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Friday Afternoon Confessional: Seeking Controversy

I confess that I have been busy these last weeks. I hate being busy. Being busy should be a cardinal sin. In fact, it is the fat ugly power-abusing father of all sins. It is the original sin. As such, it is not my fault but rather a design error showing the lack of intelligence that went into my design. I would happily plead guilty to a jury of my peers (that would be you) and accept any punishment as it would behoove you to bestow upon me.

Whatever.  I’ll get over it.

I so too confess that I originally thought about doing as if I was going to confess something when I actually really was hating something. There is a lot of hate in me. Sometimes the hate takes hold of me and I absolutely want to provoke somebody into giving me cause to let all of my hate out. I am as possessed then. As such, it is not my fault and anyway I rarely (which is to say: never) give in to this urge to provoke as I was raised not to show any feelings at all, or at least to maintain plausible deniability as to having shown them at all. Also, there is not a fight that I would not loose.

But I confess that the internet is something else. Boy, do I come close to letting myself go once in a while. Not only is it awfully easy to seek controversy on the internet but it is also the normal thing to do. Worse still: it is seeking controversy that is the only way to attract any significant level of traffic at all (well, if you allow me an inside joke, that and maps of public transport systems).

I confess to following the DSK story. I confess to having all kinds of opinions about it. As far as I can see none are original. Nevertheless, I’ve thrown around clicks galore. You see: controversy seeks out attention. It also brings to light the most sophisticated of opinions, such as that according to which it is accepted practice in France to have your way with women as long as you are rich and powerful. An opinion which is apparently rather easy to come by with self-proclaimed lovers of la douce France.

Having established and confessed all this, I will proceed to attracting traffic by seeking controversy. [Play this in the background:] I rather like Obama.

There. I feel better now. Ready for my penance. I hope the horn player enjoys a couple of unexpected hits.


May 20, 2011 - Posted by | Friday Afternoon Confessional, meta


  1. I confess that I went to a White Sox game last night and feel very superior to Cubs fans already, even though all we did basically was drink and hardly paid attention to the game. I confess that The Girlfriend is a talented heckler.

    I confess that I was remarkably blase about finishing up a full draft of The Love of Sociopaths — in fact, the first thing I told The Girlfriend about my day was that the weather had put me in a foul mood. I confess that I sent it to my editor for comments before “officially” submitting it, and apparently he’s really enthusiastic, so that’s good.

    I confess that I’ve been endlessly tinkering with my CV to produce the most thorough and precise possible version of it, even though I will likely have no need to send my CV anywhere for a while now that I got a job.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | May 20, 2011

  2. I confess that I have no papers waiting for me to referee them. The last time I achieved this was in September, and the previous time was long enough ago that I’ve completely forgotten it. In September, this state of grace lasted for less than a week. I further confess that I find this state a bit disconcerting. As Adorno says, “People have been refused freedom for such a long time that now they no longer like it.”

    Comment by Hugh | May 20, 2011

  3. I confess to deleting a post on Facebook mocking people who think the rapture is coming tomorrow because I really didn’t want to feel like I should apologize when somebody was offended or objected.

    I confess I probably should have used the post as a litmus test to unfriend any such complainers.

    Comment by Matt in Toledo | May 20, 2011

  4. I confess that I let myself get dragged into a 100+ comment FB thread about homosexuality with my conservative colleagues, when I should’ve been finishing a final section of my dissertation. I confess that I’m nonetheless proud I was the last one standing after 100 comments.

    I confess I bought, butchered and ate (with my wife) three whole baby squids this week. And that the squid ink made it more awesome than it otherwise would’ve been.

    Comment by Scott Prather | May 20, 2011

  5. I confess baby squids should be called squidlets. I don’t mean should like that’s the proper way, but should like that name would be better than all others.

    Comment by Matt in Toledo | May 20, 2011

  6. I confess that when I received the invitation to “Post-rapture looting” on Facebook, I responded “Maybe”. Because you never know, right? I confess that it pleased me to find that “Maybe” had fewer respondents than either Yes or No.

    I confess to throwing my hat in the ring for an interesting non-entertainment job, involving rapid-response communications and political framing — pretty much my fantasy non-entertainment job. I confess to mixed emotions regarding this possibility.

    Comment by Josh K-sky | May 20, 2011

  7. So, let’s say I felt inclined to do something that is overwhelmingly likely to lead either to: 1) extreme unhappiness in the short term, plus moderate unhappiness in the medium term; or 2) extreme happiness in the short term, moderate unhappiness in the medium term, and extreme unhappiness in the long term. Should I do it?

    (This is actually a semiserious question, and I agree to follow whatever instruction the weblog gives me. Keep in mind that regardless of what I agree to, I’m almost certain to do this thing anyway.)

    Comment by jms | May 20, 2011

  8. I confess that my new collective bargaining agreement requires that I re-apply annually for the position I already have. Aren’t CBAs supposed to protect employees rather than exposing them to arbitrary dismissal?

    Comment by Craig | May 20, 2011

  9. Jms: No.

    Comment by ben | May 20, 2011

  10. I confess that I really wanted to jump into guido’s controversy.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | May 20, 2011

  11. So my penance is: not getting any.

    (jms, just convince yourself further that not doing it is going to be worse)

    Comment by Guido Nius | May 21, 2011

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