Saturday, June 20, 2009

Free Association

I have been doing this for far too long. I've realized that McArdle's writing no longer represents poorly written and thought out articles, but actually has a voice in my head, associated with a personality. It always takes me a long time to develop a sense of someone's self when I only interact with them over the nets and when I do it's always as sort of a vague quasi-persona. I'm consciously aware of the fact that my impressions of my online companion's personality is just a caricature. Somehow, Megan has transcended that. Her voice has a full on presence in my head now. I realize this when I started reacting internally to her writings from the very first sentence, rather than having a chance to actually hear her arguments, much in the same way that someone who has come to take the slot of "annoying person" in your brain makes you antsy just by saying "Hey, how ya doing?"

Obviously, this makes me biased towards her musings. I don't really care. It's been clear for, what, a year and half (how long have I been doing this?) that nothing that comes out of her head and onto the screen is worth an old, dull green pixel of an Apple 2E. So, let's try some free association. That is, I haven't read the following piece, save the first sentence and headline, but I already KNOW it's going to be annoying. Let's see how right I am.

"I'm a big proponent of the transformative power of failure."

See, this is what I'm fucking talking about. This is the "hey, how are ya doing?" of Megan's idiotic voice. It's a perfectly reasonable thing to say, yet it I immediately wanted to smash my head into the wall when I read it. How the fuck can someone who does nothing but ignore her most persistent critics actually fucking claim to think of failure as "transformative." She thinks of failure as something completely beneath her. She ignores her current failures and blames her past failures on chance and circumstance. Her ideology has wreaked complete destruction on our economy and her brilliant leader has whistled away while the country burns, yet not a god damn thing in her god damn head has changed. The only transformation that failure hath wrought unto Megan is to make her look ridiculous. Seriously, wtf.

"Failure is nature's way of saying "Don't do that any more!", and is therefore a necessary part of achievement and innovation. And so I'm inclined to like this speech very much. "

And here comes the idiocy and mixed metaphors. How the fuck can failure be "nature's way" of doing anything? We're not talking about lightning, pain or gravity here you fucking twit! Failure isn't natural at all. It's a fucking social construct! That's like saying "theater is nature's way of putting on a show!"

Plus, who does she think actually needs to be told that there are valuable things to be learned from failure? Has she never heard the expression "if at first you don't succeed, try and try again?!?!?!" Or how about "those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it?" Fuck, I'm free associating here and I can think of trite ass shit that everyone knows representing what Megan's trying to be all original and wise about. I bet there are better expressions that I'm not recalling, but the nature of this task would be made untrue by Googling, so we press onward.

"On the other hand, something niggles me about the end:"

"Niggles," Megs? I'm not even.. what the... holy fucking shit! What kind of writing is that? You sound like a fucking idiot. OMG, stop. In the words of Joe Mathletes: Everything you create is cancer and madness. JESUS FUCK STOP IT!

So here is the point: you are going to meet the dragon of failure in your life. You may not get into the school you want, or you may get kicked out of the school you are in. You may get rejected by the girl of your dreams, or, God forbid, get into an accident beyond your control. But the point is, everything happens for a reason. At the time, it may not be clear. And certainly the pain and the shame are going to be overwhelming and devastating. But as sure as the sun comes up, there will come a time on the next day or next week or next year when you will grab that sword and tell him "Be gone, dragon."
This is what "niggles" that wretched big woman? Standard crap about things happening for a reason and persevering through adversity? What, does she think she owns the fucking copyright to bullshit platitudes and overwrought no-fucking-shit-isms.

"This seems like a pretty safe bet when you're talking to Buckley students, who have an ample safety net underneath them to allow them to bounce back from nearly any failure. But would he really say this to, say, a 55 year old man who'd just been fired from his sales job? Bad things--persistent bad things--happen to good people, and while it's comforting to think of them as merely a waystation, for lots of people that isn't really true. It only seems true to people who have been spectacular successes, because for them every failure actually just one more step towards the happy place they enjoy today. Sure, you can always rise over adversity. But a significant number of people will never again rise to the level they previously enjoyed."

OMFG. No, wait, acronyms do not do it justice. OH MY FUCKING GOD! WHAT THE FUCK! WHO THE FUCK DOES SHE THINK THAT SHE IS?!?!??!!?!?!? Can you believe that a woman who calls herself a libertarian wrote this? The woman who wants social security destroyed, medicare chopped in half and to take the very safety nets she tragically laments the absence of in her thought experiment and burn them to the fucking ground so she can sell the ashes to some millionaire who likes an authentic looking fireplace but doesn't want to get the room all smokey with an actual fire?

Can you believe that she thinks people actually need to be told that some tragedies cannot be overcome through will power? How the fuck did she ever convince anyone she has anything interesting to say?!? She's like the fucking See Spot Run primer for fucking philosophy. Tell me Megs, is the world a concrete reality or merely how we choose to interpret our perceptions? Is it OK to steal bread if you're starving or is stealing a universal wrong? Does the fact that I think prove that I fucking exist? Oh, please enlighten me on these subjects which are beyond the grasp of my feeble mind!

She just completely tosses away the context of the fucking speech. I don't know why she even bothers to acknowledge it in the first place. It's like "well, it's fine to say the sky is blue, but what if we're on the moon and the sky is black, huh?" This man is talking to NINTH FUCKING GRADERS! What the fuck should he say? Don't fucking bother kids, cause you might get hit by a truck? Of course he's going to tell them to persevere! They're not 55! They haven't lived their whole life hand to mouth without any marketable skills and now find themselves destitute and old without a shot at a comfortable retirement. They are fif-fucking-teen year olds! If they lose their sales job, they can, in fact, find another fucking job and start saving for retirement! They have time to go to college or trade school! Fuck, they are IN FUCKING SCHOOL! You're arguing that failure is good because you learn from it, and then pointing out that a man who fails late in life without ever having planned for it can't learn from failure? NO FUCKING DUH YOU DIPSHIT! He has already failed to grasp this lesson. It's not that it's not a good lesson to learn. Your example is exactly why this is a good fucking lesson to learn early in life!

And thus ends that. I think if I ever met Megan in person and she spouted this kind of crap at me, it would be all I could do to prevent myself from pushing her down the fucking stairs. Every sentence she writes screeches across my brain like a fucking flat line alarm. I think I wouldn't have the energy to push her down the stairs, as I'd be too busy clutching my head in agony and screaming at her to please, leave me alone and go bother some fucking 6 year olds with her bullshit ass meditations on dumbass philosophy. She hurts too much to exist. She hurts more than is physically possible. Oh, I wish she had the empathy to feel the hurt she produces in me, so that she might be her own penance for her own, horrible, horrible words.


clever pseudonym said...

It's funny that Megan of all people would use a word like "transformative," a learning process that involves self-reflection and realization that brings about changes in behavior after careful consideration of personal failings. She spews the same recycled crap over and over and never, EVER learns a damn thing. Whenever she is criticized for it, it is the failure of others to understand what a genius she is.

And "niggles" is a word, it just doesn't mean what Megan thinks it means. It's pretty much a synonym for pedantic and can, in no way imaginable, appropriately fit in the context she's used it.

The idiocy burns.

ChicagoEd said...

Niggle is the operative word. From the OED: "niggle 1. Work or do something is a trifling, fiddling, or ineffective way; trifle (with); waste effort or time on petty details; be overelaborate on minor points." Remind you of anyone?

Downpuppy said...

Fucking A!

brad said...

I was going to write about this post, but the ending just made me feel all sad inside, for Megan. I can't help but think that's her barely suppressed self-awareness trying to break through.
The irony in her use of niggles is fun, tho.

Anonymous said...

Premise 1: I am Perfect

Premise 2: Failure is transformative

Conclusion: Any transformation would move away from perfection. Therefore, I cannot fail by definition because I am perfect. Because I cannot fail and am perfect I will never have to change.
Propertarian Philosophy 101.

J. S. Day said...

I am starting to think that perhaps you have something bothering you about this Megan McArdle woman.