I do not want people to be very agreeable…

June 1, 2011 § 1 Comment

Just for the record, I’m not going to stop being creeped out by this foursquare thingamabob. Someone I know likes to call it “Hey everyone, I’m not home so feel free to come rob me!” But if you’re female and have any experience in the actual world, it’s also called “Hey, creepy dude who won’t take no for an answer, here’s a list of my favoritest places and a constant update about when and where I am!”

Ugh. But anyway. HTMLGiant posted a response to Franzen’s essay/commencement speech. Much more interesting, though, are the responses to the response (and the responses to the responses to the response? Those are so gravy they’re practically meta…) I always hate it when someone decides to shoot down an entire line of thought because s/he can find a single exception or an instance where the argument is worded too strongly. We’re human! We’re made to discuss and refine our thoughts in conversation, in connection with others, and so I value all criticism and responses in the world – but a great and artistic mind is one that can be blustery and overblown sometimes, using a slightly too-large brushstroke or a more garish color than necessary, in the process of exposing a larger truth (David Foster Wallace, anyone? He’d be as great with half the footnotes and we all know it, but we indulge and even revel in his excess because of the huge-ass beauty and truth he gets at). Point out the brushstroke and the color, sure, but don’t throw out the painting. Franzen might be a dick and he might be crazy overexposed, but he’s not wrong.

Here’s the thing: Franzen vs. Internet vs. Love vs. Iskandrian



§ One Response to I do not want people to be very agreeable…

  • J. says:

    I think “ungenerous” is probably the best word for that response–thanks commenters on the comments on the essay/commencement speech! It also kind of strikes me that the urge to be “right” (on the internet no less) is kind of part of what J-Franz (I’m going to start popularizing this nickname-if he wants to ascend to the levels of his “cerebral sparring partner,” he’s going to need a catchy moniker. I’ve also been drinking) was talking about. I’m reminded of the “Internet vs. Infinite Jest” thing–where interneters jumped at the chance to critique the submitter’s writing, without knowing it was actually the first page of Infinite Jest. (It’s since been deleted–boo. It was funny.) It’s egotistical, a false sense of advantage, and a chance to pat oneself on the back a bit for pointing out the fat and garish brushstrokes without the consideration that you might be using some florescent colors yourself. Then again, aren’t the people (like me) laughing at the interneters who didn’t recognize Infinite Jest in the same sort of way? We all need something. Even J-Franz. I think what he wants all us graduates the world ’round to know is that, sure, these things feel nice and are easier to grasp at when we carry smart phones and check in at the houses we’re currently robbing because we know the people who live there are out to dinner since we follow them on foursquare, and he’s not saying that anyone actually confuses “like” and “love” or that it’s wrong to repost, retweet, and heart to your heart’s content. Just that despite these things, all the noise out there, we’re still going to end up crying in the grocery store and that we have to be unafraid of that–the internet is the place for the anesthetized versions of ourselves, with all our best pictures and quips and chances to delete, but the world is big and weird and full of things that can’t just be liked and can’t be hidden if we don’t. Just like J-Franz!


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