Re: Somebody that I used to be

1

I'd be inclined to think that (1) is the most important factor and I'd argue that (3) doesn't even belong on the list.

I was trying to find a comment I wrote way back when bemoaning the fact that I felt like a less interesting person than I was in college -- not only was my time and mental energy taken up by work but I'd trained myself to be better at being "productive" and trimmed out a fair amount of mental playfulness in the process. It's probably just as well that I can't find it, but I remember B replaying, dismissively, that it happened to everyone as they got older.

That said it's worth mentioning (a) that Emerson left -- I remember you used to have particularly good chemistry with him and (b) the tone of the site has changed, putting less emphasis on free standing wit, and more on thoughtfulness. Unfogged has, if you will, become much more earnest.

Reading #4 I also wonder if, as the unfogged population has aged, we are collectively responding to pop culture as something which is now targeted as people younger than us, rather than being the target audience.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 7:53 PM
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Huh, how odd--I was just reading the 2007-8 archives from my old blog, and thinking that I used to be so much more serious and thoughtful.

Anyway, I feel like back then I was listening to nothing but earnest music about intense emotions, so you're totally wrong. Arcade Fire's second album, and The National's breakout one, were both in 2007; songs from the latter became so ubiquitous that, at the Frightened Rabbit concert in Park Slope in the summer of '08, I thought "of course, how hilariously appropriate" when they did a cover of "Fake Empire."


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 7:53 PM
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replaying replying


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 7:54 PM
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Lily Allen's 2009 album was quite a bit more earnest than her 2007 one, I think.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 7:54 PM
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I've always been very earnest about everything.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 8:00 PM
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There is nothing to do with the earnest but send them on a very long errand.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 8:10 PM
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Wait, is this a music thread?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 8:15 PM
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cutesy/ironic/precious/twee

I'm not sure I believe that the culture ascendance or decline of "ironic" is really related to that of "cutesy," "precious," or "twee".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 8:21 PM
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Hm, this is interesting. I don't know what my opinion is on this.

Twitter has made me feel that there are so many small societies that there are in some ways fewer and fewer areas of true widespread linguistic or behavioral commonality. In that sense, talking of the zeitgeist or other overarching phenomena seems weirdly old-fashioned.

I can say that I can go back and read my own professional writing from 5-6 years ago and it's pretty staggering how much more conservative the mainstream immigration world has gotten. I had stuff published in 2006-07 that would never see the light of day today.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 8:25 PM
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8: I'm definitely stumbling and being unable to articulate the hipsterness-or-whatever.

But anyway, 1 is probably right. I got older, finished grad school, no longer live in a super hip city, misplaced my joie de vivre, etc. I do actually feel pretty happy and silly a lot of the time, though.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 8:34 PM
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It's not just that the community is older (and smaller), the forum is older and the medium. My guess is that everywhere you look in the 'sphere you find similar evolution.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 8:37 PM
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the tone of the site has changed, putting less emphasis on free standing wit, and more on thoughtfulness

I just saw this!

I have nothing... thoughtful?... to say!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 8:38 PM
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I'm so glad I haven't gotten any older since 2007.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 8:44 PM
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That is, all the good stuff has pretty much been said. I'm going to watch a movie.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 8:50 PM
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I have a sense that my comments have gotten less thoughtful over the years, as I have less time to follow the threads and put less thought into contributing. But I might have a skewed sense of what my typical comment was like years ago.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 8:54 PM
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I think I was probably high for more of my comments years ago. Hard to say.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 9:13 PM
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I think I'm drunk-commenting a lot less often. I might want to work on that.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 9:19 PM
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I would say that the for(u)ms of/for cuteness have been changing, but that preciousness is still going strong. 2007 saw the emergence of I Can Haz Cheezburger? and was arguably the cresting point for Cute Overload, and, while cat videos have continued apace, those sites have since declined in prominence. I see a lot of celebration of cuteness/precioussness/innocent beauty*, however, particularly in certain design/fashion blogs/tumblrs. Which is good because, whatever reasonable critiques can be made of them from various political angles, I find many of them very pleasant and soothing.

* That last one's a horrible phrase, I know, but I can't think of another way to describe it. Beautiful pictures that aren't meant to have any subtext, other than "Pretty!"


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 9:19 PM
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Not to derail the meta-commenting thing, but take this site. It's a woman who makes felted animals and models vintage clothes and has two kids and she and her husband and kids are all young and cute (the kids younger than the parents, obvs), and that's it. I suppose that you could find things to hate about it, but you'd have to be trying pretty hard.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 9:24 PM
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18, 19: I'm not sure that goes to what heebie's commenting on, though. There's definitely a (tumblr-driven, in part?) aesthetic driving a lot of web pages now that wasn't around much several years ago. But I think heebie's "cute" and "precious" are referring to something else-- "twee" might have been closer to the mark. It implies a presentation that's very self-consciously trying to be clever or odd. Whereas I think the common aesthetic now is about genuinely appreciating beautiful objects or images.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 9:36 PM
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Now I'm thinking about the TV show Pushing Daisies -- it had the same kind of oversaturated colors and bright, pretty images that the blog you link does, but with a heaping dose of faux-naive cutesy-cleverness that's more what I suspect heebie has in mind. (I liked the show a lot, but I can see why a lot of people didn't.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 9:41 PM
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I think a certain kind of twee has died a death.

Irony & twee are different.

Manic pixie dream girls are maybs a site that would yield fruitful investigation.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 9:46 PM
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Tumblr is way more enthusiastic femmage-y angry noisy fannish not-cool.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 9:48 PM
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Manic pixie dream girls are maybs a site that would yield fruitful investigation.

Keir. You know I'm well rounded. Please consider my application for field assistant.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 9:53 PM
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I periodically revisit my blog/facebookings/posts+comments here from years ago and sure enough, no matter when I do so, I always used to be funnier.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 9:54 PM
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That's great because it's much simpler to model a uni-directional trend.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 9:58 PM
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Is "maybs" a typo or is it like "totes" or "wevs"?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 10:00 PM
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20: Yeah, good point. That rings true, but I'm having trouble calling to mind anything concrete to go with it. Since I didn't watch Pushing Daisies, can you think of another good example of 2007 vintage twee?


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 10:15 PM
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28: Juno? Freaking hamburger phone.


Posted by: Cryptic nes | Link to this comment | 09- 8-12 10:43 PM
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Irony & twee are different.

Yes, my twee Glasgow friends of regular past discussion are all pretty earnest and deeply enthused by music/art, etc. No ironic distance.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 2:38 AM
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I was reviewing an ancient blog I had from 2004-2006 and was like god was I ever optimistic about politics.


Posted by: Asteele | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 6:11 AM
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Pomplamoose? They seem pretty twee to me. They're still around but it seems like everyone hates them now.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 6:52 AM
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5-6 years ago, my tone here was terse, almost mysterious. Which is to say I started commenting 2-3 years later.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 7:26 AM
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One might have liked Pomplamoose more had one not first encountered them in video form and been irritated by the singer's affectless gaze.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 7:29 AM
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14: is about right. There's little new in the new.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 8:28 AM
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36

There ought to be a word for taking one's own changes over time and trying to cast them as societal trends. I know I catch myself doing it a fair amount.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 10:58 AM
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Being a trend-setter? You're too kind.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 11:01 AM
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There ought to be a word for taking one's own changes over time and trying to cast them as societal trends.

The Phenomenology of the Spirit


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 11:56 AM
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There ought to be a word for taking one's own changes over time and trying to cast them as societal trends.

Tweety and I sometimes refer to it by asking when everyone in DC started doing yoga all of a sudden. Which Becks once asked, only to be told by Kraab that everyone had been doing yoga in DC forever, and Becks had only just gotten to the right age group for it. (My google-fu failed me on finding that exchange.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 12:38 PM
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I think that 36/39 are a general problem ("Why is no one these days going out and dancing all night anymore? I blame society.") but that there's some truth to Heebie's specific example.

I think of it as the "McSweeny's Internet Tendency" phenomenon, but "Juno" and "Pushing Daisies" are also good examples. Whoever decided on that particular style, typeface, and whatever were clearly responding to some twee zeitgeist. I've always hated it,* from day one until now, and it now seems like more and more people are joining me on team "shut the fuck up, you're not as cute as you think you are."

Although like everything else there is still latent twee out there, just waiting to be repackaged in the next cultural form. I'm sure with a little effort we could identify 60s, 70s, and 80s versions of twee.

*While paradoxically thinking that Belle and Sebastian themselves are pretty good.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 12:50 PM
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Those of you announcing the decline of twee clearly weren't trying unsuccessfully to buy day-of tickets for Moonrise Kingdom on like 4 different occasions this summer.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 1:04 PM
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I'm sure with a little effort we could identify 60s, 70s, and 80s versions of twee.

But, you know, twee just isn't changing as dramatically as it did between say, the '60s and the '80s.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 1:05 PM
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Anyhow, as the owner of this book, I can tell you that hilariously pretentious hipster shit is far from dead.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 1:07 PM
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43. Find Kirk or I.

On the one hand nosflow might like this book. On the other hand…


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 1:25 PM
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Some of the recipes seem pretty awesome. Some of them also seem like they could plausibly be made with ingredients I can actually find. Some of them are ridiculous.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 1:26 PM
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Some of them, from a long way off, look like flies.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 1:57 PM
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Yes, I think you get the picture.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 2:02 PM
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36: The narcissism of big differences?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 2:26 PM
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I'm sure with a little effort we could identify 60s, 70s, and 80s versions of twee.

Well the 70s was a black slough of despond, but in the 60s I could name the genre called:"Sunshine Pop" and a band called "The Free Design" as a superior exemplar. 5th Dimension, Harper's Bizarre, Association, some Beach Boys, possibly Ms & Ps, Cowsills, Spanky, Odsy & Orcle. Forever Amber's Love Cycle is currently in my rotation.

I love twee. Sarah and Shinkansen are like my ultimate all-time faves, because the world is so mean and all we need is love and lots of flowers and 500 micrograms and we can stop the wars and share.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 3:03 PM
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You Can Sing Along

1st twee is sincere
2nd twee is ironic and bitter

3rd twee comes back when you no longer give a fuck about looking grownup


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 3:11 PM
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the 70s was a black slough of despond

This reminds me that I just started watching the UK Life On Mars and Jesus Christ is it not doing anything to convince me that 1970s Manchester was anything other than the most depressing place on earth.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 3:17 PM
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Another good example is the vintage-pun t-shirts that were very popular 5-8 years ago, like a tomato exclaiming something self-referential, which are now nowhere in sight.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 4:00 PM
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51: I know, isn't it great? The sheer awfulness of his evil little apartment.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 6:07 PM
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A little evening 70s


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 6:46 PM
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I didn't know until just now that this song is about the same 'cake out in the rain.'


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 6:49 PM
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You'll never have the recipe again.

Anyway, the 70s was full of twee shit, but I didn't want to say anything because I wasn't even 10 when the decade ended so I figure I didn't get a full view.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 7:00 PM
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Another good example is the vintage-pun t-shirts that were very popular 5-8 years ago, like a tomato exclaiming something self-referential, which are now nowhere in sight.

No, nowhere.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 10:25 PM
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I like how this one's now discounted.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 9-12 10:28 PM
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Sure, but they're lame now.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:12 AM
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I'm waiting for the "Coed Naked Lacrosse" shirts to come back into fashion.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:14 AM
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Another good example is the vintage-pun t-shirts that were very popular 5-8 years ago, like a tomato exclaiming something self-referential, which are now nowhere in sight.

I don't remember this tomato shirt


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:15 AM
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I can still remember, back in about 1992, the first time I saw someone roughly my age walking down the street in Speed Racer T-shirt. At the time I thought "Heh. Clever." and then forgot about it.

Six months later just about every TV show I wasted afternoons watching as a kid was showing up on T-shirts, lunchboxes (for 20 somethings) & etc.

It was like a hipster phase transition.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:24 AM
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Well, when talk of the 80s zeitgiest comes up, I always mention the "He who dies with the most toys, wins" t-shirts -- but really I think I may have seen people wearing it less than 5 times. It just happens to fit with what became the accepted view of the 80s as the decade of greed.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:32 AM
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63: What I remember seeing most was "Life's a Beach".

Which I hated.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:51 AM
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The T shirts of the teens will be incomprehensible slogans -- not ironic Japanglish, but mysterious and incomprehensible phrases. And numbers. And single letters in elaborate fonts. You heard it here first.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:54 AM
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I would bet that those "Big Johnson" tshirts are not ironically revived for nostalgia purposes, but what do I know.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 8:55 AM
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65 makes sense. As we move closer to humanoid robots, we'll all need to wear our own captcha tests.

"Just a minute, Lieutenant Agathon. Before we start the mission briefing, could you tell me what it says on my T-shirt?"
"Well, I -- er --"
"Toaster! Grab her!"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 9:01 AM
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My new answer to 36: Naomi Wolfing.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:34 AM
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I got this t-shirt because it will never go out of style.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:39 AM
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I've been saying "Bring back those spray-paint t-shirt shops that used to be in the malls" for years now. It's so hard to find an oversized shirt featuring Minnie Mouse superimposed over a galaxy these days.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 10:42 AM
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Was "The New Girl"'s "Adorkable" catchphrase, promulgated in 2011, evidence for or against the thesis?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 12:36 PM
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Was it annoying?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 12:51 PM
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69: That actually looks like how they had Tim Berners Lee posed at the Olympics.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 12:55 PM
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72: Is the ocean wide?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 1:01 PM
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74: No. I can see Russia from my house.


Posted by: Opinionated Sarah Palin | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 1:02 PM
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75: You're right Sarah! And the "Adorkable" "New Girl" was not in the slightest bit annoying!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-10-12 1:10 PM
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Jenny Owen Youngs covers 'Call Me Maybe"


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 4:32 PM
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67 As we move closer to humanoid robots, we'll all need to wear our own captcha tests.

Recently when I've encountered captchas they've been so distorted I've had to reload them about five times before I got something I could read. Or maybe... maybe I'm a replicant?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 5:10 PM
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78: if those are ReCAPTCHA the harder one is probably not actually going to be used; they give two words so they can test the harder one against human performance while using the easier one for real CAPTCHA.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 5:12 PM
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What do you mean, it "is not actually going to be used"? It is being used. You mean they test them for incomprehensibility by keeping track of how many people reload? That sounds ... obvious, now that I think of it.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 5:15 PM
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80: it isn't used to determine whether you're a human or not. They use one of them to determine whether you're a human and then, if you're a human, use your performance on the other one to determine whether that one is a worthwhile candidate to eventually move into the first category.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 5:21 PM
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79 is blowing my mind.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 5:22 PM
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Sorry, "one of them" should read "one of the words", and I should have mentioned at some prior point that they display two discrete words degraded in different ways.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 5:22 PM
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Oh, I did mention that. Well, I'm glad everything's all clear now.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 5:22 PM
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81 is blowing my mind.

So did it originate as just a combination of two words, one of which didn't count? And then the reload function was added later because nobody realized that one of the words didn't count, and they just gave up all hope of accessing certain websites?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 5:27 PM
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Oh, I thought the harder one was the test, and the easier one was a hard-to-scan word from some library project. Is that not right? I can't remember where I heard that.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 5:27 PM
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I dunno; the original CAPTCHA had reload, so it may have just hung on as a useful legacy feature. I'm not sure they are terribly excited to have people know that's how their algorithm works.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 5:28 PM
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86: you know, google bought them and was going to use them to solve hard-to-ocr words, so the may be the case now? I also read something about them doing some kind of stochastic matching on the hard word, so it may actually play into the "human/not-human" judgment somehow.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 5:29 PM
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oh, here:http://www.google.com/recaptcha/learnmore


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 5:29 PM
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Words aren't that great a stimulus type for CAPTCHA, anyhow, since people aren't really terribly expert at recognizing words in isolation. I really liked the kitten one.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 5:30 PM
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In fact, just the fact that "captcha", which I had never seen in all caps before, is actually a phony-baloney fake acronym is blowing my mind. And the rest of the Wikipedia page is interesting too.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 5:30 PM
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The kitten one.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 5:32 PM
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93

APS journals have a "click the photo of Einstein to proceed" feature in place of a captcha.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 5:34 PM
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I thought the second one was lifted from an old text where a computer hadn't been able to figure it out. I remember reading that (sometimes, at least) the first CAPTCHA is real and the second one is part of the whatever project to get all books online.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 5:35 PM
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89 to 94.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 5:36 PM
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Erm, I imagine this is well-known, but people are bitching about the captcha and recaptcha stuff all over the place these days. Bah! They say. What the fuck is this shit, I can't read that, it's not a word, I can't read the font, you have got to be kidding me, I lost the comment I'd composed in the first place when I had to have a second go at it. (I mention this only because a bunch of booksellers were bitching about it recently.)

88: google bought them and was going to use them to solve hard-to-ocr words, so the may be the case now?

I saw mention of this in the booksellers' bitching thread, yeah. And I sort of understand the impulse: data, always generate and gather data.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 5:52 PM
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93: that's not bad but I bet a really determined spammer could foil it; identification of a single face given an essentially unbounded time to learn it (and a highly bounded set of possible images) computers are pretty good at. Kitten/not kitten is tougher.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 6:04 PM
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I've found that recaptcha has gotten more and more difficult over time and that the implementation in Blogger is a special nightmare, although I'm doing a better job of copying and pasting my comments to a text editor if I don't want to lose them.

Sometimes I get things with non-Roman alphabets and wonder what the hell they're doing on English language sites.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-11-12 6:36 PM
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