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Friday, March 04, 2016


Pretending to be Something You’re Not

It's gotten to the point where it's not rare any more.

A woman I’ve known for some time is fond of making great declarations of intent which she’ll never follow through on. Once, she explained that she was going to go to medical school and become a plastic surgeon. “Lawrence,” she told me, “I’ll look you up when I’m living up the good life.” I’m not sure if she expected to create some kind of jealousy in me, or if she really believed all of this and was trying to be gracious to her friends. But, a few months later, her goal to become a plastic surgeon had been completely forgotten.

You see, a new movie had come out, the recent adaptation of The Great Gatsby, and this woman had decided that bringing back flapper fashions was her new and great cause. Later, of course, this would be forgotten and set aside in favor of some other ambition. After a time, I simply ignored her statements and just nodded my head politely whenever she spouted off her latest life dream. She returned to her life as a live-in nanny in a modest home.

She is a Progressive, at least so far as her limited political outlook can be said to be anything. Bernie Sanders memes fill her Facebook wall, and she is quick to express her disapproval of Republicans. For whatever reason, I have been granted an exception for being “pretty smart” and “something of a dick, but kinda funny.” But her forbearance doesn’t extend much beyond me.
To be fair to her, she’s actually a very intelligent woman, and I suspect if she truly desired to be a plastic surgeon or a fashion designer, it would be within the realm of possibility. But I also know she’ll never be any of these things. Like most people in modern America, her attention span is abysmally short and nothing ever seems quite good enough to her to be worth real investment of time, effort, and resources.

Americans like her are everywhere, and when presented with the evidence that they have failed in life, they cannot bear the shame. They will insist that they really are fashion designers, or video game developers, or whatever else they wished to become. Zoe Quinn of #GamerGate fame presented herself to the world as a video game developer, even though the extent of her professional experience was writing the outline for a text-based game no more complicated than a Word Document, that she then handed to someone else to code.
Men pretend to be women. People pretend pedophiles are normal, but Christians are evil. Pundits claim to be impartial journalists. Shaun King is Black. Don’t get me started on Otherkin (you have the soul of a werewolf? Da fuq?). Then I read a headline where a guy was asking why people assume that he’s gay because he’s a guy having sex with men. Everybody is pretending to be something they are not. Words have become meaningless. I guess I’m just waiting for resumes to become the latest “oppressive tool of the Patriarchy.”

People want all the credit for none of the work. And I guess that’s nothing new. The only thing that’s changed is that this has somehow become normalized to the point that telling somebody they really aren’t that is now oppressive and discriminatory.

Think I’m crazy? This is really a thing:


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