10 July 2009

"Always regard mainstream society with utter contempt and show no respect for the average person."
-Rule 2 of this list of how to fail as an "activist organisation."
Ha, this sounds like rule #1 for how to succeed as a Deep Madder editor.

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Blogger Christopher said...

I think that's more applicable to you than myself. I'm less contemptful towards mainstream society than I am simply alienated from it.

And I struggle a lot with my view towards humanity - sometimes I'm near-vitriolic about the average person, but at other times I'm incredibly hopeful. On the whole I think I hold the average person in much higher esteem than you do. As a whole, I often have this optimism that people are fundamentally good, but have just been wildly led astray.

July 10, 2009 at 12:32 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...

Also, what do you think of that article (and did you notice that it's from a Guelph newspaper)?

Most of it comes off as pretty stupid, as though it were written by someone who views activism in general with complete suspicion. Like, it seems to be more a collection of bitter comments and diatribes about what he deems activism to be (full of odd assumptions and generalities) rather than any sort of insightful guide towards genuine improvement.

July 10, 2009 at 12:37 PM  
Blogger Alexander said...

"I think I hold the average person in much higher esteem than you do. As a whole, I often have this optimism that people are fundamentally good, but have just been wildly led astray."

But that's what how I view mainstream society and the average person, too. I don't think anyone is intrinsically horrifically selfish, socially-disinterested, and vapid; I think the world/pop culture makes them that way. I recognise that I am fortunate enough to have been raised in a milieu that allowed/forced me to pursue "alternative culture" or whatever. I don't think there is anything intrinsically superior about people like us, but I do think that we have become better people than most (just as you do, as exemplified when we look at people from high school on Facebook).

There's a difference between disliking a person and blaming them for being dislikable. Thus, when you say the average person has "been wildly led astray," I agree. I don't think any badness/objectionableness is anyone's fault. When I criticise "the average person" and "mainstream society," I am criticising their personalities and interests and stuff, their "accumulated selves" (as developed by their milieu) rather than their intrinsic selves or something. It's not like I'm saying "most people deserve to be tortured and killed" or something; I'm simply saying that I can't get along with most people because I hate their most people's interests and taste and personalities, etc. (I don't think anyone deserves anything).

Which is something that you obviously relate with. I KNOW that you can't stand nor relate with most movies/songs/conversations/parties/politicians/people/etc.; you can't deny that. Your interests, preferred lifestyle, etc. are incurably esoteric; 99% of exoteric culture is anathema to everything you stand for (admit it). And when you say that you "hold the average person in much higher esteem" than I do, you seem to be referring to something other than their interests/practices/etc., because you OBVIOUSLY do not hold commercial music/movies/etc. in remotely-high esteem (unless you live a secret life of Much Music-loving unbeknownst to me). So if what you are referring to is their "intrinsic value" or whatever, then I agree with you; my contempt is for the mainstream interests/practices/personality/etc., not for the mainstream's intrinsic value/potential/etc.

Plus, I don't think you are simply unwillingly "alienated" from pop culture, as you seem to suggest. Is that a joke? You obviously couldn't (happily) go on trips to Cuban resorts and to the club district on Saturday nights and drive an SUV in the suburbs and watch Friends reruns, even if mass society BEGGED you to join in this stuff.

And then even "alternative culture" is impossible for us to fit in to. What we are is a hyper-"alternative"/weird, socially-irrelevant, esoteric subculture.

And that's all I'm saying: Not that I don't see value in the average person, nor that mainstream society is useless or something, but that it seems I can't relate with 99% of people because I'm different from them in a way that I prefer. Although we are alienated from pop, we prefer anti-pop or something (it's like a dialectic ). That is, I hate "mass society" because it is too different from me and I can't fit into it, but I prefer the way I am to the way it is.

July 10, 2009 at 2:50 PM  
Blogger ZiCheng said...

First of all, pretty funny post Alexander.

I see my world and its cultural offerings a bit like this: I go into a very small eatery with very limited offerings. I ask for the menu, and the guy points to a big pot and then to a smaller pot and says you can either have this which almost everyone gets, or you can have that which some people like. I take a look at both and I say I don't want either. He shows me the kitchen, and then shows me a storage room full of foods I've never seen before and says: "okay, then you can go nuts in here with all of this stuff."

I hope that analogy is clear enough.

July 11, 2009 at 3:46 PM  
Blogger Lindsay said...

I think about this above comment Zicheng made a lot. I like it. Good analogy.

November 10, 2009 at 8:18 AM  

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