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Most Entitled

You know it’s not malice. You know safety comes first. You know flight crews deal with humanity at its most entitled and short-sighted. But you’re still peeved.

Lileks, J. (2014, July 24). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/14/0714/072414.html

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Truthiness

[Cognitive psychologist Eryn] Newman, who works out of the University of California–Irvine, recently uncovered an unsettling precondition for truthiness: The less effort it takes to process a factual claim, the more accurate it seems. When we fluidly and frictionlessly absorb a piece of information, one that perhaps snaps neatly onto our existing belief structures, we are filled with a sense of comfort, familiarity, and trust. The information strikes us as credible, and we are more likely to affirm it—whether or not we should.

Waldman, K. (2014, September 3). The Science of Truthiness: Conservative beliefs make a lot more sense when you’re not paying attention. Retrieved from http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/09/truthiness_research_cognitive_biases_for_simple_clear_conservative_messages.single.html

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Creating Misery

The movie offers no insight, no tragic poetry, no startling yet strangely right filmmaking touches, to compensate for the tawdriness. It’s just a straightforward account of people enduring or creating misery.

Seitz, M. Z. (2014, August 29). Review: The Last of Robin Hood (2014). Retrieved from http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-last-of-robin-hood-2014

Control is Challenged

It is this catastrophe and the man’s desperate efforts to correct it that link “All Is Lost” with “Margin Call,” Mr. Chandor’s excellent first feature. That movie, about an office full of panicky investment bankers dealing with the unfolding financial crisis of 2008, is in many ways the opposite of “All Is Lost.” It takes place almost entirely indoors, and it’s pretty much all talk. But it is also very much concerned with how powerful men react when their sense of control is challenged, and with the vast, invisible system that sustains their illusions.

Scott, A. O. (2013, October 17). The Strong, Largely Silent Type “All Is Lost,” With Robert Redford at Sea. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/18/movies/all-is-lost-with-robert-redford-at-sea.html?pagewanted=all

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I’m Going Anyway

Llewelyn: “I’m fixin’ to do something dumber than hell, but I’m going anyways.” This could be the tagline for half the movies ever made.

Orr, C. (2014, September 23). 30 Years of Coens: No Country for Old Men. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/09/30-years-of-coens-no-country-for-old-men/380610/

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A Hill Nobody Wants to Die On

A lot of filmmakers and distributors have that concern: that even if you’re legally in the right regarding Fair Use-appropriated clips, intellectual property rights-holders might still come after you, and try to bully you into removing clips rather than spend money defending your legal right to use them. That’s a hill pretty much nobody wants to die on.

Seitz, M. Z. (2014, September 25). Why My Video Essay About “All That Jazz” Is Not on the Criterion Blu-Ray. Retrieved from http://www.rogerebert.com/mzs/why-my-video-essay-about-all-that-jazz-is-not-on-the-criterion-blu-ray

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Belt Sander

I hope to shoot at least two [videos] a day because as much as I love the [State] Fair, going every day is like a belt-sander to the soul after a while. To wander into the grounds with a tripod, not knowing what I’ll get – it’s an adventure at first, a job in the middle and grinding despair at the end.

Lileks, J. (2014, August 19). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/14/0814/081914.html

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Easy Pickings

I doubt I need to point out that this is nothing but a particular female variant of the psychological need to believe that others take you as seriously as you take yourself. There is nothing particularly wrong with it, as psychological needs go, but yet of course we should always remember that a deep need for anything from other people makes us easy pickings.

Wallace, D. F. (1997, Fall). Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. Retrieved from http://www.theparisreview.org/fiction/1225/brief-interviews-with-hideous-men-david-foster-wallace

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Anger Gene

1) I don’t understand how anyone could ever think this was “real” – except the internet seems to have a hard wired anger gene, attenuated by twitter where ordinarily reasonable people want to get outraged over anything just for the dopamine.

2) This is a side-effect of viral culture. In the pre-Internet days, almost everyone who read the piece would be familiar with the New Yorker, and know that “Shouts and Murmurs” is typically comedy or satire. Now, all it takes is some repost to a link bait site and the clueless hordes will rise up with torches and pitchforks demanding retribution.

Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory (2014, Aug 5). Re: Poking the Jazz Hive [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/141657/Poking-the-Jazz-Hive#5670376

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Innate Entitlement

But it fits with the sense of innate entitlement. Because you are ‘creating a great product’ somehow the rules of the little/lesser people don’t apply to you. You are giving them advancement and they should be grateful for it and not judge you.

savagemike (2014, Aug 26). Re: This is Uber’s playbook for sabotaging Lyft [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from https://www.theverge.com/2014/8/26/6067663/this-is-ubers-playbook-for-sabotaging-lyft?mc_cid=b051b95564&mc_eid=bb561ea0a9#253297600

 

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Raw Gush

At least the tech arguments have some data, some facts, a certain nerdy rigor. Elsewhere – say, a Gawker site about San Francisco development I discussed on the work blog – it was the usual raw gush. Smart and snarky and oh-snap! and lots of “here, let me pour my entire worldview into a story about a vacant lot that now has a structure on it.”

A good polemic is a thing of beauty, but to use the medium of the Comments Section is like mistaking the group of smokers outside the classroom for the lecture going on inside.

Lileks, J. (2014, June 11). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/14/0614/061114.html

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You Owe Me

Then I don’t know what to do, and he acts disgusted at my nervous deferrals, as if I owe him this date after being so nice to him for so long. He moves on to my coworker.

[…]

But I have trouble, eventually, masking my rage. I notice a ragged look similar to the one I imagine on my face on the faces of young female baristas throughout the city. It’s as if I’ve absorbed all of these men’s problems, and worse, all of their assumptions about me – that I am a pure and kindly soul floating along on my attitude, there to make coffee and listen; worst of all, that I must be unhappy in this job but not be intelligent enough to know that.

Schiller, L. (2013, June 5). Service With A Smile. Retrieved from http://www.therivetermagazine.com/service-with-a-smile/

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Endlessly Boring Loop

The “Lego Movie” song “Everything is Awesome” might be the definitive statement on consumerism as a way of life. The hero is a wage slave, living in an endless boring loop that he’s convinced himself is peachy. Hype encourages him to feel that way because if he accepts his manufactured life, nobody involved in creating institutional structures or manufacturing goods or entertainment will have to try harder, much less change anything. Nobody questions. The money just flows.

Seitz, M. Z. (2014, June 13). Review: 22 Jump Street (2014). Retrieved from http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/22-jump-street-2014

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YOU THERE

The modern style of headline writing isn’t intended to catch your eye but punch you in the nose, because you totally deserve it. The author is better than you because the author is writing for Gawker, and you’re just reading. Basic format: Bald assertion, and preemptive accusation to deflect your objection.

Lileks, J. (2014, July 31). Lileks @ Lunch. Retrieved from http://www.startribune.com/how-to-lose-8000-photos/269411751/

There are people who cannot make it through a day unless the wind of indignation fills their sails.

Source Unknown

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Moral Busybodies

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

Lewis, C. S. (1972). God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

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Self-Righteous Do-Gooder

What concerned [C.S. Lewis regarding Moral Busybodies] is summed up as “the Road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions.” You needn’t wait for the cynics to take over; one self-righteous do-gooder with an agenda can create a lot of misery.

Chas C-Q (2014, July 30). Re: The Bleat [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/14/0714/073014.html#comment-1512630550

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Cocksure

Looking a little leaner and a lot older, Ventura wore a rumpled gray pinstripe suit, the kind you save for church or court, and walked with that cocksure gait we got used to when he was governor, his jaw perpetually tilted up as if in defiance of something, anything.

Tevlin, J. (2014, July 12). Tevlin: Only in Jesse Ventura’s America. Retrieved from http://www.startribune.com/tevlin-only-in-jesse-ventura-s-america/266890021/

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Decline of Empathy

As Danielle Ofri observes, that is the time that “figures prominently in studies that document the decline of empathy and moral reasoning in medical trainees.” Spending your day among the truly sick and suffering hardens you. Not only is there a self-protective impulse to shut out the pain of others, but you have less emotional bandwidth for minor complaints, particularly your own.

[…]

Hypochondriacs, Belling points out, are right about one more thing: Disease and degeneration never fail to win in the end.

Waldman, K. (2014, July 6). Doctors Could Use a Little Hypochondria. Retrieved from http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2014/07/hypochondria_in_medical_students_and_doctors_when_to_worry_about_health.single.html

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Transgression

It would also be good if people stopped applauding “transgression” because it made them feel naughty and modern and iconoclastic, when it’s the most boring default position available today.

Lileks, J. (2014, June 17). Lileks @ Lunch: When the Mayor Swears. Retrieved from http://www.startribune.com/when-the-mayor-swears/263500181/

Meeting Baseline Expectations

What there is, arguably, is a diseased culture. A culture in which focus and productivity are so fetishized that your average human attention span is no longer sufficient. A culture in which a significant proportion of the working (or academic) population requires psychoactive drugs in order to meet baseline expectations.

dephlogisticated (2014, July 3). Re: Two Speed America [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/140470/Two-speed-America#5617027

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Metal Tube

It also poses unique design challenges, since a premium-class seat has to create an impression of opulence in what is actually a noisy and potentially nausea-inducing metal tube filled with strangers.

If you checked into a luxury hotel and were taken to a room the size of a first-class airplane cabin, and told that you’d be sharing it with eleven people you didn’t know, all of whom would be sleeping within a few feet of your own skinny bed, you wouldn’t be thrilled, especially if you were paying twenty thousand dollars for the experience.

Owen, D. (2014, April 21). Game of Thrones: How airlines woo the one per cent. Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2014/04/21/140421fa_fact_owen

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McSweeney’s

An air of aggressive innocence and chirpy bemusement has become the official armature of the American hipster, and has lost its power to put across a critique. It isn’t even that cute anymore. The McSweeneyites may be the current emperors of cool, but they’re starting to need some new clothes.

Shulevitz, J. (2001, May 6). Too Cool for Words. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/books/01/05/06/bookend/bookend.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=login

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THE 30/30/30 RULE

For every creative thing you do: 1/3 will love you, 1/3 will hate you, and 1/3 won’t care.

Fear creates anger, frustration, feelings of inadequacy and lack of accomplishment. Which manifests as self-anger. Which can be manifested as self-hatred. Which is difficult to own, so is taken out on others.

Altucher, J. (2014, March). The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Dealing With Haters. Retrieved from http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2014/03/the-ultimate-cheat-sheet-for-dealing-with-haters/

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Sell it Back to Them

The business model of the air travel industry is to strip passengers of comfort and convenience, and then sell it back to them. You will find the comfort you seek at a price, at the airlines’ membership lounges.

Holbrook, C. (2016, April 6). Airports, Designed for Everyone but the Passenger. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/10/travel/airport-architecture.html?contentCollection=weekendreads&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=c-column-middle-span-region®ion=c-column-middle-span-region&WT.nav=c-column-middle-span-region&_r=0

Immense Hypocrisy

I practice part time in rural TN and can attest to this article. An entire generation of uneducated white people is self-destructing in an orgy of narcotics, alcohol, and illicit drugs. They are all politically conservative and never miss an opportunity to denigrate the federal government. The immense hypocrisy that most of them are on Medicare disability for their addictions and self-induced illnesses is completely beneath their awareness. They rail against immigrants who come to America to work in their place because they can’t be bothered by manual labor. The academicians can analyze this phenomenon and ascribe many societal factors, but at the end of the day, it comes down to personal responsibility and hard work. I have way more sympathy for inner city African-Americans who at least can complain of a legacy of discrimination.

FL Doc (2016, April 10 6:48 PM CDT). Re: A new divide in American death [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2016/04/10/a-new-divide-in-american-death/

Stubborn Pride

These rural folks with their wrong-headed attitudes are indeed a sadness to behold; proud of their ignorance, shunning education, science, healthcare and clinging to a deadly stubborn pride.

809212876 (2016, April 10 2:03 PM CDT). Re: A new divide in American death [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2016/04/10/a-new-divide-in-american-death/

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Illusions Fell Through

Most of the folks this effects were generally low intelligence voters anyway, easily swayed by right-wing religion into believing that if they’d just support the godly Republicans in their fight against the evil gay loving abortion promoting godless heathen Democrats, and give all your money to Oral Roberts or Benny Hinn or Cephelo Dollar, that God would just take care of you. When all of those illusions fell through, and these folks were left rotting in poverty, they then had to resort to welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, and food banks…..all things they’ve despised as being the life of those worthless welfare black people of the inner city.

Reader Response (2016, April 10). Re: A new divide in American death [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2016/04/10/a-new-divide-in-american-death/

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Authentic Voice

Your Authentic Voice is also someone the mammoth tends to ignore entirely. A strong opinion from a confident person in the outside world? The mammoth is all ears. But a passionate plea from your AV is largely dismissed until someone else validates it.

But in today’s large, complex world of varying cultures and personalities and opportunities and options, losing touch with your AV is dangerous. When you don’t know who you are, the only decision-making mechanism you’re left with is the crude and outdated needs and emotions of your mammoth. When it comes to the most personal questions, instead of digging deep into the foggy center of what you really believe in to find clarity, you’ll look to others for the answers. Who you are becomes some blend of the strongest opinions around you.

Losing touch with your AV also makes you fragile, because when your identity is built on the approval of others, being criticized or rejected by others really hurts. A bad break-up is painful for everyone, but it stings in a much deeper place for a mammoth-run person than for a person with a strong AV.

AVs lead. Mammoths follow.

Leadership is natural for most AVs, because they draw their thoughts and opinions from an original place, which gives them an original angle. And if they’re smart and innovative enough, they can change things in the world and invent things that disrupt the status quo. If you give someone a paintbrush and an empty canvas, they might not paint something good—but they’ll change the canvas in one way or another.
Mammoths, on the other hand, follow—by definition. That’s what they were built to do—blend in and follow the leader. The last thing a mammoth is going to do is change the status quo because it’s trying so hard to be the status quo. When you give someone a paintbrush and canvas, but the paint is the same exact color as the canvas, they can paint all they want, but they won’t change anything.

Urban, T. (2014, June 13). Taming the Mammoth: Why You Should Stop Caring What Other People Think. Retrieved from http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/06/taming-mammoth-let-peoples-opinions-run-life.html

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The Teen Years

Anyone who knows 9 to 23-year-olds knows that they tend to detract more value from the world than they add, but as you can see on this graph, the teen years, and especially ages 12 to 16, are a full train wreck.

Urban, T. (2014, December 23). The Teen Years: 9 Cringe-Inducing Realizations. Retrieved from http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/12/the-teen-years-9-cringe-inducing-realizations.html

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Unconscious Fog

On a day-to-day level, one of the greatest challenges facing most humans is the quest to avoid living in an unconscious fog—this fog is where you are when you make big life decisions for small-minded reasons, when you short-sightedly side-step your own integrity, when you continually prioritize the wrong things over the right things, settle for mediocrity out of fear, or waste huge amounts of your precious time procrastinating.

Urban, T. (2014, October 10). How Religion Got in the Way. Retrieved from http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/10/how-religion-got-in-the-way.html

Smallest Bit Upwards

There are no hard problems, only problems that are hard to a certain level of intelligence. Move the smallest bit upwards [in level of intelligence], and some problems will suddenly move from “impossible” to “obvious.” Move a substantial degree upwards, and all of them will become obvious.

Quote from Eliezer S. Yudkowsky appearing in Chapter Two. Kurzweil, R. (2005). The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (1st ed.). The Viking Press.

Inflated View

Paul Harvey, a University of New Hampshire professor and GYPSY expert, has researched this, finding that Gen Y has “unrealistic expectations and a strong resistance toward accepting negative feedback,” and “an inflated view of oneself.”  He says that “a great source of frustration for people with a strong sense of entitlement is unmet expectations. They often feel entitled to a level of respect and rewards that aren’t in line with their actual ability and effort levels, and so they might not get the level of respect and rewards they are expecting.”

Urban, T. (2013, September 9). Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy. Retrieved from http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/09/why-generation-y-yuppies-are-unhappy.html

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Biggest Dick

You’re then asked for your ID by someone who may not have been the biggest dick in your high school—but he was the biggest dick in someone’s high school.

Urban, T. (2014, May 27). Why You Secretly Hate Cool Bars. Retrieved from http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/05/secretly-hate-bars.html

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No Middle Finger Button

Our friend Daniel’s post was quite a feat—in one simple paragraph, he sliced through my soul, accomplishing nearly every terrible status type and motivation discussed above.  The thing is, though, that if you looked right below his post, all you saw were likes and a couple friendly comments.

And that’s why insufferable Facebook behavior will never go away—there’s no dislike button or eye-roll button or middle finger button on Facebook, and it’s bad form to be too much of a dick in the comments below a status. So annoying statuses are just positively reinforced, and people remain un-self-aware that they regularly bring down the quality of everyone else’s life.

Urban, T. (2013, July 8). 7 Ways to Be Insufferable on Facebook. Retrieved from http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/07/7-ways-to-be-insufferable-on-facebook.html

housefly

Popularity

You think a piece of shit feels popular because it’s surrounded by flies?

Max Payne. Dir. Sam Lake. Remedy Entertainment, 2001. Video Game.