It is then that I know I have lost. Had lost long ago.
July 21, 2015 8:43 AM   Subscribe

How I Quit Spin an essay by writer and poet Joshua Clover
posted by gwint (37 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Is there a trick to the scrolling? I scroll down to the end of the visible posts, and when more load the page jumps me way, way forward from where I left off. Admittedly I often have this problem with the whole infinite scroll thing, but an extended storify is the least desirable place to have it. Is there a settings fix?
posted by Frowner at 8:51 AM on July 21, 2015


"I remind myself the world doesn't let mid-class white guys starve, that this tightrope always has a net if yr in my shoes."
posted by clawsoon at 9:14 AM on July 21, 2015


There's 200 parts to this? How about you collect them and actually write an essay from them.
posted by boo_radley at 9:15 AM on July 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


"Creed is so gay."
posted by entropicamericana at 9:19 AM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just to be clear: I'm the one that called this stream of tweets an "essay", not Joshua Clover. That may have been a mistake on my part, because I think the short form of the 200 parts contributes to the unique style and tension of the... "work"?
posted by gwint at 9:21 AM on July 21, 2015


No, I think the txting/message board style works for this story. It brings it to a level where one doesn't have to be a poet or need the critical thinking skills of your typical MeFite to engage and empathize. I mean, he's basically saying "this is how I quit my shitty job fourteen years ago when I was a stupid kid and didn't know how good I had it"—who hasn't heard (or told) a story like this in some break room, or out back smoking? Gawker, Fark and Reddit are full of entertaining stories like these.

It's definitely a more gripping read than the "Creed is so gay" review.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:36 AM on July 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


and not just passes but the kind that let you into the LITERALLY HEART-SHAPED closed off area stage front.

I love this turn of phrase, because the shape any normal person thinks of when you say "literally heart-shaped" is not shaped like a literal heart.
posted by layceepee at 9:37 AM on July 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


"this is how I quit my shitty job fourteen years ago when I was a stupid kid and didn't know how good I had it"

he was 39 in 2001
posted by thelonius at 9:43 AM on July 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


he was 39 in 2001

The folks with these kinds of quitting stories tend to, shall we say, take their time growing up. I maintain that it's a stupid kid thing to do to make your employer fire you instead of quitting directly because it's "onerous and dull."
posted by infinitewindow at 9:47 AM on July 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


Ewww, gross, this guy is super impressed with himself, the fact that he worked at Spin, the studio apartment in Paris, the hanging out in the "bar on St. Mark's Place," the international flights....

That's, basically, the tweetsay.
posted by jayder at 9:48 AM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


The folks with these kinds of quitting stories tend to, shall we say, take their time growing up.

I guess I am in no position to judge; I went from prolonged adolescence directly into midlife crisis and now, it seems, old man yelling at cloud phase. No actual stage of adulthood anywhere in sight.
posted by thelonius at 10:01 AM on July 21, 2015 [14 favorites]


For some reason I conflated "Spin" with "spinning" and imagined him quitting his job yelling at people on stationary bikes.
posted by emjaybee at 10:11 AM on July 21, 2015 [13 favorites]


There has to be a website that de-tweets storify
posted by SharkParty at 10:17 AM on July 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


He was considered one of the stars of the IA writer's workshop. I'm not sure if he was still formally a student when I was there, but I remember seeing him at parties and writers' hangouts.
posted by brujita at 10:37 AM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


god seriously fuck this format.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:53 AM on July 21, 2015 [8 favorites]


[There's a MetaTalk about the formatting of the tweets, please take comments about that over there. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:55 AM on July 21, 2015


I feel kind of like I was tricked into piecing together a story that wasn't very interesting. But I feel that way a lot of the time.

However, I kind of like the fact that his picture on his UC Davis Faulty page makes it kind of look like his head is on fire. I think that would really catch my students' attention, and I may try it this Fall.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:55 AM on July 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


well I read through the whole thing despite it freezing the holy hell out of my browser and i'm here to tell you it's not worth it
posted by Greg Nog at 10:55 AM on July 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


Can someone indicate what you like about this? I was excited about it yesterday, and now, catching up, I'm kind of deflated. Plus I figured that he was well under thirty, based on his rather impulsive decision-making style. I guess I am still waiting for the ironic ending or the punchline. But maybe I will like it more if someone can point out the coolness to me.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 10:55 AM on July 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Maybe it works better if you're hearing it over drinks on a summer night.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 10:58 AM on July 21, 2015


The annoying format was just the cherry on the not-as-interesting-as-he-seems-to-think-it-is sundae.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:59 AM on July 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


73. like, holy shit, Al Quaeda *really* wants me to keep my gig as a music journalist.

Yes dearie, it's all about you.
posted by chavenet at 11:59 AM on July 21, 2015


I mean, it's good that he's aware that this could only happen because "the world doesn't let mid-class white guys starve," at least not the ones whose middle-classness involves having as much cultural capital as he had.

But it is still straightup impossible for me to see the world through the eyes of a guy who signs a contract for a job that gives him enough money to live in Paris, plus concert tickets and free CDs, for writing (and it sounds like not even all that many words) about a subject that interests him, and then quits the job with no other source of income lined up, in a sudden and bridge-burning kind of way, when he has only 3 out of 12 months left in the contract. I mean, I have no argument with leaving a job for the sake of a principle, even if it's not a principle I personally would leave the job for, and how he chooses to take care of himself is his business, and he's now a professor at UC Davis so clearly it all worked out OK. But wow, he really is 100% intuitively confident about that net under the tightrope.
posted by ostro at 12:46 PM on July 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


I maintain that it's a stupid kid thing to do to make your employer fire you instead of quitting directly because it's "onerous and dull."

but i thought he did quit, in person. Am I missing your point here?

Yes dearie, it's all about you.

Pretty sure that was the joke
posted by Hoopo at 12:52 PM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Can someone indicate what you like about this?

That, unlike 99% of the internet, it's well-written and tells a story.
posted by escabeche at 3:10 PM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


There's a school of writing I hate that I call, for lack of a better term, the Too Cool for School School. It is exemplified by Ben Lerner's Leaving the Atocha Station, Tom Bissell's Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter, A Brush With the Law by Robert Byrnes and Jaime Marquart, and possibly How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti.

The Too Cool for School School sets great store by the combination of prestigious affiliations and dissolute/irresponsible/insistently unhappy behavior that is more appropriate to a spoiled adolescent. And the writings of this school betray that the author is still in the throes of this immaturity because the writing reveals that the author is terribly impressed by his or her reckless/irresponsible behavior despite the impressive affiliation (fancy literary fellowships in the case of Lerner and Bissell, the law schools of Stanford and Harvard in the case of Marquart/Byrnes, Spin magazine in the case of this chode, not sure about Heti). The giveaway is the relish with which the author regales us with the irresponsibility ... it is basically a book length humblebrag whose longueurs are devoted to sending the message of "Look how I had this thing that everyone would kill for and frittered it away because I'm so excellent that I do not need to worry about losing my footing in a world that is normally unforgiving but when you're as chill and excellent as I am it's nothing to worry about." These writings are bland to a fault and the authors seem to think that cataloguing their wasteful, impulsive, reckless behavior is enough to sustain interest in readers. (it's not.)

I find this genre of work grating as all hell, not to mention tedious and childish, and this collection of tweets falls right smack into the Too Cool for School genre. I note from his USC bio that the author has the almost archetypal "well rounded"/cool interests of this type, including poetry, political economy, and ... ha ha ... "riot studies." Walking cliche much?

Gag me with a spoon.
posted by jayder at 3:21 PM on July 21, 2015 [13 favorites]


This line really annoyed me: "quitting seems onerous and dull." Onerous?

All these machinations, and simply saying "that thing you pay me to do - I no longer wish to do it" is onerous. Alright then...
posted by Dark Messiah at 4:07 PM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


thank you for the heads-up about How Should a Person Be, jayder
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 4:13 PM on July 21, 2015


Metafilter - where Too Cool For School commenters comment on Too Cool For School School writers in a Too Cool For School style.
posted by Chuffy at 5:34 PM on July 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


P.S. I'd forgotten about Dubya saying to go shopping and a time before the shoe bomber...
posted by Chuffy at 5:38 PM on July 21, 2015


I haven't read Bissell or Byrnes/Marquart, but How Should A Person Be? and the two Ben Lerner books are three of the best novels I've read recently. I don't even know how to grapple with the idea that they're about being "cool," or even that those novels care about that. They're novels, pretty traditional novels, which is to say they treat their characters as people with something real at stake.

Also, they're funny.
posted by escabeche at 7:19 PM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


155. Imagine a play which is just the attorneys for Creon, Haemon, Isme & Antigone meeting for two hours. That is tragedy.

This is fantastic.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:08 PM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


This line really annoyed me: "quitting seems onerous and dull." Onerous?

All these machinations, and simply saying "that thing you pay me to do - I no longer wish to do it" is onerous. Alright then...
posted by Dark Messiah at 4:07 PM on July 21
[1 favorite +]     [!]


well, and it's so onerous and dull that he bought an international airline ticket from Paris to NYC just so he could "quit in person." I'm glad he's got that kind of time and money to piss away when an email or phone call would have sufficed.
posted by jayder at 3:33 AM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


--Can someone indicate what you like about this?

--That, unlike 99% of the internet, it's well-written and tells a story.


Do you find the story interesting or told humorously? I'm sorry to be so concrete here, but maybe it's just a question of taste. It's well-written enough, and it takes advantage of the Twitter format pretty well, but I wasn't clear why it bothered.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:07 AM on July 22, 2015


P.S. I'd forgotten about Dubya saying to go shopping and a time before the shoe bomber...
posted by Chuffy at 8:38 PM on July 21


You forgot! Out there, somewhere is an eagle shedding a tiny tear. The eagle is semi-transparent, and sitting in front of a waving Flag. A tiny Hulkster is posing next to the eagle for some reason.
posted by mcrandello at 1:32 AM on July 23, 2015


I somehow missed it when this was first posted, but I want to point out some things that are awesome:

1. The definition of tragedy as a meeting of the lawyers for characters in Antigone. (GENIUS.)
2. The bit in the middle about the WTC really closely resembles my own experience: I missed a meeting and spend at least my first hour trapped in a subway car under the WTC worrying about that rather than the smoke/air quality. Also, walking home was pretty arduous and scary.
3. The stuff about the breach of contract and how he resolved it.
4. That The Coup had WTC blowing up as its cover. It was an iconic building and it had already been attacked once, but still, there were a lot of things involving the WTC that had to be redone. (The first Spiderman movie had Spidey catch a helicopter in a web slung between the towers.) So weird.
5. His self-deprecation has aged like a fine wine. (I don't actually think that fine wine's are worth it, but this was a free story I read on Slate.)
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:51 AM on July 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


The definition of tragedy as a meeting of the lawyers for characters in Antigone. (GENIUS.)

Ok, a couple of people have mentioned this, and I'm sorry if I'm just really dense, but why is this genius? Is it genius for any reason other than "I think it's funny"?
posted by jayder at 3:14 PM on July 24, 2015


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