Dance, ‘Ant-Man’!

Dance, ‘Ant-Man’!

She had never really thought about it before, except under the specific circumstance of riding in Economy Plus on the night flight from Auckland, Auckland, NZ to Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. For it was on this flight that she watched, for the third or fourth time, Ant-Man and the Wasp. The first time, of course, is the most notable version of this movie-going experience.

She and her partner had decided that they were going to leave Seoul, South Korea—their current home—the year before, and now, the date of their departure only stood a mere month away. Having been seeped all spring and summer in celebratory senioritis, they were winding down their fundays in order to focus on the final tasks that all had to be accomplished during that final departure month.

The grand finale had to be big, and it had to be awesome. This only left one option: The late-night showing of Ant-Man and the Wasp in IMAX 3D at the newly reconstructed Yongsan IPARK on opening weekend. For those who don’t know, Seoul is the greatest city on Earth, but don’t take her word for it; she left. Anyway, in Seoul, there are movie showtimes at all hours of the night except maybe between 0400 and 0500. Thus, that last showtime they opted for was a showtime at 0140 – 0348. Yes, that’s right; this is a normal showtime in Seoul. The problem, however, is that the subways and buses stop running around (depending on the bus or subway stop) midnight, and they don’t start up again until about 0500 (again, depending on the subway stop or bus). So, what is one to do?

Well, they scheduled a bunch of shit and thought that they would try out the whole “Sextel” experience in Sinchon. If you know, you know. They planned a stay-cation that would begin in Sinchon, work its way through Hongdae, Ewa, Yongsan and Itaewon, whereupon they’d leave their apartment in Nowon at 9 AM on Tuesday morning and not return until whenever the first subway out of Itaewon got them back to Nowon on Friday morning. So, on Tuesday morning, they packed some daypacks with only the stuff they’d need, and off to Sinchon they went where the first thing on their tour was to meet her birth mother.

After an emotional afternoon and evening reconnecting with her birth mother, her man meeting her birth mother for the first time, they found themselves in a sextel over by the Yonsei University campus, and so, they changed clothes for an evening on the town. Wednesday, being unable to use the room during the day (if you know, you know), they checked out and filled the day with eating and finding various places to escape the heat for long periods of time without being weird or having to buy multiple handcrafted beverages throughout their stay and played hand after hand of Hold ‘Em. By 1800, they were checked into a new sextel, and they just kicked it in their room that had a circular bed and large circular jacuzzi all in the same room. They may or may not have run out for some orange diner-type food and bath bubbles.

By the time Thursday rolled around, they were getting a bit worn out, but they charged on. With morning filled with more coffee in establishments that were comfortable enough to spend hours in, they spent the afternoon grazing a pizza buffet and then, began their walk to Yongsan. Again, if you know, you know. The remainder of Thursday remains a blur of walking, walking, trying to find a GS for some liquor fixer, walking, walking, trying to find a bathroom, trying to find somewhere to eat, trying to find a GS for some more liquor fixer, walking, walking and walking. By 2300, she called it quits and threw a fit, which transpired into her lifemate calling a cab and the driver driving, literally, half a mile to their destination. And this was not the first time she lost it within a mile of their desired location(s). But come on, they had been walking all day—and not in a straight line—to Yongsan. Arriving at the theater two hours before the showtime, they felt quite proud of themselves and continued their never-ending Hold ‘Em game.

Obviously, Ant-Man and the Wasp was awesome. They left the theater around 0400 and decided that a cab to Itaewon would be quite cheap at that hour, so they hopped in a cab and grabbed a bite to eat at a 24-hour pizza joint. After the delicious slice, they walked to the next subway stop just to kill some time. As the sun began to create a gentle haze over the calm, cool city, they sat and tried not to fall asleep on a park bench just outside the subway stop that they would inevitably enter at 0530 in order to catch the first train out to Taerung where they would transfer to Line 7 to the Nowon stop where they would catch a bus for a twenty-minute ride to the stop one block from their apartment where they would eventually take a cold shower and pass out.

By the end of August, they were on a plane to New Zealand, where they would stay for a few months only to quickly learn that NZ was not the place for them. And so, onward they went back the USA via a short, tropical vacation in Hawaii. It was this first experience of Ant-Man that instilled the knowledge within her that Paul Rudd would indeed dance when she tapped on the in-flight screen and selected to watch Ant-Man and the Wasp to pass the time as they flew over the Pacific at night. And of course, it was on this flight that she realized that she very muchly enjoyed watching Paul Rudd dance. Of course, she had always known this, intellectually, but now, she became curious about it interpersonally.

 

 

 

‘We Follow Because We Must’

‘We Follow Because We Must’

[an excerpt from “We Follow Because We Must: Building on the David Foster Wallace definition of ‘addict’ in the 2019 era of social media” by TK Camas]

 

Honestly, I’m not keen on forcing a writer who cannot defend himself and his work to do exactly that. Instead, I will present my own theory on entertainment’s role in fostering an addictive landscape not unlike that of religious devotion, and social media today, through the lens of David Foster Wallace’s definition of addiction.

Some context: On the surface, of course, he’s right; dig deeper, and he’s a bit wrong, but then, dig deeper still, and there, you will find him, right again. This is the power of David Foster Wallace, his total existence within the deep depths. He challenges you; he asks that you simply use that “map”* between your ears. To this end, David Foster Wallace will always be right, if and when you actually reach the deepest depths of the deepest depth. But for now, I will answer the question (hopefully) looming in your mind, What is she talking about?

I am talking about David Foster Wallace’s (from now on abbreviated as DFW) assessment that —with the dawn of the internet—people will desire a “gatekeeper,”** a person (or thing) to whom or which we may “give ourselves away,”*** because with regards to this information overload and the “Interlace grid,” or internet, he argues, “We’re going to beg for it. We are literally gonna pay for it. But once we do that, then all these democratic hoo-hah dreams of the Internet will of course have gone down the pipes. And we’re back again to three or four Hollywood studios, or four or five publishing houses …”****

[end excerpt]


*A well-known (and my absolute, personal favorite euphemism) DFW-ism for the brain, used in both Infinite Jest and Lipsky’s Although.

**Lipsky (2010) p 87 and all heretofore footnotes of the solo-page-number type will reference this Lipsky book.

***p 157

****p 88

 

Bibliography

Lipsky, David. Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace. New York, NY: Broadway Books, 2010.

McCarten, Anthony. The Pope: Francis, Benedict, and the decision that shook the world. New York, NY: Flatiron Books, 2019.

Owens, Simon. January 17, 2019. “Is It Time to Regulate Social Media Influencers?” New York Magazine. http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/01/is-it-time-to-regulate-social-media-influencers.html (accessed 03/30/2019).

Wallace, David Foster. Infinite Jest. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company, 1996.

Sticky Words

Sticky Words

The word, like all words of this nature that rattle around within my conscious mind for no perceivable reason, sprouted up from my unconscious and made itself known. “Moribund,” my narrator clearly stated with a little pop on the “b,” “bpbund.” I knew that it had something to do with mortality or the, what-have-you, morose. Read more

This Not That

This Not That

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY ONE HUNDRED TWELVE

2017 February 10 [Friday]

Friday Feature

I’m not entirely sure when my love for notebooks grew into a full-on obsession, but it did, and I am. Thus, for today’s post, a little something different. I spent most of the day photographing every single notebook currently in my apartment. It was a nightmare, and that’s enough about that. Instead of going through and talking about how I shot them and why, I will simply get started.

These are the notebooks that traveled with me from The States to South Korea when we first moved here in 2013:

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[pictured above]

Mustard Pattern: Mead, spiral-bound, college-ruled, lined notebook

Puce: Moleskin, book-bound, single-subject, lined notebook

Cerulean Pattern: [brand unknown], book-bound, watercolor paper pad

Crimson: Moleskin, book-bound, strapped, lined notebook

These are all notebooks that either house important information I might need in case of emergency and other such data or are notebooks that have particular writings I thought would be of interest to me in the future. Thus, they traveled all the way from my apartment in Denver, Colorado, USA, when we moved to South Korea. Of course there are many other notebooks that are in storage at my parents’ house, but these were the ones I thought were the most important. So far, only one has proved its worth. We live and we learn, as the saying goes, yes?

These are the notebooks used through 2014:

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[pictured above]

Denim Panda Graphic: Design Lab, mid-fold, lined notebook

Red Orange: Morning Glory, A4, spiral-bound, lined notebook

White Text: Morning Glory, A4, spiral-bound, lined notebook

Lime Mustache Graphic: Pinkfoot, three-quarter-sized, spiral-bound, lined notebook

Wine Text: Morning Glory, half-sized, book-bound, lined notebook

All of these notebooks were purchased during the end of 2013 and through 2014 in Daegu, South Korea. I have always loved notebooks, for as long as I can remember. I have also been quite obsessed with them, but when we moved here to Korea, the obsession became quite real. I’m not entirely sure how many notebooks I bought during our year in Daegu, but these are the ones that survived the trip to Seoul. They were all used for writing, with the exception of the tiny-panda graphic. The panda graphic was used to document the books I read in citation format. My favorite of them is the purple/wine book-style notebook with the text that reads,

Write down your wishes … This magic book is gonna help you

Secret Magic Spells Purebook

Precious memories

Linenote, Idea, Memo, Daybook

Since 1981

Tradition Notebook

Bah … hahahahaha! I love it! I do not believe that any of them were written in once we moved to Seoul in late 2014, but I’m too lazy to flip through each page to find out. I would consider all of them except for the White Text to be full.

These are my used notebooks through 2015:

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Kelly Green: Ibis, three-quarter-sized, spiral-bound, strapped, lined notebook

Cobalt: Ibis, reporter-style, spiral-bound, lined notebook

Navy: Godo Diary, half-sized, book-bound, year/month calendar, full-page day-timer

2015 was the first year I decided to use a daily scheduler thingy, and I didn’t really use it. I was not particularly fond of this half-sized style, so I did not end up using it much. I liked the idea of it, however. Also, as you can see, I did not do much writing in notebooks because 2015 was actually the year I did ninety-percent of the writing for my first novel, Red & Blue Make Green. Thus, these notebooks were mostly used as diaries and as a place to jot down things. No long-form writing was really done in them. There are a few ideas sprinkled throughout, but it’s mostly poetry, which is kind of odd, and daily goings-on.

These are the notebooks I used in 2016 [some will show up again in the “current notebooks” section, but they were first scrawled in during 2016]:

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[pictured above]

Charcoal 2016: Everyday 25, full-sized, book-bound, year/month calendar, full-page day-timer

Cherry: Ibis, quarter-sized, spiral-bound, strapped, lined notebook

Silver: Paperpack, quarter-sized, book-bound, “1-Paragraph” per page diary

Teal Sushi Graphic: Waru Waru, minature, spiral-bound, lined notebook

Beige Sushi Graphic: Waru Waru, A4, spiral-bound, newsprint, blank notebook

White Sushi Graphic: Waru Waru, A5, mid-fold, lined notebook

I’ve listed the notebooks of 2016 in chronological purchasing order so that I may easily refer to the last two Waru Waru notebooks as also being currently used now in 2017. No matter, I opted for a larger day-timer in 2016 and immediately fell in love with the idea. I didn’t really use that day-timer as a scheduler. Instead, I liked the idea of already-dated pages! So, it’s just a notebook with the dates already written in. It worked out quite perfectly, actually. The red spiral was our trip-planning notebook for our 2016 ETMC Travels: Vancouver Edition. Thus, it holds all of the pertinent information needed for international travel, as well as other such info for the trip itself. Upon our return, the notebook doubled as a scrapbook after I glued in all of the receipts and fun mementos from the trip. The totally fucking awesome silver “1-Paragraph” diary is, by far, my favorite notebook purchase of all time and will be the notebook of choice for every forthcoming trip I ever take. The concept is simple, there’s a date line at the top and then only enough lines to write one or two sentences. It was so incredible to use on a vacation. I mean, no one really wants to sit and journal every single second of the day while you’re trying to enjoy each day. But you can easily jot down a quick note, no problem. Hence, the totally fucking awesome-ness of the silver diary. I absolutely love it! I can’t wait to get my new one for our 2017 ETMC Travels: Sydney Edition! The small blue sushi notebook holds all the little notes from editing my first novel. And that’s probably enough about that. The large beige sushi notebook holds all of the secrets for my fiction writing. The small white sushi notebook holds all sorts of gibberish that doesn’t really need to be remembered for an extended period of time. It’s sort of a catchall for things like Instagram captions, yoga challenges [where I write the name of each day’s posture, etc.], a running list of numbers that coordinate with pictures I want to keep while filtering through my SD card after a shoot, and other such nonsense that doesn’t need to be remembered and documented for all time. Some things get transferred into more permanent notebooks, but most of the stuff that is written in this type of notebook, for which I find this particular notebook to be perfect, is frivolous.

Now, to the good stuff: The entirety of my current Collector’s Notebook collection, i.e. notebooks I’ve either bought or have been given but have no intention of using. Here they are:

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I don’t really feel like there’s a need to go into great detail about each since I don’t use them. I realized a while ago that I had a little problem, and that problem is as follows: I have a really hard time using new notebooks. Obviously, I am more than capable of using a new notebook, but sometimes, when I buy a new notebook for myself and don’t exactly have a perfect use for it, I just won’t use it. Other times, the notebook itself is just too damn gorgeous to sully with my idiocy. Thus, I had a revelation! Maybe I can just be a notebook collector, duh! And so, I am. Case in point, this thing of beauty:

notebook-26

This notebook was a gift from my lifemate on my most recent birthday, AND it is the impetus behind this post. I love this notebook so much that I cannot ever use it. There’s no way I will ever use this beautiful piece of bound paper. I mean, it’s just absolutely stunning. And then, this was when this became not about that. I thought that this post was just going to be a simple photo essay of my notebooks past and present [since 2014], but then it sort of dawned on me that this is a full on documentation of my relationship with myself as a writer. Really, though, I should’ve also printed off all of my digital documents and had them bound by month and year so that I could get a seriously good look at all that I’ve written since moving to Korea.*sigh* I’m not entirely sure what my relationship with myself as a writer truly is, but now that I’ve spent so much fucking time photographing every single notebook in my life over the past three years, I am realizing that maybe it’s time for a nice, long heart-to-heart with myself about my “career” as a writer. Ugh. In the meantime, I bet you’re dying to see my currently-being-used notebooks! I will warn you, though, the notebooks of my present are quite serious compared to those of my immediate past.

Nevertheless, here is a glimpse into my current notebook situation [there are a few notebooks that I’ve intentionally left out because I just can’t get myself to share all of myself, so there’s that]:

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Aquamarine 2017: Morning Glory, full-sized, book-bound, year/month calendar, full-page day-timer

Black & White: Oxford, study-style, vertical, book-bound, lined, mathematics notebook

Mint Shrimp Graphic: Ibis, miniature, reporter-style, lined notebook

Blush Sushi Graphic: Waru Waru, A5, mid-fold, lined notebook

White Legal: Oxford, A5, lined legal pad

Yellow Legal: Oxford, A4, lined legal pad

Beige Sushi Graphic: Waru Waru, A4, spiral-bound, newsprint, blank notebook

White Sushi Graphic: Waru Waru, A5, mid-fold, lined notebook

My 2017 day-timer is fully used for scheduling my day-to-day to-do list, and it also doubles as a predated notebook. I schedule each week on Sunday nights. I use the monthly calendar to write the actual total of each fiction-writing quota, i.e. if I have a 6000 word quota for a particular metric week [ten days], I’ll write the actual word count, say, 6340, and I keep track of what number each |how.odious| day actually is. The tall, skinny, black notebook is something about which I don’t really want to share because maybe I just don’t want to share my best ideas. So, I’ll just leave it at that. The mint shrimp, reporter-style notebook is used for meal planning and grocery-list making. The notebook itself will soon have no paper in it since the lists are torn out when we go grocery shopping. The blush sushi graphic is a replacement notebook for the white sushi graphic and will most likely be used in a very similar way. The white legal pad is for scratching out shit for nonfiction writing. I use it to take notes while reading research papers and whatnot. It’s also the first place I write down citation info before they are entered into my official references document. The yellow legal pad serves as a place where I note each phase of my fiction writing. I use it as a place to document a sort of timeline to help keep my shit together while writing fiction. I do not use the legal pad for writing ideas or any sort of writing. It’s a mere notepad whereupon notes about my own fiction collect for organizational purposes. Unlike the yellow legal pad, the beige sushi newsprint pad is where the fiction magic happens; new ideas are almost strictly written into it. I also use this pad as a place to work through sentence structure if I’m having a problem with how an idea is coming together. AND … I’ve already discussed how I use the white sushi graphic.

Finally, we’ve come to the end of this truly banal post. I hope, if anything, my notebook collection is somewhat interesting to you. If not, I guess whatever you think doesn’t really matter. So … yea. Thanks for reading! Catch ya later with [hopefully] something much more interesting next Friday. Laters.

Striving, Striving Forever To Be More …

Striving, Striving Forever To Be More …

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY ONE HUNDRED FIVE

2017 February 03 [Friday]

Friday Feature

 

Doing it right
Everybody will be dancing
And we’ll be feeling it right
Everybody will be dancing
And be doing it right
Everybody will be dancing
When we’re feeling all right
Everybody will be dancing tonight

If you do it right
Let it go all night
Shadows on you break
Out into the light

If you lose your way tonight
That’s how you know the magic’s right

(Bangalter, T., et al, 2013)

 

There’s a really good chance that these lyrics have nothing to do with what I am going to write today; the reality is that I think they [the lyrics] are pure, simple genius. However small, nonetheless, there may be the semblance of a connection, which will end up revealing itself as the reason why this song has been stuck in my head for the past few days when mulling what I should/would/could write this week. I want to take a break* from my “‘Victims’ Who Make Victims of Us All,” series because the amount of necessary research has become substantial, at best, daunting, at worst, and since the availability of the research I require proves difficult to acquire, I am now in the process of determining exactly how I will procure the reading I need in order to further my studies on the subject. Thus, for the time being, I have come to a small, perhaps albeit important realization about my life and my role within it. To start, I must admit that I have done absolutely no research for this post, and so, everything said here is and will be pure conjecture sprinkled from time to time with vague observations.

When I consider the vast landscape of “What People Create,” I think that YouTube is a great place to look to supplement an understanding about what people “do” these days. Despite whether or not whatever someone’s creating depends upon or uses the video medium, there seem to be many participants who also use the video medium to share/spread their productions. This willing participation within the video-making medium, when the medium of creation is not video, must mean something. I don’t know what it [the meaning] is, nor do I really want to explore what it might be, but I will just off the top of my head for the sake of … [entertainment?] … faux-intellectualism. Hmmm … a presupposition is about to impose itself … People don’t like to read, but they still want to “know things,” but they’ll only work so hard to be able to know those things, and one could argue that video is easily digestible, so the more easily digestible something is, the more attractive it becomes to the person in search of knowing things. Maybe some people don’t actually want to learn anything as far as “knowledge,” but they do want to “be in the know,” which usually means being “hip” with whatever the current “hop” is of the era, year, month, day, hour. Okay, that’s my big assumption. I said, “assumption,” so back the fuck off!

Now that I’ve gone there, I will backtrack to my original thought, which exactly contradicts everything I am about to say. There is no original thought. No, wait, that’s not true. Shit. Where was I going? One moment please … oh shit, that’s right. So, when you observe the popularity of various types of YouTube videos, one thing is made apparent. The most viewed [by the billions] videos are all fully original creations: Music Videos. That’s obvious to me because music is something that people usually participate in on more than one occasion in their lives, again, a pure assumption or is it a presumption? I will consult the Google … it’s a presumption. Wait, maybe it’s a presupposition? Dammit … one moment please … no, it’s a presumption, but now I will state another presupposition: YouTube videos can be deduced into around five [maybe fewer, maybe more, again, I have not thought this through] categories of participation.

These Categories of Trite Participation are as follows:

  1. Curator
  2. Critic
  3. Commentator
  4. Copy-catter
  5. Aspirational [to be part of one of the above]

Now, how to define these categories and how to know under what category a particular video falls. The videos with billions of views are always music videos by original creators. People love music [an assumption], music is enjoyed on a regular basis [a presumption], thus, people repeatedly “watch” music videos mostly because that’s the best [free-est] way to repeatedly listen to music they love [the presupposition]. Other popular videos ranging in the millions to hundreds of millions include popular music, mind-blowing awesomeness and videos that are either of the moment or hit a chord with the population as a whole. Videos with tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands are also considered popular and thus are popular but with the caveat that [assumedly] the success of these YouTubers depends solely on their constant, consistent participation. And finally, those with a few thousand views or fewer [obviously] are aspirational participants. I think that some people use YouTube solely for the purpose of video storage with no hope of being YouTube famous or popular, and that’s reasonable. Here, today, however, I am speaking about those who use YouTube as a medium for [the semblance of] creative endeavors.

How do you categorize the types of videos that you come across on any given day? Well, it’s pretty simple. Original creations seem like they must be pretty easy to spot with straightforward signifiers. The reality is that they actually are not, and the reason for this is because ALL [presumptively] YouTube generators claim to be “content creators” who are [assumedly] creating original creations, but this, in fact, is not true. Thus, I will point out a few well-known types of videos that will help flesh out the Categories.

Number 1: Curator

These types of videos are of the “compilation” genre and are pretty straightforward, you know, Fails, Cats, Basketball highlights, Top 10 [Fill-in-the-blank], and Best Of [Whose-a-Whats-It]

Number 2: Critic

These videos are usually disguised as instructional or intellectual endeavors, but really, they’re just being the critic, you know, anything within the beauty or fashion realm [they’re choosing shit and then sharing it with you under the guise that they’re teaching you shit; it’s pitiful], the self-proclaimed “nerds,” “dudes,” “bros,” “bitches,” who condense so-called “knowledge” into digestible tidbits that you can then share with your friends to seem smart, satirical videos of other types of videos *cough “Shmonest Curtailers,” and the blatant critic who sits down in front of a camera and babbles on and on about how she knows and realizes so much more than you … wait a minute … shit. Critics are the best! *wink nudge*

Number 3: Commentators

Again, these types of YouTube practitioners are fairly easy to spot, they’re called vloggers. The impetus of their “creation” is to film themselves doing something and then essentially commenting on THEIR OWN FUCKING LIVES! What the fuck? Arguably, no actually, by the standards of subscriber statistics, the most famous of all YouTubers would definitely fall under this category. If you don’t know about whom I speak, then all of this is probably just gibberish nonsense, which it is anyway, anyway. Satirical videos usually fall under this category, as well, because they see the genre and usually want to comment upon its ridiculousness or, less often times, genius.

Number 4: Copy-catter

These sorts of videos fall under the, official mind you, title of “cover bands,” think that ever-growing-in-popularity a cappella group [although they are trying to branch upward into being Original Creators], or basically any form of video that plainly reiterates something that’s already been done or is currently being done or is the “thing” of the moment. Think cooking channels, those videos where people are asked to participate in something uncomfortable while we all watch, the participation in a “challenge.”

Number 5: Aspirational

Uh, I really don’t think I need to go into further detail. Okay fine, they aspire to be one of the above, duh.

The problem isn’t that these Categories of Trite Participation exist, and they don’t only exist within and on YouTube. It’s a general categorization of participants who participate in creative endeavors. There’s nothing inherently wrong with being a whore, I mean, a curator, critic, commentator or copy-cat. I mean, they’re significant, just look to the Tube! It’s all right there; people love it! It doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re important, however. The problem is that I definitely do not want to be part of it. Why? Well, the overwhelming reason is that all of the above types rely on one very specific thing: The original creation of others. Curators simply pick and choose among various original creations and put them all together under a themed heading. Critics only have something to say because someone else did all the legwork, which they [the original creator] then made available, and now the critic, having done nothing him/herself, tears apart how good or bad that creation is/was/will be. Commentators also rely on the doing of others or else there’s nothing on which to comment, and in the case of vloggers, they edit their daily lives so that it may fit inside the packaging of “Me,” so that they may then comment on themselves, which is so obviously contrived. And then, the copy-cats are so dependent upon the original work of others that they would have nothing to do without them. The point is that all of the Categories depend fully upon the creations of true, original creators, which means that a participant who falls under the heading of any of the Categories cannot, in essence, be a creator; they’re just so meta but not meta-creators … it’s more like they’re meta-disseminators … that’s not a word … it is now!

Honestly, I swear to the good lords of rice cake, I watched a certain YouTube “nerd” comment on an “intellectual’s” critique of hipsterism in an attempt to criticize the criticism posed by the critic, with a severe lack of critical thinking, which is essential for critical thinking, when he failed to even touch upon the argument within the critique of hipsterism (Puschak, 2012). The “nerd” instead whined like a little hipster that the writer made an overwhelming generalization about a group of people and that nothing can be gleaned about an individual when taking into account an entire group of people, which, by the way, had nothing to do with the writer’s original criticism that hipsters live ironically (Wampole, 2012) but had everything to do with the “nerd” being butt-hurt by, you guessed it, criticism!, which ultimately proved the writer’s point. And mine, ah ha!, see what I did there? I embodied the role of critic and criticized the criticism of a YouTube critic who criticized the critique of a critical writer. See, falling into one of my Categories of Trite Participation is so easy! Ugh, whatever, you get it, they’re pointless! Except they’re not pointless because it’s all so significant because so many people participate in the ingestion of this pointlessness, which, in and of itself, makes the entire meta-dissemination effort significant but again, not necessarily important.

Thus, we have come to my conclusion. Since I absolutely do not want my work to fall under any of the aforementioned Categories, I’ve come to the realization that I have to work a lot harder than I’ve ever wanted to work before, and now the retroactive relevance of Daft Punk’s, “Doin’ It Right.” If you’re “doin’ it right,” there ought to be some knowable signifiers to validate and prove with no presuppositions that you are, in fact, “doin’ it right.” For Daft Punk, “doin’ it right” means that “everybody will be dancing.” YAS! What are those signifiers for me personally?; I have no fucking clue. I will say this, though, if you don’t already know, I am currently working on my second novel. The one thing I can say without a doubt and a little pride is that I know this is an original creation. How? Well, no part of it falls under my Categories of Trite Participation. Whether or not I’m “doin’ it right,” however, has yet to be determined because I don’t know what the obvious outcome should/would/could be. The easy answer is that I’ll become famous because my book gets published through the traditional publishing route, and everything is awesome. This may not be the signifier, though, because what is the role of publisher?, Curator and Critic. Thus, as I end this post, I’ve come full circle in realizing that there’s no escaping the leeches who exert their significance by merely meta-disseminating the hard work of true creators. So then why do anything? For starters, here’s why: The birth of a seriously kick-ass, mother-fucking great song [an opinion] born of original creators who fight for their need to always be “doin’ it right” [a presumption].

 


*I will eventually return to my “Victims” series, but to know when exactly is impossible.

 


 

References

Bangalter, T., de Homen-Christo, G.M., Lennox, N. (2013). Doin’ it right [Daft Punk ft. Panda Bear]. On Random Access Memories [Ampex reels & Pro Tools tracks]. New York, NY: Columbia.

Puschak, E. [Nerdwriter1]. (2012, November 24). Vlog #41 – What’s so bad about hipsters? [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/B7pM4T4AKEc

Wampole, C. (2012, November 18). How to live without irony. The New York Times, p. SR1.

I know what you are, but what am I?

I know what you are, but what am I?

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY NINETY-EIGHT

2017 January 27 [Friday]

Friday Feature

“‘Victims’ Who Make Victims of Us All” Part III / X

[Read Part I & Part II]

Social interaction with a cat is, often times, quite painful and surprisingly complex. Unlike a dog, a cat wants what it wants and the want cannot be beaten out of it. This perhaps is the catalyst behind the cat- and dog-owner judgments, but this is not about that. A cat can, however, be persuaded out of a particular want if a greater want reveals itself. Thus, as all cat owners know, if you can present a cat with an equally alluring option to the one it already so desperately wants, the cat will seemingly do your bidding. Obviously, the cat is still just pursuing its own wants, but if you can positively reinforce the behaviors you want your cat to enact, the cat will continue to enact those behaviors for the reward it receives (Bradshaw, 2013). Like cats, we humans are surprisingly attuned to positive reinforcement, and yet, unlike cats [unfortunately], social interaction between humans is always much more complicated. Don’t you ever wish, though, that interacting with other humans could be less daunting?

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After my [inept] attempt to explain the fundamentals of Julian B. Rotter’s “social learning theory” in last week’s post as the foundation upon which I will examine why and/or how some people enact behavior and/or become victims of their own volition, I will attempt to convey how social interactions in daily life are not as obviously labeled “skill determined” or “chance determined” as reality-television game shows and Texas Hold ’Em poker. Thus, I ought to begin with a quick overview of how Rotter (along with Phares, E. J. and James, W. H.) tested how people behave when the situation is clearly defined as “skill determined” or “chance determined” in their “Studies of Complex Learning” (Rotter, 1966, p. 4).

Their hypothesis, which I will paraphrase here, went something like this:

If a person (Person A) believes that the outcome of his/her behavior was determined by his/her own action, then when that behavior is positively reinforced, the likelihood that that same behavior will be enacted increases, and when the behavior is negatively reinforced, the likelihood that that same behavior will be enacted decreases. If a person (Person B), however, believes that the outcome of his/her behavior was determined by forces beyond his/her own control, then when that behavior is positively or negatively reinforced, the likelihood that that same behavior will be enacted remains unchanged. (Rotter, 1966, p. 5)

After a series of tests that [you can read for yourself because they’re way too dense for me to explain and examine here] were designed specifically to test how people behave under clearly labeled “skill determined” or “chance determined” situations, the experimenters basically stated under what conditions success would be met, and the measure for each subject was how much time passed before the subject reached “extinction,” which was defined as the subject having an expectancy of success on a scale of 0–10 being 0 or 1 three times (Rotter, 1966, p. 5–9). After a number of tests were conducted, they found that there was a “clear difference with the subjects given chance instructions and those who were not told it was either a chance or a skill task having significantly more trials to extinction (almost twice as many) than the skill group” (Rotter, 1966, p. 7). What this means is that the group of subjects who were told that success was dependent solely on luck or who were told nothing at all, continued to expect that they had a chance to succeed for twice as long as those who thought that their success was dependent upon their own skills. The crazy part to me is that all of the outcomes were completely arbitrary, the simple reinforcement decided by the experimenter. Rotter, James and Phares, were not the only researchers who conducted these types of tests and came to similar conclusions either, by the way (Rotter, 1966).
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But what is the point of all of this? The point is that people behave differently when they believe or perceive the outcome of a given situation is determined by their own skills or sheer luck. The multitude of various situations in everyday life, however, are not clearly labeled as such. So then how do people manage this vast social landscape, the landscape of social interaction that holds the most value (Mearns, 2016)? According to Rotter, there have been many researchers who have studied and are “concerned with whether the individual is controlled from within or from without. We [Rotter, et al] are concerned, however, not with this variable at all but only with the question of whether or not an individual believes that his own behavior, skills, or internal dispositions determine what reinforcements he receives” (Rotter, 1966, p. 4). Here is an example of Rotter and company’s “Studies of Complex Learning” hypothesis in real-life terms:

Person A and Person B are experiencing the same situation; in that, they’re both seeking employment. Person A expects (remember the “four main components” to Rotter’s social learning theory from Part II) to get the job because she feels that her skills qualify her for the position. Person B expects to get the job because he too feels that his skills qualify him for the position. Outcome X: Now, both submit their resumes and go in for an interview. A week later, they both find out that they have been hired. Person A perceives this success as a reinforcement of her skills and abilities and will most likely enact the same behavior the next time she needs to find employment. Person B also perceives this success as a reinforcement of his abilities and maybe feels lucky that the interviewer wasn’t a bitch and will most likely enact the same behavior the next time he needs to find employment. Outcome Y: Now, both submit their resumes and go in for an interview. A week later, they both find out they were not hired. Person A perceives this failure as a failure of the self and will blame the failure on her own lack of skills or qualifications, and she will adjust her strategy/approach to the next situation wherein she’s looking for employment. Person B, on the other hand, will perceive this failure as a situation beyond his control, that it was a stroke of bad luck, thinks the interviewer was a bitch, etc., and since he does not find the failure to be his fault, will most likely approach the next employment-seeking situation in exactly the same way.

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So, here we are, upon a bridge. We first stood upon the knowledge that a person’s behavior when a particular situation is known to require skills or depends upon luck is essentially predictable. Now, we’re crossing that bridge to the landscape of social interaction where the labeling of such interactions as “skill” or “luck determined” is impossible. Thus, when dealing with social interactions, we are now dealing with “internal versus external control of reinforcement” (Rotter, 1966). I’ve been wrestling with how to package and present the various ways a person may approach the myriad social situations to show the differences in the perception of those who believe the outcomes of their behaviors are either determined by their own doing or by the doing of others and/or other-ly-ness. The conclusion I’ve come to is to present three social interactions in varying degrees of knowable social behavior. I will attempt to present these interactions through the two perspectives of Person A — who perceives the following situations presented to her from an “internally-controlled” point of view — and Person B — who perceives the following situations presented to her from an “externally-controlled” point of view. This is not to say that both A and B perceive all situations from this perspective. I am merely stating here that they hypothetically perceive the following hypothetical situations in their aforementioned ways.
Social Interaction №1

“Boss and Employee (or any socially hierarchical setting)”

A social interaction between a boss and an employee has a few knowable, definitive rules. The boss knows that she has the power to end an employee’s employment, but the boss also needs the employment of employees. An employee knows that she must fulfill whatever tasks are required of her, but the employee also knows that she ought to be treated well. Thus, there is a social contract between bosses and employees in that the boss hires an employee to do the work, and if that employee does the work, she will be compensated with the agreed upon form of compensation. If the employee does not do the work, she will not be compensated. Each knows the other holds some form of power over the other, and so, interactions between varying hierarchical levels are oftentimes tense. Despite this tension, social interactions with a superior are more clearly defined. A boss says, “Good job.” You must be doing a good job. A boss says, “Bad job.” You must be doing a bad job. Even though this may seem like an obvious, logical response, it’s the employee’s perception of the cause of this comment by the boss that matters. Thus, here is the situation:

A boss has called an employee into her office for a performance review. The review is positive, and the boss has offered a bonus. Person A expected to do well, perceives this bonus as a reward for all of her hard work, and will continue to work hard. Person B expected to do well, perceives this bonus as a reward for all her hard work and will continue to work hard. The following month, however, the boss conducts a similar performance review. The review is negative, and the consequence is a warning. Person A expected to do well, perceives this punishment as a failure of her work and thus, changes her approach. Person B expected to do well, perceives this punishment as unfair, complains that the boss is an asshole and thus, continues to approach her work the same way because what can she do?; her boss is a bitch.

Social Interaction №2

“Customer and Service Provider”

In the realm of customer service, social interactions are still bound to a few knowable guidelines, but the lines become slightly blurred. The customer wants something from the service provider, and the customer will most likely be unable to get the thing he wants unless the service provider gives it to him. The service provider, similarly, is there to give the customer what he wants, but the service provider ought to be treated with, at the very least, some respect. Thus, the situation:

Person A walks into a coffee shop and orders a cup of coffee. Person A expects to be given a cup of coffee in exchange for money. The service provider takes Person A’s money and gives him the coffee. The social interaction is a success, so Person A will most likely behave in a similar way when needing coffee again in the future. The same situation unfolds in exactly the same way for Person B. The next day, Person A walks into a coffee shop and orders a cup of coffee the same way he always does. The service provider snaps at him and tells him he needs to “wait a goddamn minute!” Person A looks around to make sure he didn’t cut anyone in line. If he has indeed cut the line, he apologizes and makes his way to the back. If he has not cut the line because there is no line, he may wonder if it was something he said or the way he said it. If he concludes that the treatment he has received could not have been caused by something he said or did, he can only conclude that the service provider is having a bad day, and thus, however the service provider may behave is beyond his control. Meanwhile, Person B walks into a coffee shop and experiences the same brash service provider. Instead of even making sure he has himself done nothing wrong, having no inkling to think that he perhaps has caused this reaction, Person B responds in equal fury at the service provider asking him, “Where the hell do you get off telling me what to do?”

Social Interaction №3

“Friends”

The first two interactions were essentially between strangers in situations with vague albeit knowable social rules in modern society. This interaction, however, is not between strangers, and thus, the rules become murky, less discernible. Thus, here is the situation:

A friend posts a picture onto one of the various forms of social media. Person A sees the picture and comments, “Haha, nice face!” Person A expects her friend to understand her sarcasm. Later that day, Person A receives a text message that says, “[smiley-face emoji] Thanks!” Since the response Person A received from her friend met her expectations, Person A will continue to behave in a similar fashion. The same interaction unfolds between Person B and the friend. All is well. The following week, a friend posts another similar picture. Person A sees the picture and comments, “You don’t look very happy.” Person A expects her friend to understand her. Within a minute Person A is bombarded with angry texts from her friend berating her with messages like, “How dare you? Why would you write something like that? That’s so mean! You don’t even know him!” et cetera, et cetera. Person A is baffled and re-examines the picture and the comment and tries desperately to figure out what she said that set her friend off. Person A is still confused as to what she did to make her friend so mad. Maybe her friend is talking about something else, so Person A, texts back, “What did I do?” The friend responds, “Your comment on that pic I just posted of me and my boyfriend! How could you write that! Everyone can see it!” Realizing what she did, Person A feels really bad for the oversight. Perhaps that sort of comment shouldn’t be made in public.
The same situation befalls Person B. This time, however, upon receiving the first mass of angry texts shoots back, “What the hell is wrong with you?” The friend responds, “Your comment on that pic … Everyone can see it!” Person B does not perceive that this could possibly be her fault because the friend should know that the picture was posted in public, so Person B responds, “Are you serious? You posted that pic in public! You should know better! Stop being such a bitch!”

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My point is obvious, if someone calls you mean names they’re revealing a deep, egoistic defense mechanism against whatever weakness you may see in them. Haha, j/k, but maybe. Of course, these are all hypothetical situations and each person’s perception of any given outcome or response to their behavior is handled differently. All I have attempted to do here is translate the result of Rotter and his fellow researchers’ studies — on the way people behave when given direct information about whether or not a given task requires skill or luck — into the internal or external blame a person perceives when an interaction either reinforces or negates a given expectation. Admittedly, obviously, I have but a rudimentary understanding of all of this behavioral psychology. As an every person who did not study psychology in college [except to fulfill the one psychology course necessary as core curriculum], I am fascinated by social behavior and behavioral psychology, thus, I spend my time studying it for fun.

There’s a really good chance that I’m getting some if not all of Rotter’s hard work wrong. If I have drawn conclusions or said things here that are just pitifully incorrect, please don’t get mad, just tell me where I’ve gone off the rails. I’m here to learn. So, if you just want to tell me I’m stupid, well, good luck. If, however, you want to help further my knowledge, please by all means, TELL ME HOW AND WHERE I AM COMPLETELY WRONG! Honestly, I need to know because I really care about getting this right.

In the meantime, I will press on toward the part of Rotter’s “Generalized Expectancies for Internal Versus External Control of Reinforcement” where he determines how to determine whether or not someone possess internal versus external control and how that control determines perception which ultimately determines behavior. In conclusion, as for the question on which I concluded Part II, a quote from the summary of the findings to Rotter and company’s Studies of Complex Learning:

A series of studies provides strong support for the hypotheses that the individual who has a strong belief that he can control his own destiny is likely to (a) be more alert to those aspects of the environment which provide useful information for his future behavior; (b) take steps to improve his environmental condition; (c) place greater value on skill or achievement reinforcements and be generally more concerned with his ability, particularly his failures; and (d) be resistive to subtle attempts to influence him. (Rotter, 1966, p. 25)

Hmmm … interesting, if I may say so myself.

[Read Part I & Part II]


References

Bradshaw, J. (2013). Cat Sense. London, United Kingdom: Penguin Books.

Mearns, J. (2016). The Social Learning Theory of Julian B. Rotter. Retrieved January 11, 2017, from http://psych.fullerton.edu/jmearns/rotter.htm.

Rotter, J.B. (1966). Generalized expectancies for internal versus external control of reinforcement. Psychological Monographs: General and Applied, 80 (№1), 1–28.