pretentious? ;) ) an authority than ian penman (my wife was doing some research and asked him for advice re. where to start with derrida) yr much better off reading bluffer's guides to derrida than the man himself (and that itself is prob a v derrida-ish thing in itself but heigh ho)!


I hope you're joking.

nomadthethird
22-01-2009, 09:31 PM
Preemptively dealing with objections = anteoccupatio; ostensibly self-deprecatory vainglorious anteoccupatio? Urgh.

Pretension involves the artist exceeding her or his normal parameters - and there is nothing wrong with that. The thing is that works that break ground in this way also can exceed the interpretative capacities of most potential consumers. The mere fact that this failure of reception can exist permits some artists to pretend that their work is of real value and merely misunderstood and tempts audiences to pretend that they possess understanding where there is actually none.

Pointlessness ensues when poor artists and incomprehending audiences become trapped in a mutually-dependent relationship, each having to pretend that they understand and meaningfully sustain the other.

Hmmmm...this is an interesting way of putting it.


Preemptively dealing with objections = anteoccupatio; ostensibly self-deprecatory vainglorious anteoccupatio? Urgh.

I'm thinking about this, and I'd probably simplify and just file this under narcissistic behavior. A narcissist will use any opportunity to talk about what they've done, or what they do, what they've read, etc.--even to the point of self-parody. A narcissist will make a comment on pretentious crap and see it as an opportunity to put their knowledge on display, and in doing so obliviously perform what they've described.

Of course, in the Webdrome we're all narcissists.

nomadthethird
22-01-2009, 09:33 PM
Prefixing words with 'meta-' in everyday speech is a bit pretentious. Doesn't stop me doing it all the time, though.

In a lot of humanities programs now you hear people say "framing" the way you hear people in business say "leveraging"--too often.

nomadthethird
22-01-2009, 09:54 PM
Another one - using "we" when you really mean "I".

**

"but 'pretentious crap' to me means any postmodern art that tries to negate aesthetics."

Interesting... because in a way, I would say that a lot of modernist art is much more pretentious. "We are breaking down the fourth dimension", "We are building socialism through graphic design" etc...

Really? I think that "I" is exactly what "we" need less of.

I'm all for complete ego dissolution personally.

Mr. Tea
22-01-2009, 10:09 PM
Aww, nomad's hippy side is coming out...

poetix
22-01-2009, 10:24 PM
There's a royal "we" used sometimes in philosophy which means something like "I, in the role of advocate for such-and-such a position". Others may hold the same position; perhaps if the advocacy is well done, the reader may end up holding it too. It's a hopeful "we", a "we" that means: "join us!"

josef k.
22-01-2009, 10:36 PM
"I'm all for complete ego dissolution personally."

Strange, considering your approach seems the opposite.

nomadthethird
22-01-2009, 10:36 PM
Aww, nomad's hippy side is coming out...

No!! I was mostly talking about taking so much LSD (specifically) that the boundaries between you and the universe dissolve, and divesting of capitalism's sovereign individual-- greedily consuming and leaving a trail of toxic waste in his wake-- in favor of the collective good.

Shit, you're right. :(

nomadthethird
22-01-2009, 10:43 PM
"I'm all for complete ego dissolution personally."

Strange, considering your approach seems the opposite.

What do you mean?

Because it seems you think I'm talking about "ego" as in "self-esteem", when I'm talking about "ego" as in "I am", its literal translation, and its psychoanalytical definition. I'm talking about the dissolution of the subject as an individual psychological entity as we currently understand them.

Of course, I'm not going to pretend I didn't notice that was some sort of unveiled insult. But once again, you prove less than perceptive.

I don't think I'm wonderful Josef. I don't even particularly like myself. In fact, I don't feel much like keeping on with it most of the time. But if it makes you feel better to think I'm an egotist, by all means, have it your way.

josef k.
22-01-2009, 10:45 PM
"I'm talking about the dissolution of the subject as an individual psychological entity as we currently understand them."

Well, then you are right on topic!

nomadthethird
22-01-2009, 10:48 PM
"I'm talking about the dissolution of the subject as an individual psychological entity as we currently understand them."

Well, then you are right on topic!

Oh, of course.

Josef, have you ever considered seeing a psychotherapist?

I'm not trying to be mean or anything, I'm just curious. I really think you might benefit from therapy.

josef k.
22-01-2009, 10:49 PM
Ha ha!

josef k.
22-01-2009, 11:01 PM
"There's a royal "we" used sometimes in philosophy which means something like "I, in the role of advocate for such-and-such a position". Others may hold the same position; perhaps if the advocacy is well done, the reader may end up holding it too. It's a hopeful "we", a "we" that means: "join us!""

We missionaries?

nomadthethird
22-01-2009, 11:09 PM
Can I correct a basic error I keep seeing basically everywhere but frequently online?

Ok, thanks. I will then.

Narcissism has little to do with actual self-love. Narcissists do not love themselves (at least, not who they really are). They are not simply adults who received too much praise or too many Christmas presents as children and therefore grew up with an unrealistically grand self-image.

Narcissists are deeply traumatized people. Most of them were excessively punished and/or abused by their parents or other authority figures. After being told or otherwise made to feel that they were bad or worthless, the narcissist suffered intense feelings of guilt, shame, and emotional pain that overwhelm him. As a result, the narcissist hates himself. To avoid further trauma, he creates a new self, a false self, one that he thinks is worthy of love and attention, and impervious to insult and pain, and projects that one to the world. The false self is not a pure fabrication, instead it is a partial view, usually made up only of the good things-- the accomplishments, the good qualities, the fun self, the tough self--usually one that the abuser couldn't find fault with or injure.

Of course, that's the clinical definition. There's also a sense in which the term is used where narcisissism is a general sort of bent toward creating false selves which are projected onto the world, and I agree with those who claim that the digital era encourages this sort of narcissism.

nomadthethird
22-01-2009, 11:18 PM
In other words, if you actually like who you are, you're definitely not a narcissist.

josef k.
22-01-2009, 11:20 PM
Would you describe yourself as a narcissist, nomad?

nomadthethird
22-01-2009, 11:21 PM
Would you describe yourself as a narcissist, nomad?

Yes.

I've only said so, I don't know, hundreds of times on here.

josef k.
22-01-2009, 11:27 PM
Perhaps this should have its own thread?

I wonder what you make of these statements:

"But malignant narcissism is perverted self-love. In fact, it isn't really self-love. It's self-hatred. The person "suffering" from NPD hates himself and loves his IMAGE instead. He makes it look good the easy way — by making others' images look bad by comparison. That makes him a predator on the image of everyone around him. Everyone.

So, at bottom, the nature of the narcissist is the nature of a predator on his own kind. The importance of that fact cannot be overstated.

The brain of a predator just does not relate to the living soul of its prey. If you don't believe this, just watch PBS. Watch the behavior, and look into the eyes, of predatory animals while they're making a kill. There's nothing there. They are like machines at that moment. They must be, or they couldn't do it. In other words, Nature has equipped them with hard-wired circuitry in the brain that takes over the moment prey is sighted when they are hungry. It suppresses what we could observe in that animal only a minute earlier while it was playing with its siblings or a waving leaf on a twig, tenderly nuzzling its offspring or mate. Perhaps it was even grieving over the death of a member of the pack. But that's all gone the moment it sights prey while hungry. Then suddenly it's a killing machine.

It likes killing. Nature has endowed it with a taste for killing as necessary equipment for its survival. It even considers killing fun. Which is why we sometimes see in nature killing made sport: Chimpanzees (who don't eat meat) will gang-up on and attack a monkey, cruelly tearing it to pieces and having a blast over its heart-rending cries. Killer whales sometimes play with baby seals like a cat plays with a mouse. Wolves sometimes bring down and eviscerate prey they feed on the guts of until it dies and then walk away. Sorry, that's just the truth. Humans are animals too and have that same predatory mode. Nature endowed us with it as hunters. It's in everyone. But in narcissists and sociopaths something has gone haywire. They go into this mode against their own kind. And they are permanently in this mode against all their own kind.

Why? Because they don't view themselves as of our kind. They are of a superior kind. They think we are here to feed them, just as we think cattle are here to feed us. Correction: we do (or should) treat cattle humanely. We don't relate to them as objects like narcissists relate to us = like we relate to bugs or plants. Compared to us, narcissists are gods. Alien beings.

They can't help it. They are not to blame for feeling this way. Today the prognosis is poor. There is little sign of any real success in treating these people. Those who commit prosecutable offenses are repeat offenders — such as pedophile priests, sexual predators, and serial killers. They get this way as children and demonstrate it by torturing animals or murdering other children on a whim.

Though they can't control their temptations, they can control their conduct. And this is what competent psychiatric care might help them with. It can show them better ways to deal with their problems, making them resistant to temptation.

And a lion tamer can walk into the lions' den. But they are still wild animals, so he can never be sure they won't give in to the temptation to attack the prey tantalizing them beyond their power to resist.

We don't morally condemn those lions for being lions. And the only thing more stupid and useless than morally condemning narcissists for being narcissists is trusting them. Don't tempt them. Just because a pedophile priest has behaved for the last five years doesn't mean he won't finally lose it and eat another altar boy. Indeed, it's cruel to tempt him daily thus! You wouldn't wave a bottle of whiskey in front of an alcoholic, would you?

I don't see what's so difficult to understand about this. Talk therapy isn't the answer with PREDATORS. We must do whatever it takes to minimize or eliminate their access to vulnerable prey as targets of opportunity. Period. For ever. Let's get a clue already and stop dangling bait before their eyes.

There are many ways to do this: prison isn't the only one. For example, don't let him teach school or be a police officer. Don't give him power over his fellow employees. Don't elect him to be President for Life. Don't let him live off his parents until they die. Don't follow him on a purge to cleanse the Holy Land. And if he steps over the line whack him, so that he thinks twice before doing it again.

And, especially, let's stop passing this curse from generation to generation by subjecting children to narcissistic parents. It takes the consent of the non-narcissistic parent for that to happen. So, just because your mother or father put up with it doesn't mean you should.2

http://www.narcissism.operationdoubles.com/important_stuff_narcissism.htm

Agent Nucleus
22-01-2009, 11:29 PM
i guess this is pretentious but - quoting from a secondary source on Lacan's definition of narcissism: "Secondary narcissism is the more 'normal' form, where older children and adults seek personal gratification over the achievement of social goals and conformance to social values. A degree of narcissism is is common in many people. It becomes pathological when the narcissist lacks normal empathy and uses others ruthlessly to their own ends. Cerebral narcissists derive their self-adoration from their intellectual abilities and achievements. Somatic narcissists focus on the body, seeking beauty, physique and sexual conquests."

nomadthethird
22-01-2009, 11:31 PM
See, you can keep trying to zing me with this stuff about how I'm in love with myself, but it's not true, so it doesn't bother me. I'm not afraid of the truth, anyway, so even if it were true, it wouldn't bother me.

I have my problems and my character flaws. We all do. But I'm learning to work through mine. I've made some progress. Actually, I've made a lot of progress in some things. You really don't know me. If you did you'd know that.

So if you'd like to lay off the passive-aggression that would work best for me.

Then again, if you want to play that game, we can play that game. But I'll always win. :)

nomadthethird
22-01-2009, 11:32 PM
i guess this is pretentious but - quoting from a secondary source on Lacan's definition of narcissism: "Secondary narcissism is the more 'normal' form, where older children and adults seek personal gratification over the achievement of social goals and conformance to social values. A degree of narcissism is is common in many people. It becomes pathological when the narcissist lacks normal empathy and uses others ruthlessly to their own ends. Cerebral narcissists derive their self-adoration from their intellectual abilities and achievements. Somatic narcissists focus on the body, seeking beauty, physique and sexual conquests."

How dare you, Agent! Joe Sixpack is rolling over on the couch.

nomadthethird
22-01-2009, 11:36 PM
Perhaps this should have its own thread?

I wonder what you make of these statements:

"But malignant narcissism is perverted self-love. In fact, it isn't really self-love. It's self-hatred. The person "suffering" from NPD hates himself and loves his IMAGE instead. He makes it look good the easy way — by making others' images look bad by comparison. That makes him a predator on the image of everyone around him. Everyone.

So, at bottom, the nature of the narcissist is the nature of a predator on his own kind. The importance of that fact cannot be overstated.

The brain of a predator just does not relate to the living soul of its prey. If you don't believe this, just watch PBS. Watch the behavior, and look into the eyes, of predatory animals while they're making a kill. There's nothing there. They are like machines at that moment. They must be, or they couldn't do it. In other words, Nature has equipped them with hard-wired circuitry in the brain that takes over the moment prey is sighted when they are hungry. It suppresses what we could observe in that animal only a minute earlier while it was playing with its siblings or a waving leaf on a twig, tenderly nuzzling its offspring or mate. Perhaps it was even grieving over the death of a member of the pack. But that's all gone the moment it sights prey while hungry. Then suddenly it's a killing machine.

It likes killing. Nature has endowed it with a taste for killing as necessary equipment for its survival. It even considers killing fun. Which is why we sometimes see in nature killing made sport: Chimpanzees (who don't eat meat) will gang-up on and attack a monkey, cruelly tearing it to pieces and having a blast over its heart-rending cries. Killer whales sometimes play with baby seals like a cat plays with a mouse. Wolves sometimes bring down and eviscerate prey they feed on the guts of until it dies and then walk away. Sorry, that's just the truth. Humans are animals too and have that same predatory mode. Nature endowed us with it as hunters. It's in everyone. But in narcissists and sociopaths something has gone haywire. They go into this mode against their own kind. And they are permanently in this mode against all their own kind.

Why? Because they don't view themselves as of our kind. They are of a superior kind. They think we are here to feed them, just as we think cattle are here to feed us. Correction: we do (or should) treat cattle humanely. We don't relate to them as objects like narcissists relate to us = like we relate to bugs or plants. Compared to us, narcissists are gods. Alien beings.

They can't help it. They are not to blame for feeling this way. Today the prognosis is poor. There is little sign of any real success in treating these people. Those who commit prosecutable offenses are repeat offenders — such as pedophile priests, sexual predators, and serial killers. They get this way as children and demonstrate it by torturing animals or murdering other children on a whim.

Though they can't control their temptations, they can control their conduct. And this is what competent psychiatric care might help them with. It can show them better ways to deal with their problems, making them resistant to temptation.

And a lion tamer can walk into the lions' den. But they are still wild animals, so he can never be sure they won't give in to the temptation to attack the prey tantalizing them beyond their power to resist.

We don't morally condemn those lions for being lions. And the only thing more stupid and useless than morally condemning narcissists for being narcissists is trusting them. Don't tempt them. Just because a pedophile priest has behaved for the last five years doesn't mean he won't finally lose it and eat another altar boy. Indeed, it's cruel to tempt him daily thus! You wouldn't wave a bottle of whiskey in front of an alcoholic, would you?

I don't see what's so difficult to understand about this. Talk therapy isn't the answer with PREDATORS. We must do whatever it takes to minimize or eliminate their access to vulnerable prey as targets of opportunity. Period. For ever. Let's get a clue already and stop dangling bait before their eyes.

There are many ways to do this: prison isn't the only one. For example, don't let him teach school or be a police officer. Don't give him power over his fellow employees. Don't elect him to be President for Life. Don't let him live off his parents until they die. Don't follow him on a purge to cleanse the Holy Land. And if he steps over the line whack him, so that he thinks twice before doing it again.

And, especially, let's stop passing this curse from generation to generation by subjecting children to narcissistic parents. It takes the consent of the non-narcissistic parent for that to happen. So, just because your mother or father put up with it doesn't mean you should.2

http://www.narcissism.operationdoubles.com/important_stuff_narcissism.htm


Who wrote this? My guess is that this was not written by a professional in the field.

In general, I agree with the idea that the wrong personality types tend to be attracted to positions of power.

But not all pedophiles are narcissists. Also, there is a GIGANTIC difference between malignant narcissism, narcissism, and narcissistic personality disorder. There is also a gigantic difference between narcissism and sociopathy or psychopathy.

I do not have narcissistic personality disorder. I am not a malignant narcissist. I just have basic narcissistic tendencies, which is relatively common.

josef k.
22-01-2009, 11:38 PM
Your description of narcissists:

"Narcissists are deeply traumatized people. Most of them were excessively punished and/or abused by their parents or other authority figures. After being told or otherwise made to feel that they were bad or worthless, the narcissist suffered intense feelings of guilt, shame, and emotional pain that overwhelm him. As a result, the narcissist hates himself. To avoid further trauma, he creates a new self, a false self, one that he thinks is worthy of love and attention, and impervious to insult and pain, and projects that one to the world. The false self is not a pure fabrication, instead it is a partial view, usually made up only of the good things-- the accomplishments, the good qualities, the fun self, the tough self--usually one that the abuser couldn't find fault with or injure."

Which you affirm in your own case, seems quite malignant, and out of the ordinary.

nomadthethird
22-01-2009, 11:43 PM
I am interested whether - as a self-identified narcissist - you feel that these statements tally or contradict your experience.

First of all, I am not a "self-identified" narcissist that resembles anything described in that passage.

The passage conflates a bunch of unrelated disorders and criminal behaviors.

Malignant narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder have nothing to do with the sort of narcissim that is common that Agent and I were talking about. The passage also conflates sociopathy with narcissism in ways that are frankly baffling to me. It was clearly written by someone who has only a basic grasp of these terms.

Second, like I said above, pedophilia and narcissism are not necessarily related. I'm not sure what that has to do with anything or why it is included in there.

josef k.
22-01-2009, 11:44 PM
But you do seem to agree on this point:

"But malignant narcissism is perverted self-love. In fact, it isn't really self-love. It's self-hatred. The person "suffering" from NPD hates himself and loves his IMAGE instead. He makes it look good the easy way — by making others' images look bad by comparison. That makes him a predator on the image of everyone around him. Everyone."

Or at least, the first half of this point.

nomadthethird
22-01-2009, 11:45 PM
Your description of narcissists:

"Narcissists are deeply traumatized people. Most of them were excessively punished and/or abused by their parents or other authority figures. After being told or otherwise made to feel that they were bad or worthless, the narcissist suffered intense feelings of guilt, shame, and emotional pain that overwhelm him. As a result, the narcissist hates himself. To avoid further trauma, he creates a new self, a false self, one that he thinks is worthy of love and attention, and impervious to insult and pain, and projects that one to the world. The false self is not a pure fabrication, instead it is a partial view, usually made up only of the good things-- the accomplishments, the good qualities, the fun self, the tough self--usually one that the abuser couldn't find fault with or injure."

Which you affirm in your own case, seems quite malignant, and out of the ordinary.

And, excuse me, but I never once "affirmed" that it was "malignant" or "out of the ordinary" in my "case", which you've really heard nothing about, and know nothing about.

josef k.
22-01-2009, 11:47 PM
You affirmed that you were yourself a narcissist, based on this description. It seems to me you describe a malignant condition here. No?

Mr. Tea
22-01-2009, 11:49 PM
Who wrote this? My guess is that this was not written by a professional in the field.


Not someone who knows all that much about chimps, at any rate: they certainly do eat meat - http://www.janegoodall.org/chimp_central/chimpanzees/behavior/hunting.asp

nomadthethird
22-01-2009, 11:49 PM
But you do seem to agree on this point:

"But malignant narcissism is perverted self-love. In fact, it isn't really self-love. It's self-hatred. The person "suffering" from NPD hates himself and loves his IMAGE instead. He makes it look good the easy way — by making others' images look bad by comparison. That makes him a predator on the image of everyone around him. Everyone."

Or at least, the first half of this point.

Yes, there is a clinical disorder called "malignant narcissism", a wiki of which I've already linked to in fact in a discussion and which you claimed to read.

But I'll recap anyway.

Malignant narcissism is a form of narcissism that has become malignant or PATHOLOGICAL, which means, in psychological terms, that instead of being generally harmless to others/themselves, like narcissists, malignant narcissists are harmful to others and often become violent or predatory.

Read this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malignant_narcissism

now COMPARE it to this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissism_(psychology)

nomadthethird
22-01-2009, 11:52 PM
You affirmed that you were yourself a narcissist, based on this description. It seems to me you describe a malignant condition here. No?

What about "malignant narcissism and narcissism are two different conditions" do you not understand?

We've been over this twice now in two different threads.

josef k.
22-01-2009, 11:56 PM
I don't understand why the condition you describe yourself as suffering from isn't malignant. It sounds quite malignant to me. Certainly, it seems to match up, at least in certain important respects, with the chimp-cretin's description of malignant narcissism.

nomadthethird
23-01-2009, 12:00 AM
Plus, that passage is really ridiculous in a lot of ways.

You can't teach someone to be a narcissist in school. It takes a lot of independent factors working together that you'd never be able to orchestrate perfectly from the outside. Narcissism is a family disease, like addiction.

It almost reminds me of those people who think that gay people want to teach kids to be gay and recruit in the schools. Yes, while we're at it, why don't we just round up anybody who seems to have had a rough childhood because they're at a high risk of being a narcissist and throw them in a prison camp. That way we'll be safe. *draws blinds, paces nervously*

nomadthethird
23-01-2009, 12:03 AM
I don't understand why the condition you describe yourself as suffering from isn't malignant. It sounds quite malignant to me. Certainly, it seems to match up, at least in certain important respects, with the chimp-cretin's description of malignant narcissism.

No, it doesn't.

I did not EVER tell you ANYTHING about MYSELF and MY CASE.

I gave you a clinical definition of what the typical life story of narcissist might look like.

My life and personality looks nothing like the passage you've posted. I have never hurt anyone, ever. I am not a pedophile. I do not hold public office. I am not a predator.

josef k.
23-01-2009, 12:07 AM
Your description of your own narcissistic condition as characterized by "intense feelings of guilt, shame, and emotional pain... As a result, the narcissist hates himself" matches up with the chimp-cretin's point about malignant narcissism revolving around self-hatred, though.

nomadthethird
23-01-2009, 12:07 AM
Josef, you clearly didn't even read the generalized descriptions of narcissism.

Most people are narcissistic to some degree--in fact, I think you are to a degree that you yourself are terrified to admit.

If you're going to try to use the fact that I admit that I have narcissistic tendencies to try to equate me with a pedophile and a predator based on some jackass rant on an idiotic blog, because your mind is too tiny to fit a distinction between pathologic conditions and regular ones, that's your problem. Not mine.

josef k.
23-01-2009, 12:08 AM
But you do seem to agree on this point:

"But malignant narcissism is perverted self-love. In fact, it isn't really self-love. It's self-hatred. The person "suffering" from NPD hates himself and loves his IMAGE instead. He makes it look good the easy way — by making others' images look bad by comparison. That makes him a predator on the image of everyone around him. Everyone."

Or at least, the first half of this point.

Edit: Most people are narcissistic to some degree, yes. But I'm not sure that most people suffer from "intense feelings of guilt, shame, and emotional pain," to the extent they hate themselves. This kind of condition seems quite malignant to me. Quite pathological. Wouldn't you agree?

nomadthethird
23-01-2009, 12:09 AM
Your description of your own narcissistic condition as characterized by "intense feelings of guilt, shame, and emotional pain... As a result, the narcissist hates himself" matches up with the chimp-cretin's point about malignant narcissism revolving around self-hatred, though.

All narcissism revolves around trauma. Not all narcissism is pathological and not all narcissists are predators.

This is not a difficult concept. You are being willfully obtuse because you like trying to equate me with a pedophile and predator.

You are sad.

nomadthethird
23-01-2009, 12:11 AM
But you do seem to agree on this point:

"But malignant narcissism is perverted self-love. In fact, it isn't really self-love. It's self-hatred. The person "suffering" from NPD hates himself and loves his IMAGE instead. He makes it look good the easy way — by making others' images look bad by comparison. That makes him a predator on the image of everyone around him. Everyone."

Or at least, the first half of this point.

Are you retarded?

Yes. All narcissists love their IMAGES and hate themselves. Not all narcissists are predatory "malignant" narcissists.

nomadthethird
23-01-2009, 12:12 AM
Edit: Most people are narcissistic to some degree, yes. But I'm not sure that most people suffer from "intense feelings of guilt, shame, and emotional pain," to the extent they hate themselves. This kind of condition seems quite malignant to me. Quite pathological. Wouldn't you agree?

No. I wouldn't agree.

In fact, I think you are a raging narcissist. But I don't think you are a malignant narcissist. BECAUSE THERE IS A CLINICAL DISTINCTION BETWEEN NARCISSISM AND MALIGNANT NARCISSISM.

josef k.
23-01-2009, 12:14 AM
I don't think you are a predator or a pedophile. But you do seem to be in a lot of pain.

nomadthethird
23-01-2009, 12:17 AM
I have been before, but probably not more or less than many other people.

Many psychoanalysts believe narcissism is actually a default mode because the most natural thing in the world for people to do is to protect themselves from the outside world when the world they live in is a scary place.

nomadthethird
23-01-2009, 12:40 AM
It's funny, Josef, because you talk about someone have intense feelings of "guilt, shame, and emotional pain" as if that is somehow pathological in and of itself.

Is it pathological, for example, for a child of 4 who is repeatedly beaten and told that they're stupid and they'll never amount to anything, or who is punished excessively for the most minor infractions (forced to sit in the corner all day with no dinner for spilling their milk) to feel intense feelings of guilt, shame, and emotional pain over time? To feel like there must be something wrong with them otherwise why would they be treated like this?

Because children who experience these things, especially from a very young age, are the type of children who typically become narcissists. (They are at the highest risk.)

josef k.
23-01-2009, 01:09 AM
It's funny, Josef, because you talk about someone have intense feelings of "guilt, shame, and emotional pain" as if that is somehow pathological in and of itself.

It is annoying that you always seem compelled to put words in my mouth.

luka
23-01-2009, 07:06 AM
this is a bit creepy, is it a weird roundabout seduction gambit?

zhao
23-01-2009, 07:43 AM
this is a bit creepy, is it a weird roundabout seduction gambit?

seems like some kind of sex play dont it. i guess the weird kind between psychoanalytic theorists and... readers of 20th century austrian existential literature.

but in this thread i learnt that i have both cerebral as well as somatic narcissistic tendencies. how about that! :)

zhao
23-01-2009, 08:04 AM
my problems with the use of the P word is that 9 times out of 10 it is stemming from nothing but the anti-intellectualism that has been fostered by so many generations of stupid uneducated people.

a lot of times it is uttered by people who know nothing about that which they are dismissing, but want to PRETEND like they do by saying: "oh that? why that is just pretentious crap" --- in the end is these who are really pretending to be something they are not --- and the nude men reciting sound poetry are showing exactly who they are.

the point is: there is no such thing as "who you really are", or at least, this thing is constantly changing. so for me there is nothing wrong for people to aspire to something which is maybe not quite "yet" them --- but there is something wrong with the lazy dumbasses around them who say "pretentious crap", made to feel insecure in the presence of someone who is trying to be something more interesting.

zhao
23-01-2009, 08:09 AM
i mean it is just the common default position of the idiots. but real pretentiousness is pretty damn annoying - when stupids try to act smart. and the opposite is of course fabulous and something we are in constant shortage of: when smart people act retarded (having fun).

zhao
23-01-2009, 08:09 AM
Aww, nomad's hippy side is coming out...

i wouldnt mind seeing more of it.

Agent Nucleus
23-01-2009, 09:02 AM
but in this thread i learnt that i have both cerebral as well as somatic narcissistic tendencies. how about that! :)

same here. there are healthy and unhealthy forms of narcissism. usually it's healthy in the sense of being socially healthy, or conformist. i don't ofc agree with this definition of psychiatric/sociological health.

i think everyone falls into one of those categories. narcissism is a neurotic personality disorder. i've never heard of it being rooted in childhood trauma but that makes sense, esp when you consider it as a form of auto-amputation or self-numbing. mcluhan talks about the narcissus narcosis and how the perceived split between the body and its image creates an abstract distance, as well as something akin to numbness/nárkissos .

for Lacan narcissism all about the mirror stage (or the Imaginary register - self-consciousness which 'oblates' the gaze of the World or something along those linse), and the approval of the maternal figure. it's like the fort-da game.

a few others:

"holding court"
using italics for a specialist, academic or foreign term
"lexicon"
"ambiguity"
post-structuralism (except Deleuze who is too headachy to be considered pretentious imo)
Stirnerism
"negotiate"; or variations
Alan Sokal
Leo Strauss (since someone mentioned Kojeve)
assess/re-assess
"netcentric"
"implicate"

anti-pretention can be just as irritating:

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/0ZpCV3IFkS4&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/0ZpCV3IFkS4&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

Chris
23-01-2009, 01:32 PM
who gets to decide which "image" or "self" a person has is the real one? psychologists? professors or intellectuals with prestige? assholes on the internet?


Gotta agree with Zhao here, on letting people "become" and "fake it". Personally, I don't believe there is a 'faking it'. Even if something someone says is wrong or idealistic or perhaps pseudy, it still might come from true feelings, so it's ok with me. I mean, as far as our "real" selves, isn't that which someone invests themselves in, which becomes from their desires and passions and beliefs, as much their real self as the "reality" of whatever mundane or traumatizing experiences they inevitably had to endure at whichever point like we all have? Why should they be tethered to that, if they see life as more than the most dull, reductive facts, having to take a shit, limitations (however temporal), mechanistic processes, bills, etc? It's like some materialist, Darwinist, logical-positivist types have to suck the LIFE out of everything, force a cold, dead, fatalistic reality on everyone. "No, you're not not educated enough; no, you're not 'properly' creative, no, your happiness doesn't reflect this bland reality, you're a FRAUD". Everyone I've personally ever respected would probably be considered pretentious, narcissistic, and I'm sure riddled with (pharmaceutical company perpetuated) "disorders". People of creativity and imagination and faith. Should these people just resign to depression and never try, never grow, never express themselves because they MIGHT BE WRONG or look foolish? Of course, that's not to say there aren't a lot of things I've heard that make cringe, art that makes me gag (this includes things I've said, old high school art I dig up), so I can't fault anyone's opinions in here either. And of course, if people are going to take the risk of expressing themselves, they have to accept the fact that not everyone will approve or agree, and that's okay.


Reality is what we agree on, and I resent that.

Mr. Tea
23-01-2009, 01:44 PM
AN, it's interesting that you've put both post-structuralism and Alan Sokal in your list of pretentiousnesses: is this out of a sense of fairness, or what? I'd have thought Sokal would come down on the side of militant anti-pretentiousness.

Oh, and here's an example I wonder if we can agree on: when Prince (surely a pretentious enough name to start with?) decided he wanted us to call him http://www.tolliver.com/graphics/tafkap.gif - that was pretty pretentious, no?

Agent Nucleus
23-01-2009, 02:20 PM
in the sense of fairness, yeah. another example in the same vein: people with only one (fake) name like Seal. or Cher.

IdleRich
23-01-2009, 02:33 PM
The Edge is the acme of that I think - well he's two words but you know what I mean.

mixed_biscuits
23-01-2009, 02:36 PM
who gets to decide which "image" or "self" a person has is the real one? psychologists? professors or intellectuals with prestige? assholes on the internet?

I see the plea to forsake pretension as one that is directed at the individual, their own conscience and one's will to truthful self-expression, rather than an attempt to give more power to the dictators of objectivity and thereby repress individual experience. It is a plea to put across oneself as one is rather than one isn't, or, if one is in the process of 'becoming', to not pretend to have already 'arrived' or resolved oneself. As you say,


it still might come from true feelings, so it's ok with me.

Pretension demeans intellectual activity by revealing it to be social activity.

Tentative Andy
23-01-2009, 02:40 PM
The Edge is the acme of that I think - well he's two words but you know what I mean.

Do you reckon his bandmates/friends/family call him Edge in coversation? I sort of hope they do. 'Oi, Edge, stick the kettle on will ya?'

Chris
23-01-2009, 03:00 PM
I see the plea to forsake pretension as one that is directed at the individual, their own conscience and one's will to truthful self-expression, rather than an attempt to give more power to the dictators of objectivity and thereby repress individual experience. It is a plea to put across oneself as one is rather than one isn't, or, if one is in the process of 'becoming', to not pretend to have already 'arrived' or resolved oneself. As you say,

yeah, and I guess I'm over-estimating people's intentions. I probably only need to recall some of the more shmoozing, preening assholes in L.A. to remember that there can be a bad "faking it" (google "cobrasnake"). I'd still say that this front put on still comes from their true self, is an expression of their true desires, a self that telegraphs it's values in every affect, every one-liner, every pose, across the surface. But the tone and vibe and substance reveal that their values are nothing but a cowardish and fickle desperation for status, for which they'll whore themselves to whatever passing triviality. But shit, how do we say we're not all doing that to some degree? I can honestly say that I try to assess what I believe, allow myself to feel things as truly as possible, be true to my beliefs regardless of consequences or reactions, never care about status or reputation... but I'm sure I'm an utter hipster twat as well. I guess I'm just skeptical of the idea of a static, true self, but I guess there are better ways for this self to evolve and become, based on better values (that sounds so religious but it's something I've been coming around to lately on a personal level).

IdleRich
23-01-2009, 03:05 PM
"Do you reckon his bandmates/friends/family call him Edge in coversation? I sort of hope they do. 'Oi, Edge, stick the kettle on will ya?'"
I've mentioned this before but I read about some guy (minor support act maybe, I can't remember who it was now which is frustrating) saying that he spent a week hanging around with U2 - but it was only reading about them later that he realised that he shouldn't have been referring to the bloke with the beard as Ed.

Tentative Andy
23-01-2009, 03:08 PM
Ha!

Mr. Tea
23-01-2009, 03:11 PM
Pretension demeans intellectual activity by revealing it to be social activity.

I really like this explanation. Perhaps we could define pretentiousness, or at least a certain kind of pretentiousness, as: "artistic activity or intellectual discourse undertaken for the purpose of being seen to be artistic or intellectual"? There certainly seems to be a large element of ostentation involved in this kind of pretentiousness - c.f. our hypothetical chap upthread who reads books on determinism in physics while smoking a shisha and not going to the toilet; if he'd done that and kept it to himself it wouldn't have been pretentious, because it would just be what he likes to do. It's the gratuitous 'boasting' about it to others that makes him pretentious, because the impression he makes on other people is clearly more important to him than the activity itself.

There's obviously a lot of pretentiousness involved in hipsterism.

Chris
23-01-2009, 03:26 PM
That's interesting, Tea, and very true I'm sure.

Although, there's something to be said for all the obstentation, it's almost Brechtian. I'm interested sometimes by the information that can be sent or discovered through simple gestures. All the showiness in music scenes, are kind of like, well, no, they ARE ritual. The way a tribe of people create a sense of identity through images and actions. The way they consecrate their personal and scene-space to this collective identity through significant use of colours and sounds and movements and words. It's the fundamental, universal process that ritualistically defines every culture, no matter how secular or detached or modern it gets, and for all the rhetoric about individualism, we develop meaningful codes, and than act out these codes for our "sacred" ideals. Hipsters, of whatever color, do this too, in hilariously contrived, ironic, exaggerated ways.

Sick Boy
23-01-2009, 03:33 PM
There's obviously a lot of pretentiousness involved in hipsterism.

Yeah, as I mentioned earlier on in this thread this defines for me what hipsterism is.
A youth culture based mostly on ostentation rather than actual value of product.

Sick Boy
23-01-2009, 03:50 PM
I'm reading a book on the history and current state of the journalism industry and the last section talked a bit about globalization of information and that sort of thing. One point the author made was that journalists didn't only become threatened by all this citizen journalism that was pouring onto the web, but the quality of their own journalism started to falter as it became less geographically-centred, less community relevent, and more subjective and opinionated.

The author offers the reason that this is because with a wider access to all information, the substance gets spread thin. It is possible now to know just enough stuff about a great many things, so journalists and editors lose a lot of the benefits and good habits of being focused.

I think a lot of people have been talking about hipsters in recent years because of just how easy it is now to be pretentious and get away with it. It's very possible our hypothetical constipated hookah-huffing interrlectual didn't even read that book. He could very well have just wikipedia'd the synopsis.

CombinedHarvest
23-01-2009, 04:44 PM
I really like this explanation. Perhaps we could define pretentiousness, or at least a certain kind of pretentiousness, as: "artistic activity or intellectual discourse undertaken for the purpose of being seen to be artistic or intellectual"? There certainly seems to be a large element of ostentation involved in this kind of pretentiousness - c.f. our hypothetical chap upthread who reads books on determinism in physics while smoking a shisha and not going to the toilet; if he'd done that and kept it to himself it wouldn't have been pretentious, because it would just be what he likes to do. It's the gratuitous 'boasting' about it to others that makes him pretentious, because the impression he makes on other people is clearly more important to him than the activity itself.

There's obviously a lot of pretentiousness involved in hipsterism.

I agree, at least intuitively, that ostentation has to come into somewhere, but I've difficulty in conceptualising it as plainly as you've done. For a start, and perhaps I'm alone in this, I sometimes find myself behaving pretentiously when there's no-one to witness it. At the time, it feels like I'm striving to satisfy the demands of my own self-image, to convince myself that the reality mirrors the fantasy. Although I'm simultaneously aware of my pretentious behaviour (and therefore never actually buying into the illusion) I persist in the act despite there being no-one to witness it. I'm not aware that the purpose is to recount the tale at some later point to another person, nor does it even feel like I'm storing the fruits of my pretentious activity (knowledge of esoteric French philosophy let's say) for a later payout. I suppose the point I'm making is that pretentiousness seems to reside in a more psychologically complex space, bound up with central aspects of how we regard ourselves on a daily basis, than your characterisation suggests.

I occasionally think that we're disposed to imagine in some abstract and non-conscious way that some Other is watching us at all times, precisely to overcome the sense that our actions have no purpose unless witnessed - and maybe this accounts for my lonesome pretentiousness.

droid
23-01-2009, 04:56 PM
occasionally think that we're disposed to imagine in some abstract and non-conscious way that some Other is watching us at all times, precisely to overcome the sense that our actions have no purpose unless witnessed - and maybe this accounts for my lonesome pretentiousness.

Have you read The Magus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magus_(novel))?

Mr. Tea
23-01-2009, 05:07 PM
I agree, at least intuitively, that ostentation has to come into somewhere, but I've difficulty in conceptualising it as plainly as you've done. For a start, and perhaps I'm alone in this, I sometimes find myself behaving pretentiously when there's no-one to witness it. At the time, it feels like I'm striving to satisfy the demands of my own self-image, to convince myself that the reality mirrors the fantasy. Although I'm simultaneously aware of my pretentious behaviour (and therefore never actually buying into the illusion) I persist in the act despite there being no-one to witness it. I'm not aware that the purpose is to recount the tale at some later point to another person, nor does it even feel like I'm storing the fruits of my pretentious activity (knowledge of esoteric French philosophy let's say) for a later payout. I suppose the point I'm making is that pretentiousness seems to reside in a more psychologically complex space, bound up with central aspects of how we regard ourselves on a daily basis, than your characterisation suggests.

I occasionally think that we're disposed to imagine in some abstract and non-conscious way that some Other is watching us at all times, precisely to overcome the sense that our actions have no purpose unless witnessed - and maybe this accounts for my lonesome pretentiousness.

Yeah, that sort of idea had crossed my mind - but on the other hand, perhaps you're not being pretentious at all, you're just vaguely aware that what you're doing might look pretentious to someone else, precisely because if you were doing it for someone else's 'benefit', almost as a kind of performance, then you would be being pretentious. See what I mean? It's like you're so aware of the risk of being perceived as pretentious that you worry (if that's not too strong a word) about it even when there's no-one there to perceive you, other than yourself.

Mr. Tea
23-01-2009, 05:12 PM
I think a lot of people have been talking about hipsters in recent years because of just how easy it is now to be pretentious and get away with it. It's very possible our hypothetical constipated hookah-huffing interrlectual didn't even read that book. He could very well have just wikipedia'd the synopsis.

Hah, yeah, I guess in the past if you wanted to be able to hold forth authoritatively on Sartre or Japanese theatre or whatever you'd at least have to put in some time at the library, whereas nowadays you can become an 'expert' on just about anything from the comfort of your sitting room.

Agent Nucleus
23-01-2009, 05:23 PM
hipsters are suburban kids from Williamsburg, VA who move to New York and affect an urban-authentic posture. they are braindead.

the hookah smoking guy with IBS (i'm not sure how a chronic marijuana smoker could read 2 pages of Deleuze, or Kojeve, or Lacan, or any of the other alleged offenders) - there was a kid like this in my Popular Culture course. He knew everything there is to know about heavy metal music and rare 1970's SF films.


and role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. he wasn't what i'd call pretentious, but he knew more than the other students, and liked to show off in class discussions.




pretentious crap:

wearing golf clothes to a bar or club
saying you are a lawyer, or attending law school
popping your collar
being white, over-educated, "hip" and listening to hip hop, grime, dubstep, dance or raggae music

Mr. Tea
23-01-2009, 05:25 PM
being white, over-educated, "hip" and listening to hip hop, grime, dubstep, dance or raggae music

zing!

Agent Nucleus
23-01-2009, 05:27 PM
it's all in good fun. really. :)

Sick Boy
23-01-2009, 05:27 PM
pretentious crap:

wearing golf clothes to a bar or club
saying you are a lawyer, or attending law school
popping your collar
being white, over-educated, "hip" and listening to hip hop, grime, dubstep, dance or raggae music

Haha! This is such a spiteful list. None of those things are pretentious either.
Since I don't know what constitutes golf clothes, I could be guilty of two of these things. Like sweater vests and argyle trousers?

EDIT: Just to clarify, I do not wear sweater vests and argyle trousers to bars.

Agent Nucleus
23-01-2009, 05:32 PM
the list isn't spiteful at all. if anything thsoe are old cliches for the narcissistic, feathered-haired prep or bourgeois. forget it.

this thread is a disaster. all the nitpicking about self-reflexive pretension is very circular.

IdleRich
23-01-2009, 05:32 PM
"saying you are a lawyer, or attending law school"
Does this depend at all on whether you are or are not in fact a lawyer or attending law school?


"being white, over-educated, "hip" and listening to hip hop, grime, dubstep, dance or raggae music"
What about being white and listening to rock is that ok?

Mr. Tea
23-01-2009, 05:35 PM
What if you're black, dress like someone's dad in 1978 and listen to Stockhausen? Assuming there is at least one person in the world who fits that description...

Agent Nucleus
23-01-2009, 05:41 PM
yes but that is someone i would definitely hang out with.

maybe it's all subjective, and maybe everyone, when you really analyze it objectively, is a fucking douchebag.

IdleRich
23-01-2009, 05:47 PM
"yes but that is someone i would definitely hang out with"
Pretentious!


"maybe it's all subjective, and maybe everyone, when you really analyze it objectively, is a fucking douchebag."
Maybe you've hit the nail on the head here.

Agent Nucleus
23-01-2009, 05:49 PM
Does this depend at all on whether you are or are not in fact a lawyer or attending law school?


What about being white and listening to rock is that ok?

it's worse if you go to law school and have the money to pull off the image.

it depends what kind of rock i guess. race doesn't matter. i hate when i get accused of 'reverse-racism.' that is pc on a sickening level. but yeah most of the music i like is pretentious by any definition of the word, including stockhausen. independent rock and pop has to enter the conversation somewhere. like the unicorns. music professors who release experimental electronic albums.

any contemporary art that "comments on" coprophilia, scatology, or excrement.

Agent Nucleus
23-01-2009, 05:50 PM
.
Pretentious!

IdleRich
23-01-2009, 06:11 PM
"race doesn't matter"
Why did you mention it then? Not having a go, I'm just confused here.

Agent Nucleus
23-01-2009, 06:14 PM
because i'm an American racist from the south ;) what can i say? i think minorities need to accept their natural place in the pecking order.

Agent Nucleus
23-01-2009, 07:12 PM
I'm reading a book on the history and current state of the journalism industry and the last section talked a bit about globalization of information and that sort of thing. One point the author made was that journalists didn't only become threatened by all this citizen journalism that was pouring onto the web, but the quality of their own journalism started to falter as it became less geographically-centred, less community relevent, and more subjective and opinionated.

what book is this? isn't it arbitrary to say that journalism has deteriorated because of the Internet? you have to factor in that more people are writing and publishing, and the market is really thin.

maybe journalists would be more relevant if they started covering more local entertainments - city fairs, holiday parades, and the like

Sick Boy
23-01-2009, 07:25 PM
what book is this? isn't it arbitrary to say that journalism has deteriorated because of the Internet? you have to factor in that more people are writing and publishing, and the market is really thin.


Oh, that's not their thesis or anything. They go on right after that to point out the obvious benefits of access to information (increased global citizenship, greater and more detailed coverage of important foreign affairs stories that otherwise could get ignored, etc.). I was just pointing out one small part as it was relevant to this thread.

The general aim of the book seems to be trying to figure out a way to keep the shrinking industry afloat while retaining ideas of integrity and responsibility to the citizen that seperates and defines professional journalism from other sources of information.

It's not that bad: http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Journalism-Newspeople-Should-Public/dp/0609806912/ref=cm_lmf_tit_7

Anyway, not to derail...

zhao
23-01-2009, 10:07 PM
EDIT: Just to clarify, I do not wear sweater vests and argyle trousers to bars.

oh i've done this countless times. last was at this "upscale" (rare in this town) jazz club. worked a treat too: this group of posh english art girls were so receptive... oh the fun.


What if you're black, dress like someone's dad in 1978 and listen to Stockhausen? Assuming there is at least one person in the world who fits that description...

UM. HELLO?!?!

http://www.thejazzman.com.au/Page/images/PIC-GALLERY-MILES-DAVIS2.jpg
http://home.iprimus.com.au/powermax/Miles%20Davis/images/Miles%20Davis%206.jpg
http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i223/miltonlax25/miles-davis.jpg

zhao
23-01-2009, 10:10 PM
no really...

mixed_biscuits
23-01-2009, 10:35 PM
BPPI - Biscuit's Perceived Pretension Index:

http://img26.picoodle.com/img/img26/3/1/23/f_pretensionm_9c2d882.jpg

a = subject's social capital, as perceived by you
b = your social capital, as objectively speaking as possible
c = subject's pretended social capital
d = subject's actual social capital, seen objectively as possible
e = subject's use of unjust reflexivity (eg. false modesty)
f = subject's use of just reflexivity (eg. sincere self-deprecation)
g = hrs display of pretension
h = hrs visibility

e:f and g:h should be treated as ratios when coming up with your figures.

Enter a, b, c, d, e, f, h as values 1-10 (10 is high)

Enter g using values 0-10

You will get an entirely objective, foolproof reading of the subject's pretentiousness (presented as a &#37; of absolute pretentiousness).

The formula is VERY sensitive. Bear in mind that in calibration tests, Stephen Fry received a reading of 0.1% pretentious and Dissensus only 7%!
The modulus function permits the reading of inverse snobbery.

Interpretation of readings:

0 - unpretentious (probably)
<0.01% - largely unpretentious
0.01-0.9recurring % - pretentious
>1% - highly pretentious

I apologise retrospectively in advance for the quality of my maths.

Sick Boy
24-01-2009, 01:06 AM
BPPI - Biscuit's Perceived Pretension Index:

http://img26.picoodle.com/img/img26/3/1/23/f_pretensionm_9c2d882.jpg

a = subject's social capital, as perceived by you
b = your social capital, as objectively speaking as possible
c = subject's pretended social capital
d = subject's actual social capital, seen objectively as possible
e = subject's use of unjust reflexivity (eg. false modesty)
f = subject's use of just reflexivity (eg. sincere self-deprecation)
g = hrs display of pretension
h = hrs visibility

e:f and g:h should be treated as ratios when coming up with your figures.

Enter a, b, c, d, e, f, h as values 1-10 (10 is high)

Enter g using values 0-10

You will get an entirely objective, foolproof reading of the subject's pretentiousness (presented as a % of absolute pretentiousness).

The formula is VERY sensitive. Bear in mind that in calibration tests, Stephen Fry received a reading of 0.1% pretentious and Dissensus only 7%!
The modulus function permits the reading of inverse snobbery.

Interpretation of readings:

0 - unpretentious (probably)
<0.01% - largely unpretentious
0.01-0.9recurring % - pretentious
>1% - highly pretentious

I apologise retrospectively in advance for the quality of my maths.

This right here is one of Dissensus' better moments.

nomadthethird
24-01-2009, 03:32 AM
Edit: Most people are narcissistic to some degree, yes. But I'm not sure that most people suffer from "intense feelings of guilt, shame, and emotional pain," to the extent they hate themselves. This kind of condition seems quite malignant to me. Quite pathological. Wouldn't you agree?


It's funny, Josef, because you talk about someone have intense feelings of "guilt, shame, and emotional pain" as if that is somehow pathological in and of itself.


It is annoying that you always seem compelled to put words in my mouth.

Words into your mouth?

nomadthethird
24-01-2009, 03:41 AM
this is a bit creepy, is it a weird roundabout seduction gambit?

Definitely not. Not trying to be creepy, sorry if I was somehow (?)

Luka, you may not have noticed, but I'm very interested in a) psychoanalysis, and b) narcissism. I've talked about both in several discussions in several different places.

My interest in these things has led me to try to understand them more fully, and in general I see quite a lot of bullshit conventional wisdom masquerading as knowledge, especially when it comes to psychological disorders of all kinds, and frankly this really bothers me.

No one is bad because they have a psychological disorder, just like no one is bad who has Parkinson's Disease, or because they have Down Syndrome. The attitude that people with psychological disorders don't have anything physiological wrong, and can just buck up and change themselves, otherwise they're just bad eggs, is right up there with the burn the witch scene from Monty Python in ignorance level.

I have absolutely no interest in discussing my own personal life in detail or what ultimately led me to have narcissistic tendencies--I only brought this up because I think it actually is relevant to this discussion of pretentious behavior.

I really think that narcissism is a characteristic of the myspace generation, it's a default mode.

luka
24-01-2009, 03:43 AM
not sure you've interpreted that comment in the way it was intended

luka
24-01-2009, 03:43 AM
but it was essentially just a bit of mischief

nomadthethird
24-01-2009, 03:45 AM
Ugh maybe I have no idea. I read that thing Mixed Biscuits posted and it was all over from there.

nomadthethird
24-01-2009, 03:47 AM
What if you're black, dress like someone's dad in 1978 and listen to Stockhausen? Assuming there is at least one person in the world who fits that description...

http://www.thejazzman.com.au/Page/images/PIC-GALLERY-MILES-DAVIS2.jpg
http://home.iprimus.com.au/powermax/Miles%20Davis/images/Miles%20Davis%206.jpg
http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i223/miltonlax25/miles-davis.jpg

You mean, if you're the coolest guy of all time?

nomadthethird
24-01-2009, 04:00 AM
who gets to decide which "image" or "self" a person has is the real one? psychologists? professors or intellectuals with prestige? assholes on the internet?


Gotta agree with Zhao here, on letting people "become" and "fake it". Personally, I don't believe there is a 'faking it'. Even if something someone says is wrong or idealistic or perhaps pseudy, it still might come from true feelings, so it's ok with me. I mean, as far as our "real" selves, isn't that which someone invests themselves in, which becomes from their desires and passions and beliefs, as much their real self as the "reality" of whatever mundane or traumatizing experiences they inevitably had to endure at whichever point like we all have? Why should they be tethered to that, if they see life as more than the most dull, reductive facts, having to take a shit, limitations (however temporal), mechanistic processes, bills, etc? It's like some materialist, Darwinist, logical-positivist types have to suck the LIFE out of everything, force a cold, dead, fatalistic reality on everyone. "No, you're not not educated enough; no, you're not 'properly' creative, no, your happiness doesn't reflect this bland reality, you're a FRAUD". Everyone I've personally ever respected would probably be considered pretentious, narcissistic, and I'm sure riddled with (pharamaceutical company perpetuated) "disorders". People of creativity and imagination and faith. Should these people just resign to depression and never try, never grow, never express themselves because they MIGHT BE WRONG or look foolish? Of course, that's not to say there aren't a lot of things I've heard that make cringe, art that makes me gag (this includes things I've said, old high school art I dig up), so I can't fault anyone's opinions in here either. And of course, if people are going to take the risk of expressing themselves, they have to accept the fact that not everyone will approve or agree, and that's okay.


Reality is what we agree on, and I resent that.

Yeah, I feel you Chris.

I think the point of the narcissistic "self" not being entirely "real" is less in the sense of being "fake" and more in the sense of being partial, and pieced together or constructed in such a way that it is meant to project an image that the narcissist can admire. There's nothing inherently bad or dysfunctional about this, but it can become pathological if the narcissist becomes so numb to everything but his own gratification that he doesn't mind hurting others to get his way. When it comes to the psychoanalytical point of view, and certain traits it discovered like narcissism, these pre-date the pharmaceutical industry by quite a few years. (I disagree strongly with people who believe that mental illness is not real, and only a conspiracy that is perpetuated by big pharma to make money. There is plenty of evidence that mental illness is a) genetic, and b) probably at least in part exascerbated by the sorts of living conditions/lifestyles that have resulted from industrialization. Unforunately, many medications that are not optimal treatments get pushed on patients who do not need them, or who react badly to them, because of the pharmaceutical industry. But this is another thread...)

What I really like in your post is this:


It's like some materialist, Darwinist, logical-positivist types have to suck the LIFE out of everything, force a cold, dead, fatalistic reality on everyone. "No, you're not not educated enough; no, you're not 'properly' creative, no, your happiness doesn't reflect this bland reality, you're a FRAUD".

I'm soo soo fucking sick of the "this person is too much of a hipster, this person has false consciousness but (of COURSE) I don't, this scene is lame but mine isn't, everyone else is inauthentic but not meee!!!!" game. It's interesting to hear someone frame [here's that awful word] it in the completely opposite ideological terms using social Darwinism.

nomadthethird
24-01-2009, 04:05 AM
Oh, and here's an example I wonder if we can agree on: when Prince (surely a pretentious enough name to start with?) decided he wanted us to call him http://www.tolliver.com/graphics/tafkap.gif - that was pretty pretentious, no?

You do realize Prince used this symbol to circumvent a contract dispute he was having with his label so he could continue releasing albums and making money on other labels right?

It was very crafty. I'm pretty sure the contract he wanted to get out of disallowed Prince from recording albums with other labels under another name. So instead of using a name, he used a symbol. This of course tied up litigation for a good long time and he was able to make money and get the albums out in the meantime.

nomadthethird
24-01-2009, 04:11 AM
Yeah, as I mentioned earlier on in this thread this defines for me what hipsterism is.
A youth culture based mostly on ostentation rather than actual value of product.

What is actual value?

Look at any culture.

Look at any still existing tribe. There's a uniform or costume. They're all wearing it. No one is "different" no one is an "individual." It's brightly colored, ostentatious, usually psychedelic and cool, sometimes warrior-like. Face paint. Attention grabbing.

Rituals. Dancing. Loud yelping.

nomadthethird
24-01-2009, 04:40 AM
I'm reading a book on the history and current state of the journalism industry and the last section talked a bit about globalization of information and that sort of thing. One point the author made was that journalists didn't only become threatened by all this citizen journalism that was pouring onto the web, but the quality of their own journalism started to falter as it became less geographically-centred, less community relevent, and more subjective and opinionated.

The author offers the reason that this is because with a wider access to all information, the substance gets spread thin. It is possible now to know just enough stuff about a great many things, so journalists and editors lose a lot of the benefits and good habits of being focused.

I think a lot of people have been talking about hipsters in recent years because of just how easy it is now to be pretentious and get away with it. It's very possible our hypothetical constipated hookah-huffing interrlectual didn't even read that book. He could very well have just wikipedia'd the synopsis.

This is interesting...

I really do think this is happening now. Like blogs wouldn't be a problem, and wouldn't be some sort of "threat" to "discourse" or print media, if there weren't this big sort of influx of information that came along with them, and if the trad print media didn't suddenly begin lowering their standards for content in order to make room for the sorts of stuff that passes on blogs (the stuff that's popular, the stuff they need to try to compete with to keep up in the new media marketplace)...

Honestly I do think we'll hit a point in market equilibrium where there's a place for both/and, where print journalism de-tabloidifies itself a little.

The first step might just be the cultural death of irony a la the election of Obama, the economic crisis, the global warming crisis and the hipping of "green living"...

(Remember during the election when Hucks declared the death of irony with all of those youtube videos with right wing nutcases saying the most ridiculous things and really, truly meaning it?)

nomadthethird
24-01-2009, 04:56 AM
hipsters are suburban kids from Williamsburg, VA who move to New York

Bethesda, MD
Brookline, MA
Montclair, NJ
Scarsdale, NY

Agent Nucleus
24-01-2009, 08:04 AM
not to over-generalize but that is the consensus definition. i don't like to get involved in the debate about hipsters. most of my friends (postgrad students etc) partially fall into that category, i fall into that category and i have for a long time; except when i go out, i'm usually alone, on drugs, and more or less dying physically, psychologically, intellectually and so on.

by request:

http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/original/fabio.jpg


http://www.findreligion.net/wp-content/uploads/james_lipton.jpg

http://money.cnn.com/2005/09/06/pf/taxes/consumptiontax_0510/boortz_instory.jpg

http://www.dream-gate.co.uk/assetts/images/Issue20.jpg

zhao
24-01-2009, 10:51 AM
I occasionally think that we're disposed to imagine in some abstract and non-conscious way that some Other is watching us at all times,

enter foucault's interiorized panopticon...

its the reverse of the voyeuristic culture we live in... a side effect of the fetishising of the gaze?

i dont get those pictures? ^^^

Mr. Tea
24-01-2009, 12:41 PM
You mean, if you're the coolest guy of all time?

For a given value of "someone's dad", I suppose...

I didn't know about Prince's contract dispute, that quite interesting. Presumably he could have used a different name rather than a symbol, but I guess that just wouldn't have been very Prince.

zhao
24-01-2009, 02:06 PM
so what IF i made a conceptual dj mix in the appropriation style of sherrie levine's photos of famous photos --- and re-recorded the entirety of a new order record or something. that would be on the mark pretentious wise ja? :D

zhao
24-01-2009, 02:15 PM
and that after dropping the panopticon casually upthread... i'm on a roll today :D:confused:

Agent Nucleus
24-01-2009, 09:04 PM
so what IF i made a conceptual dj mix in the appropriation style of sherrie levine's photos of famous photos --- and re-recorded the entirety of a new order record or something. that would be on the mark pretentious wise ja? :D

that's nothing man. i have homemade serialist compositions that sound horrible, and some guitar feedback fed into an audio editor that goes on for 2-3 hours :)

nomadthethird
24-01-2009, 10:24 PM
For a given value of "someone's dad", I suppose...

I didn't know about Prince's contract dispute, that quite interesting. Presumably he could have used a different name rather than a symbol, but I guess that just wouldn't have been very Prince.

No, he couldn't use any other name that was why he used a symbol...

But James Lipton, now that guy is hilariously pretentious.

Agent Nucleus
24-01-2009, 11:55 PM
i'm putting together a mix cd for a hybrid cd/dvd rom - i like conceptual music or remixes as long as its original. send me a pm if you want to submit something. possible % of sales.

nomad- can you write something short about anesthesia from a medical/neurobiological perspective????

nomadthethird
24-01-2009, 11:58 PM
i'm putting together a mix cd for a hybrid cd/dvd rom - i like conceptual music or remixes as long as its original. send me a pm if you want to submit something. possible % of sales.

nomad- can you write something short about anesthesia from a medical/neurobiological perspective????

Sure no problem.

I already have stuff written from work but they'd fucking sue me if I used it. So I will cleverly re-arrange something.

Just let me know how long and anything specific you want it to focus on.

zhao
25-01-2009, 03:13 AM
i'm putting together a mix cd for a hybrid cd/dvd rom - i like conceptual music or remixes as long as its original. send me a pm if you want to submit something. possible % of sales.

as it happens i have many reversions of 4:33 lying around just collecting dust on me hard drive... the post-concrete spectral wonk-step digital anesthesia remix might work for your purposes i think :D

Tentative Andy
25-01-2009, 05:25 PM
Rituals. Dancing. Loud yelping.

These are a few of my favourite things.

BareBones
26-01-2009, 05:00 PM
I disagree strongly with people who believe that mental illness is not real, and only a conspiracy that is perpetuated by big pharma to make money. There is plenty of evidence that mental illness is a) genetic, and b) probably at least in part exascerbated by the sorts of living conditions/lifestyles that have resulted from industrialization. Unforunately, many medications that are not optimal treatments get pushed on patients who do not need them, or who react badly to them, because of the pharmaceutical industry.

equally as bad/damaging is the viewpoint that mental health hospitals are full of people who are actually sane but have been, like, DRIVEN TOTALLY MAD BY ALL THE NASTY DRUGS THEY'RE FORCED TO TAKE! There was this ridiculous guardian feature a few weeks back which was meant to be a kind of expose on mental hospitals, in which the author, who (i think) suffered from depression, checked herself into a mental hospital and then reported some totally ill-informed, sensationalist, inflammatory shit about it - totally exacerbating the kind of stigma that gets attached to mental health institutions. And this was a major story in what's supposedly the most liberal broadsheet paper in the UK. I showed the article to my girlfriend, who's a mental health nurse, and it pissed her off so much she wrote a letter of complaint to the guardian. sad but true.

anyway

a few months back, this girl at my work (who i hate, and i really rarely hate anyone), said to me, as i was reading my book and having a fag after lunch, "i never read fiction, because i have such a crazy and over-active imagination, that whenever i do read fiction, i think to myself 'i can come up with better ideas than this myself'"... is that pretentious?

Mr. Tea
26-01-2009, 05:32 PM
equally as bad/damaging is the viewpoint that mental health hospitals are full of people who are actually sane but have been, like, DRIVEN TOTALLY MAD BY ALL THE NASTY DRUGS THEY'RE FORCED TO TAKE! There was this ridiculous guardian feature a few weeks back which was meant to be a kind of expose on mental hospitals, in which the author, who (i think) suffered from depression, checked herself into a mental hospital and then reported some totally ill-informed, sensationalist, inflammatory shit about it - totally exacerbating the kind of stigma that gets attached to mental health institutions. And this was a major story in what's supposedly the most liberal broadsheet paper in the UK. I showed the article to my girlfriend, who's a mental health nurse, and it pissed her off so much she wrote a letter of complaint to the guardian. sad but true.

I saw that article but didn't read much of it - should have shown it to a couple of my housemates who both work in mental health (one a case worker, the other a fundraiser/PR-type-person).



a few months back, this girl at my work (who i hate, and i really rarely hate anyone), said to me, as i was reading my book and having a fag after lunch, "i never read fiction, because i have such a crazy and over-active imagination, that whenever i do read fiction, i think to myself 'i can come up with better ideas than this myself'"... is that pretentious?

Not so much pretentious as just an utterly empty brag unless she actually has written anything (that's any good). Is she aware that it takes more than having an interesting (or even 'weird') idea for writing a successful novel? Actually it probably is pretentious, as in a way she's pretending that she could write a novel that's much better than (presumably) most commercial fiction but "can't be arsed" for some unspecified reason.

hucks
26-01-2009, 05:39 PM
a few months back, this girl at my work (who i hate, and i really rarely hate anyone), said to me, as i was reading my book and having a fag after lunch, "i never read fiction, because i have such a crazy and over-active imagination, that whenever i do read fiction, i think to myself 'i can come up with better ideas than this myself'"... is that pretentious?

I quite like the idea here that all you need for a novel is just the weirdest ideas, and there's no need for plot, character, good prose, whatever.

Dunno if it's pretentious, but it's pretty hilarious

BareBones
26-01-2009, 05:58 PM
I saw that article but didn't read much of it - should have shown it to a couple of my housemates who both work in mental health (one a case worker, the other a fundraiser/PR-type-person).

it was fucking bad. i can't remember much of it specifically now, but there was a bit where the author was complaining that some young bloke, who seemed sane to her, was being given his medication, and she (the author) was all disgusted because she didn't even know what the drugs were... now, i don't work in a mental hospital, but i'm pretty sure that patients aren't supposed to know what drugs other patients are being given. and maybe this guy seemed sane because the drugs were working?! even the fact that she was there writing all this bullshit in the place of someone who probably actually NEEDED to be in the hospital pissed me off.



Not so much pretentious as just an utterly empty brag unless she actually has written anything (that's any good).

well, she followed up her comment by telling me that she is "a poet", and that she won an international poetry competition when she was 13... i haven't read any of it but a friend of mine has and he said it was all 'dark' and about her feelings, and stuff. god, i hate her.

nomadthethird
26-01-2009, 09:28 PM
equally as bad/damaging is the viewpoint that mental health hospitals are full of people who are actually sane but have been, like, DRIVEN TOTALLY MAD BY ALL THE NASTY DRUGS THEY'RE FORCED TO TAKE! There was this ridiculous guardian feature a few weeks back which was meant to be a kind of expose on mental hospitals, in which the author, who (i think) suffered from depression, checked herself into a mental hospital and then reported some totally ill-informed, sensationalist, inflammatory shit about it - totally exacerbating the kind of stigma that gets attached to mental health institutions. And this was a major story in what's supposedly the most liberal broadsheet paper in the UK. I showed the article to my girlfriend, who's a mental health nurse, and it pissed her off so much she wrote a letter of complaint to the guardian. sad but true.

anyway

a few months back, this girl at my work (who i hate, and i really rarely hate anyone), said to me, as i was reading my book and having a fag after lunch, "i never read fiction, because i have such a crazy and over-active imagination, that whenever i do read fiction, i think to myself 'i can come up with better ideas than this myself'"... is that pretentious?

Ok, people are probably going to have a seizure of self-righteous contempt when I bring this up (because I'm so full of myself), but I was in charge of fundraising for a new project for the guy who discovered the link between depression and the p11 protein, Dr. Paul Greengard. Mental illness, clinical depression, all of it, it's as real as lung cancer or HIV. I know this for a fact.

The problem is, normal people think of their normal ups and downs, they think of how they feel down after a fight with their girlfriend, or after they lose a contract at work, or get a demotion, experience personal disappoinments of some kind over time, and in time they get over it because their brain chemistry is all in order-- and they think that's what depression is. But clinical depression is a serious, debilitating illness that causes loss of function, aches, pains, lost wages, and all too often death. (And it's not related to experience alone--clinically depressed people are depressed for no reason at all.)

Dr. Greengard actually started an ad campaign, and his hook to try to raise awareness, knowing that the only thing Americans care about is money, was to calculate how much money businesses lose to sick days due to clinical depression in one year. Well, the amount was staggering. In the billions.

End rant.

Mr. Tea
26-01-2009, 09:34 PM
even the fact that she was there writing all this bullshit in the place of someone who probably actually NEEDED to be in the hospital pissed me off.

You know, that hadn't occurred to me - and aren't mental health services notoriously underfunded still, despite the billions Blair threw at the NHS?



well, she followed up her comment by telling me that she is "a poet", and that she won an international poetry competition when she was 13... i haven't read any of it but a friend of mine has and he said it was all 'dark' and about her feelings, and stuff. god, i hate her.

Ha, well, being pretentious and being emo go together like cheese and more cheese.

nomadthethird
26-01-2009, 10:04 PM
BareBones, I seriously hope your girlfriend's letter ended up in the paper. That sort of shit is so completely irresponsible on such a grand scale that it literally blows my mind.

BareBones
27-01-2009, 10:52 AM
heh, well we didn't read it for a week or two afterwards, so it might've and we wouldn't've known about it... but yeah, totally irresponsible - there are probably tons of mentally ill people who need treatment but don't go and get it because they/their families think mental hospitals are these 'one flew over the cuckoo's nest'-style places where they just lobotomise you with tranquilizers and give you electro-shock therapy if you misbehave or whatever.

yeah, of course clinical depression is real - i wasn't disputing that for a moment and apologies if it seemed that way.

nomadthethird
31-01-2009, 04:17 AM
it was fucking bad. i can't remember much of it specifically now, but there was a bit where the author was complaining that some young bloke, who seemed sane to her, was being given his medication, and she (the author) was all disgusted because she didn't even know what the drugs were... now, i don't work in a mental hospital, but i'm pretty sure that patients aren't supposed to know what drugs other patients are being given. and maybe this guy seemed sane because the drugs were working?! even the fact that she was there writing all this bullshit in the place of someone who probably actually NEEDED to be in the hospital pissed me off.

The fucking hubris involved in a non-medical professional trying to tell you that someone who is obviously diagnosed by a professional with a serious case of mental illness--one serious enough to require hospitalization--that "he seems sane enough to me", whose "opinion" or once-over has about as much validity as a five-year-old's would--well, that should be criminal, if only idiocy were a crime.

Uck I can't even think about the fact that someone PRINTED that in a PAPER that was mass distributed.

(Barebones, it definitely didn't seem like you were claiming depression wasn't real.)

nomadthethird
31-01-2009, 04:38 AM
Just for good measure here's Dr. G's new outreach site:

http://www.depressionisreal.org/depression-dr-greengard.html

Direct people here for good information if they try to argue that depression is not "really" something that should ever require treatment.

zhao
31-01-2009, 05:40 AM
Look at any still existing tribe. There's a uniform or costume. They're all wearing it. No one is "different" no one is an "individual." It's brightly colored, ostentatious, usually psychedelic and cool, sometimes warrior-like. Face paint. Attention grabbing.

Rituals. Dancing. Loud yelping.

didn't take issue with this before but must now.

it is all too common for people like us to broadly generalize from a 1 dimensional and extremely limited perspective about the myriad of "pre-industrialized" societies which thrive to this day, and conflate them all according to a bullshit cardboard cut-out idea that we got from ignorant film directors.

band-level societies (gatherer-hunter nomadic less than 100 per unit) do not have anything like uniforms, and according to very many anthropological studies, enjoy total individual autonomy as well as intimate connection with the community --- both of which we "civilized" people lack.

there are hundreds maybe thousands of such micro societies functioning today, some of which approaching tribe-level (centralized power, a few hundred members), each with unique lifestyles -- it is all too easy for us smug westerners to lump them all together.

and as a side i'm entirely convinced that the 20 century construction of individuality, on the whole, makes us less happy.

zhao
31-01-2009, 05:43 AM
i read parts of Foucault's account of the history of the evolution of mental health treatment (the Clinic wasn't it?), but have forgotten most of it :confused: basically all i remember is that things have been always really bad since when ever his studies start, 11th century? and i guess today is not much better...

Chris
31-01-2009, 07:11 AM
band-level societies (gatherer-hunter nomadic less than 100 per unit) do not have anything like uniforms, and according to very many anthropological studies, enjoy total individual autonomy as well as intimate connection with the community --- both of which we "civilized" people lack.

there are hundreds maybe thousands of such micro societies functioning today, some of which approaching tribe-level (centralized power, a few hundred members), each with unique lifestyles -- it is all too easy for us smug westerners to lump them all together.

hmm...

I'm not quite sure if she meant to suggest that people in those types of societies are walking around in masks and ritual fatigues all the time though; but aren't there usually significant costumes or dress used during meaningful cultural rituals, in all types of cultures?

the point maybe being not so much "look at the primitives' uniformity and silly rituals", but rather... "before we totally trash a subculture on their behavior and style, remember every culture exibits some level of collective definition and expression (while the same time there'll sometimes be debates, battles, and innovations for the nature of the culture's ethos and interpretation)... so maybe it's a thing we will never quite shake off?"

zhao
31-01-2009, 07:30 AM
ah ok that makes sense. i wasn't quite sure what the purpose of her "loud yelping" comment was actually.

but i'm not sure if band-level societies have any "uniforms" or rituals... there is no "shamen" or leader of any kind...

Chris
31-01-2009, 07:59 AM
ah ok that makes sense. i wasn't quite sure what the purpose of her "loud yelping" comment was actually.

but i'm not sure if band-level societies have any "uniforms" or rituals... there is no "shamen" or leader of any kind...

hmmm... maybe not, they might have had little freeform jams that developed into some kind of cohesive style, but who knows.

Chris
31-01-2009, 08:07 AM
unless you're talking about smaller (unmodern) tribes still in existence, to which I'd be interested in studying more on myself...

zhao
31-01-2009, 08:15 AM
unless you're talking about smaller (unmodern) tribes still in existence, to which I'd be interested in studying more on myself...

yes that is what i'm talking about. currently functioning micro-societies, which number in at least the hundreds, scattered in regions like Indonesia, Africa, and S. America... i know very little, but if you didn't see this thread (http://dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=7121&highlight=worst+mistake+made) before it might be of interest. (and the audio link still works)

Chris
31-01-2009, 08:20 AM
if you didn't see this thread (http://dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=7121&highlight=worst+mistake+made) before it might be of interest. (and the audio link still works)

ah, yeah, I do remember that one, definitely have to check back on it. thnx.

zhao
31-01-2009, 08:43 AM
a bit embarrassing as i noticed that i'm repeating some things i said in that thread above...

not exactly to do with the band level societies, but tribal or cheifdoms or traditional states in Africa, a friend of mine recently told me of some letters written by a German "explorer" from Africa in early 20th century, like 1902 or something, which included the following:


these africans are so primitive and their societies so backwards, that they consult their women on major decisions and indeed, even allow them to be part of the governement!

:D

Chris
31-01-2009, 08:58 AM
oh how backwards those Africans were

zhao
31-01-2009, 02:29 PM
were being the key word here as they have since, thank god, been enlightened to the modern and progressive Christian ways (with their wives in the kitchen. there is no food but that's not important -- long as they stay in the kitchen)

Mr. Tea
31-01-2009, 02:38 PM
Don't forget the female genital mutilation!

zhao
31-01-2009, 02:50 PM
yeah... sigh... after i made the above post i realized that i was speaking from an idealized view of various african culture's treatment of women.

but just for balance, the boys also go through painful and dangerous initiation rites in many of these cultures -- for instance left in the wild for weeks with no clothes or shelter, if they make it they're men, and if they don't, they don't.

nomadthethird
31-01-2009, 08:05 PM
didn't take issue with this before but must now.

it is all too common for people like us to broadly generalize from a 1 dimensional and extremely limited perspective about the myriad of "pre-industrialized" societies which thrive to this day, and conflate them all according to a bullshit cardboard cut-out idea that we got from ignorant film directors.

band-level societies (gatherer-hunter nomadic less than 100 per unit) do not have anything like uniforms, and according to very many anthropological studies, enjoy total individual autonomy as well as intimate connection with the community --- both of which we "civilized" people lack.

there are hundreds maybe thousands of such micro societies functioning today, some of which approaching tribe-level (centralized power, a few hundred members), each with unique lifestyles -- it is all too easy for us smug westerners to lump them all together.

and as a side i'm entirely convinced that the 20 century construction of individuality, on the whole, makes us less happy.


Whoa whoa whoa. Nobody lumped anything together. The only thing I was commenting on was the way that until recently, in our culture, 'individuality' in dress was not the be all end all. There was nothing "wrong" with looking like others in your tribe on purpose.

That was all that I was saying.

Sometimes you add this entire dimension to what people post that has nothing to do with what they've actually said. Of course, I was pretty open-ended and general, but I wasn't lumping anything together with anything, or limiting anybody. I was making the same point


as a side i'm entirely convinced that the 20 century construction of individuality, on the whole, makes us less happy

you were making.

nomadthethird
31-01-2009, 08:10 PM
ah ok that makes sense. i wasn't quite sure what the purpose of her "loud yelping" comment was actually.

but i'm not sure if band-level societies have any "uniforms" or rituals... there is no "shamen" or leader of any kind...

Yeah, they do, they have ritual costumes.

Have you ever seen a coming of age ritual in a South American or African tribal culture or a North American warrior's costume? I go to an NA meeting with lots of Mohawks and yeah a lot of indigenous peoples in North America do have ritual costumes that are used for more or less the same purposes we use our own subcultural "hipster" clothing. Tattoos as well.

nomadthethird
31-01-2009, 08:25 PM
And "band-level" societies may not have shamans or leaders, but most of the still existing tribal societies do.

Mr. Tea
31-01-2009, 08:59 PM
The only thing I was commenting on was the way that until recently, in our culture, 'individuality' in dress was not the be all end all. There was nothing "wrong" with looking like others in your tribe on purpose.


I think individuality-of-dress in Western (or at least English-speaking) cultures is overstated - by which I mean, the concept is overstated. When was the last time you saw someone who looked literally *nothing* like anyone else you've ever seen? I know you live in a kinda arty part of NY (or however you'd choose to describe it) but even so, people are going to be more or less identifiable as members of one subculture/'tribe' or another, aren't they? If I think about people aged (say) 14-30 I see in London, you've got students, fashion kids, indie types, goths, rudeboys/girls, 'chavs', rockers, assorted sub-species of hipster and so on.

nomadthethird
31-01-2009, 09:04 PM
I think individuality-of-dress in Western (or at least English-speaking) culture is overstated - by which I mean, the concept is overstated. When was the last time you saw someone who looked literally *nothing* like anyone else you've ever seen? I know you live in a kinda arty part of NY (or however you'd choose to describe it) but even so, people are going to be more or less identifiable as members of one subculture/'tribe' or another, aren't they? If I think about people aged (say) 14-30 I see in London, you've got students, fashion kids, indie types, goths, rudeboys/girls, 'chavs', rockers, assorted sub-species of hipsters and so on.

Definitely. You're right. Just like in most other arenas now, the illusion of "individuality" in dress is based on the illusion of "choice" in a marketplace that is really just a bunch of limitations, a room full of mass produced and mass marketed cookie-cuttered stuff that we're all wearing in some combination.

nomadthethird
31-01-2009, 09:27 PM
you live in a kinda arty part of NY (or however you'd choose to describe it)

At the moment I'm in self-imposed exile from Bushwick, but Bushwick is a great example. In Bushwick you have a great cross section of pretty extreme early 90s-ish Fresh Prince inspired futuristic American Apparel hip-hop hipsters, then you have the sort of skaters that overlap with these but are a little more laid back and grungy, then you have the starving artists who just wear paint covered jeans and wool sweaters, then the remaining 80% of the population is Dominican, Puerto Rican, and black, but with their own little bits of early 90s futuristic hip-hop hipster flair, too.

There are strange feedback loops, and people wearing the same things that you'd never expect. Like my 50-year-old Dominican neighbor had the same hoody with a black and tan print as my boyfriend had, just with more neck tattoos and a fade. Everyone has big neon nikes.

nomadthethird
31-01-2009, 09:31 PM
And skinny jeans are everywhere now too, even in the ghetto.

nomadthethird
31-01-2009, 10:48 PM
a bit embarrassing as i noticed that i'm repeating some things i said in that thread above...

not exactly to do with the band level societies, but tribal or cheifdoms or traditional states in Africa, a friend of mine recently told me of some letters written by a German "explorer" from Africa in early 20th century, like 1902 or something, which included the following:

"these africans are so primitive and their societies so backwards, that they consult their women on major decisions and indeed, even allow them to be part of the governement!"

:D

I know this is what most people are going to call a petty, minor point and they're going to say I'm just making a mountain out of a molehill, but something that I've noticed many times, and it's always bothered me, is that when people are talking about the women in a society, they always make it possessive, as in "their women" (example, "have you seen the way Iraqis treat their women"), but I've never once in my life heard anyone refer to the men in a given society as "their men"--nobody ever talks about how Americans treat "their" men.

Pretty telling. More proof that Heidegger was right about language.

Mr. Tea
31-01-2009, 11:56 PM
The ones that piss me off the most are those that exist at the intersection of heavy-metaller, punk, goth, biker, hippy/crusty/'traveller', candy raver and generic stoned post-apocalyptic dickhead. By going out of their way to look as 'alternative' as possible they just end up lookng even more homogeneous than your average ultra-introspective subculture. They just remind me of the bit from Monty Python's Life Of Brian where the 'messiah' shouts to the crowd "You're all individuals!" and they bellow back in unison, "Yes, we are all individuals!!!".

Chris
01-02-2009, 03:44 AM
I think what you're talking about is the "kidzz" culture that kind of exists at the nexus of the Deadhead, Phishhead, Jamband, Desert Party, Goa, Crusty, Rainbow Family, New Age Traveller, and Burning Man scenes.

I... I was kind of like that in my late teens... I just kind of fell into that crowd after living in fucking ORANGE COUNTY for 6 years. Ughhhh.


dreads, Dead and Phish tour, acid, ecstacy, dancehall, raves, DnB parties, Rainbow Gatherings, trading Dead shows, living on the road for a while... the whole thing. In my defense, the dreads were just temporary and only started forming on tour. *shakes head*


I don't totally regret it though. Shaped who I am, for better or worse. But yeah, those people are pretty much permanently on drugs, especially when in groups. It's INSANE. They do more drugs than ravers at their worst.

*edit to say, I never dressed in the post-apocolyptic yogi costume, but I came across them too often.

zhao
01-02-2009, 05:30 AM
I know this is what most people are going to call a petty, minor point and they're going to say I'm just making a mountain out of a molehill, but something that I've noticed many times, and it's always bothered me, is that when people are talking about the women in a society, they always make it possessive, as in "their women" (example, "have you seen the way Iraqis treat their women"), but I've never once in my life heard anyone refer to the men in a given society as "their men"--nobody ever talks about how Americans treat "their" men.

Pretty telling. More proof that Heidegger was right about language.

i was TOTALLY thinking this.

zhao
01-02-2009, 10:33 AM
that's nothing to be very ashamed about chris. as long as you are over it.

josef k.
01-02-2009, 10:50 AM
Here is another one -

Why are male authors often referred to only by their last names (Updike, Mailer, Dickens, etc)

Whereas female authors always need both names (Emily Dickinson, Jane Austen, and so on)

zhao
01-02-2009, 11:14 AM
that's true isn't it. i'll ask my bitches what they think... wait i don't care what they think.

Tentative Andy
01-02-2009, 11:54 AM
You know, it just occured to me that 'Rituals. Dancing. Loud Yelping' would be a great tag-line to put on a flyer for a club night.

josef k.
01-02-2009, 04:53 PM
I caught a scene from a film on some kind of station a while back. It had Isabella Rosselini, lying on a gigantic stomach. I later discovered that the movie was "My Dad is 100 years old" by Guy Maddin, which is a documentary about Roberto Rosselini, but I only saw that one scene, and can barely remember it. But in the scene, Isabella says something like: "My father would always shoot his characters with their faces in the middle of the screen, without moving the camera. Anything else, he would say, was pretentious." I wish I could remember the exact quote, but that was the gist of it. I like this idea a lot - pretentiousness as some kind of superfluous formalist overreach.

The other idea of pretentiousness which I have is from the film "The Day the Earth Stood Still." The new version. A really great film - unfairly maligned. Anyway, the plot of the film is that a super-powered, super-intelligent alien comes to earth to decide whether or not the human race is worth saving. Ever since I saw this film, I thought - pretentiousness is a test of what you would say to the alien, and how you would say it. The alien, of course, you can't bullshit, and he would be completely unimpressed by any superfluous flourishes, whether theoretical, rhetorical, or whatever.

josef k.
01-02-2009, 05:55 PM
Maybe, maybe. But in the film itself, Jennifer Connolly and John Cleese manage to impress the alien enough so as to convince him to let us live.

Mr. Tea
01-02-2009, 07:07 PM
If I were directing that film, the alien would come from a culture where the ability to totally shred on a guitar is held in higher esteem than any other quality, and Yngwie Malsteem and Joe Satriani would be selected to fight the ultimate guitar duel to save humanity. Of course both men's guitars would finally explode before a clear winner emerged, thus teaching the alien an important lesson about cooperation before he returns home a little older and wiser. Then new guitars are produced for Earth's saviours, and a world-wide party ensues.

zhao
02-02-2009, 07:53 AM
Isabella Rosselini, lying on a gigantic stomach.

pretentiousness is a test of what you would say to the alien, and how you would say it.

it was not clear whether the gigantic stomach was her own or belonging to another (Jabba the Hutt?) that she was lying on.

the alien can be substituted by Allah no?

josef k.
02-02-2009, 10:50 AM
The stomach was Roberto's...

The alien as Allah... maybe, except that the Alien isn't really interested in humans per se, whereas Allah seems to be. Also, the alien doesn't demand worship or ask that anyone believe anything in particular.

zhao
02-02-2009, 12:48 PM
The stomach was Roberto's...

The alien as Allah... maybe, except that the Alien isn't really interested in humans per se, whereas Allah seems to be. Also, the alien doesn't demand worship or ask that anyone believe anything in particular.

well non interest or non demand of worship doesnt detract from the same philosophical situation which would be, according to you, a test of pretentiousness.

STN
02-02-2009, 12:57 PM
I know this is what most people are going to call a petty, minor point and they're going to say I'm just making a mountain out of a molehill, but something that I've noticed many times, and it's always bothered me, is that when people are talking about the women in a society, they always make it possessive, as in "their women" (example, "have you seen the way Iraqis treat their women"), but I've never once in my life heard anyone refer to the men in a given society as "their men"--nobody ever talks about how Americans treat "their" men.

Pretty telling. More proof that Heidegger was right about language.

this stems partly from the idea of possession and, I think, partly because maleness is seen as the default position (i.e. it's never 'their' men because 'they' are the men). Both these things are as crap as each other.

josef k.
02-02-2009, 01:23 PM
"well non interest or non demand of worship doesnt detract from the same philosophical situation which would be, according to you, a test of pretentiousness."

I don't think the situation would be the same. There is a difference between the relationship which you might have with God, who would be transcendent over you, and the relationship which you might have with a space alien, who might belong to a more advanced civilization, but who wouldn't be transcendent. The alien exists on a plane of (at least, ontological) equality, God does not.

zhao
02-02-2009, 01:43 PM
maybe... but im still not sure if i understand why what one chooses to say to this entity would be a test of pretentiousness...

josef k.
02-02-2009, 02:36 PM
It is a strange example, I admit.

nomadthethird
02-02-2009, 07:48 PM
this stems partly from the idea of possession and, I think, partly because maleness is seen as the default position (i.e. it's never 'their' men because 'they' are the men). Both these things are as crap as each other.

Yup. Agent posted that article that had those great points about all male reproduction and males in modernism being the default sex.

Did Dissensus change formats again?

STN
02-02-2009, 08:16 PM
Oh sorry, I missed that (I sort of thought I wouldn't be the first person to make that point).

I think so - mine's gone a deeper blue.

nomadthethird
02-02-2009, 08:27 PM
Oh sorry, I missed that (I sort of thought I wouldn't be the first person to make that point).

I think so - mine's gone a deeper blue.

Don't be sorry, I just wanted to recommend that article if you didn't read it.

josef k.
03-02-2009, 12:13 PM
Of these matters available here:

http://www.ubu.com/film/weiner_water.html

Warning: Definitely not safe for work.

zhao
03-02-2009, 01:13 PM
ah hahahahahaha that is PRITAY PRITAY pretentious... LOL :D

josef k.
03-02-2009, 01:26 PM
But is it not also about pretension? Pre-tension...

vimothy
03-02-2009, 01:32 PM
http://www.unc.edu/courses/jomc050/idog.jpg

IdleRich
03-02-2009, 01:43 PM
"and as a side i'm entirely convinced that the 20 century construction of individuality, on the whole, makes us less happy"
I always find this hard (basically impossible) to accept, I don't think that individuality is a 20th century construction at all.

Mr. Tea
03-02-2009, 01:47 PM
People often confuse individuality with selfishness...you can be your own person and do your own thing without being a complete arsehole to everyone else.

mixed_biscuits
03-02-2009, 01:57 PM
Individualism

josef k.
03-02-2009, 01:58 PM
I don't think it is an easy matter to compare "our" happiness to the happiness of some other subject (who?) in the past.

Mr. Tea
03-02-2009, 02:01 PM
Individualism

If I want to write 'individuality' then I damn well WILL, alright? YOU ARE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!

mixed_biscuits
03-02-2009, 02:05 PM
I don't think it is an easy matter to compare "our" happiness to the happiness of some other subject (who?) in the past.

In less individualistic societies the thoughts and feelings of the individual are less likely to be considered important - there would be a bias in the evidence.

Presumably one can make reasonable assumptions about what is painful to the individual subject as a physical human being - ie. hunger, thirst, unfashionable trainers etc...

josef k.
03-02-2009, 02:14 PM
A very shrewd point - in a sense, the concept of happiness and the concept of the individual arise at precisely the same time. Happiness is an individualist concept.*



* Also, a warm gun.

vimothy
03-02-2009, 02:23 PM
Indeed.

A quick online search gives:


pre⋅ten⋅tious
   /prɪˈtɛnʃəs/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [pri-ten-shuhs] Show IPA Pronunciation
–adjective
1. full of pretense or pretension.
2. characterized by assumption of dignity or importance.
3. making an exaggerated outward show; ostentatious.

Mr. Tea
03-02-2009, 02:26 PM
One thing I'm pretty sure of: stopping to ask yourself how happy you are all the time is not going to make you more happy. At best, it's going to have no effect on your happiness - but it may well have an effect, and probably not a positive one.

IdleRich
03-02-2009, 02:27 PM
"A very shrewd point - in a sense, the concept of happiness and the concept of the individual arise at precisely the same time."
And when was this? I've got a pretty strong idea that if there ever was a time before these concepts existed it was certainly a lot earlier than the 20th century.
What is it that makes you assume there was a time before individuality existed at all?

josef k.
03-02-2009, 02:47 PM
I don't know - this is not an easy question.

But our current conception of what individual is, and does, and what rights they have, for example, is not a transhistorical absolute.

A lot of this is really about how you define this term. Some concept of individuality probably always existed - but very different from what we have now.

I don't think a stone age tribe, for example, place a huge premium on individual happiness. But our own society is largely organized around this idea.

mixed_biscuits
03-02-2009, 02:53 PM
A very shrewd point - in a sense, the concept of happiness and the concept of the individual arise at precisely the same time. Happiness is an individualist concept.

Hmm I see what you mean, but that wasn't what I intended - I find it hard to imagine (I suppose, for obvious reasons) that humans of 10,000 years past weren't essentially the same as people now.

I meant that in collectivist societies, individual, dissenting voices are more likely to be suppressed, making the general and personal lot seem more appealing than it actually was.

Presumably the most basic way of feeling individual would be being aware that one is not other people (for instance, whereas I can will myself to scratch my head, I can't will someone else to do so).

vimothy
03-02-2009, 02:54 PM
I think in terms of power relations, state constitutions and national and international law, the individual is more at the centre than at any time in the past. Does this mean people are more individual than they were in the past? Not necessarily.

Mr. Tea
03-02-2009, 02:57 PM
But our current conception of what individual is, and does, and what rights they have, for example, is not a transhistorical absolute.


This seems reasonable.

Something that seems germane here is the James Clavell book I read a while ago, set in feudal-era Japan (400 years ago) where society is stratified in an incredibly rigid caste system - anyway, people in the eta class ('untouchables'), and perhaps even the normal peasant class immediately above them, don't even have proper names, they're just called 'Third Maidservant' or 'Junior Butcher Guy' or whatever, according to their allotted task.

vimothy
03-02-2009, 02:59 PM
And how (to steer conversation back to the dog) is this related to pretentious crap?

If identity is a negotiation, and happiness is a function of identity, and the internet allows a greater fluidity at the margins (more anonymity and more identity)... is there a link between pretention and happiness? Between the internet and happiness?

vimothy
03-02-2009, 03:02 PM
the James Clavell book I read a while ago

Shogun? I have also read it, years ago -- for some reason the memory of it has stuck with me, even though, IIRC, it was rather less than mind-blowing. It periodically comes up in conversation: quite a weird phenomenon.

mixed_biscuits
03-02-2009, 03:03 PM
I doubt that we would turn up many memoirs from 'Third Maidservant' to inspect the happiness hypothesis.

Happiness comes from the fulfillment of one's desires - these days we are led to desire without limits. And so, our desires frustrated, we become unhappy.

Pretension sees us fulfilling our desires imaginatively, staving off inevitable frustration.

vimothy
03-02-2009, 03:09 PM
Pretension sees us fulfilling our desires imaginatively, staving off inevitable frustration.

And so trolling (another kind of pretence) would be the puncturing of that imaginative fulfilment of desire, ruining our cosy fun and bringing us back to the harsh realities of IRL.

Mr. Tea
03-02-2009, 03:09 PM
Shogun? I have also read it, years ago -- for some reason the memory of it has stuck with me, even though, IIRC, it was rather less than mind-blowing. It periodically comes up in conversation: quite a weird phenomenon.

Yeah, I wouldn't call it mind-blowing exactly, but I enjoyed it enough to finish it, which is saying something because it's a dirty fat fucker of a book.

I think m_b is OTM about limitless desires, that's a very good way of putting it.

zhao
03-02-2009, 03:09 PM
I always find this hard (basically impossible) to accept, I don't think that individuality is a 20th century construction at all.

notice i said "the 20th century construction of", meaning a particular kind of individuality in the 20th C, meaning that it is not exclusively a 20th C phenomenon.


I don't think it is an easy matter to compare "our" happiness to the happiness of some other subject (who?) in the past.

what about comparing our happiness to the happiness of other subjects in our time?

i've said this before but it can be postulated that all humans want 2 things: autonomy (freedom to do as you like) and community (intimate connection with others). and our modern society gives us neither. compared to, say, the Dobe Ju/'hoansi (http://www.dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=7121&highlight=worst+mistake+made), who have both (and a lot more than that besides: health, leisure, food)

IdleRich
03-02-2009, 03:14 PM
"But our current conception of what individual is..... is not a transhistorical absolute."
Maybe not but it's quite a large step to go from this to refering (as Zhao did) to


"the 20 century construction of individuality"
Which seems a very strong and surprisingly definite claim.


"Some concept of individuality probably always existed - but very different from what we have now."
Probably on what basis? I want to know why people think this.


"I think in terms of power relations, state constitutions and national and international law, the individual is more at the centre than at any time in the past. Does this mean people are more individual than they were in the past? Not necessarily"
I agree with this.
And more cautiously this


"I find it hard to imagine (I suppose, for obvious reasons) that humans of 10,000 years past weren't essentially the same as people now."
- or at least I do until I see an argument for why people are more individual now.

IdleRich
03-02-2009, 03:19 PM
"notice i said "the 20th century construction of", meaning a particular kind of individuality in the 20th C, meaning that it is not exclusively a 20th C phenomenon."
Ah, ok, thanks - so you mean the 20th C construction as opposed to other previous constructions, not that the only construction appeared in the 20th Century. I still want to know what makes you think it is different and how we can ever know that with any degree of certainty.

vimothy
03-02-2009, 03:19 PM
Further to IdleRich's post, what exactly is an individual? And how is his/her identity constructed or constituted?

vimothy
03-02-2009, 03:21 PM
Because it seems to me that if identity is a negotiation between the individual and everything else, even if the individual remains constant, everything else changes, and thus the identity constructed by/forced upon the individual will be different.

People aren't necessarily different, but their imaginary worlds, their social worlds, their political worlds, etc, etc, are changing.

zhao
03-02-2009, 03:25 PM
"I find it hard to imagine (I suppose, for obvious reasons) that humans of 10,000 years past weren't essentially the same as people now."

"hard to imagine" is the key phrase here.

it is accepted by scholars of archaelogy, anthropology, etc., that social organization was drastically different 10,000 years ago -- and that our way of life, is a very recent and very brief phenomenon. it is hard for us to imagine because we know of, and have never experienced, any other way.

please, everyone who is interested in this and have not done so, listen to that short chapter on the Dobe (http://www.dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=7121&highlight=worst+mistake+made)...

another good reference for "the particular 20th C construction of individuality" would obviously be the Century of the Self series of BBC documentaries...

IdleRich
03-02-2009, 03:44 PM
"please, everyone who is interested in this and have not done so, listen to that short chapter on the Dobe..."
I can't listen at work I'm afraid. I'll try and catch it some other time.


"another good reference for "the particular 20th C construction of individuality" would obviously be the Century of the Self series of BBC documentaries..."
I've seen it and it's fantastic to watch but I wouldn't really say it amounts to a coherent argument.

Anyways, I accept that point about how it's hard to imagine the society of thousands of years ago and for that reason I'm not sure that they are the most worthwhile to talk about. That's why I focused on the 20th century quote - when you read a book by Jane Austen or any of the other classics that are constantly being adapted for tv there seems to be something going on in the mind of the author that people today can identify with quite easily - hence all the adaptations. I take from this that Jane Austen and presumably others of her period had an experience of life that was similar to those who watch her adaptations and read her books today and that this similar experience of life includes a concept of individuality.

zhao
03-02-2009, 03:59 PM
Anyways, I accept that point about how it's hard to imagine the society of thousands of years ago and for that reason I'm not sure that they are the most worthwhile to talk about.

see, that is precisely why the studies of currently functioning band-level societies, the members of which live the way our ancestors did for, depends on who you ask, 2 - 4 million years, are so important.

IdleRich
03-02-2009, 04:04 PM
"see, that is precisely why the studies of currently functioning band-level societies, the members of which live the way our ancestors did for, depends on who you ask, 2 - 4 million years, are so important."
Sure, it's important and interesting, but I'm still interested in what you think makes the 20th century conception of the self different from that of the 19th.

zhao
03-02-2009, 04:06 PM
(re: Century of the Self)

I've seen it and it's fantastic to watch but I wouldn't really say it amounts to a coherent argument.

but it certainly makes a compelling case for the rise of unique and in many ways unprecedented ways of social organization/communication/brainwashing/construction of the self. application of psychoanalytical theory on a mass scale and the birth of PR/advertising as we know it... pretty specific to our times if you ask me.

EDIT:


Sure, it's important and interesting, but I'm still interested in what you think makes the 20th century conception of the self different from that of the 19th.

ha, answered your question before even reading it taht's how good i am :D

IdleRich
03-02-2009, 04:22 PM
"but it certainly makes a compelling case for the rise of unique and in many ways unprecedented ways of social organization/communication/brainwashing/construction of the self. application of psychoanalytical theory on a mass scale and the birth of PR/advertising as we know it... pretty specific to our times if you ask me."
Well these seem like things which might cause a different construction of individuality or might not - and when I compare the concept that those around me appear to have of theirselves as an individual to the concept that an author of a book written before the events in question appears to have of his or her self I conclude that they did not.

zhao
03-02-2009, 04:24 PM
i am pointedly against claims along the lines of "it's always been like this".

it is obviously, obviously not true.