To complain is to be truly alive
October 22, 2017 1:04 PM   Subscribe

Man, I hate articles like this.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:20 PM on October 22 [11 favorites]

I see what you did there Greg.
posted by SyraCarol at 1:21 PM on October 22 [3 favorites]

I hate it when somebody posts the comment I was gonna post before me.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 1:21 PM on October 22 [2 favorites]

I don't mean for this to be another ironic comment but I think an essay like this just invites them. Anyway I agree with the premise a lot. Complaining is sometimes all you can do, and is one way to bring about feelings of solidarity & ease loneliness in bad situations. But I was really not interested in this random person's random list of boring complaints.
posted by bleep at 1:34 PM on October 22 [3 favorites]

I thought she was going to lead off with, say, cancer or the inescapable fact of our utter, soul-crushing existential loneliness but, nope - Starbucks and signing a credit card slip. Never change, Sunday NYT!
posted by ryanshepard at 1:34 PM on October 22 [11 favorites]

I hate the nyt but will click through for Sam Irby. It was a nice essay. I'd paste my favorite line here for you to savor but they seem to have blocked my ability to select text on their page. Very snopes-esque. What a bunch of useless fuckers.
posted by great_radio at 1:58 PM on October 22 [2 favorites]

Never change, Sunday NYT!
But also Never Post Sunday NYT on Mefi...
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:00 PM on October 22

The situations in which complaining is genuinely, constructive carthartic are dwarfed by the situations in which complaining is pebbles skittering down the slippery slope of a mountain of shit, threatening to unleash a massive landslide of toxic destructivity with every self-indulgent plink and self-satisfied plonk.

Complaining is just highly egocentric gossip. It ruins discipline and quakes morale. Excusing it is an exercise in learned helplessness. Enabling it demonstrates depraved indifference to the collective team or business unit or club or cult or rebel faction. Encouraging it is the mark of a sociopath.

That being said, sometimes it’s nice to have a dark larff together over a shared antagonism. But it’s sooooooo easy to get carried away.
posted by Construction Concern at 2:29 PM on October 22 [12 favorites]

"Encouraging it is the mark of a sociopath." Well that escalated quickly.
posted by xarnop at 2:42 PM on October 22 [17 favorites]

I *love* to complain.

I complain at (not to) my friends about basically everything. It's my normal mode of communication, and my close friends worry when I stop complaining as this is a sign that I'm truly unhappy.

I know this makes me tiresome and difficult to be around, and so I make a conscious effort to reel it in around people I don't already know are cool with it. But with those people that *are* cool with it...

I let loose. And so do they! Many of my favorite conversations are my friends and I just riffing nonstop on how terrible everything is. Bonus points for the most over-the-top description of how something incredibly minor ruined your entire decade! Because complaining can -- and *should* -- be fun and funny. These long form rants inevitably end with us laughing until our sides hurt and all of us feeling like our problems aren't so bad after all.

So I know some of you hate it, and I'll try to keep it to a minimum around you. But to those of us who are caricatures of crotchety old cartoon men at heart I say: complain away. Life sucks and that's the funniest joke there is.
posted by fader at 2:46 PM on October 22 [15 favorites]

I try to not complain too much, but it there are some people with whom it just seems like the best way to connect.
I do see it as a way I can socialize.
And it's not like there isn't much to complain about, but right now I'm focusing on my president and his enablers.
posted by MtDewd at 4:10 PM on October 22

I'm not sure that pebbles would actually skitter down a shit mountain
posted by thelonius at 4:16 PM on October 22 [5 favorites]

You want they should ooze?
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:18 PM on October 22 [4 favorites]

As Lilly Tomlin said, "Man invented language to satisfy his deep inner need to complain."
posted by shortyJBot at 5:08 PM on October 22 [6 favorites]

Shared complaint can actually be a good way to build camaraderie, provided you don't let it get into territory where it completely poisons the morale of the group. There's a middle ground where partners who complain in the trenches together, when it's done with good humor, bond over it in a way that's hard to match. The thing to avoid is letting it stray into a downward spiral of recriminations and bad behavior toward the source of the angst, because that benefits no one. It's also better when judgment is reserved as much as possible—complaints are sometimes even more funny when you assume good intent and acknowledge that it underlies whatever bizarre thing happened.
posted by limeonaire at 5:25 PM on October 22 [5 favorites]

Quite a few comedians (including some of my favorites) have based their career on complaining with art, insight, and wit.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:49 PM on October 22 [1 favorite]

this random person's random list of boring complaints.

random like each and every person on earth is random because we are all just some jerk, none of us more worthwhile than any other? or random like Samantha Irby's not a pretty well-known writer, I merely imagined it?

anyway these are a whole lot of weird reactions to an essay that is at least half of it about the experience of receiving complaints, not issuing them, and another quarter of which is about choosing wisely who to complain to, or at, and not abusing the undeserving just because they're there.

it is an essay with a predictable but nice message and a few good phrases. it may be boring, but it is not a "list of complaints." at all.
posted by queenofbithynia at 6:05 PM on October 22 [2 favorites]

random like each and every person on earth is random because we are all just some jerk, none of us more worthwhile than any other?

that was my interpretation.. but you'd expect that from me, wouldn't you?
posted by some loser at 6:48 PM on October 22

Sam Irby is a delight and how very dare you! Her blog is one of my favourite places and the book club rules ('1. We are never meeting in real life, ever') an example for us all.

But for real - her site is a good time, and she writes some great essays.
posted by pseudonymph at 4:04 AM on October 23 [1 favorite]

My complaint is that Sam seems to be pulling her punches for the NYT. Not enough cussing! A reference to bathrooms but no poop jokes! She doesn't need this kind of editing.

Oh, I guess I do have another complaint: I need more blog updates. Where are all the rants about fall in rural Michigan, Sam??!
posted by Lawn Beaver at 7:42 AM on October 23

AHH ask and ye shall receive.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 10:50 AM on October 23

A note for anyone else who suddenly wondered the same thing: "complain" and "explain" are actually completely unrelated, etymologically speaking. The one "plain" is from "plangere" (meaning "to beat the breast") and the other is from "planus" (meaning "flat").

Also, apparently Etymonline has gotten a site makeover, and unlike many site makeovers, it actually looks fine and doesn't displease me at all.
posted by inconstant at 12:29 PM on October 23

Who turned the thermostat down to 68 degrees?

Me. It's always me. How do you people live in this oppressive heat of 70+?
posted by numaner at 1:34 PM on October 23 [1 favorite]

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