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What is an "affected provincial?"
February 13, 2008 3:15 PM   Subscribe

Are you an affected provincial ? "Affected Provincialism can take many forms, but personally I prefer borrowing heavily from the combined qualities of the naturalist, philomath, dandy and aesthete. Independence, liberality, optimism, playfulness, curiosity, lightness, and generosity are integral to Affected Provincialism; it's modeled loosely on the idea of the eighteenth-century gentleman amateur, as wrongly imagined by a twenty-first-century twit." via
posted by vronsky (54 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Guilty as charged
posted by Flashman at 3:20 PM on February 13, 2008


Wait--let me get my Fedora before I read this.
posted by sourwookie at 3:22 PM on February 13, 2008


Does it come in Blue?
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:24 PM on February 13, 2008


I'll read this as soon as I finish moving ubuntu from a sdhc to the ssd on my eeepc, teehee!
posted by furtive at 3:24 PM on February 13, 2008




Lord Needs-to-Fuck-Off-and-Die, 4th Earl of Wankingham (MP, Upper Head-in-Ass)
posted by nasreddin at 3:40 PM on February 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


I like this fellow.
posted by Divine_Wino at 3:41 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Lord .. (MP ..)

Oo, schoolboy error.
posted by Burger-Eating Invasion Monkey at 3:45 PM on February 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


Which has been optioned by none other than Mr. Johnny Depp. Yay Whimsy!
posted by vronsky at 3:46 PM on February 13, 2008


I had never heard of this man, but now I'm captivated.
They may travel widely and get about in cities, but they will consciously choose to cloister themselves in some way--either in a secluded urban oasis or a geographically isolated area. Because they need space for the peculiar milieus they create for themselves, they live in a state of self-imposed exile, keeping the world at arm's length.
Does taking myself to NYC for a week and then holing up in a studio and never going out into the city count? I just finished doing exactly this, and feeling rather guilty about it. I'm so very pleased to know that there's a legitimate reason, nay, a social movement, explaining my actions.

Cheers!
posted by EricGjerde at 3:49 PM on February 13, 2008


Seriously, this is exactly the same kind of grotesque self-infatuation that we laughed at in the fedora thread. Except this guy's, well, hip.

Also, I can see he doesn't follow these:
RULES, by the Observation of which, a Man of Wit and Learning may nevertheless make himself a disagreeable Companion.

Your Business is to shine; therefore you must by all means prevent the shining of others, for their Brightness may make yours the less distinguish'd. To this End,

1. If possible engross the whole Discourse; and when other Matter fails, talk much of your-self, your Education, your Knowledge, your Circumstances, your Successes in Business, your Victories in Disputes, your own wise Sayings and Observations on particular Occasions, &c. &c. &c.;

2. If when you are out of Breath, one of the Company should seize the Opportunity of saying something; watch his Words, and, if possible, find somewhat either in his Sentiment or Expression, immediately to contradict and raise a Dispute upon. Rather than fail, criticise even his Grammar.

3. If another should be saying an indisputably good Thing; either give no Attention to it; or interrupt him; or draw away the Attention of others; or, if you can guess what he would be at, be quick and say it before him; or, if he gets it said, and you perceive the Company pleas'd with it, own it to be a good Thing, and withal remark that it had been said by Bacon, Locke, Bayle, or some other eminent Writer; thus you deprive him of the Reputation he might have gain'd by it, and gain some yourself, as you hereby show your great Reading and Memory.

4. When modest Men have been thus treated by you a few times, they will chuse ever after to be silent in your Company; then you may shine on without Fear of a Rival; rallying them at the same time for their Dullness, which will be to you a new Fund of Wit.

Thus you will be sure to please yourself. The polite Man aims at pleasing others, but you shall go beyond him even in that. A Man can be present only in one Company, but may at the same time be absent in twenty. He can please only where he is, you where-ever you are not.
(Franklin, 1750)
posted by nasreddin at 3:53 PM on February 13, 2008 [7 favorites]


Well it's affected all right. I am once again surprised by the lengths people will go to justify their lack of celebrity. This just seems to me to try to make one feel better about not being overly exceptional at anything, relying instead on the jack-of-all-trades crutch.

Using your curiosity about the world to claim league with the likes of Ben Franklin is weak sauce indeed.

And on preview, highfive nas.
posted by butterstick at 3:58 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Affected Provincial is a slightly more droll...

Goodness me! Such a class of person would surely much prefer the far more beauteous and circumflexed drôle, no?
posted by Sys Rq at 4:01 PM on February 13, 2008


Is elaborate well-researched, deep cover joke, no?
posted by Divine_Wino at 4:05 PM on February 13, 2008


Internet jokes that don't resolve to a punchline within presented materials are FAIL.
posted by butterstick at 4:09 PM on February 13, 2008


I think once you haters click on the profile and get a look at him, you will tumble into deep, platonic love and wish this weird man were your best friend. That's what happened to me. Also, he looks to be a very talented designer.
posted by moxiedoll at 4:27 PM on February 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh I clicked all right. Suffice to say I was unimpressed with his fedora.

I'm sure this guy is just acting out a character, but that doesn't seem to make it any less annoying or pretentious.
posted by butterstick at 4:31 PM on February 13, 2008


He reminds me of me. When I was eleven.
posted by jack_mo at 4:33 PM on February 13, 2008


Well, Jack Mo, did Johnny Depp option your scribblings when you were eleven? Advantage: Whimsy.
posted by moxiedoll at 4:37 PM on February 13, 2008


after reading a large chunk of his material - I get the deep platonic love vibe. He's making fun of himself while simultaneously taking himself seriously, but with a wink. It's good stuff.

Now, if the whole world was like this, we'd have some problems, but it's good and healthy for such people to exist. Particularly if they're sharing their kool-aid with us.
posted by EricGjerde at 4:40 PM on February 13, 2008


The fedora thread? I missed that one. Was languagehat involved? I never look good in hats anyway.. but I can rock an eye-patch.
posted by vronsky at 4:55 PM on February 13, 2008


fedora thread
posted by nasreddin at 5:09 PM on February 13, 2008


To each their own, but when I am around people who talk like that, I make it my business to get away quickly.
posted by everichon at 5:19 PM on February 13, 2008


And: should we just open the discussion page MeTa on this now? Jades vs Whimsicals! On the playground at noon!
posted by everichon at 5:22 PM on February 13, 2008


If you're from Nebraska and think there's a "u" in "color"-- you might be a Provincial...
If you carry a small pepper-grinder in your pocket "just in case"-- you might be a Provincial...
If you've ever ordered more than 3 Moleskine products at a time--- you might be a Provincial...
posted by Dizzy at 5:27 PM on February 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Damn it, I was doing good till that Moleskin comment.
posted by khaibit at 5:46 PM on February 13, 2008


And: should we just open the discussion page MeTa on this now? Jades vs Whimsicals! On the playground at noon!

Meh. jonmc alone could break six teddy boys over his knee simultaneously.
posted by nasreddin at 5:47 PM on February 13, 2008


RULES, by the Observation of which, a Man of Wit and Learning may nevertheless make himself a disagreeable Companion Meta-Filterman, &c. &c. &c.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:15 PM on February 13, 2008


That young man longs to be a Chap. (previously)
posted by winna at 6:41 PM on February 13, 2008


A previous thread on Lord Whimsy from amberglow, with a link to his (non-Livejournal) website.
posted by LeeJay at 6:59 PM on February 13, 2008


I like this fellow also.
posted by peacay at 7:18 PM on February 13, 2008


The affected provincal's dream identity seems to be that of Uncle Monty from Withnil and I. As a youth I used to weep in butcher's shops.
posted by DenOfSizer at 7:30 PM on February 13, 2008


As a youth I used to weep in butcher's shops.

"...I
Go to bakeries
All day long.
There's a lack of sweetness in my life."
- The Modern Lovers
posted by nasreddin at 7:35 PM on February 13, 2008


The affected provincal's dream identity seems to be that of Uncle Monty from Withnil and I.

I've only had a few ales.

PS. That thick velvet suit is flavor, no pocket flaps, trim fit, warm enough for winter, good stuff, nice tie.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:44 PM on February 13, 2008


"Lately, I've been interested in root vegetables. There is something so je ne sais qois about a firm young carrot, don't you think?"

also: the fedora thread! Shame to have missed it; I was effectively outside internet access at the time. Funnily, fedora guy reminds me of two or three guys I've known, in his affectations. I've often thought that they transcended simple eccentricity, and that their behaviour may have actually been an unconscious coping mechanism for undiagnosed minor aspergers.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:22 PM on February 13, 2008


I'm glad that this thread hasn't turned on the fellow. Unlike some people who might look and talk similarly, he seems in on his own joke. That's enough to make me like him.
posted by Schismatic at 8:23 PM on February 13, 2008


I'm not seeing it nasreddin. You are one of my fave mefites, but Lord Whimsy does not equal fedora guy. Not in the same league.

I just discovered his blog today, but I have been reading his comments for years on another LJ I frequent and I can tell you that he comes across as charming, intelligent, playful and kind. In other words, a perfect provincial. The kind of person you would like to be friends with (or what moxiedoll said). and I say this as someone who usually runs screaming from twee.

maybe you should read this sentence again.

"The Affected Provincial is a slightly more droll, playful creature than his cool, reserved cousin in the city; he doesn't take himself too seriously; he believes that humor and playfulness are far more civilized than bitchiness and bile."

Or if that doesn't work, halve your dosage.
posted by vronsky at 8:40 PM on February 13, 2008


I just discovered his blog today, but I have been reading his comments for years on another LJ I frequent and I can tell you that he comes across as charming, intelligent, playful and kind. In other words, a perfect provincial. The kind of person you would like to be friends with (or what moxiedoll said). and I say this as someone who usually runs screaming from twee.

My main problem with the guy is that he spends all his time defining what an affected provincial is, but it's clear that the answer comes down to "someone who has all the character traits I like to associate with myself and also has my taste in music and pizza toppings." I'm just not impressed or overwhelmed enough by his faux-18th century schtick to be able to get past that.

I study the eighteenth century, and so I'm familiar with the people he's trying to imitate; he doesn't pull it off even remotely. Someone like Franklin or Dr. Johnson impresses you with his easy wit and cleverness, not the weight of affectation he can bring to bear. I get the sense that with this guy, it's always about himself and how he's coming off at any given moment.

The fact that he seems to be aware of how affected and narcissistic he looks just doesn't mitigate it. Dr. Johnson had an ego the size of Greenland, but he still makes me want to go back in time and have a pot of ale with him. This guy? It just seems like he gets up every morning, puts on some vintage Brooks Brothers seersucker, and jerks off in front of the mirror.
posted by nasreddin at 9:00 PM on February 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


I've had the pleasure of introducing Lord Whimsy at one of his book readings, and he is nothing if not approachable and kind. He has a certain aesthetic that he believes in, but as a writer and a person remains completely approachable and open. Wouldn't hurt a fly. Raises orchids. Good Lord, how can you not appreciate a quiet happy character like that?
posted by redsparkler at 9:01 PM on February 13, 2008


( And I have known cultured/affected sorts in the past who could use a good slapping because they were and are at heart egoridden elitists, but Whimsy is not like that. Not one bit. I promise. Scout's honor.)
posted by redsparkler at 9:04 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, I haven't had the honor of interacting with His Lordship in any other venue, so perhaps I judge prematurely. I call 'em as I see 'em, though.
posted by nasreddin at 9:05 PM on February 13, 2008


nasreddin, methinks you take it all a bit too seriously. It's just a bit of post-modern humour centring on affectation not emulation. I don't even think it's a satire on the times as much as it's a leg pull on the author and the reader. The bottom line might be that some people are exposed and attracted to your precious Sternes and Johnson who may otherwise never have encountered them. Have 4 to 11 ales and a nap. All is well.
posted by peacay at 9:18 PM on February 13, 2008


peacay, hah ha! And so to bed.
posted by mwhybark at 9:23 PM on February 13, 2008



nasreddin, methinks you take it all a bit too seriously. It's just a bit of post-modern humour centring on affectation not emulation. I don't even think it's a satire on the times as much as it's a leg pull on the author and the reader. The bottom line might be that some people are exposed and attracted to your precious Sternes and Johnson who may otherwise never have encountered them. Have 4 to 11 ales and a nap. All is well.


'Tis justly said. I can't deny it.
posted by nasreddin at 9:29 PM on February 13, 2008


oh god, who cares. GUY HAS WEIRD LJ, FILM AT 11.

I like ale, though.
posted by blacklite at 9:57 PM on February 13, 2008


i shall also criticise this blog or newsletter, so as to be prescribed ales.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:16 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


so as to be prescribed ales

I don't imagine much of a change. I find comfort in thinking that each of your comments is already prefaced with 4 to 11 ales.
posted by peacay at 10:45 PM on February 13, 2008


i'm just glad that you're more perceptive than my manager, peacay.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:03 AM on February 14, 2008


moxiedoll: "Well, Jack Mo, did Johnny Depp option your scribblings when you were eleven? Advantage: Whimsy."

There was no time for scribbling. I was much too busy asking my Mom if she would buy me a monocle, &c.
posted by jack_mo at 6:48 AM on February 14, 2008


What would they call the opposite of this, you know when like when a guy like Mitt Romney puts on a flannel shirt and becomes "a man of the people."
posted by Pollomacho at 7:05 AM on February 14, 2008


I've had the pleasure of introducing Lord Whimsy at one of his book readings, and he is nothing if not approachable and kind. He has a certain aesthetic that he believes in, but as a writer and a person remains completely approachable and open. Wouldn't hurt a fly. Raises orchids. Good Lord, how can you not appreciate a quiet happy character like that?

Emphasis added. Droning on about ones self is not my idea of quiet. Every time he uses the word "humbly" I fucking gag.
posted by butterstick at 9:49 AM on February 14, 2008


Well here is an idea butterstick -- jump in your IROC Z-28, crank the REO Speedwagon, peel out and find another thread. None of us really give a shit what you think.
posted by vronsky at 10:26 AM on February 14, 2008


Obligatory Bouvard and Pécuchet shoutout.
posted by ersatz at 4:29 PM on February 14, 2008


Obligatory Huysmans shoutout.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:56 PM on February 14, 2008


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