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5 Things I'm Not Cool Enough To Hate

Oct

24

by

It’s a list. You like lists.

1) Twitter

Sadly, many philosophers forget Immanuel Kant’s brilliant work,  The Critique of Pure Twitter, published on Facebook.

Have you heard that Twitter messages are limited to 140 characters? IT IS TRUE. And this is an outrage to some people.

The implication behind the complaints of Twitter’s forced concision is that these people aren’t concerned with ideas and facts which can be expressed simply. They’re somehow beyond that, presumably always thinking about deeply complex, high-minded concepts which couldn’t possibly be explained in a few sentences. They would need to write an entire book in order to explain their ideas to you, and even then you probably wouldn’t understand it because you’re one of those people who read and use Twitter.

That’s one possibility. The other possibility is that the anti-Twitter community are just lazy whiners who are looking for a way to opt out of communicating their ideas with the outside world where they might be criticized by others while still giving the impression that they have something to say which is worth saying. If only Twitter would give them more space to verbally masturbate, they’d be able to share their brilliance with the rest of the world. Or if only there were some other format which would allow them to write out these important concepts they’re constantly pondering, like a book or something.

But then it turns out that the chances are that someone bitching about Twitter hasn’t even tried to write a book. Or anything else for that matter. And a lot of those who have actually do use Twitter. Funny how that works out.

2) Hipsters

The question keeping the residents of Williamsburg awake at night.

I’m always taken aback whenever someone whines about hipsters because the person doing so invariably looks and acts exactly like one. It’s always that other guy over there. He‘s the real hipster. And if you could have the same conversation simultaneously with the one your obnoxious friend is accusing of hipsterism, that person would have the exact same response.

It comes down to, I think, this tendency certain people have to avoid being labeled. It’s silly, really. We label everything. That’s how language works. Words have certain meanings and we try to use those words to explain existence. But for one reason or another, these people would rather not include themselves with all the other, apparently lesser things which are fine to label. They see themselves as being above labeling because they are just so very special. Their mommies and daddies told them so.

Of course this phenomenon doesn’t apply only to hipsters. That’s just one of the terms which is fashionable to dislike nowadays. Thirty years ago a guy with green spiky hair and a leather jacket and a girl with a purple mohawk and a garbage bag for a skirt were derisively calling each other punks in the same manner. The fashions vary over time, but the inability for certain people to get over themselves is a constant.

3) Monkey pajamas

The one in the middle is Stefan, but he doesn’t mind too much when I call him Steve. 

Look, I know most guys my age sleep in boxers and a t-shirt. But monkey pajamas are comforting to me. Especially this time of year when horror themes are all over the place and the rustling of leaves in the wind make the autumn nights seem ominous. I know there aren’t any ghosts or demons, but I’m still hardwired by how our species evolved to over-analyze anything that goes bump in the night. And knowing that the disembodied monkey heads on my pajamas are there looking out for me is just reassuring enough so that I can sleep at night.

4) E-book readers

People with Luddite tendencies tend to get hostile around E-book readers. They wax nostalgic about how they love the smell and feel of books almost to the point where you expect them to slam a leather-bound first edition of Great Expectations on a table and start fucking it up the spine.

But back when the hardcover printed books started coming out, their 15th century counterparts were probably making very similar complaints. And back then they probably had a much stronger – albeit purely emotional and romantic – argument for holding on to the earlier book format. Before the printing press, books were written by hand. I know everyone learns about that in school and it’s intuitively obvious anyway; but think of the dedication and amount of work needed to make just one book. It would’ve taken months or even years to reproduce one copy of Gravity’s Rainbow. Not to mention the time it would take to make your own flux capacitor back then in order to travel into the future for a copy of Gravity’s Rainbow to copy by hand in the past.

And yet soon everyone forgot about the beautiful calligraphy and the strong emotional attachment to individually crafted books because the alternative was just too impractical. The same is going to happen with E-book readers. It may take a few generations, but soon practicality is going to trump the comfort of old traditions.

We won’t even be missing much, either. You can still take notes in books – that’s much easier, in fact, since you don’t have to cram your shorthand into the margins. You don’t have to worry about pages falling out from heavy use of a particular book. All the words in the text are the same so you’re getting all the same information. And you can hold hundreds or even thousands of books in a device which only weighs a pound or so. If you’ve moved recently, you are probably already convinced to switch to an e-book reader on that last point alone.

Besides, the lame-ass intellectual wannabe’s love of the smell of an old book can work both ways. Some books smell like shit. Some good books smell like someone spilled cheap vodka on it a decade ago. And some terrible books smell WONDERFUL, like the cheap vodka of today. E-book readers simply remove the smell factor altogether, thus making every work of literature stand or fall on its own merits without odors interfering with the judgment of the reader.

Although, the point can be made that popup books just aren’t the same on Kindle.

5) Wikipedia

Click to learn more about the mythical 5th base.

Anyone can edit Wikipedia. If you’re a conservative who thinks human nature is mostly evil and that everyone’s out to sabotage you, then this fact is alarming to you. But conservatives are always wrong about everything, so it turns out to not be so bad.

Wikipedia’s like any other study or article you read in that it’s good when it cites sources. When it doesn’t, it’s not. Finding good information on Wikipedia pretty much boils down to being able to local footnotes and follow up on them, which should be easy for any literate person.

Even as far back as 2005 when Wikipedia was commonly being portrayed as some kind of anarchic battleground for hucksters and pranksters of varying stripes, Nature Magazine found that Wikipedia was still about as accurate as the Encyclopedia Brittanica (now available for Kindle!). Both have mistakes, but for the most part they’re accurate. The only difference is that you’ll never hear a walking, talking cliche snort when you say you learned something by reading about it in the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

 

  • E. Scott Frogelman

    I stopped refusing to self-identify as a hipster a while ago, when I realized that exactly what you said about it is true. Yes, I am a dumb, vain, aging hipster, but at least I recognize it. All of you wingnuts who think you’re above it, shove it up your arse (sideways!). Thanks, Bunty!

  • Alex SL

    That Nature study was kinda biased, if I remember correctly; they wanted to get that result, so they twisted and pushed a bit until they could make the data agree with the foregone conclusion. But yes, it boils down to being able to use Wikipedia and avoid blind confidence, same as any other source.

  • P

    I’m with Alex SL; I recall that article being debunked. Overall, good list though — and good points on Wikipedia in general: its a good place to find citations.

    • http://www.buffalobeast.com/ Josh Bunting

      Yeah, admittedly I heard about this as a kind of throwaway line in an article about something else, so that could be right. There have been other similar studies, though. I read about them on Wikipedia.

  • matt

    2 is spot on. The only people I have heard EVER complain about hipsters are either comedian/pundits or, wait for it, ironic post-modernists who are obsessed with their diet.

    I have never understood the hipster thing. I honestly think it’s some caricature/red herring invented by marketing committees/comedians so they can bitch about something without having to do much real legwork. Sort of along the lines of the Beatnik/Hippie/Yuppie/Metrosexual/whatever generational character you like line.

    I have never seen any of them in one place outside of sitcoms, and then only two (2 broke girls/kind of the hill).

  • Casper

    Wiki is all about the sources. My son rightfully calls wikipedia “The index for the internet”, and that’s exactly what it is.

    I’ll never say “I saw it on Wikipedia”, ’cause that just sounds stupid. I’ll say “I read it on the online journal of clinical psychopharmacology”,,, which sounds way smart. And how did get to “the online j of,,,”? Wikipedia, duh!

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