Liking in marketing was always meant to be a metonym for many other complex processes — persuasion, affect, cognition, recall — but it wasn’t meant to be exposed to the public as such. In Facebook, however, the “Like” button further reduces this reduction and makes it visible, making the whole process somewhat cartoonish and tiresome.
The self-care of beauty work is part of how we physically enact our self-assigned value. There’s a reason one sign of depression and some other mental illnesses is neglected grooming: When your brain decides that you’re not as valuable as you once believed, you’re less likely to keep doing the labor that represents that value.
I don’t remember exactly when this dawned me — far too late, definitely — but I started enjoying sad/sappy movies a lot more when I let myself cry when the movie seemed to expect it of me instead thinking I was somehow beating the system or proving my superiority by resisting it.
Interesting discussion of Breaking Bad…
The point isn’t that the show is unrealistic or hard to believe, but the narrative function of the ways in which it is: Which disbeliefs are viewers asked to suspend, and which ideologies are they encouraged to retain?
We are far from forgetting about the offline; rather we have become obsessed with being offline more than ever before. We have never appreciated a solitary stroll, a camping trip, a face-to-face chat with friends, or even our boredom better than we do now.
Wes Anderson’s Arrested Development. Interesting criticism here. This led to an aha! moment for me:
Nothing more perfectly evokes the feeling of both a child’s literal interpretation of the world and youthful big ambition on a frustratingly small scale like a school play, and Anderson smartly adopts this style.
[…] We don’t lose ourselves in the emotion of the production, and for the same reason we’re not meant to lose ourselves in the story of an Anderson film. Like in a children’s play, we are meant to be aware at all times of creative effort, for this is where its true value lies. Anderson’s ability to blend substance and form and communicate this feeling is his greatest skill. His films look like a stage plays: Sets look like sets, the frame becomes the proscenium arch (with a symmetry in the set that exaggerates and enhances the frame’s boundaries), and the action is kept in the center of the frame, usually directed out toward the audience in mainly medium or wide shots.
And I like this:
Anything that helps to enlarge an understanding is important, as large thinking is contagious and will contaminate all other areas of your life, so that eventually nothing will be allowed to remain simple and small.
The fact that addiction is a clinical condition that is straying into more and more areas of life is itself an interesting sociological phenomenon. It’s not that the field of psychology does not or should not exist, but efforts to cram more and more into this field represents a form of societal dishonesty that rivals the psychic dishonesty of addicts refusing to come clean.
The old cop who chafed at institutional limits has undergone a neoliberal transformation: The result is a new kind of series that we might call the consultant procedural. A derivative of the cop and private investigator procedurals, the consultant procedural starts with some sort of institutional disqualification and follows the central character as he or she ports unmatched professional skills from job to job.
The consultant procedural! This is brilliant.
Ads lift us above the other people who are duped by them. That is part of how they persuade us. […] We are hailed by ads only under the pretense that we are observing someone else being hailed (someone who turns out to become us).
If you made a Venn diagram of self-promotion, the phenomenon of humblebragging sits in the overlap of two distinctly American pathologies — where manipulative self-consciousness meets our maniacal desire to succeed. What feels better than an ego boost? An ego boost everyone knows about.
It’s a neat trick: If you make a rousing summer blockbuster that allows for a certain amount of smug critical masturbation, you’ll get great reviews for no added cost.
A genre doesn’t function as a genre unless it establishes the conditions of its own replication.
It’s my theory that rock and roll happens between fans and stars, rather than between listeners and musicians—that you have to be a screaming teenager, at least in your heart, to know what’s going on.
Ellen Willis, quoted in The New Inquiry – Heroine: Ellen Willis on Rock Music. On a similar note, Daniel Mendelsohn says:
Strange as it may sound to many people, who tend to think of critics as being motivated by the lower emotions: envy, disdain, contempt even… Critics are, above all, people who are in love with beautiful things, and who worry that those things will get broken.
Shyness had made me so deficient in empathic experience that I could only view social life in terms of risk rather than opportunity. The best way to manage that risk, I thought, was to be unapproachable but legibly fascinating at a distance, to present myself as an object to be read but with a message that’s inscrutable and fleeting, one that could convey the complexity of the real me without reducing it to something superficial. I could not get past the wish to broadcast my identity without having to interact with anyone.
Facebook, of course, caters to that desire.
Once death is invoked, the choice of who must die may seem oddly arbitrary.
Social media structures communication between friends so that the responsibility for listening — inescapably built into earlier mediums that structured talk between friends as person-to-person — is modulated into a vaguer injunction to respond if and when you feel like it. Because status updates and the like are not addressed to anyone specific, they don’t generate an obligation in anyone specific to pay attention.