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The blog as superego

To do by the end of the month, likely:

  • Complete a full manuscript of the awkwardness book (one chapter left to draft)
  • Finalize which texts I’m using for my fall courses to tell the bookstore
  • Do a reader report for an article I’ve been asked to peer review (my first!)
  • Perform the financial judo necessary to maintain my credit intact and avoid the fury of “universal default”

To do by end of the month, barring complications:

  • Get my living situation in Kalamazoo settled

To do by end of the month, pushing it:

  • Write an article I owe Anthony for an edited volume

The academic/writing things are no big problem, but the combination of the two practical matters has, to speak frankly, stressed me the fuck out — I’m used to threading financial needles (what else has grad school taught me besides how to abuse credit cards responsibly?), but adding the moving issue on top of that has been unhelpful. Getting all of that settled and out of the way will do wonders for my mental health.


July 12, 2009 - Posted by | boredom


  1. The boredom tag is massively overused on this blog.

    Comment by stras | July 12, 2009

  2. so slow day

    Comment by read | July 12, 2009

  3. Whereas the squalor tag is underused.

    Comment by ben | July 12, 2009

  4. For instance, the post where Adam mentioned having found some ancient food item could have been under “squalor” in addition to whatever else it was under.

    Comment by ben | July 12, 2009

  5. It may surprise you to learn that “boredom” is actually the default tag.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | July 13, 2009

  6. Isn’t boredom the hallmark of our era?

    Comment by burritoboy | July 13, 2009

  7. I’m actually hoping it’s awkwardness.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | July 13, 2009

  8. I’m pretty fucking awkward with some regularity. Maybe you should interview me for your book.

    Comment by transportinburma | July 13, 2009

  9. Did you know that no one has ever put themselves forward as a research subject for my book before? I’m shocked, frankly, because it seems so obvious in retrospect.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | July 13, 2009

  10. I’m smooth, occasionally even slick. Which is its own kind of awkward. Or is it? Ask the expert.

    Comment by Wrongshore | July 13, 2009

  11. Being the constitutive exception to human sociality, I would have thought I deserved an especially important place in the book!

    Comment by Craig | July 13, 2009

  12. Japanese hikikomorishyatachi are really awkward, I remember watching some tv programs about them
    compared to them people here are like shiny normal
    extreme pathology of course, hikikomori and maybe is possible only there and nothing spiritual about them unlike the religious people who lock themselves in the caves, can’t recall how they are called in English and I read Flaubert’s Saint Antony not long ago

    Comment by Read | July 13, 2009

  13. hermit, recluse, misanthrope

    Comment by read | July 13, 2009

  14. “I’m actually hoping it’s awkwardness.”

    No, I don’t think so. Since we don’t have your book yet, I’m just freelancing here, but: awkwardness can only presumably occurs under the following situation:

    1. One can only feel awkward when one is transgressing, or poorly observing, or unaware of the intricacies of, social rules. Thus, awkwardness rises as the body of social rules grow and falls when the body of social rules declines.
    2. If everyone was confident about the social rules, comparatively less poor adherence to them would occur. Lack of confidence about social rules comes about from a number of sources: rapidly changing or unclear social rules; lack of education about social rules; and so on.

    These two theorems indicate that the era of awkwardness would be: 1. an era with a high level of social rules, and simultaneously 2. an era where the social rules are changing, AND people are coming into situations where their previous educations have equipped them for different social situations than they are currently experiencing (generally, this is due to class mobility, immigration, uneven social change and so on). I.E. especially high awkwardness would be a time when incomplete blocks of elaborate social rules clash with each other within a rapidly changing society.

    Thus, the Golden Age of awkwardness would be, I propose, the Edwardian era in England.

    Comment by burritoboy | July 13, 2009

  15. Thanks for that.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | July 13, 2009

  16. Counterproposal: in order to feel awkward, it needn’t be the case that there are actually are more or less broadly accepted social norms against which one is transgressing (or even to which one is not well adhering)—all you really need is to think there is. Consequently, the golden age of awkwardness would be one in which the idea of a right way to go about doing things, possibly milieu-dependent, is constantly reinforced by (say) the media and popular entertainment, which makes propounding this idea, that there is a social system and it has adepts, one of its idées fixes, but in which there actually is no widespread consensus and there are no people who really do measure up to the purely ideal, fantastic, and nonexistent code, the existence of which is hypothesized out of nostalgia—an age, perhaps, such as our own, especially what with the high degree of reflexivity we’ve got going on.

    Adam must love it when people do this.

    Comment by ben | July 13, 2009

  17. This is the first time it’s ever happened, actually.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | July 13, 2009

  18. Thus, the Golden Age of awkwardness would be, I propose, the Edwardian era in England.

    Adam should drop his chapter on Apatow and cover the Jeeves books instead.

    Comment by stras | July 14, 2009

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