Tag Archives: fnords

NPR: Musical dysmorphic disorder

Men who play music may be engaging in practicing behavior to the point that it’s harming their emotional or physiological health, according to a recent study.

The preliminary study, presented Thursday at the American Psychological Association’s annual convention, recruited 195 men ages 18 to 65 who played music at least twice a week and regularly engaged in practicing behavior.

Participants answered questions about their practicing behavior use as well as their self-esteem, mental image, musical habits and gender roles.

“These men want to be conventionally talented, and it makes sense that [practicing behaviors] are what they’re using or abusing,” says Richard Achiro, lead author of the study and a registered psychological assistant at a private practice in Los Angeles.

Forty percent of participants, who were all men, increased their practicing use over time, while 22 percent were replacing regular activities with practicing behaviors. Eight percent of participants had signs of bodily stress due to practicing behavior, and 3 percent reported injuries caused directly by it.

Men who used practicing behaviors inappropriately also were more likely to have behaviors associated with mental disorders.

Achiro is no stranger to the culture of practicing behaviors. His interest was piqued when he noticed throughout college and graduate school how common it was for his male friends to go to practice rooms to use musical instruments.

“It became more and more ubiquitous,” Achiro says. “Guys around my age who I knew — I’d go to their apartment and see some kind of guitar.”

Not to mention that this has become a multibillion-dollar industry that’s grown exponentially in the recent decade or so, he adds. …

One big factor behind practicing behavior use is dissatisfaction, the study found. The men internalize a particular set of cultural standards of talent usually depicted by the media: “like Yngwie Malmsteen,” says Achiro. And they’re unhappy that they don’t meet that ideal.

But the study also found that the men using practicing were more likely to feel gender role conflict, which Achiro explained as underlying insecurity about one’s masculinity.

“This isn’t just about the music,” Achiro says, “What this is really about is what the music represents for these men. It seems that the findings in part [show] this is a way of compensating for their insecurity or low self-esteem.” …

“Someone with anorexia will feel they need to continue to get thinner and lose weight. With musicians, they act in the same kind of manner. They acknowledge that they’re skilled, but are obsessed with certain techniques that they find inadequate. This drive for talent preoccupies them. Practicing behaviors serve them the same way diet products serve someone with an eating disorder,” Cohn says.

For people affected by musical dysmorphic disorders, this constant and compulsive behavior takes over their lives — they are constantly skill-checking and can be unhappy, dissatisfied, or have low self-esteem.

“Think about bands on the high school and college level. Lots of these guys are encouraged by teachers and trainers to take these behaviors,” says Cohn. “This isn’t thought of as a negative behavior but can have negative consequences.”

The silver lining, Achiro points out, is that 29 percent of study participants knew that they had a problem of overusing practicing. But they might not be aware of possible underlying psychological factors.

“Guys think using practicing behaviors is healthy, [they’re] convinced it’s good for them, [it’s] giving them all kinds of skill they wouldn’t be getting otherwise,” says Cohn. “[This is] ignorance about what proper skill is.”

It’s also not unusual for people diagnosed with musical dysmorphic disorder or its characteristics to also have a high incidence of depression, anxiety and alcoholism, Cohn adds.

Although the research is preliminary and has yet to be peer-reviewed, Achiro hopes his research puts the issue on the map and encourages researchers to replicate his work.

“This is just the very beginning. There’re still tons to look at,” he says.

You heard it here first, folks. Wanting to get better at something is a sign of disordered thinking, low self-esteem, and insecurity about masculinity. And if an angel ever gives you a choice between being Haydn and being an immortal oyster, pick the oyster.

The original article is here.

Fnord salad

I got news for you: mom and pop were among the first to screech about OSHA and the EPA and never cared much for “the Coloreds” either.

that whey-faced little shit Reagan’s multi-billion dollar crusade for racial purification, lockin’ down the wife and daughter’s ladyparts,

Yet no matter how many laws they break or billions they loot, how many phantoms they conjure, how many social ties they sever, how many innocents they imprison, torture and execute, no matter how many foreign monsters they champion, no matter how much they scream that two-plus-two equals five, and no matter how much they double-down on crazed schemes while swearing it’ll all be different this time, free-marketeers, slavers, neocons, neofascists, Buckleys, Federalists, Bloombergians, traditionalists, Tea Baggers, Randians, McCarthyists, libertarians, Birchers, Goldbugs, Jesus Freaks, new regimes of privilege and domination,

Non-elite conservatives–the Red State bubbas that have cursed this land for so long–we might have to summon up some of that dangerous radical fire that’s propelled every worthwhile step we’ve taken towards a more civil and egalitarian society–

“didn’t Lenin, like, kill people?” Give me a fucking break.


Too white

They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.

Survey Says: Journalists Are Old White Cowards

Today’s typical journalist is an unhappily middle-aged white male who complains he’s losing his freedom while declining to use that freedom to threaten those taking it away. That, at least, is the takeaway from a survey of reporters that found they are older, whiter, and better-educated than they were a decade ago—and more timid than ever before.

What’s left is a gaggle of stodgy old white men Google admits it is too white and too male in rare workforce disclosure The Video Game Industry Is Too White, Straight, and Male for Its Own Good I could write pages on the unbearable too-whiteness of my workshop – I could write folio, octavo and duodecimo on its terrible whiteness – but you get the idea.

I’m Over Critically Acclaimed White Dude Television. I’m tired of watching middle-aged white men Hollywood’s White Dude Problem Old White Dude Nursing Faux Grievances  Oh great, here comes a White dude Unfunny white dude comedian One of the most pitiful sights that exists out here is the Old Racist White Man.

After yet another GOP whitesplaining of black culture and it’s problems from the FoxNewsiverse Chris Hayes stepped in and thoroughly destroyed the utter garbage spewing forth from Bullshit Mountain . . . The real reason Bill O’Reilly peddles this stuff is because it gives a cheap crack like high to the old fearful white audience that watches Bill O’Reilly and gives Fox News it’s power, also known as the GOP base.

“Like the Pilgrims, they fled their homeland yearning for a place where they could be free,” wrote Todd Starnes, a bigot who appears on Fox News, in a recent article on the plight of the Romeikes that gives the unfortunate impression they’re here to spread disease, slaughter the natives, and steal their land. the pasty white Romeikes Conservatives generally prefer their pilgrims as white as freshly bleached linen. “Had this administration been waiting at Plymouth Rock, they would’ve told the pilgrims to go back home,” HSLDA chairman Michael Farris told Fox’s Starnes, a thought that is actually quite lovely. An America where genocidal fundamentalists were told to get the hell out and go back to the horrors of Western Europe? Sign me up for that alternate reality.

though of course the pasty White dudes of America are some of the most overly sensitive balding, pasty white, middle-aged man selling you a five-day seminar on how Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is the greatest book When I enter the backroom all I had to do was follow the brown snail trails to a pasty white faggot. He tried to talk his way out of it by saying it was somebody else priced out by techies and “creative professionals” creeping in from neighboring white-bread Santa Monica At this point I’m amazed shit like this still comes up; everyone knows that even the most white-bread racists gulp down chicken korma on the the human mayo on white bread sandwich named Tim Pawlenty. As such, most vacation options are as white bread as a Romney/Ryan campaign fundraiser. From Club Med to Carnival cruises, nothing says “WASP cultural But complaining about political correctness is about as fresh as a loaf of white bread from the 90s. And so, according to the National Review, Growing up in the suburbs I was into straight, white bread music so the closest I could get to interesting was, like, Nirvana.

For about as long as anyone can remember, Victorville’s been under the thumbs of a revolving crew of mostly pasty white men who’ve run it like a banana republic on behalf of out-of-town business interests, complete with sham elections, backroom deals, and flat-out plundering of city coffers by a handful of private interests. Angela Valles seems as far away from that world as could possibly be. About a third of Victorville is Hispanic and have experienced exactly the kind of hardships she had overcome. Finally, someone would be looking out for the good of the people.

your kind — mostly older white folks beholden to an absurd, inaccurate, nostalgic fantasy of what America used to be like — are dying. And in the pantheon of American history, conservative old white people have pretty much always been the bad guys, the keepers of the hegemonic and reactionary flame, the folks unwilling to share the category of American with others on equal terms. Fine, keep it up. It doesn’t matter. Because you’re on the endangered list. And unlike, say, the bald eagle or some exotic species of muskrat, you are not worth saving.

We facing the sickness
of terrorists. Been terrorizing all of us
for hundreds of years. When we gonna catch em
and lock `em up! These terrorists. Catch em
and lock `em up! Then we can cure ourselves,
America, of what has always
Ailed us!

Let’s just call this reacting entity, “the Right-Wing Blob,” since it emits its largely predictable messages through various physically distinct, but otherwise indistinguishable, persons. these sick, sick people need to be caged The Right-Wing Blob specializes in two rhetorical moves:  armchair psychology and condescension from below. And so it goes. These people are literally devoid of independent thought, they are just bits of slime that ooze off the Blob when the Blob is poked, and in the process, they do violence to the language, stand reality on its head, and contribute to the continuing degradation of the public culture. the right-wing in America is always wrong Nazism, American style fascist thugs little right-wing robots religiously-inspired Nazis disgusting moral miscreants brain-dead crytpo-fascist Texas Taliban

another step in a long-term goal of mine: the peaceful, nonviolent disappearance of the white race

Noel Ignatiev (born 1940) is a radical academician and former American history professor at the Massachusetts College of Art. He is best known for his work on race and social class and for his call to abolish the white race.

Oh yeah, kill all the white man,
Oh yeah, kill all the white man.

The white man call himself civilized,
Cause he know how to take over,
The white man come to pillage my village,
Now he tell me I have to bend over.

Oh yeah, kill all the white man,
Oh yeah, kill all the white man.

No I do not like the white man up in me,
He rape my people as he rape my country,
Everything I love and cherish, he try to take away,
We will be rid of him, soon come the day.

Oh yeah, kill all the white man,
Oh yeah, kill all the white man.

Kill all the white man. [repeat till fade]

More fnords

A comment on Scott Alexander’s post on fnords:

I don’t think this tool is useful for evaluating arguments. It is generally too easy to reduce an opponent’s argument into gobbledygook fearmongering no matter what that argument is.

So, a test.

Methodology: entirely subjective. There are three fnord-compilations in the comments section of that article; each is very different from the others. But not entirely different.

1. An Amritas post.

I don’t think there are any.

0/1266 = 0%

2. A Wikipedia article.

empire devastating destruction remained controversial important trade route significant achievements in literature, art, music, and architecture, which was characterized as “shining and sparkling” extensive stance among the other empires effective military organizations destroyed formally declared resistance demand intense power submit vassal state attacked many natural disasters partook in their westward conquests supremacy coup d’état installed himself as Emperor beseiged at this point inexperienced threatened swore vengeance invade punish betrayal attacked steady advance exhausting enraged fierce resistance annihilative warfare systematically destroy take care of destruction surrendered without resistance destruction collapsing siege destroyed siege offensives lay beseiged secretly planning to kill the emperor mercilessly pillaged slaughtered plundered completed the effective annihilation destruction near total complete eradication first ever recorded example of attempted genocide ethnocide

122/1927 = 6%

(It’s hard to tell what should be counted and what shouldn’t. If the Mongols destroyed a city and killed everyone in it, there really aren’t too many ways to say that–the connotations inhere in the acts.)

3. A NYT article.

quietly altering the law of the land without public notice Harvard phenomenon Antonin Scalia embarrassing error dissent neither prompt nor publicized secretive led astray scrubbed has made the longstanding problem more pronounced unannounced retreated a major gay rights case scholars exceptional care basically rewriting the law intense pressure announcing the abstract proposition merely painstaking Scalia misstep dissent criticized Worse, mistake quickly altered bland corrected categorical did not go unnoticed deleted from the official record a Texas law making gay sex a crime deliberately make it hard for study Harvard Law Review all justices over the years liberal and conservative seems to have been even more freewheeling in the past considerable number of actually completely at odds with general practices a strange and ‘reverse’ guard against defections exceptions to the general practice of quietly slipping changes into more in keeping with the integrity and rigor

144/1437 = 10%

4. An interview on Western Maryland secession.

secession from the United States secession typically conflate colonies Southern states seceded from the Union seceding from the Union Union not sure about for a long time Really, should should should should a much more representative Senate. You’ve said it well, because I couldn’t agree with you more, and in fact representative government and the consent of the governed We don’t need a big, one-size-fits-all policy here. decades of oppressive and abusive treatment the people sick and tired, and in fact we’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. We can’t… actually you are a region that is state-sized. not unheard of. germane to the national discussion pushed up doing this all the time over every issue, brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor. The way you solve more more choices very far left on the political spectrum very far right more choice, just like competition. Consent of the governed and right to self-determination and self-governance is precisely what this country was founded upon. doesn’t sound all that unreasonable the people The government government government people coming together associating themselves I’m all for that, I think that’s fantastic and exactly what we should be doing conservative liberal conservative conservative it’s up to the people to decideallies allies problem so badly gerrymandered even through the normal election process we can’t fix this problem. Gerrymandering is a huge problem. It would make Eldridge Gerry blush, it’s so bad.

236/768 = 31%

The Baffler article was 398/2885 = 14%, but that’s a low estimate; I think I skipped some of the quotes.

More on trigger warnings

…since this could stand to be expanded, and since I made this thing with the intention of keeping to a daily schedule.

This NYT article about the introduction of trigger warnings dropped a few days ago; the topic is, of course, controversial, and the actually-existing arguments on both sides seem, of course, shoddy and unconvincing. It may be that they are hiding their real objections; it may be that their arguments were cut due to space concerns.

There are people in whom the relevant reactions are brought about by the relevant cues. While their numbers are probably unknown and difficult to measure, it is certain that they exist; and it may appear that accommodating them would have no effects other than accommodating them, or that the benefits are so obvious as to outweigh whatever minor negative side-effects it may have?

But why has it become such a major issue? Mere bureaucratic trivia rarely merit NYT articles, so this instance is probably not in that class. What’s going on here?

First, there’s the strong-horse effect: “When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse.” Thus spoke Osama, anyway; but this is a key point of formalist analysis. I will assume it here.

A corollary to the strong-horse effect is that, if a faction gets a policy implemented, that necessarily signals that the faction is powerful enough to get the policy implemented—and if a policy is implemented that is strongly associated with a particular faction, that also signals the power of the faction. The implementation of trigger warnings would signal that the factions backing them have enough power to get them implemented; and who backs them?

A draft guide from Oberlin, quoted in the article, provides the answer:

Be aware of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression. Realize that all forms of violence are traumatic, and that your students have lives before and outside your classroom, experiences you may not expect or understand.

So, progressives.

Until now, the strong-horse corollary (Osama’s second law?) had no name, but it’s intuitively understood. Consider the phrase ‘power grab’. But there’s also the thedish concern: things that signal a certain thede will be opposed, will bring about disgust reactions in, members of thedes to which the aforementioned thede is elthedish. That is: if the Blues don’t like the Greens, they’ll respond to, say, music that signals Green with disgust or anger—or however they respond to being signaled against, which, by hearing Green music, they are. (Garth Brooks, Soulja Boy, Twiztid, Andrew Jackson Jihad—pick whichever applies.) Trigger warnings signal progressive; trigger warnings signal the same faction as speech codes, so it’s no surprise the president of FIRE doesn’t like them. And it’s no surprise progressives tend to like them. (Note that factions need not be organized; the decentralized Cathedral architecture is more common than its absence. Factions need not even have names; they exist nonetheless. Note also that thedes are commonly named by outsiders. Even neoreaction.)

The strong-horse effect, thede-signaling—and also ideographs, and their repetition. (I’ll write a typology of ideographs later, but for now, I’ll note that they cover both applause lights (positive and negative) and fnords.)

If you assume that things that don’t conform to progressive ideals are potentially triggering—as the Oberlin guide does—and label them accordingly, that does three things.

First: it reinforces the perceived reality of the terms used. Trigger warnings appear neutral and authoritative: more like a nutrition label than Scientologist propaganda. (Ex cathedra.) We see ‘saturated fat’, ‘dietary fiber’, and ‘protein’ on nutrition labels, so we take the terms as real and add them to our language; if we see ‘racism’, ‘cissexism’, and ‘ableism’ on trigger labels, we become more likely to do the same.

Second: it creates connotation-patterns. Connotations bleed over; this is the point of ideographs. If a columnist in America calls bacon jerky racist, if a columnist in the USSR calls bacon jerky capitalist, if a columnist in Nazi Germany calls bacon jerky artfremd, what the columnist intends is to bleed over the negative connotation of racist, capitalist, or artfremd onto the both the term and the referent bacon jerky, causing it to take on a negative connotation in the mind of the reader. (I have a bag of bacon jerky on my desk. It’s actually good. This still surprises me.) If a book is labeled with a trigger warning for racism, cissexism, or ableism—possibly if a book is labeled with any trigger warning at all—the negative connotations of the trigger warning will bleed over and associate themselves with the book. And if books that do not conform with progressive ideals come to take on more negative connotations than books that do, that will strengthen progressivism.

Third: it amplifies preëxisting connotation-patterns. Consider Whig history: “In the past everything was bad and scary and everyone was dumb. Old things are bad and scary, and old people are dumb. As time goes on, everything gets less bad and scary, and everyone gets smarter. You should not take things from the past seriously, because the past was worse, scarier, and dumber than the present.” Progressivism is recent, and our society has drifted to the left over time; so the aforementioned connotation-patterns play into and amplify this one.