jul 1

Rex Is Talking To Himself Again

Rex Is Talking To Himself Again is the new Garfield minus Garfield. [credit]


And with that, I think my run with the tumblr crowd concludes!

posted by Rex at 4:07 PM on July 1, 2008

"Every club you go into, there's always some old guy. He ain't really old, just a little too old to be in the club."- Chris Rock

I'm just saying.

posted by boredwithit at 2:47 PM on July 2, 2008

I'm so happy for you, old guy! Now get off the internet and go back to your tv!

posted by Rex at 4:28 PM on July 2, 2008

The old guy in question was, you, Rex, but your cryptic response has broken my brain. Maybe I need some 23 year old tumblr grrrls to set it straight again?

posted by boredwithit at 4:43 PM on July 2, 2008

I date lots of people because I like lots of people. Dating is learning. I'm going to see a girl this weekend who's in her mid-40s.

And yes, it sounds like you could use some 23-year-old Tumblr girls in your life.

posted by Rex at 4:51 PM on July 2, 2008

It's not the dating that's comical. It's the over-sharing (whee partygurlsdrinkfunstayingoutlateyouguysdatingsomuch)as if you have to prove a point or something. But that's the spirit of the age, so run with it while you can, I guess. It's just seems like this blog's version of steampunk and creative commons, an annoying tic amongst all the great links. Or maybe this relentless divulging is a NY media virus one catches by swimming in certain ponds?

posted by boredwithit at 5:08 PM on July 2, 2008

Blah. I don't buy any of that. If that fucking Tumblr is oversharing, then so is writing a goddamn novel. It's just some random fucking quotes that I sorta thought summarized a certain kind of feeling, aesthetic, angst at this particular historical moment. The fact that they're all real seems to make this even more true.

And have you looked at Tumblr lately? It's only over-sharing, reblogging, repurposing, flirting, churn, churn, churn.

It's like people can now say the phrase "over-share," and it wipes a big red slash across the faces of people tagged on Facebook. The internet is here because we can share, not in spite of it. People who don't recognize that are Web 2.Old.

(Don't misinterpret that -- there is a thing called "over-sharing" that is negative. If that Tumblr is it, well, fuck, there goes the internet.)

Fimoc will always be about links to stuff, and it will always minimize my personal life. It's why I experiment with personal narratives in other places.

posted by Rex at 5:28 PM on July 2, 2008

And more, since I'm now annoyed. I believe your philosophy yields this:

David Sedaris = over-sharer.


Listen, there's a person in that Tumblr who is a little bit of me, like how memoirs are pieces of people. It's also, of course, a little bit of a character -- and one who ISN'T SUPPOSED TO BE LOVED. That's why it has the name it does!

Either you like it or you don't. Me? Meh, it's okay. But I won't stand the way "over-sharing" is being heralded about right now.

I'm not trying to make some grand point about Tumblrs being the future of literature, but I don't like this reactionary voice on the internet that wishes to turn everything into bland, impersonal, "boredwithit" blog junk. The internet was once a big experiment of people trying out new personal forms, but we've reached this new place in which the only allowed first person accounts are those that involve peoples' motherfucking babies, trips to cupcake shops, and OMG I HATE MY BOSS LET ME TELL YOU WHY.

Really? REALLY?

Please internet, I want something more. I really do want to feel it.

posted by Rex at 5:49 PM on July 2, 2008

Isn't the whole point of blogging to put yourself out there? To share some of yourself? To try to find simpatico sentiment out there in the void? To connect? I understand the concept of oversharing, and sometimes when my three-margarita boss talks about the women she has slept with, the hairs on my neck stand up a bit. But I view this blog as "things that I like. Do you like them too?" with some fun personality thrown in for context. And I view nyctalk as "my thoughts and feelings about traditional themes in a jarring modern context. Do you think/feel this way too?" - a kind of commentary. It seems to me the real conceit is to hew to some coolpoints idea of restraint, the too-cool-for-school crowdthink notion of what's OK to talk about or expresss. The equivalent is the kids who lined the bleachers during the dance because "dancing is lame". It's like having an open house and people come just to diss the decor as they eat your hors d'oeuvres like you owe them something. I'm glad this place has comments, but maybe Tumblr's onto something.

posted by Eric at 7:57 PM on July 2, 2008

Ha. I picked boredwithit as todays inter-nom de guerre on the flimsiest of whims, speaking mainly of work, where I was still stuck and obviously contributed to my foul attitude. I did not realize I was speaking for lovers of the bland and impersonal everywhere, but knowing that now, I will take my responsibility much more seriously.

My comment was unnecessarily mean and personal, and I apologize. I was annoyed by an aspect of your site, and chose to express that through an ad-hominem attack. I complain about Gawker and their type all the time, and here I go using their tactics. Shame on me. Anonymity is a demon-bitch, what can I say?

But like Akon and most other people today, I cant just give a straight-up apology and leave it at that. I must nit and pick and take issue.

posted by boredwithit at 12:21 AM on July 3, 2008

Half apologies aside:

My philosophy does not in fact, yield the equation you present, unless youre also saying that David Sedaris = Rex Sorgatz. Not to say you dont have a Me Talk Pretty One Day in you  you very well may  but to put yourself on his level b/c youve cobbled together a page or two or clever Twitters is mighty presumptuous. And which is what youre doing by saying Im in any way attacking him by poking some fun at your dating blog.

Sorry, to be, well, Web.2.Old*, but I cant help but notice, while defending the over-sharers of the world, you take a swipe at the cupcake and baby and mean boss tumblrs. Not overly familiar with that world, but from the description, it reeks of adulthood, a horrible, horrible spectre nearly every New Yorker runs away from like their life depended on it.

Thats really my issue with it, Rex.** The overwhelming adolescence of it all, the mumblecore and the emo and the share-y blogs. The need for 4 tells for every kiss. The navel gazed upon so unrelentingly you burn a hole through your back. The slapping of giant orange exclamation points on drinking and making out and staying up all night, man!!!!

Really? Staying out late? Thats still worth commenting on after 10th grade?

Also, boo on acting as if you discovered hookup culture, a state of affairs that has been on since roughly the sexual revolution. Tom Wolfe was roundly mocked for acting as if he discovered it in Charlotte Simmons way back in 2004. And hes like super (ewww) old.

Im sorry if Im joining a crowd of people wanting to slap a scarlet A slash through you on Facebook. Again, I thought I was mommys special snowflake, tender and unique, but Ill ride whatever wave comes my way, I guess. But look - you cant brag about 2.0 transparency and openness and lecture other people about that and then whine that the commenters are winning when they call you on your shit. When you put yourself out there, one of the things thats out there is your neck and it starts to looks mighty tempting to a bored someone or other with a knife or a meanie comment. You know it as well as anyone. Buck up, dude. The rides only going to get rougher.

Also, great party, love the hors d'oeuvres. Shitty d├ęcor, though, guy.

*Did an adult really just use that as an insult?
**Can I call you Rex now that were enemies? Good, thanks.

posted by boredwithit at 12:22 AM on July 3, 2008

First off, I'm (sorta) pleased that you're writing in a (relatively) level-headed, reasoned manner, which is absent in so much drive-by blog commenting. Let me unpack this piece by piece...

My philosophy does not in fact, yield the equation you present, unless you're also saying that David Sedaris = Rex Sorgatz...

I am David Sedaris. And so are you. And so is every Tumblr blogger.

I mean this, of course, in the sense that we all share the same rights: to write in whatever style, about whatever topics. It is not an evaluative statement, a comment on aesthetics; rather, it is a comment on privilege.

Your argument is that people are allowed to write in a certain way if... if they're published memoirists? Seriously, why the fuck does David Sedaris, or Augusten Burroughs, or Klosterman, or any number of lesser memoirists who make less hyperbolic examples of confession culture -- why exactly do they get to "overshare"? Where did they get their license?

And I'm a horrible example, cuz I come from a relative position of privilege, able to write my way around the ring and with an agent who wishes I produced more publishable ideas. Instead, my point here is to stick up for the people who have no interest in publishing, who simply want to write about their lives without other people yelling "OVERSHARER!" and "NARCISSIST!" at them.

(I think people are going to regret that particular critique of Emily Gould too. There are legit reasons for not liking her story, but the oversharing argument isn't one of them. Again, all I can do is point you to how 20-year-olds are using Facebook. I'm not saying it's good; I'm saying it is.)

Every fucking one of Klosterman's books has a story literally about me in it -- and all of them make me uneasy in their candor, their overshariness. Your argument is that I need to write a book to be "qualified" to do the same?

(I'm guessing this is where you pull back, and say your dispute with my stupid Tumblr is a matter of quality, not privilege. For the record, this was not your original point, which is why I'm ranting. From a quality perspective, was the Tumblr anything? Eh, whatever. I think it's sociological, literary... but I'll try to get to that below.)

You take a swipe at the cupcake and baby and mean boss tumblrs...

I will make no enemies with the cupcake bloggers!

You're just being coy now -- you know exactly what I mean. There's a kind of safe writing about safe topics that has become sanctioned online. I want everyone to write exactly what they feel like writing about -- puppies, babies, cupcakes, and their sublime adventures in adulthood. Sure! The point is that you're allowed to write about your cupcake meetup, but you're not allowed to write about your drinking/drug habits, or your dating confusion, or your angst with internet protocol. Why? Because it's too personal? My Tumblr was all anonymous!

An aside: where do the sex bloggers fit in here? Oversharing par excellence!

(For the record, Fimoc has never been about ANY of that personal stuff. You're gleaning this from random Twitters and a stupid Tumblr. And most of it, it seems, without context.)

Boo on acting as if you discovered hookup culture...

C'mon. Yes, I DISCOVERED HOOKUP CULTURE. Jesus, is there no nuance to reading anymore?

But honestly, there is ABSOLUTELY something different going on with the dating scene right now. Spend a little time reading twenty-somethings online and you'll see it. In the meantime, I'm going to unironically point you to a NYT Modern Love essay that gets to it surprisingly well.

Whine that the commenters are winning when they call you on your shit...

C'mon. NUANCE. You're really taking a Tweet -- "The commenters are winning" -- with some kind of literal quality about me? I meant that in about 10 different ways that had nothing to do with me! I didn't even necessarily mean it negatively! I'm as much part of commenter culture as anyone!

(More for the record: I get very little blowback on this site in the comments. I assume this is because people just move on if they don't like this site. That's good! I think you might be my first elongated commenter dispute in years. And it's about something that isn't even really on this site.)

The overwhelming adolescence of it all, the mumblecore and the emo and the share-y blogs. The need for 4 tells for every kiss. The navel gazed upon so unrelentingly you burn a hole through your back. The slapping of giant orange exclamation points on drinking and making out and staying up all night, man!!!!

I saved this part for last, because I think it's the piece where you have a legit point. This whole over-sharey, self-revelatory culture is, I confess, a recent personal fascination. But I have my reasons...

It's unfair of me to typecast you, but since you're anonymous, I can create whatever identity I choose. Therefore, I'm going to guess a few other characteristics: 1) You don't "get" Facebook or MySpace. You think it's famewhores and untalented hacks. 2) You hate The Hills. 3) You hate most reality tv too. Survivor kinda depresses you because now a whole class of people want to be famous. 4) NO MORE JULIA ALLISON!!! 5) You're Lutheran.


Let's just assume that you fit the casting of the first four (don't worry -- some of my best friends hate Gossip Girl!). Culture and society must look pretty grim to you. And you know what? Sometimes it does to me too. But only when I let my guard down, because this whole Facebook/memoir/reality-tv/Tumblr/fake-vs-real part of society is actually the most fascinating thing in the world to me. I've completely stopped thinking about it ethically -- I exist only to understand it, from the inside.

This moment we're living in -- where reality is constructed through fake newscasters, where personal details are willingly/gleefully turned into public fodder, where technology and media are clashing, where everyone wants to create their own little media empires, where the communication and publishing are becoming the same thing, where caring is creepy and casual is sexy... THIS WHAT I CARE ABOUT. And I honestly feel like there's no way to understand it, to be equipped to talk about it, unless you're in the fray, following the people on the edge, trying everything you shouldn't be trying, sticking your dick where it shouldn't belong.

Fulfilling? HAH. Perhaps you really did miss the point of the Tumblr -- it really IS self-loathing, I really do sorta hate this culture. And yet.

And yet, it's the most interesting thing going on in the world right now. Go ahead, laugh at that, because a great number of my friends laugh when I say it. But I mean it -- I really fucking mean it -- when I say that there's something going on in all the angst of these people, with how they deal with criticism, and lust, and the perception of themselves as seen by other people, that's completely and utterly fascinating to me.

My goal is ultimately to find a medium to explain this to people. I'm clearly not there yet.

posted by Rex at 4:08 AM on July 3, 2008

First off, kudos for conducting this discussion out in the open, instead of just moderating comments when they get heated. I can't say that I'd have the cojones for that, esp. with some bored commenter taking personal shots at me.

And you're 100% right that I'm criticizing Fimoculous the Site for some random Tweeters and an anon Tumblr. But, as you know and frequently advocate, the lines are blurry. You can't be too surprised when people lose fine distinctions. Nevertheless, you have a very good point. My bad.

Your typecasting is funny (and certainly provoked), but slightly off. I'm actually way more into the social networking sites than I'd like. I use my Status Updates as a poor man's Twitter, something I wish everyone did (mainly so I don't have to join Twitter). I think all those social applications are great, and although fraught with obvious pitfalls, are a great way to keep up on people that you wouldn't necessarily want to call up on the phone.

And I fucking love Tumblr, but have no clue about these ultra personal ones you're referencing.* I guess my scorn comes secondhand, from controversies like the Gould thing,etc. I stumble upon randomly. If I got deep in the weeds with it, I'm sure I could really work up some bile...

Sex bloggers: yuck, yawn. Don't care for them, but whatever gets you through the night, folks. Don't like most reality TV, you're right, but mainly b/c I work in Film/TV and I think the format has always been so lazy and predictable. Except Pick Up Artist, of course. That shit was great.

The truest thing I ever read about the new culture is that exhibitionism is the new generation gap. And it is. I don't get it, I don't like it -but it's not up to me. My complaint would be that all this Me-ism would take away from engagement in the larger world, but this group seems WAY more involved in issues than my Gen X slacker crew ever was. Though 8 years of Bush would make anyone pop up and pay attention, I'd guess.

I DO hate the famelust though, unequivocally. I think it's corrosive and awful and soul-killing. We'll see how it shakes out, but I think we're raising a generation of Lohan's without the money. Ugh.


I think you're a little silly and hyperbolic about all this new stuff and its potential, but hey - you're passionate. And that's such a rare fucking quality today, I can't really knock it. You walk the walk. I gotta give it up to you. Keep living on the fray, I'll keep reading. I promise to only make you defend the entirety of your lifestyle every 6 months or so.


*Maybe you could link to a few so I could hate up close? Most of the ones I go to are reposting mixed with FFFound.

**Odd, cause I'd bet we're around the same age. But that's a state of mind, or so I've heard.

posted by boredwithit at 7:21 AM on July 3, 2008

Well, we've come to some sort of half-agreement on a couple things. Maybe. This of course:

The truest thing I ever read about the new culture is that exhibitionism is the new generation gap.

And then there's this:

I DO hate the famelust though, unequivocally. I think it's corrosive and awful and soul-killing.

The way it's phrased, it would seem folly to disagree. But I would, in this sense: a lot of what gets called "exhibitionism" won't be in the future -- it will be just called sharing. (Again, communication and broadcasting crumble.) And is that "bad" for society? Maybe. But I actually suspect not. I actually view these tools, and the way people are using them, as empowering, not dangerous.

(I should also, again, say that there really is a line that people have crossed that IS over-sharing, in the bad sense. This whole thing started with a dispute of whether a Tumblr blog that sorta looks like Nicholson Baker's Vox constitutes it. I guess that annoys me.)

And as far as me... well, I've done my sociology. I want to get back to making stuff.

posted by Rex at 10:14 AM on July 3, 2008

This conversation was fantastic. I think my problem with over-sharing is that it is all so relentlessly boring. People have been getting wasted and sport-fucking for hundreds of years. Our generation reeks of amateur hour by comparison. The thing that separates someone like augusten burroughs or hunter thompson or g.g. allen, is that they have taken some aspect of decadence to the logical extreme. That is why it is noteworthy and interesting. Few people are willing to "buy the ticket and take the ride."

posted by nodak at 5:30 PM on July 3, 2008

"I don't buy any of that. If that fucking Tumblr is oversharing, then so is writing a goddamn novel."

I liked the word "oversharing" when Emily used it, but less than two weeks later and I never want to hear it again.

What's the difference between oversharing and just sharing? Your personal emo threshold?

Art is oversharing. I would daresay there is no art without it.

With a novel or a sculpture or a painting, the sharing between you and the artist is filtered by publishers, distance, and the conventions of the medium.

But the internet has made art cheap, and by the same token it has made emotion cheap. The emotional connection that occurs between a reader and a novelist is perceived as precious because it's just one way.

But when you can touch the artist, when you can say "thank you" and get a "you're welcome" back in your inbox -- when you're overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of the sharing -- the unedited raw blobs of emotion...

I think the people who complain about oversharing are just snobs. They want their art filtered, processed, sanitized and read-only.

They don't object to emotion per se, they just want it managed and packaged for them.

I love the culture of oversharing, but hey, what do I know, I even like amateur porn.

posted by Michael Duff at 11:59 PM on July 4, 2008

NOTE: The commenting window has expired for this post.