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robertogreco : rudeness   5

On Smarm
"It is also no accident that David Eggers is full of shit."

"Smarm should be understood as a type of bullshit, then. It is a kind of moral and ethical misdirection."

"The old systems of prestige are rickety and insecure. Everyone has a publishing platform and no one has a career."

"What carries contemporary American political campaigns along is a thick flow of opaque smarm."

"Romney clambered up to a new higher ground, deploring the divisiveness of dwelling on his divisiveness."

"Through smarm, the "centrists" have cut themselves off from the language of actual dispute. In smarm is power."

"A civilization that speaks in smarm is a civilization that has lost its ability to talk about purposes at all."

"Joe Lieberman! If you would know smarm, look to Joe Lieberman."

"The plutocrats are haunted, as all smarmers are haunted, by a lack of respect. On Twitter, the only answer to "Do you know who I am?" is "One more person with 140 characters to use.""

"To actually say a plain and direct word like "corrupt" is more outlandish, in smarm's outlook, than even swearing."

"Anger is upsetting to smarm. But so is humor and confidence."

"Immense fortunes have bloomed in Silicon Valley on the most ephemeral and stupid windborne seeds of concepts. What's wrong with you, that you didn't get a piece of it?"
criticism  culture  smarm  snark  daveeggers  malcolmgladwell  2013  tomscocca  buzzfeed  heidijulavits  isaacfitzgerald  daviddenby  bambi  arifleischer  lannydavis  leesiegel  cynicism  negativity  tone  politics  writing  critique  mittromney  barackobama  michaelbloomberg  ianfrazier  centrists  power  redistribution  rebeccablank  civilization  dialog  conversation  purpose  jedediahpurdy  irony  joelieberman  marshallsella  billclinton  mainstream  georgewbush  maureendowd  rudeness  meanness  plutocrats  wealth  publishing  media  respect  niallferguson  alexpareene  mariabartiromo  gawker  choiresicha  anger  confidence  humor  spikelee  upworthy  adammordecai  juliachild  success  successfulness  niceness  tompeters  bullshit  morality  ethics  misdirection  insecurity  prestige  audience  dialogue  jedediahbritton-purdy 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Louis C.K. Was Almost Right About Smartphones, Loneliness, Sadness, the Meaning of Life, and Everything | The Frailest Thing
"“I think these things are toxic, especially for kids …” That’s Louis C.K. talking about smartphones on Conan O’Brien last week. You’ve probably already seen the clip; it exploded online the next day. In the off-chance that you’ve not seen the clip yet, here it is. It’s just under five minutes, and it’s worth considering.

Let me tell you, briefly, what I appreciated about this bit, and then I’ll offer a modest refinement to Louis C.K.’s perspective.

Here are the two key insights I took away from the exchange. First, the whole thing about empathy. Cyberbullying is a big deal, at least it’s one of the realities of online experience that gets a lot of press. And before cyberbullying was a thing we worried about, we complained about the obnoxious and vile manner in which individuals spoke to one another on blogs and online forums. The anonymity of online discourse took a lot of the blame for all of this. A cryptic username, after all, allowed people to act badly with impunity.

I’m sure anonymity was a factor. That people are more likely too act badly when they can’t be caught is an insight at least as old as Plato’s ring of Gyges illustration. But, insofar as this kind of behavior has survived the personalization of the Internet experience, it would seem that the blame cannot be fixed entirely on anonymity.

This is where Louis C.K. offers us a slightly different, and I think better, angle that fills the picture out a bit. He frames the problem as a matter of embodiment. Obviously, people can be cruel to one another in each other’s presence. It happens all the time. The question is whether or not there is something about online experience that somehow heightens the propensity toward cruelty, meanness, rudeness, etc. Here’s how I would answer that question: It’s not that there is something intrinsic to the online experience that heightens the propensity to be cruel. It’s that the online experience unfolds in the absence of a considerable mitigating condition: embodied presence.

In Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory, his unnamed protagonist, the whiskey priest, comes to the following realization: “When you visualized a man or woman carefully, you could always begin to feel pity … that was a quality God’s image carried with it … when you saw the lines at the corners of the eyes, the shape of the mouth, how the hair grew, it was impossible to hate.”

This is, I think, what Louis C.K. is getting at. We like to think of ourselves as rational actors who make our way through life by careful reasoning and logic. For better or for worse, this is almost certainly not the case. We constantly rely on all sorts of pre-cognitive or non-conscious or visceral operations. Most of these are grounded in our bodies and their perceptual equipment. When our bodies, and those magical mirror-neurons, are taken out of play, then the perceptual equipment that helps us act with a measure of empathy is also out of the picture, and then, it seems, cruelty proceeds with one less impediment.

The second insight I appreciated centered on the themes of loneliness and sadness. What Louis C.K. seems to be saying, in a way that still manages to be funny enough to bear, is that there’s something unavoidably sad about life and at the core of our being there is a profound emptiness. What’s more, it is when we are alone that we feel this sadness and recognize this emptiness. This is inextricably linked to what we might call the human condition, and the path to any kind of meaningful happiness is through this sadness and the loneliness that brings it on.



But the smartphone is not altogether irrelevant. It is part of a practice that is itself a manifestation of the problem. The problem is not the smartphone, it’s this thing we’re doing with the smartphone, which, in the past, we have also done with countless other things."
louisck  michaelsacasas  via:tealtan  2013  culture  digital  internet  behavior  empathy  commenting  alanjacobs  anonymity  blaisepascal  grahamgreene  cyberbullying  loneliness  sadness  humancondition  humans  human  happiness  web  online  meanness  rudeness  cruelty  smartphones  tolstoy  lmsacasas 
november 2013 by robertogreco
I have plenty of friends in and from California,... - more than 95 theses
"I have plenty of friends in and from California, but I don’t think California is fundamentally a friendly place. It’s open – it’s easy to become part of the community (inasmuch as there is a community), much easier than in New England or, I suspect, the South – but that’s not the same thing as friendly.

Now New York, my hometown, that’s a friendly place. And open – it’s relatively easy to join the community, and there is a community. We’re certainly not polite – we’re frankly rude – but we’re open and friendly.

Four dichotomies:

Open versus Closed: how easy is it to join the community?

Friendly versus Cold: is the community mutually supportive and warm to outsiders, or the opposite?

Tolerant versus Conformist: does the community expect everyone to be the same, or can you fly your freak flag with relative impunity?

Polite versus Rude: does the community enforce codes of deference, courtesy and respect, or is socially abrasive behavior the norm?

I would call New York Open, Friendly (more friendly than people think), Tolerant (but not as tolerant as people think) and Rude. I am not as familiar with the South, but from my experience and from what I hear, I’d call it Closed, Friendly, Tolerant and Polite. California I’d call Open, Cold, Tolerant and Rude."

—"Noah Millman, commenting at Rod Dreher’s place. I like this system very much, though I would add that you need to think not just in terms of regions but in terms of urban/rural divides within regions." [Alan Jacobs]

[This is the comment quoted: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/new-england-grouchtopia/comment-page-1/#comment-381483 ]

[This is the article: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/new-england-grouchtopia/ ]
via:lukeneff  california  newengland  rural  urban  openness  open  closed  friendly  courtesy  respect  rudeness  politeness  tolerance  noahmillman  johnirving 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Ahem! Are You Talking to Me? (Or Texting?) - NYTimes.com
"Powers…came away thinking he'd witnessed “a gigantic competition to see who can be more absent from the people & conversations happening right around them. Everyone in Austin was gazing into their little devices — a bit desperately, too, as if their lives depended on not missing the next tweet.”

In a phone conversation a few weeks afterward, Mr. Powers said that he is far from being a Luddite, but that he doesn’t “buy into the idea that digital natives can do both screen and eye contact.”

“They are not fully present because we are not built that way,” he said.

Where other people saw freedom — from desktop, from social convention, from boring guy in front of them — Mr. Powers saw “a kind of imprisonment.”

“There is a great deal of conformity under way, actually,” he added.

& therein lies the real problem. When someone you are trying to talk to ends up getting busy on a phone, the most natural response is not to scold, but to emulate. It’s mutually assured distraction."
williampowers  davidcarr  etiquette  mobile  phones  cellphones  attention  presence  human  distraction  twitter  sxsw  via:anthonyalbright  rudeness 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Letter From London - My American Friends - NYTimes.com
"When I finally got to America myself, I found that not only were natives friendly & hospitable, they were also incredibly polite. No one tells you this about Americans, but once you notice it, it becomes one of their defining characteristics...We look on w/ some confusion at these encounters...on the one hand, Americans seem a bit country-bumpkinish...Like many Europeans, I always feel good about myself in America...appreciated, liked. It took a while to realize that this had nothing to do w/ me. It was about the people who made me feel this way: it was about charm...that rarely looks like charm...a week or so after landing, a form of what might be called Ameristalgia makes us conscious of rudeness in British life...Across the board, the grounds for all our feelings of superiority have been steadily whittled away."
us  uk  politeness  charm  travel  london  culture  rudeness  identity  characteristics  via:TheLibrarianEdge 
january 2010 by robertogreco

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