Essays by Rosa Lyster
July 16, 2016 3:23 PM   Subscribe

The Best Time I Pretended I Hadn’t Heard of Slavoj Žižek is a humorous essay by Rosa Lyster about driving people mad by pretending she doesn't know a common cultural touchstone, such as Žižek, Twin Peaks or The Beatles. This is her second essay for The Hairpin, after My Dad Reads ‘Wuthering Heights’ For The First Time, which is how her dad rediscovered a love for reading fiction. Her essays have been published here and there, and she writes an essay a week on her website. The latest essay is about Peanuts and being an older sister.
posted by Kattullus (127 comments total) 58 users marked this as a favorite
 
Rosa Lyster? Never heard of her.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:36 PM on July 16, 2016 [24 favorites]


Žižek, John Updike, MORRISSEY (only for experts), Radiohead, Twin Peaks, David Lynch in general, Banksy (only for streetfighters), Withnail and I, Bauhaus (movement), Bauhaus (band), Afrika Burn, the expression “garbage person,” A Clockwork Orange, Steampunk (this one is really good), Jack Kerouac, “Gilmore Girls,” Woody Allen, the expression “grammar nerd,” the expression “grammar Nazi,” cocktails, bongs, magical realism, millennials, Cards Against Humanity, trance parties, bunting, many comedians, William Gibson, burlesque, the Beats, The God Delusion, sloths, anarchism, Joy Division, CrossFit, “The Mighty Boosh,” and Fight Club.

Tactic only valid in Williamsburg
posted by indubitable at 3:40 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


The risk of someone telling me that they have never heard of Slavoj Zizek is (well, really, my knowledge of Zizek is pretty much "I don't like him much for nebulous reasons because he pings my misogynist-o-meter")....but if you tell me that you've never heard of William Gibson, all you're going to get out of me is a flappy-floppy performance of excitement while I tell you about what I like and don't like about Gibson, my friend's experience interviewing him, which novels to start with, the whole thing about cyberpunk, a little precis of why I think people periodize seventies and eighties science fiction wrong - basically, I think you'd be better off saying that you hate the Beatles, so to speak, because if you really hate William Gibson, I won't flobble at you about what an exciting treat you have in store.

Maybe it's a New York thing - I wouldn't think someone was dumb if they hadn't heard of Zizek, or even the Beatles, or steampunk, or Withnail and I, or the other stuff she lists. I'd just be really excited that I could tell someone about them.
posted by Frowner at 3:40 PM on July 16, 2016 [34 favorites]


If you're going to bars where lots of people assume that you'll have heard of Zizek, you're going to need more than this game to make your social life bearable.

You also live in a fictional universe.
posted by howfar at 3:41 PM on July 16, 2016 [73 favorites]


Application note: only funny when punching up.
posted by mondo dentro at 3:42 PM on July 16, 2016 [18 favorites]


Also, I have only a nebulous understanding of Gilmore Girls - that was a nineties TV show, right? - and would sit still for an enthused explanation. I mean, someone telling you about something exciting and new is fun, right?
posted by Frowner at 3:45 PM on July 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


If you're talking to someone who professes not to know who Zizek is, and you're pretty sure they're putting you on, feel free to fill them in on the details: Explain how Zizek was a 19th century pioneer of trans-Pacific hot-air balloon travel, how he was almost the first westerner to be emperor of Japan, and how he famously subsisted on a diet of starfish hearts.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 3:46 PM on July 16, 2016 [80 favorites]


I'd quite like to see Slavoj Zizek pretending not to have heard of Slavoj Zizek.
posted by dng at 3:47 PM on July 16, 2016 [37 favorites]


There is a related game, called "Who is Mike Jones?".
posted by idiopath at 3:48 PM on July 16, 2016 [15 favorites]


If you can't roll with a Gilmore girls discussion, you can't roll with me.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:49 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have actually never heard of Afrika Burn, and I have encountered the phrase "The Mighty Boosh" but have no idea what it is. I am not fucking with you: I'm just culturally out of it.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:50 PM on July 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


Afrika Burn is the South African version of Burning Man. Lyster lives in Cape Town.
posted by Kattullus at 3:54 PM on July 16, 2016


The only thing I know about Slavoj Zizek is that he has this thing where he farts uncontrollably at Japanese bus stops.
posted by crumbly at 3:56 PM on July 16, 2016 [10 favorites]


Cape Town, often referred to as the "sixth borough,"
posted by invitapriore at 3:59 PM on July 16, 2016 [10 favorites]


Also, I wish I could be friends with her dad. He would then be the only man of my acquaintance who has read Villette, which is one of my very favorite novels, especially the irony at the end. Truly, her dad sounds like a dream of a man - I'm sure he has his flaws in real life, but he sounds like the hero of a very classy romance novel.
posted by Frowner at 4:06 PM on July 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


Withnail and I...Afrika Burn ...the expression “garbage person”...“The Mighty Boosh”

I legit have no idea what these things are
posted by thelonius at 4:14 PM on July 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


"Metafilter"? What's that?
posted by speicus at 4:18 PM on July 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'd quite like to see Slavoj Zizek pretending not to have heard of Slavoj Zizek.

While eating a shoe.
posted by Fizz at 4:24 PM on July 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


I've never heard of Slavoj Zizek or if I have, I don't recall that name. I might read a description and go "oh yeah"
posted by stevil at 4:26 PM on July 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


Also, no one yet?
posted by stevil at 4:26 PM on July 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


Slavoj Žižek one way or the other, whatever, but I am loving her essays-a-week and am now going to continue reading all 54 in reverse chronological order. Thank you for the introduction.
posted by mykescipark at 4:27 PM on July 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


I hadn't heard of Slavoj Žižek, until this thread. So I looked at the Wikipedia page for him, thought "ok, now I know", and then read the essay.
I can't figure out if she is talking sufficiently excitedly about Žižek that I shouldn't admit this.

I have to say I actually prefer the game when I really haven't heard of the thing in question; I have had a few friends and a few colleagues who suffer from the "we must have an intense intellectual conversation about Thing" disease.
Since I am relentlessly competitive conversations with such types are a never-ending game of one-manship and it's dreadful be turned into a "I Have Important Thoughts" person just because I feel like I have to show some doofus that I am better at it than he is.

So honestly it's a wonderful relief when I can simply and truthfully say that I have no idea what they are on about. Plus I get to watch all the confused stammering without having to act/lie beforehand. And a little bit of that is the joy of knowing that they would never be brave enough themselves to admit they didn't know in the reversed situation.

Anyhow, even though there is a certain annoyance in having someone assume you do know about a Thing, there is a hell of a lot more in someone assuming that you don't. At least these bros aren't assuming the author is too out of touch to have heard of Žižek (after all even I have heard of him, now anyways).
posted by nat at 4:32 PM on July 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


the sixth borough of where?
posted by andrewcooke at 4:41 PM on July 16, 2016 [17 favorites]


If you do this be sure to mention that Slavoj Zizek invented reverse chronological swimming which sounds philosophical but is really just swimming feet first.
posted by Lyme Drop at 4:42 PM on July 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


Huh. This just sounds like playing a game of 'being a jackass with strangers.' Which, i mean, I guess, but there's already enough jackassery in the world without intentional injection of more.
posted by kaibutsu at 4:47 PM on July 16, 2016 [9 favorites]


if you tell me that you've never heard of William Gibson, all you're going to get out of me is a flappy-floppy performance of excitement while I tell you about what I like and don't like about Gibson

She essentially address this in point (6).

6. Most importantly: Don’t do this to anyone who will be hurt by it, as opposed to merely irritated. If a nerd is holding forth enthusiastically on his chosen topic, it’s unkind to say that you don’t know what he’s talking about. He will be crushed. Similarly, if someone is very excited about something, it’s best just to go along with it.

The point isn't to sneer at people's genuine ethusiasms. The point is to decline to participate in ritual status signalling. It's seeing that a coversation is about to head into the Portlandia "Did you read it?" sketch territory and refusing to participate. I have read many interesting articles in the New Yorker and have had fun talking about them with people. But it's also fair to say that I have both mentioned and nodded at the mention of articles in the New Yorker, in order to convey what my tastes are and understand whether the person I'm talking to is simpatico. But too much of that kind of thing rapidly gets tiresome, you know?

Also, if you have a taste for screwball comedy of the His Girl Friday type, you'd probably dig Gilmore Girls. Somewhat soapy, somewhat sappy sitcom with insightful things to say about mothers and daughters, delivered in clever, motormouth-ed dialogue as packed with pop culture references as Arrested Development is with throwaway jokes.
posted by maggiepolitt at 4:49 PM on July 16, 2016 [50 favorites]


So just to be clear, because it's not clear if you don't RTFA and you might get the wrong impression, the author doesn't arrogantly think that all non-ignorant people know who Zizek is, only that someone with the same set of cultural touchstones as herself would almost certainly know who he is.
posted by teh_boy at 4:49 PM on July 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


What's The Hairpin?
posted by muddgirl at 4:49 PM on July 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


If you're going to bars where lots of people assume that you'll have heard of Zizek, you're going to need more than this game to make your social life bearable.

huh, guess u haven't been 2 the rougher corners of cambridge, ma
posted by listen, lady at 4:49 PM on July 16, 2016 [15 favorites]


Also I quite like these, thank you for posting.
posted by teh_boy at 4:55 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


All I know about Zizek is that The Pervert's Guide to Ideology was not at all what I was hoping for.
posted by clorox at 5:06 PM on July 16, 2016 [15 favorites]


Gilmore Girls; I will steadfastly defend my reality, where the show stopped after season 4. Gibson; I can lose hours in a discussion with a fellow Gibsonite. Rosa Lyster; New fan. About half that list of things on her list that annoy people if you don't know, are things which I do not know. But I'm old enough now that my peer group is pretty well the same group of friends I've had for 30 years, so if one of them is excited about something, I want to hear about it, because perhaps I too will find interesting, and even if I don't, I'm sure they've listened to me blather on about something too.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 5:09 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also fun to pretend you think they mean Werner Herzog, and respond accordingly.
posted by unknowncommand at 5:30 PM on July 16, 2016 [36 favorites]


I read that link out loud to my partner. The conclusion of laughter and discussion, though, was: "the worst thing about that article is it made me think about Slavoj Zizek".
posted by R343L at 5:43 PM on July 16, 2016 [7 favorites]


As an Internet Person, I status signal with memes. "What?! You've never heard of 'All Your Base'??"

The nerdier the better: "Okay, now it's time you watch 'tracer-t'."
posted by clawsoon at 5:59 PM on July 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


The version of this that would work really well on Metafilter is pretending never to have heard of the musical "Hamilton."
posted by Betelgeuse at 6:09 PM on July 16, 2016 [37 favorites]


Yeah I loved this essay partly because it distinguished between "omg omg omg let me tell you about my favorite thing" and "I am about to show you what a sophisticated thinker I am and make you respect and/or awe me". I have let my casual acquaintances excitedly tell me about how great books are that I've already read a dozen times (and let's be real I do this EVERY DAY to somebody or to you), but the phenomenon of people using their self-perceived sophistication to score Alpha Points is infuriating to me on all kinds of levels.

What's impressive to me is how easily you can distinguish between the two sorts. One of my coworkers is all about Modernism and Modernist painters. Absolutely one of the go-to places for people who want to be smug and holier-than-thou, in my art student experience. But my coworker is so giddy and enthusiastic about Modernist philosophy and aesthetics and what-have-you that it is a delight talking Karl Gerstner with him, or Can's lesser-known albums for that matter. (Can is another one of those things that is often insufferable to talk to people who like, so more points to this guy.)

On the other hand, I stopped going out of my way to meet people who liked the things I like because it is SO DISHEARTENING to talk to somebody who seems to think your mutual appreciation for a thing is like a secret handshake that lets you into a society of people who're trying to one-up the rest of the world. I am not the biggest fan of most geeks, but gosh I will take bubbly enthusiasm about something bad over the conversational equivalent of an armwrestle any day, especially if people are doing it with all of MY favorite terrible things that I love. (It pained me to see David Lynch and Twin Peaks called out in that essay, because dear god is the Lynch fanclub asinine beyond belief. They picked the right golden cow to worship IMO but STILL.)
posted by rorgy at 6:13 PM on July 16, 2016 [14 favorites]


Maybe it's a New York thing - I wouldn't think someone was dumb if they hadn't heard of Zizek, or even the Beatles, or steampunk, or Withnail and I, or the other stuff she lists. I'd just be really excited that I could tell someone about them.

Now I am imagining a TV show where Rosa Lyster goes to a party and pretends not to know something, and then Frowner suddenly appears and excitedly tells her about it, while the party goers stand around, bemused. As the season goes on, Frowner uses more and more props and flip charts as Lyster pretends not to know more and more outlandish things. It will be like Stuff You Missed in History Class but with much more hand-waving.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:16 PM on July 16, 2016 [16 favorites]


In 2016, not knowing who William Gibson is is basically the same as the old-fish-young-fish gag that ends with "what's water?"
posted by mhoye at 6:18 PM on July 16, 2016 [7 favorites]


There is a related game, called "Who is Mike Jones?".

Who?
posted by thack3r at 6:22 PM on July 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


unknowncommand: Also fun to pretend you think they mean Werner Herzog, and respond accordingly.


There's a joke in Bojack Horseman season 2 where Bojack intentionally mixes up Elijah Wood and Daniel Radcliffe, which I thought was hilarious, so I've started doing this and the results are hilarious, but you can't be like "Oh yeah Elijah Wood was awesome in Harry Potter!" but you can say "Daniel Radcliffe...Oh yeah he was in Everything Was Illuminated!" If you're really good you can try the Harry Potter/LOTR route but people are less inclined to believe that. I've since tried doing different actors, but I'm not as good at it, however Jake Gyllenhal/Ryan Gosling seems to work really well.
posted by gucci mane at 6:28 PM on July 16, 2016 [7 favorites]


What's impressive to me is how easily you can distinguish between the two sorts.
Yeah, I agree. I am not the world's best picker-upper-of-social-nuances, and I feel like I can usually tell the difference between a geek and a status-signaler. And I love geeks. I love romance novel geeks and baseball statistic geeks and didgeridoo geeks and sci-fi geeks and historical costuming geeks and every single kind of geek. Enthusiasm delights me, and I don't care very much what it's about. Someone who just really loves Joyce is different from someone who really wants you to know that they've read Finnegan's Wake.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:28 PM on July 16, 2016 [11 favorites]


Seriously though, I wish I had this game when I was younger as an alternative to just straight-up picking fights with this kind of person by saying intentionally incendiary shit like, "Dave Grohl sucks in the Foo Fighters." THAT is being a jackass. Pretending not to know who the Foo Fighters are so they will eventually give up is politeness incarnate.
posted by muddgirl at 6:54 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


If you're really good you can try the Harry Potter/LOTR route but people are less inclined to believe that. I've since tried doing different actors, but I'm not as good at it

While I hate to quote Bill Simmons when I don't have to, it's been an interesting mental exercise lately imagining every Leo DiCaprio movie as a Matt Damon movie, just to see if they're truly better.
posted by rokusan at 7:14 PM on July 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


Someone who just really loves Joyce is different from someone who really wants you to know that they've read Finnegan's Wake.

I literally deleted a line from my original comment mourning about how few vocal Finnegans Wake enthusiasts are equally enthusiastic about Humpty-Dumpty, drunken masturbators, poorly-sung chants, philosophical inquiries into the Garden of Eden and the meaning of Humankind's Fall, and what other cultures' words for thunder are like. And those are just the first five pages! Finnegans Wake is like a guide for how fascinating people and history and culture can be, and we put it on a pedestal and tell it not to touch itself. The history of art is tragedy neverending.
posted by rorgy at 7:31 PM on July 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


In eleventh grade, I drove a history teacher near to weeping with frustration by pretending that I had no idea what Delaware was.

Now my girlfriend teaches eleventh graders who actually don't know what Delaware is, which takes some of the shine off of that memory.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 7:37 PM on July 16, 2016 [22 favorites]


what is this 'art' you're going on about

I've never heard of it
posted by runt at 7:37 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


thack3r:
There is a related game, called "Who is Mike Jones?".

Who?
I see you're no spring chicken, so how about we move on to a game of knify spoony?
posted by idiopath at 7:41 PM on July 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


I go to a very nerdy university, and the kind of intellectual performance she refers to is everywhere. I have been cornered in conversations about what Marx would think of, like, gluten. This post has helped me more than you can know.
posted by teponaztli at 7:42 PM on July 16, 2016 [31 favorites]


Huh. This just sounds like playing a game of 'being a jackass with strangers.' Which, i mean, I guess, but there's already enough jackassery in the world without intentional injection of more.

I play games like this at bars and parties (or did when I went to bars and parties) but it's a game you can only play fairly if the other person is pretty awful. Like, if you know someone's going to mansplain to you no matter what, you might as well just turn that shit up to eleven by acting like everything they say is a shining pearl of wisdom and seeing if they catch on to your escalating sense of wonderment at just how much they know (I have literally never crossed this line; every entitled young man who has expected me to fawn over how smart he is has inexplicably failed to recognize that I'm not as impressed with him as he is with himself).

It's a total jackass move to pull this with someone who is NOT a jackass but if they ARE a jackass, it's not just a game, it's a survival strategy.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:07 PM on July 16, 2016 [34 favorites]


What a great writer. This is helping with my Toast withdrawal.

I can't decide what it means that two different people in this thread assumed the author lived in NYC. You realize there are pretentious prats outside of New York, right?
posted by lunasol at 8:08 PM on July 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


well, really, my knowledge of Zizek is pretty much "I don't like him much for nebulous reasons because he pings my misogynist-o-meter"

I've only seen talks of his online and I'm never sure if he's joking or actually completely full of shit

Anyways, if you're going to be rude to someone because they're boring you, why not just cut to the chase and say "Zizek is boring." Because this whole technique sounds kind of like you're showing off, not unlike the guy who wants to talk to you about Zizek in a bar for some reason
posted by Hoopo at 8:20 PM on July 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


delivered in clever, motormouth-ed dialogue as packed with pop culture references as Arrested Development is with throwaway jokes.

Isn't that the sort of cultural signaling this article is about? Like the guy in the audience laughing at actors' names in this review of Woody Allen's latest movie?
posted by stopgap at 8:20 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


10 years ago this essay would have been about David Foster Wallace, and that would have been funny.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:29 PM on July 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


I love her writing, and I want to be a 'little anvil of a person' like Jane Eyre. Nice turn of phrase and her dad sounds like a total legend.
posted by honey-barbara at 8:30 PM on July 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


This gives me a perverse pleasure at the idea of playing dumb—I have only recently started to realize how fantastic a strategy it is in so many situations. But I don't understand why it is supposed to be appropriate here. I have never really spent any time at a bar but why should you not discuss Slavoj Žižek there?
posted by koavf at 8:45 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Mike Jones. You know, the kid from StarTropics.
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:11 PM on July 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


idiopath:

I see you're no spring chicken, so how about we move on to a game of knify spoony?

That's not a knife, that's a... MIKE JONES
posted by thack3r at 9:25 PM on July 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've heard the name Slavoj Žižek mentioned before so I started reading his Wiki bio and realized I'm ok with not knowing who he is.
posted by rocket88 at 9:31 PM on July 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


Ugh, Villette is the worst #JaneEyre4life.
posted by glitter at 9:42 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I say, maybe too much, that one of the best things I learned in college was the capability to say, "I don't know." It's so relieving (and often super illuminating in its effects) when it's actually true that I don't know how I didn't think of its use in Solnit-style mansplainy circumstances. It just seems like such an easy way out, when the shortest exit I'd thought of before was to say something like, "I don't dig his opinions on x," and hope to let it lie there. Still having to prove some knowledge. It's a little lightbulb for me, not having to prove knowledge and getting out of conversations that would almost surely waste my time. Anyway, I like this person.
posted by lauranesson at 9:44 PM on July 16, 2016 [7 favorites]




I seem to live in a vastly different cultural world than the author, but I did get a laugh out of the article.

I have, on occasion, enjoyed pretending that I thought Star Wars and Star Trek were the same thing.
posted by mmoncur at 9:51 PM on July 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


Isn't that the sort of cultural signaling this article is about? Like the guy in the audience laughing at actors' names in this review of Woody Allen's latest movie?

Again, genuine enthusiasm is not the problem. Sharing a taste with someone for a given cultural artifact is not a problem. Sharing enthusiasm with someone about a cultural artifact, not a problem. What becomes tiresome is when you're using the artifact as a shibboleth. Repeat the password and I let you into cool kids club. I'm going to mention X to show you how hip I am, you're going to show you recognize X to confirm how hip you are, we will then proceed to have a lengthy discussion where we debate the merits of X until one of us proves we're hipper than the other by have a more idiosycratic take on X.

Vis a vis Gilmore Girls, it's certainly the case within the context of the show that the characters drop these references to each other out of genuine, shared enthusiasm. They are the kind of mother daughter pair who'd happily spend a Saturday night curled up on the coach watching Grey Gardens together. If you as an audience member also share those enthusiasms, you'd probably dig the show. You could argue therefore that the the pop culture references function as a shibboleth between the writers of Gilmore Girls and its audience, I suppose.

But it seems to me that the tiresome bit of such conversations, the thing Lyster is trying to avoid by faking Zizek ignorance, is the competitive, hipper-than-thou bit. The show-off-y bit. The man laughing at the Allen movie is showing off to his fellow audience members. You're not aiming to impressing anyone when you smile at the concert T-shirt Kim is wearing in a Gilmore Girls scene. You can't; you're alone on the couch. You're just remembering how much you like that albumn.

{shrug}. These are all debatable points. Sometimes one refers to a cultural artifact to express enthusiasm. Sometimes to display affinity and allegience. Sometimes to show off. All of these things are contextual and different people will read the signals different. It's like clothes. They alway signal, even when the signal is "I consider caring about how I look vaugely contemtible."
posted by maggiepolitt at 10:01 PM on July 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


obligatory:

My god.
posted by deadaluspark at 10:05 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Now I'm going to have this thing where I wake up in the middle of the night and can't tell the difference between Slavoj Žižek and Željko Ivanek. (I have never heard of the former, though I know all of the other references in this thread. I've adored the latter since Homicide: Life on the Streets. Yup, just looked at Wikipedia. Never heard of him, nor anything related to him.

But please always feel free to talk to me about the Gilmore Girls.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 10:14 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


driving people mad by pretending she doesn't know a common cultural touchstone,

how is this distinguishable from trolling?
posted by philip-random at 10:16 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Is Zizek really a "common cultural touchstone" on the order of Twin Peaks or The Beatles? This assertion feels weird enough to me that I still wonder if I'm being played by the article -- if it isn't itself an example, either deliberately or through lack of self-awareness, of the kind of performative cultural literacy it otherwise seems to find tiresome.
posted by Mothlight at 10:17 PM on July 16, 2016 [10 favorites]


> I hadn't heard of Slavoj Žižek, until this thread.

Well played!
posted by drlith at 10:24 PM on July 16, 2016


pure *sniff* ideology
posted by R.F.Simpson at 10:46 PM on July 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


tbh saying Twin Peaks is a common cultural touchstone is also very narrow-minded.
posted by clorox at 10:51 PM on July 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


So... we're pissing off some assholes with the only risk being that you misinterpret some people's passionate interest as status signalling and thus you make them feel uncomfortable about genuine expressions of knowledge. Given that there's a strident anti-intellectualism at work on the global scale, I struggle with this.

But, whatever, let's not resort to saying "God, it's a bar, do we have to talk Marxist theory?" which would actually directly achieve your aims. Let's prank people and write it up!

(Mothlight, I'm also struggling with whether this is an astounding lack of self-awareness - the article's own rules 5 and 6 are compromised by the article - or satirical genius - for the same reason.)
posted by nfalkner at 11:11 PM on July 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


What are you allowed to talk about in bars? "Another round, comrade!"
posted by thelonius at 12:01 AM on July 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Zizek seems to be the kind of dude a certain kind of dude will try to name-drop to defeat someone in an argument by simply dropping a name, yeah. Admittedly, I've only read one book of his, 'cause a really smart friend handed it to me with his hopes that I could make heads or tails. I got the argument, but didn't really understand why he had to make it so complicated. Had the same problem with Lacan, I guess. It's possible I'm missing something, but it seems really a satisfying conversational gambit in some circumstances to instead pretend I'd never heard of those inscrutable dudes. They're inscrutable, and worse are dudes who cover their lack of caring about other humans with someone else's inscrutability.
posted by lauranesson at 1:05 AM on July 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


Also, I guess I learned I should watch Gilmore Girls.
posted by lauranesson at 1:06 AM on July 17, 2016


Application note: only funny when punching up.

what's "punching up"
posted by Sebmojo at 1:21 AM on July 17, 2016 [8 favorites]


Years ago, a guy I was talking to at a New Year's Eve party claimed not to have heard of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. He, a recent graduate of the University of Chicago,was saying something about Catholics and Protestants and I chimed in by saying something about the Orthodox Churches, and he acted like he'd never heard of such thing. So I've maybe been a victim of this sort of behavior.
posted by Alluring Mouthbreather at 2:12 AM on July 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


this is Socrates' shtick in a nutshell...
posted by ennui.bz at 2:15 AM on July 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


You realize there are pretentious prats outside of New York, right?

Where?
posted by cromagnon at 3:36 AM on July 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Excellent. Even though I've genuinely never heard of whatsisname.

This reminded me of the incomparable Chris Morris' Thick People sketch from Jam.
posted by ZipRibbons at 4:04 AM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


The version of this that would work really well on Metafilter is pretending never to have heard of the musical "Hamilton."


What- you mean the minor off-Broadway hit from 1976 about life in a hardscrabble refinery town in southern Ontario? That's pretty obscure, dude.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:25 AM on July 17, 2016 [7 favorites]


Also, there's two things we say at the University of Chicago: "Always define your terminology," and "Always deny the existence of the Eastern Church."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:28 AM on July 17, 2016 [9 favorites]


Kathleen Merriman is particularly good on this sort of cultural lacunae.
posted by Devonian at 6:09 AM on July 17, 2016


There is a related game, called "Who is Mike Jones?".
I was about to reply that 281-330-8004 is one of the few phone numbers I still have committed to memory when I Googled on preview. Oops, wrong signifier!
posted by bgribble at 6:20 AM on July 17, 2016


My advice is intended only for special occasions. It is for when you have an itch to scratch, and that itch is called, “a puerile desire to get on other people’s nerves.”

Yssssssz
posted by sammyo at 6:52 AM on July 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


this thing where he farts uncontrollably at Japanese bus stops

And yet they say Western philosophy is too culturally narrow!
posted by Segundus at 6:55 AM on July 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


But, whatever, let's not resort to saying "God, it's a bar, do we have to talk Marxist theory?"

DUDE AT BAR: Hey! Let's talk about Marxist theory! Slavoj Žižek says...
ME: Gawd, it's a bar. Can we not talk about Marxist theory?
DUDE AT BAR: What's wrong with talking about Marxist theory in a bar?
ME: Look...
DUDE AT BAR: (continues ranting unhumorously)


DUDE AT BAR: Hey! Let's talk about Marxist theory! Slavoj Žižek says...
ME: I don't know who that is.
DUDE AT BAR: What? How is that possible?
ME: Look...
DUDE AT BAR: (continues ranting, but at least it's funny now)
posted by 23skidoo at 7:02 AM on July 17, 2016 [14 favorites]


A cool thing for guys who talk to women to do is to try to gauge whether the woman is interested in the topic. That's actually a cool thing for anyone talking to anyone to do, but this seems to be a particular issue for some guys when they talk to women. Another cool thing is to be interested in what she has to say about it, rather than just expecting her to look on admiringly while the dude pontificates. If you meet a woman in a bar who wants to discuss Slavoj Zizek, that's great! Talk about that. But don't assume that the woman in the bar wants to hear all your thoughts about Zizek just because she seems like the kind of woman who should be impressed by that, and you think her job as a woman is to prop up your ego and make you feel smart and interesting.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:30 AM on July 17, 2016 [24 favorites]


"the phenomenon of people using their self-perceived sophistication to score Alpha Points"

AKA graduate school.
posted by jfwlucy at 7:35 AM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


I can't decide what it means that two different people in this thread assumed the author lived in NYC. You realize there are pretentious prats outside of New York, right?

I think my assumption was not so much about pretentious prats - more "I live in flyover country and honestly we're not exactly Boston or any other coastal intellectual nexus here, so I would be, actually, kind of excited to talk about Zizek at a bar even though I sort of hate Zizek...but I guess in more culturally sophisticated places it's different". Still not a justification for assuming that the writer was in the US, but it was more about the cultural deficiencies of my home town than anything else. I mean, I like it here a lot but my recent trip to Boston showed me that the general concern with intellectual stuff here is pretty low (and sadly, it suggests to me that I am dumber in absolute terms than I think I am).
posted by Frowner at 7:37 AM on July 17, 2016


Also, I would totally have a conversation about what Marx would think of gluten. I plan to force this conversation on someone, possibly my theory-intensive housemate.
posted by Frowner at 7:39 AM on July 17, 2016 [11 favorites]


Why would I want to do something that purposely upsets someone?
posted by humboldt32 at 8:50 AM on July 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


> Why would I want to do something that purposely upsets someone?
posted by humboldt32 at 8:50 AM on July 17 [+] [!]


Prolly cause they're boring and not as smart as they think they are, and maybe they're talking at you even though they're not really that interested in anything you have to say.

Not every conversation has to be about you trying to please your interlocutor.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:01 AM on July 17, 2016 [16 favorites]


I end up doing things like this pretty often. It usually starts out if I make what I think is an obvious joke and people think I'm serious, so I just see how long I can keep it going and how clueless someone thinks I am.

I had one where I somehow managed to keep not one but two different guys going for a really long time based on a premise that gradually evolved into me claiming that English was literally the only real language, and that all other languages were poorly executed English and sometimes actual magic spells.

The people who get caught in that are so completely full of themselves that they assume that everyone else--or, very frequently, some specific subset of 'everyone else'--is ridiculously and implausibly ignorant. The worst examples of mansplaining almost always fit this pattern. It's some guy bullshitting about something he doesn't understand based on the premise that any given woman must know even less about it than he does.

It is trolling, but if you don't like being trolled, don't make me troll you.
posted by ernielundquist at 9:10 AM on July 17, 2016 [13 favorites]


Frowner, I think I remember where you live, and I used to live there and oh my god, the pretentious intellectual prats I met in bars there! But I was also in college and then my early twenties, so.
posted by lunasol at 9:15 AM on July 17, 2016


Frowner, I think I remember where you live, and I used to live there and oh my god, the pretentious intellectual prats I met in bars there! But I was also in college and then my early twenties, so.

I live in the great state of Minnesota, and it's true, it is home to some pretentious people, mostly pretentious dudes. Actually, a very sad thing that happened here - someone in my extended social circle who was emotionally fragile descended into alcoholism, drug abuse and a lot of lying, and one of the push factors was being the youngest, lowest-status dude in a rather nasty, competitive clique. That wasn't the only thing - I'm not saying that the guy didn't do his actions - but the nastiness of the group was one of the factors in his not telling anyone when he was struggling, because there was so much pressure to be, like, this awesome impervious witty urbane academic who can drink a lot but not get drunk, is never sad, etc. I didn't even know, because at the time I only knew him from this group - and they all thought I was as dumb as a post, so I didn't get invited anywhere.

In fairness to the group, it was their perception that I was dumb rather than their perception that I was unfuckable that kept me out of things - so that is an improvement on many male social groups. But they were really mean to each other, and it was destructive to them.

The only one who has gone on to a real academic career was also the only nice one.

~~~
The flip side, though, is when you get so used to people thinking "oh, that's just some dumb academic thing that Frowner cares about, how boring" that you end up over-explaining whenever you meet anyone who does care about dumb academic stuff. In recent memory I have in fact overexplained seventies feminism, the Belle Epoque, the economic impact of North Sea oil and No Wave music to a variety of different people because of this. I mean, I certainly know plenty of smart people, but my social circles tend to be smart people who don't actually have a lot of general culture and think it vaguely bourgeois to bother.
posted by Frowner at 9:26 AM on July 17, 2016 [11 favorites]


I had a roommate who was a huge fan of Alejandro Jodorowsky, and we watched most of his films while we were sharing the apartment. My roommate was really enthusiastic and loved to talk about the films and introduce people to them, but he definitely understood that a) they are not for everyone and b) Jodorowsky is often pretty ridiculous 9even when he's fantastic).

Fast forward a decade, and I have a new friend who was dating a guy who loved Jodorowsky, and pretty much insisted that every date be "come to my apartment and watch Jodorowsky." And my friend went along with it, but then one day texted me to say they had broken up. "Oh, really?" I replied, "what was the breaking point?" She then related how he showed her The Holy Mountain, and, halfway through, she started laughing and couldn't stop. He got mad and threw her out, and that was the end of that. I wonder what would have happened if she could just have pretended not to remember who Jodorowsky was on every date.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:27 AM on July 17, 2016 [7 favorites]


It's a remarkable thing that the key to understanding movies is Hegel and a heretical sect of psychoanalysis
posted by thelonius at 9:39 AM on July 17, 2016


Someone needs to make those people watch Doggie Woggiez and Poochie Woochiez, the best remake of Jodorowski evar.
posted by idiopath at 9:39 AM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Marx says if you're going to give up wheat, everyone wins if exchange it for an equal value of wine:
A man who has much wheat and no wine, exchanges with another who has much wine and no wheat, a value of 100 dollars in wheat for 100 dollars in wine. From the point of view of use-value or utility, there is in this an advantage for both. The exchange, in this respect, is a transaction by which each party benefits. But, from the point of view of exchange-value, the exchange of 100 dollars in wheat for 100 dollars in wine produces no increase in wealth for either of the parties, since each of then had before the exchange a value equal to that which he got by the exchange.
posted by drlith at 9:43 AM on July 17, 2016 [6 favorites]


I'm now depressed by the idea of dragging bags of wheat to the bar.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:49 AM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Um...excuse me- some of us are straight-edge and gluten-free.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:53 AM on July 17, 2016 [6 favorites]


The best time I pretended I had heard of Slavoj Zizek was while talking to someone who was pretending not to have heard of Slavoj Zizek to someone who was talking to them about Slavoj Zizek while wearing a "Who the hell is Slavoj Zizek" T-shirt that he'd bought off Slavoj Zizek at a seminar about semantic satiation.
posted by dng at 10:43 AM on July 17, 2016 [8 favorites]


There is another, maybe-related thing I occasionally do, where I can tell someone is having me on about something so that I can go "Really?" and they can embarrass me by revealing that no, they were just kidding, you're so gullible! And then I am supposed to get red and embarrassed that I was taken in so they can laugh.

But what I do instead is go wide-eyed and enthusiastic and discuss the fake thing in unnecessary detail and derail it. "Oh, really, lima beans don't glow in the dark? But it would be so cool if they did! You know lightning bugs have special cells that make them glow, and jellyfish too, and then there's foxfire, which I think is caused by a fungus, and it can glow in the woods at night."

They never have any response to that, and they never pull that shit with me again. They might indeed think I am too dumb to know they were trying to embarrass me but then they are being assholes so I don't care.
posted by emjaybee at 12:36 PM on July 17, 2016 [7 favorites]


A cool thing for guys who talk to women to do is to try to gauge whether the woman is interested in the topic. That's actually a cool thing for anyone talking to anyone to do, but this seems to be a particular issue for some guys when they talk to women. Another cool thing is to be interested in what she has to say about it, rather than just expecting her to look on admiringly while the dude pontificates. If you meet a woman in a bar who wants to discuss Slavoj Zizek, that's great! Talk about that. But don't assume that the woman in the bar wants to hear all your thoughts about Zizek just because she seems like the kind of woman who should be impressed by that, and you think her job as a woman is to prop up your ego and make you feel smart and interesting.

A corollary to this, for all young-and-single men who might be reading this: women will totally not judge you if you ask them, even frequently, if they're actually interested in what you're talking about. Though I'm not always sure if this is enough, since people I've met have let me talk for far too long about things I can't really imagine them caring about, and kept saying it was okay too. So, uh, maybe sometimes also censor yourself for their sake? I'm not too sure about that one.

(People who aren't single straight guys: also do this. Never don't do this. Especially if it's about The Mighty Boosh. Please, please, please give me an out.)
posted by rorgy at 1:29 PM on July 17, 2016


I can't decide what it means that two different people in this thread assumed the author lived in NYC. You realize there are pretentious prats outside of New York, right?

It's not just that there are pretentious prats outside of New York (why yes I am on vacation) but that the loci of pretense are so familiar.

Like, it is not that strange to me that you could write this piece living in Cape Town, even if it "sounded" like New York to me. It's strange that you could write this piece in either New York or Cape Town using just about the same cultural references.

I mean, probably they are not the same, probably they are subtly different or time-shifted etc. but they sounded the same, and it makes the world feel strangely small.
posted by grobstein at 2:48 PM on July 17, 2016


I ask every interesting person I meet if they read Metafilter and haven't yet had a single one say yes. What if they've all been trolling me?
posted by bendy at 3:06 PM on July 17, 2016 [9 favorites]


If you people just stopped talking to other people beyond the minimum necessary to, like, buy groceries, this wouldn't be a problem.
posted by signal at 3:32 PM on July 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


I ask every interesting person I meet if they read Metafilter and haven't yet had a single one say yes. What if they've all been trolling me?

I will admit to being disappointed that no-one ever compliments me on my Metafilter t-shirt and tells me how much they love it here. I'm pretty sure most people think it's some kind of car part advertisement. Or maybe for swimming pools.
posted by emjaybee at 4:00 PM on July 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


Where are these bars in which people can have conversations without having to talk at a volume that results in coughing up the bloody rags of your vocal chords the following day?
posted by um at 5:21 PM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


But the author doesn't demonstrate comprehension of Zizek at all. In the first paragraph:

A bar is not the appropriate venue for a loud, show-offy conversation about The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology.

Zizek has literally talked about this. Either the author is pretending not to know this, or is being disingenuous. It is a serious lapse.

I've thought and rethought how to respond to this article, and while this blatantly ignorant, wrong position won't insult Zizek (he's amazingly patient), it is really hurtful for me.

There's a ton more I could have said, but as a personal tactic I generally do not discuss philosophy with people who are not open to it.
posted by polymodus at 5:25 PM on July 17, 2016


I honestly can't decide whether or not you're joking, polymodus!
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:32 PM on July 17, 2016 [14 favorites]


What a strangely personal misreading of the essay. I would be shocked if, say, David Lynch or Woody Allen were to find themselves insulted by the idea that someone pretends not to know their work to get out of having the dull conversational equivalents of a secret handshake with someone.
posted by muddgirl at 5:35 PM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


The only thing I know about Slavoj Zizek is that he has this thing where he farts uncontrollably at Japanese bus stops.

Slavoj Zizek has never heard of Chuck Norris.
posted by flabdablet at 5:41 PM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's bad enough having to rotate my eyes a quarter of a degree to skip over the spines of Zizek books while browsing the shelves in bookstores, I can't even imagine accidentally being manoeuvred into a conversation about him.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:23 PM on July 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


"Mate, I'm here to drink" is my go-to phrase to discourage That Guy from trying to engage me in a discussion about immigration. Probably works on Marxists too.
posted by um at 7:49 PM on July 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


Zizek has literally talked about this. Either the author is pretending not to know this, or is being disingenuous. It is a serious lapse.

Well, I'm curious about where, in between the plagiarism of others, repetitions of himself, and microwaved Lacan, Zizek (PBUH) mentioned this, but it's entirely orthogonal to the author's point, which had little to do with Zizek himself and a lot more to do with obnoxious Zizekians, who are many, who feel really good about themselves because they read Parallax View and have an (unread) copy of Hegel's Logic prominently displayed on their bookshelves. They're not always men, but they usually are, and they suck, and in 7 years of grad school in philosophy I met so god damn many of them. My solution was always to say "Zizek? You mean the Thomas Kinkade of philosophy?" and watch them fume, but I like the "Slavoj who?" strategy better.
posted by dis_integration at 9:18 PM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


So I had to look Žižek up on Wikipedia as a result of this essay (and thread). And here is my favorite part:
In 2003, Žižek wrote text to accompany Bruce Weber's photographs in a catalog for Abercrombie & Fitch. Questioned as to the seemliness of a major intellectual writing ad copy, Žižek told the Boston Globe, "If I were asked to choose between doing things like this to earn money and becoming fully employed as an American academic, kissing ass to get a tenured post, I would with pleasure choose writing for such journals!"
I kind of love it, because he manages to simultaneously insist on a kind of pragmatism over idealism (have to earn money somehow) and still put himself on a moral pedestal above all those, ew, "American Academics."

I have been in academia and noped out myself, partly out of disillusionment with what is really necessary to get research funding/tenure, but more because of the job market is brutal. I do not look down on my friends who stayed in.

Also he puts "writing ad copy for Abercrombie and Fitch" in the same kind of category of "low moral risk, low moral reward" as, like, digging ditches or serving food. If you are ditch digger or food server, you are not, through that work, going to change the world much for the better, but you are extremely unlikely to make it worse. Almost any white collar work carries a higher risk of making the world worse, and that includes writing ad copy for Abercrombie and Fitch (helping put mom and pop shops out of business by supporting a chain store? Participating in the objectification of women? Supporting consumer culture and encouraging people to spend more than they can afford? And those are just off the top of my head...) Žižek, if you want good, honest work that you don't have to be ashamed of, why not dig a ditch?

This is now the only thing I am going to remember about Žižek (though I did read the rest of the Wikipedia article.) This quote is going to stick with me, and I am going to think about it whenever the topic of moral rectitude in career choices comes up, and if anyone ever mentions Žižek to me in a bar, I am totally going to pull out that quote.

(Also, I really enjoyed this essay, the "How to be Polite" article it links to, and "Gilmore Girls.")
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:28 AM on July 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


My issue with writing copy for Abercrombie and Fitch is that it's a racist, Islamphobic, sweatshop-using, body-shaming, misogynist, fucked-up-about-gay-men's-bodies kind of company, and yes, I do frankly think that writing copy for them to give them a veneer of intellectual legitimacy is worse than being a mere cog in the academic machine, with all due distaste for the academic machine. It's that kind of Zizekian turn - so removed from the actual lived experience of non-Zizek humans - that I think I most dislike in Zizek. You see it everywhere in his writing - the little racist and misogynist asides that are intended to broaden our minds about our own hypocrisies and limitatations and that also have the effect of making non-Zizek humans experience racist and misogynist asides, for instance. Ugh.

I mean, I'm perfectly willing to have someone tell me about Zizek, since that means that I do not have to read him any more.
posted by Frowner at 6:20 AM on July 18, 2016 [7 favorites]


I guess the thing is, I think it would be more fun to troll pretetious dudes about Žižek by actually trolling them about Žižek. Why be passive agressive when you can be aggressive-aggressive? I wanna start a big argument in a bar with someone I barely know about their deeply held beliefs and their life choices! I mean, if they insist on talking about these subjects in these contexts with me..!

Yeah, okay, I guess sometimes I just don't have the energy. Or am with friends I don't want to embarrass. Or might actually have to see and be civil to the dude again. I guess Rosa Lyster's way might be better sometimes. But by nature (and this may be why I have trouble making friends) I'd rather have the fight.

(Though I think you are better qualified than I am to have the fight, Frowner, so probably even better would be cheering you on as you shut down hypothetical Marxist dude-bro. That would be awesome.)
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:18 AM on July 18, 2016


To tell the truth, I last made a serious shot at reading Zizek maybe seven or eight years ago? It got me into such little Lacan as I've actually read, so there was that....but it just started to seem recursive, like it was all "I am trolling you [with racism/misogyny/Stalinism/various forms of scandal in order to enlighten you...if that seems patronizing to you, it's just another troll that has the potential to enlighten you...and if that bothers you, it's just another...."

It got all strange-game/winning-move-not-to-play, eventually, and I figured that reading other stuff and doing other stuff would be more likely to give me the political and intellectual things that I felt would be the most useful. (Of course, that just shows how limited and bourgeois I am, to think that what I think I want is worth having, etc etc, Lacan Lacan, movies, joke about pubic hair.)

It's not even that I think Zizek is terrible, or that people don't get useful stuff out of reading him - a couple of my favorite blogs (Kotsko, for instance) seem to be full of [dude] Zizek fans. They're not terrible people, so I assume they're getting non-terrible things from Zizek. But I just....don't really care that much any more, most of the time, and I tend to want to avoid situations that will push me back toward caring.

Those years around theory dudes were very bad years for me, years where I allowed people I thought were my friends to treat me incredibly badly because I had low self esteem and thought that if I could just show them that I was smart it would finally quiet the chatter in my head (big Other, etc etc). Of course, not only would that not have worked, but because I was not a cis theory bro I could never ever prove to them that I was smart anyway.

But again, whatever. I'm a lot happier now, even though I wouldn't describe myself as happy per se. 100% less theory dudes and I'm doing a lot better.
posted by Frowner at 7:39 AM on July 18, 2016 [9 favorites]


I think she is talking about those circumstances when somebody is faking a conversation in order to posture and show how smart or in the cool club or whatever it may be that they are. I say faking because it is diffrent than someone just sharing their enthusiasm about a topic in the sense that this person doesn't care what you have to say, but is merely using their knowledge of the topic for showing off. That's why faking total ignorance works to just cut the conversation off versus saying you aren't interested or think it is boring. If you do that, it's an open invitation for a heated display of disagreement or mansplaining, etc.
posted by branravenraven at 10:20 AM on July 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


I just started watching Gilmore Girls last weekend and I'm halfway through Season 2 already. That is all.
posted by joannemerriam at 12:25 PM on July 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's bad enough having to rotate my eyes a quarter of a degree to skip over the spines of Zizek books while browsing the shelves in bookstores

skip? can't you just stop at ... hmmm ... zeno?
posted by andrewcooke at 1:58 PM on July 18, 2016


MetaFilter: the actual lived experience of non-Zizek humans

(unless we can add "MetaFilter's own" to that...)
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:53 PM on July 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


rocket88: "I've heard the name Slavoj Žižek mentioned before so I started reading his Wiki bio and realized I'm ok with not knowing who he is."

I play the "It's okay not to know this, as long as I never derail a conversation by joining in a discussion about it" game on MeFi all the time.

For a few years every time I read the name "Gilmore Girls" on MeFi my mind crossed signals and I interpreted it as "Golden Girls." Then one day I realized people were not talking about the 80s retiree sitcom but something else, and I thought about looking it up, but then I realized I'm OK with not knowing what Gilmore Girls is. It's kind of fun developing a mental picture of a show or book or phenomenon based entirely on people's jokes and comments about the topic. Gilmore Girls is tough, because the only thing people say about it is that they like it. I have picked up on the fact that maybe the girls are young? And there's a lake?

Likewise, all I know about Hamilton I've learned from MeFi comments about Hamilton. My impresssion is that it's a hip-hop musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton played by an exclusively African-American cast.

Either way, don't correct me. Well, not directly. Feel free, on the other hand, to make little comments in threads about Gilmore Girls, Hamilton, or Werner Herzog that gradually help me organically refine and fill out my mental images.
posted by Bugbread at 11:10 PM on July 18, 2016


Zizek, isn't he that free software guy?
posted by benzenedream at 7:15 AM on July 22, 2016


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