BuzzFeed's self-congratulatory Dutch oven
March 7, 2015 11:47 AM   Subscribe

"Or don’t. But please. Detox. Throw your phone in the fucking East River. DELETE YOUR TWITTER." The Concessionist, an advice column for the Awl written by Choire Sicha, fields "the letter that encapsulates the millennial age": I Hate Myself Because I Don't Work For BuzzFeed.

(Max Read: "This is really depressing to read rnow but will be really funny 2-5 years from now and incomprehensible in a decade")
posted by naju (35 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I already find it incomprehensible. I'm ahead of my time.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 11:50 AM on March 7, 2015 [6 favorites]

I'm 40. I remember opening Mosaic as a break from USENET for five minutes, and thinking "this'll never catch on", and closing it down.

I COULD HAVE FOUNDED YAHOO AND BEEN A BILLIONAIRE. Fuck you and your working for BuzzFeed.

[/tongue in cheek]
posted by alasdair at 12:02 PM on March 7, 2015 [8 favorites]

The professional white background is evidently full of cocaine.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:04 PM on March 7, 2015 [8 favorites]

Why is this not Metafilter's own Choire Sicha?
posted by Ideefixe at 12:10 PM on March 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

Because that's a bit "self-congratulatory Dutch oven"
posted by naju at 12:14 PM on March 7, 2015 [6 favorites]

I don't know a whole lot, but I do know that the person who wrote this letter would still not be happy working at BuzzFeed.
posted by dogwalker at 12:15 PM on March 7, 2015 [6 favorites]

Is this real?

BuzzFeed is the most successful media company of our time. BuzzFeed is the future of the media business. BuzzFeed is the most widely recognized media brand among young people and will inevitably eclipse the major media organizations and one day become a super-hegemonic media power the likes of which we’ve never seen.

I don't understand how someone who supposedly grew up in my cohort can say this. If we're gonna go all cohort theory, mine is that which has seen hegemony become transient like nothing else. MySpace? LiveJournal? AOL? Hell, even good ole MS isn't the titan it was. Certainly in the cultural sphere at least, persistent hegemony is done. You can look on their works, ye mighty, and despair before the concrete's even done setting.
posted by PMdixon at 12:18 PM on March 7, 2015 [18 favorites]

I told them I didn’t want to write more clickbait than substance — what the fuck was I thinking?

That clickbait sucks and you didn't want to be part of that? The fact BuzzFeed got big does not have any bearing on wanting to do something as a profession that has substance.
posted by mcstayinskool at 12:25 PM on March 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

Good answer Choire except Id add that Eating shit is 99% of doing creative work, because there's no such thing as Final Success and at some point you can look at the rest of your potential career, Maybe around 28 years old, and see the never ending shit eating interspersed with minor steps forward and small appreciations and say Fuck It, I'm Selling the Fuck Out. And then the plates are smaller and they come with a side of parsley, and that's nice.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:26 PM on March 7, 2015 [9 favorites]

I couldn't understand any of this.
posted by colie at 12:30 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh i understand, i just don't give shit.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:35 PM on March 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

It's a bit inside baseball, but I think it might work just as well if you don't understand. I'd just read the question as a hilarious/chilling portrait of new media insanity, and the answer as a hilarious/chilling attempt to come to grips with that insanity and what to do about it.
posted by naju at 12:38 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

I like parsley.
posted by clavdivs at 12:51 PM on March 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

whatever. just stay the fuck off my lawn.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 12:51 PM on March 7, 2015

And I thought Choire Sicha hated himself because he used to work for Gawker.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:55 PM on March 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

Oh, for heaven's sake. This is bananas.

I'm always baffled by how so many people assume you have to write for media/advertising/PR to be a writer. Pick an industry, any industry, and there's both the need for writers and editors and the means to pay them well.
posted by mochapickle at 12:58 PM on March 7, 2015 [5 favorites]

Guys. GUYS. It's a humor piece. It's a sarcasm hyperbole catchphrase sandwich with bananas and anchovies (OMG I hope my crazy sandwich goes viral!!)

Don't take any of the statements seriously.
posted by sidereal at 1:01 PM on March 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

How can you feel good about yourself if you don’t work for such a massive, popular, successful company?

Rewarding human relationships, good books, good music, laughter, drunken sing-a-longs to cheesy music on the jukebox at three a.m., drunken sex after said sing-a-longs?

Ah, what do I know. I'm 43 with rapidly graying hair and a pension waiting for me in another two decades. No first grader has ever said they wanted to grow up to do my job. But I've got money in the bank and no serious health problems and I'm a lot happier than this guy. That much I do know.
posted by jason's_planet at 1:04 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Is this real?


It's pretty funny though.
posted by sidereal at 1:05 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Guys. GUYS. It's a humor piece.

D'oh! You're right.
posted by jason's_planet at 1:09 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Wait, why haven't I ever hugged a dolphin?? What am I even doing with my life?
posted by evidenceofabsence at 1:11 PM on March 7, 2015

Where does it say it's a humor piece?
posted by vogon_poet at 1:11 PM on March 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

That was kinda long and hard to follow. Maybe if he edited to be a list, like 17 reasons I can't work at Buzzfeed. And maybe he should throw in some funny gifs to break things up. Also, it's not meta enough, he needed to refer to himself referring to Buzzfeed's reference of his poor man's Buzzfeed of a website.
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:17 PM on March 7, 2015 [5 favorites]

Where does it say it's a humor piece?

I don't know, the letter is probably real and the sentiments are genuine on some level, but no one's playing this thing completely straight. Choire's response is definitely funny but also contains some genuine insights. That's my take and I'm sticking with it.
posted by naju at 1:19 PM on March 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

Oh yeah? Well I hate myself for loving you.

So there.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:59 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

me irl
posted by entropicamericana at 4:06 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Where does it say it's a humor piece?

I had to read one of the other more mundane questions about relationship problems to get the tone.
posted by bradbane at 4:15 PM on March 7, 2015

I love The Concessionist so much.
posted by purpleclover at 4:33 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is not a humor piece. I felt much the same about Tumblr and its clique when I was a college froshling, back in 2008.

I don't really have the heart to write a long piece about this, but there are a lot of people for whom culture is defined by the Internet — and sometimes that's great, as in when you're talking about consuming culture i.e. finding something better to spend your time on than The Avengers and The Big Bang Theory, plus maybe you're writing and recording some little things of your own, but other times you start to perceive the Internet as a culture more akin to your local social scene, i.e. a bunch of people who are cool and hang around and have parties and shit, only these people happen to fill that niche for fifty thousand likeminded people who all feel like they're THIS CLOSE from getting to go to that parties, only that's a lie because the cool party people just happen to be friends who have a creepy amount of strangers watching their every goddamn move.

A friend of mine who's got a lot of anxiety about his success as a game designer has recently been dealing with the weird realization that he's only a degree separated from his all-time idols, because when you're actually part of an industry you find that it's a small world and everybody knows everybody or whatever. The guy whose job I took used to be close friends with my ex-roommate, crazy! And if you do a thing you meet people who also do that thing and then you get to go to their parties where you realize they're the literal exact same as every other party you've been to, only with slightly more retweets per party pic or whateverthefuck.

But when you're young, and when you grow up "consuming" a culture that you suddenly realize is the product of an ACTUAL culture of a couple of cool people who like to make a thing, I think a lot of the time you feel super alienated, on account of you're closer to the people who make your media than ever before, you use the same service, you're "technically" RIGHT THERE, only there are these invisible lines of like "friendship" and "knowing people" that can, when ten friends all have 50,000 followers to your 5, feel a lot like Manifest Destiny, and can make you feel really damn inferior, on account of everybody tends to be seduced by points systems, and Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and Tumblr really like rubbing points in people's faces.

My personal opinion is that this is the result of shitty fucking social media design. Which isn't to say it doesn't work. But like Farmville or Clash of Clans, social media sites pressure you into pursuing followers and likes, they pressure you to follow people who are far more "successful" than you are, and when they successfully DO become your social life, then you can start to feel like you've totally fucked up by these ridiculously arbitrary rules that you've been encouraged to follow. (Recently I removed all my friends on Facebook, the way I unfollowed everybody on Twitter a year or so ago, and Facebook does this wonderful thing where they MAKE ME FOLLOW RANDOM PEOPLE TO MAKE UP FOR MY LACK OF FRIENDS, like actually just stick their shit in my newsfeed until I tell Facebook to hide those specific people.)

Thankfully I now have things like "self-esteem" and "really close friends" and "a fuckton of fake MetaFilter points to make up for my lack of Facebook and Twitter points", but I still have tendencies to feel shitty about myself when I use the Internet the wrong way, just as I'd feel shitty if I spent all my time at some douchey nightclub or similarly wrongminded social environment. The Internet conflates media consumption and socialization in a really bizarre way, and sites like Buzzfeed definitely encourage that conflation in ways both intentional and unintentional. The twenty-first century is not the greatest time to be young.
posted by rorgy at 5:54 PM on March 7, 2015 [18 favorites]

That's spot on, rorgy, and a good explanation of why I opposed favorites here.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:18 PM on March 7, 2015

I have advice for this fictional(?) person: stay on the bus.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:57 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

For what it's worth, rorgy, as an outsider at the time I totally considered you a part of that clique, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by aedison at 8:04 PM on March 7, 2015

People like to act like theyre in a clique whenever they interact. It always look bad from the outside but we should try to remember that either they are good people who would happily be friends with you, or they are douches who enjoy excluding others and they will end up lonely as fuck when they get too old for their phony bullshit to work.

I thought of something else. Solitude is the first and truest audience of all art, especially writing. If you don't develop that ability to create for that inner peer, you're not going to make it as a writer. And the first thing that dude would say is: "Fuck em, *I* like your stuff. Except that paragraph. Cut that."
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:50 AM on March 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

aedison: What's REALLY funny about your saying that is, I totally thought you were part of a Tumblr clique back when I followed you there in 2008/2009! LOOKS LIKE THE TABLES HAVE TURNED, WOT WOT
posted by rorgy at 7:05 AM on March 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

Yeah, Internet cliques can be really rough. Even just looking at Facebook was getting toxic for me; I would look at people that I used to know and feel jealous about the weirdest shit, like, the weirdest stuff would make me just feel bad and empty when I saw it. I deleted my Facebook (on the advice of Metafilter, actually), and I haven't looked back and it has been so, so freeing and incredible. I want to shout about how great it is... but I have nowhere to shout. Because I don't have a Facebook.

Also the phrase "you are waking up in a Groundhog Day of spiritual self-murder" is so great and I plan to use it in situations where people have something that they won't just let go of already. Sometimes we really do torture ourselves with stuff, like the person who wrote this question, and realizing that the self-torture is a choice and that you are basically living out the movie Groundhog Day but in a much less hilarious fashion might be a good wake-up call.
posted by sockermom at 12:40 PM on March 9, 2015

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