Saturday, May 29, 2010

A narcissist's manifesto

I'm often accused here of being completely self-involved, vain, shallow and full of myself. (I am never accused of this offline, by the way. Not to my face, at least.) I have wondered more than once - pretty much every day, actually - if I would be accused of the same sins were I a male product specialist writing the exact same observations, replacing the male pervs with female.

I don't think I would. In fact, I think the male readers who currently bemoan my attitude would be sending me internet high-fives.

Justine Musk (soon-to-be ex-wife of Tesla head Elon Musk) offered the following observation on her own blog, Moschus:

"The attitude seems to be that personal, confessional blogging ('female' blogging) is narcissistic, and authority blogging ('male' blogging) is not.

Personal blogging takes the blogger's own life and turns it into narrative. Stories.

Authority blogging establishes the blogger as an 'authority' in some particular niche, and relates information that (theoretically) solves a problem the reader might have or teaches something that the reader wants to know. An authority blogger usually has a product or service to sell you."

The designation of 'female' blogging and 'male' blogging is more one of attitude than actual gender.

This blog has always been meant to be both confessional and authoritative. I'm writing my personal experiences from the standpoint of an expert in the field - someone who has never done my job could never write about it, just as I could never pen a blog about nonexistent experiences working in an ER. Is it self-indulgent? I don't see how. I don't get any real-life attention from this since I must remain anonymous. I don't post photos of myself posed enticingly next to vehicles, fishing for compliments.

So I'm not sure where a lot of the vitriol comes from. Is it because I take the occasional shot that bruises the fragile male ego? Is it because a certain type of male can't reconcile the idea of an attractive female who has no sexual interest in him actually being intelligent? Is it because they recognize themselves in the types of creeps I call out here?

Probably a combination, and more. The human psyche is so terribly complicated.

Anyway, I'm not going to apologize for what I write. There are a lot of a$$holes at auto shows. I write about them. The end. If you recognize a piece of yourself in anything I've ever written, my advice to you is that instead of trying to tear me down, you spend that time and energy: A) applying multiple layers of deodorant, B) learning how to talk to a woman respectfully while looking her in the EYES, and C) putting in some quality time on the treadmill.

While you're doing that, I'll be writing. Cheers!


  1. As a male reader: *internet high five*. I find your posts almost as entertaining as Jalopnik.

    If you insist on looking for a reason let me suggest 'people are assholes on the internet'. Interpreted loosely enough I believe that's Rule 6 of the internet. On second thought, loosely interpreted that's all the rules of the internet.

  2. Ironically, you are actually an authority blogger. It's just that you're an authority on the crazy things that happen at car shows, which is superficially similar to personal blogging in that it consists primarily of personal anecdotes.

    Some personal bloggers are narcissistic, sure, because all bloggers are people and some people are narcissistic. But the trick is to understand that personal blogging is like Facebook -- it's about using the web to narrow-cast your life to friends and family with whom you'd otherwise lose touch. Of course it looks self-absorbed to someone who doesn't know the blogger personally - it's like a stranger coming up to you and talking about their bowel complaints. The difference is that reading someone's personal blog is more like you asking the stranger to tell you about their bowel complaints.

  3. Whether you're authoritative or narcissistic, you're entertaining and that's good enough for me. I enjoy your insight and perspective.

    Reading comments on the internet gives me little hope for mankind. I just try to ignore most of it to give me a false sense of optimism for our race.

    Personally I write for my own conceit. I don't think any of my friends or family read my site, so it gives me quite a bit of freedom. If I had as many people reading my site as yours, it would affect my writing negatively, I'm sure.

    I hope you keep up your writing. And my friends and I will try not to be creepy the next time we go to the autoshow (we're engineers, so I can't make guarantees, though).

  4. I do enjoy the stories, and having attended E3 and other game industry shows in the past, I'm not surprised. Continually disappointed, but not surprised.

    But is there a flip side? Are there patrons who have really made a positive impression, or are they all hopeless?

    No matter, please do keep it up, the stories are illuminating and good examples of "how not to attend a trade show". Too bad the people who need the lessons either will never see this blog, or won't recognize themselves.

  5. As I sit here eating a cold slice of pizza and pondering this issue, I fully realize I have better things to do. Blogs are something most of us read when we're procrastinating. The only bigger waste of time than reading a blog is reading/writing comments to a blog post. That's the truth of it and there's no way around it. With that said, it becomes obvious why some people would think you're a narcissist: because, A). you are, and, B). so is everyone else.

    We're a society of self-absorbed freaks who bought into the whole "special little snowflake" horseshit they fed us in elementary school and now subscribe vainly to the lip-service of the Dr. Phils, Oprahs and Deepaks of the world. We all spend entirely too much time trying to convince ourselves that we are "unique" and "special" and worthy of "better". Better pay, better lovers, better clothes, better cars, better lives. That's why we're such easy targets for marketers.

    Blogging is an extension of that need for "better", that urge towards setting ourselves apart. By writing a blog, one is saying, "I have something unique to offer and others will find it interesting". That's a narcissistic thing, right there.

  6. Narcissistic or not, I find your blog to be immensely entertaining. As someone who has experience in customer service (and a female, at that), I have witnessed many of the same things and it makes me feel a little better about my life to hear that someone else is aghast at what people deem appropriate actions outside of their homes. And let's face it, the ridiculous stories are the ones that are the most fun to tell.

  7. As I read this post, I found myself wondering if the waiter rant guy ever was accused of being a narcissist. If so he never blogged about it. It might be interesting to drop him a line and ask.

    And for what's it's worth I disagree with Charles. One of the best things about the internet is that it allows the common person to share their creations, be that film, art, or writing with the rest of the world without having to wait to be discovered or have a soulless corporation suck the life out of your art before it's deemed worthy for the public. It's also not especially narcissistic to want to contribute something bigger then yourself, that's not unique to generations X, Y, and soon to be Z, that's simply human. Why else to people have children?

  8. You're attractive and you write interesting material. It would be unhealthy NOT to feel good about yourself. As for actual narcissism - or any other unconstructive criticism others write (probably because they feel worse about themselves when they read your work) - I don't think you're any worse than a million other blog sites out there.

  9. What you need to keep in mind when these people take you to task for whatever reason is the following formula:

    BTW, that has some strong language, so if you're upset by that, don't follow it. In any case, people are - in general - far more aggressive and intolerant online than they are in person (at the very least, this is my personal experience). In person there are certain standards of behavior that have consequences when violated, even if those consequences are little more than a stern look and disapproval. They say such things primarily because they never have to account for them.

  10. The blog sometimes has an attitude of, "You dumb men; I'm attractive, I know more about cars and you'll never be good enough to be my equal." While this may be true, you can't be surprised when men take exception to it.

    You're entitled to your opinions about the men you have to deal with at work just as we're all entitled to form our opinions about you.


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