Cultural Imperialist

"Scathing Spats on Shallow Subjects"


Wed Aug 23



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"Like" Aversion

Greg Piper

Liking yourself means you've given up on even half-hearted displays of support and retreated into a cocoon of self-approbation, immune to either praise or scoffing, like Axl Rose working on Chinese Democracy.

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Pleasuring yourself is usually confined to private spaces, unless you're George Michael (the singer or the Bluth). But the pimple-faced juggernaut known as Facebook has spurred many of us, when we're not forming a group to curse Facebook, to shamelessly stroke our egos before men and angels without regard to the disapproving clucks of society.

The latest case in point: "liking" your own creations, whether status updates, photos or outside material.  Why not just boil down Nana's gold jewelry and make a graven image of yourself?

Jeremiah did this to his own article about frozen yogurt a few weeks ago, for what reason I can only wildly speculate. Is his lucid eschatological analysis of froyo so daunting to our readers that Jeremiah has to show them how to "like" it, as you'd eat a jar of strained peas to make a baby want it? I think more highly of our readers than that, and less of my own writing, that I should need to preemptively paw at myself like Jason Biggs when Shannon Elizabeth is getting dressed.

"Liking" yourself carries the same disastrous consequences as artificially boosting children's self-esteem, only a million times worse. A friend could like your status out of pity or desire for reciprocal liking, without you being aware of their ulterior motives. But liking yourself means you've given up on even half-hearted displays of support and retreated into a cocoon of self-approbation, immune to either praise or scoffing, like Axl Rose working on Chinese Democracy.

Is that what you want, Jeremiah? To hole yourself up in a dingy LA studio apartment, touching your "like" button all day, artificially inseminating your otherwise sterile writing with a cavalcade of kudos?

I know it's hard to get back out into the rating scene. You put yourself out there, and the likes are slow to come. But exercising self-restraint and saving yourself for the right reader, or two - we're not writing "steady" here - feels so much better when you do get that special click. Let's end this solip-schism, Jeremiah.

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"Like" It Or Not, A Little Shameless Plug Goes A Long Way

Jeremiah Lewis


In our social networking age, to ignore self-promotion is to die a slow, ignoble death by a thousand "Buts". "But isn't that shameless, plugging your own stuff like that?" "But why can't you let the readers decide what to 'Like' and what to ignore?" "But why don't you accept Discover?"

Because, like Greg Piper, you have some pretended sense of moral superiority, and the life you lead, as poor and meager as it is, is governed by this pretend right and wrong. For you and Mr. Piper, the "Like" button is something other people do, but not you, and especially not to yourself. To you, "liking" one's own content on Facebook is akin to a rat pushing a shock button to give itself an orgasm. Pleasurable, but ultimately the fruitless onanism of our mediocre age.

Recently Greg excoriated my froyo self-love as an act of egregious self-approbation, as if it were an act within a vacuum of ego, in which I was Narcissus gazing into the mirror of my own making, and admiring the reflection, clicked the "Like" button with apparent disregard for its effects on the general populace (54 as of this writing).

Nothing could be further from the truth.

What Greg has to be reminded of time and again is that Cultural Imperialist, with its bells and whistles, its architecture, and organic, sometimes uncertain growth, is the result of countless hours of work that I--not Greg--have put into it. Yes, content comes from both of us, but the mechanism of dissemination is only possible because I put it into motion. If a little self-love makes that unpaid work more pleasurable, I daresay it's like Jack Bauer flaunting the law for the good of the country.

Secondly, I'm an equal opportunity button clicker. I "Like" Greg's articles as well. And not because I think he's a swell guy. In actuality, pushing the "Like" button is mostly a mindless action, born not of hubris or arrogance but of visibility. Liking something makes it public, opens it up for scrutiny, paves the way for discourse. One "like" might spawn a conversation. No "likes" and it's apt to vanish like a fart in the wind, apologies to Andy Dufresne.

The truth is, Cultural Imperialist is small; it is a two-man operation running on heart, finger sweat, and shameless self-promotion. One should feel able, even inclined to promote one's work proudly and without shame, if one has nothing to be ashamed of. And how better to do so than with the tools at hand, as it were.

And as it happens, I was damn proud of my frozen yogurt piece. Since Greg has no "like" to give, I'll have to do it for both of us.

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