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a while back, ghostbong bought a very cheap, very used Roomba from craigslist. ”so, you’re going to ‘hack’ this, right?” said the man at the parking lot rendezvous. but we just wanted a vacuum. since then, the addition of the word “robot” to our casual, every-day lexicon is continually jarring, as if even living in the future will give you future-shock.
doing maintenance on the robot. the robot is stuck on a cord. the robot ate a sock. the robot ran out of power before it got back to its charging station. the robot knocked something over. it doesn’t help that the Roomba programmers saw fit to outfit the little thing with a series of Artoo-like MIDI scales and honks, to convey the mood of its message: docking successfully produces a tiny fanfare, and getting its brushes jammed on a foreign object makes it cry out in sad distress. do i verbally reassure the robot when i pull a wad of cat hair and bread bag tabs out of its works and set it back down on the floor? you bet i do.
but the larger point is that it is now possible for me to say (or type) out loud and without irony, sarcasm, or any kind of fictitiousness: “the robot knocked over the kitten’s water dish >:I “
the future is here, and it is me on my knees on the floor yanking hairballs out of a domestic droid while it softly boops at me
I feel like this says something about humans—we create a potential new species, and our first reaction is to take it into our lives like a pet. (Which, I mean, pets are weird anyway since you kidnap an animal to live with you, but…I think most people are trying to be nice?)
My favorite internet phenomenon is when someone comments on a YouTube video with a really benign comment like “I love this song!” and then there are a bunch of hidden responses to that comment and then the last one isn’t hidden and it’s something like “you ignorant tool, I can’t believe anyone would even defend Eisenhower’s foreign policies, let alone compare them to political strategies of Napoleon. Take your asinine opinions elsewhere (and FYI, the Chinese DID invent noodles. idiot.)”
"this is the internet, i can say whatever i want" is a super creepy and obvious way to say "when there are no obvious consequences for my actions i lack all empathy"
be there or
That square is 5 bees by 6 bees I’ll have you know that is a bee rectangle you have failed
I’ve been seeing some good posts going around about CA:TWS and how Captain America is a man in legitimate emotional pain, not a man with manpain. I think there are several things that separate the two:
1. With legitimate emotional pain (legitpain) the things that cause the pain come organically from within the world of the story. Batman’s parents were killed, but they’re rarely real parts of any narrative. They only exist to give him pain. See also a million dead wives/girlfriends/families. When an event is grafted onto a narrative specifically to give the character pain, but otherwise has no impact on the world of the story, you might get manpain.
2. The narrative assumes the character is damaged forever by it, and that’s what gives the pain its value. There is a symbiotic relationship between the pain and the heroism. The more pain he feels, the bigger a hero he is. Batman will never move past a certain stage of mourning his parents’ death (anger, it appears). The narrative won’t allow him to, and privileges his hanging onto his pain above all things.
3. The hero’s won’t allow himself to move forward because he would lose his identity. When characters construct an identity about hanging onto pain, they probably have manpain. (I think Olivia Benson on LO:SVU also has manpain, FWIW.) His pain is an excuse for everything, an armor against change or real intimacy. When pain is used as an excuse for being a barely functional human being, but the character is still held up as a hero, somehow more heroic because of their pain, then you might have manpain. The narrative denies the heroism of trying to grow toward acceptance. Because that might negate the importance of the pain.
This tends to be a sexist trope, because it gives an excuse for (usually) men to turn into what society deems the perfect man, but who would be a psychopath in the real world. He has no emotions except external anger, an expression of inner sadness. He often has no desire to live except for revenge. No woman will touch his heart, although they want to. Connections are weakness. (This kind of narrative always shows that. The hero must work alone. Whenever he opens his heart, those people are in danger.) This kind of character has to exist in a stasis, and the creators tease us with breaks in the armor, that are usually covered over, because the pain is all-important. If he tries to heal, then maybe his pain wasn’t so bad, and he’s a hero, so it must be bad, the worst ever.
Contrast this with Captain America, who is in legitpain, but he’s trying to work through it, he’s not using it as an excuse for anything. He’s making decisions not based on hanging onto pain, but on trying to survive, trying to accept his new world and find a place in it. He’s even trying to form connections with people, because he knows that connections don’t make him weak, they make him strong. The movie knows that trying to make connections, to find intimacy again, when you’ve been hurt, is braver than walling yourself off.
Contrast with Sam Wilson, who has been through something awful and come out of it a strong, wise man, who helps and heals others, who is capable of emotional intimacy.
God, I loved this movie.
(I realize this could come across as being down on depressed people and people who’ve gone through trauma, and are having trouble motivating themselves to heal. I’m not. I’m down on narratives that equate healing with weakness, and hanging onto pain with strength. Those narratives are harmful.)
Oh, this is good.
In the experiment that inspired the term, US researchers gave participants the choice of carrying one of two heavy buckets to the end of an alleyway. One bucket was positioned closer to the finish line, but most people chose the other bucket – the one nearer to them – even though they had to carry it farther, which meant expending more effort. The reason, according to the study’s authors, was that the task they’d been given weighed on their minds; they wanted rid of it. “By picking up the near bucket, they could check that task off their mental to-do lists more quickly than if they picked up the far bucket,” said the lead researcher, David Rosenbaum. “Their desire to lighten their mental load was so strong that they were willing to expend quite a bit of extra physical effort to do so.” Even if, like me, you doubt the relevance of the bucket-carrying scenario to your daily life, I suspect you recognise the general phenomenon. It manifests itself in that seductive urge to “clear the decks” before the “real work” can begin.
The special danger of precrastination is that, unlike procrastination, it doesn’t feel naughty. When you’re putting off revising for an exam by doing BuzzFeed quizzes, say, you’re nagged by the knowledge that you ought to be working. But clearing the decks – answering emails, tidying the living room, running a few quick errands – feels virtuous. It often isn’t, though. Partly that’s because the decks won’t ever be clear: there’s always more email to answer, more preliminary research you could do, more specks of dust you could wipe away. (Classic Onion headline: “Plan To Straighten Out Entire Life During Weeklong Vacation Yields Mixed Results”.) You’ll also be using up energy on the wrong things, postponing the most important ones to when you’re depleted…
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