Saturday, January 1st, 2022 - 6:31am -

"Every revolution begins, for those engaged in it, with a revolution inside oneself." - Alain Badiou

i hate the category of outsider art. that it has to be distinguished from other art, is sickening and just is a symptom of ableism and shittiness in art in general... ive always hated shit like tim and eric, the show always just felt like shitty bullying and exploitation of helpless mentally ill people... i guess today's blog is going to be about this topic of social acceptance and related issues. i started this whole thing off a bit poorly by attacking tim and eric which probably alienates people. i'm trying to be more compassionate with my communication but it is hard. i grew up as a lonely, faceless internet user on forums and chatrooms isolated from IRL peers, and quickly thereafter was accustomed like everyone else into the distorted sociality on social media. i've been trying to "detox" for some years...

why i get mad is because, ive always been that person my whole life, who is the butt of jokes for being "weird" - which i later found out was a heuristic categorization for somewhat more specifically-identifiable traits such as being disabled, gay, trans. These categories are nice, and help us pinpoint areas of discrimination, but just because we can put a name to them doesn't mean they are more or less real than any other category of discrimination, any other grounds for being marginalized. I think there are millions and millions of people who feel socially marginalized, but they don't quite fit into any of the "established" categories, and so they feel unheard etc and often this turns them against more "established" groups of marginalized people. Some people are just weird, and people don't like them... for reasons you can't really describe. It reminds me of what Zizek says about love: if you can describe in detail exactly why you love a person, it isn't really love.

it never felt better to me when people (sometimes well intentioned, sometimes not...) tried to do the opposite and praise me as "unique" and "smart" and "creative", it just made me feel worse and just solidified me as someone who is forever "outside" of the norm. Some people get an ego trip off of that, and i did but it was always with some resignation. what can people do but accept inclusion, however condescending or exploitative it might be. i do believe that social representation does work to build acceptance and reduce stigma, even if that representation isn't what we would want it to be. it is never our choice anyway. any "acceptance" is just a fucking consolation, a glimmer of hope for something that isn't even great anyway: that we too, can eventually be good little citizens, workers and consumers, punching the clock to have the value of our labor sucked from us in exchange for an
arbitrary and inherently unfair wageIsn't it funny that micro-managing employers, of which all are now post-Taylorism, can put so much stock into calculating production efficiency and management strategies, spend hours pouring over spreadsheets to calculate cost-savings, but this same attention is never paid to find the actual value of workers' labor and pay the worker based on that, rather than wage completely detached from the labor's value.
. Well, there we can find common ground with the rest of the 99% - our present may suck in varying degrees, but with the status quo, all our futures are equally fucked...

i am not special. a lot of people grew up like i did - in the suburbs middle income (say, enough to qualify for a mortgage, not enough to pay for college). lots in my generation (for some inexplicable reason...) had behavioral issues, adhd, severe depression, suicidality, anxiety etc. Obviously that is different from growing up in a war zone or something (i shouldnt even have to say this but unfortunately i do, because so many arrogant dickheads (and bad-faith readers) exist) but given this, we can see all different kinds of social exclusion and oppression as being narrower instances of the problem of being "normal" versus being "weird", being "accepted" versus not, of "conformity" or not, from the perspective of that old and unfashionable feild called sociology. Many people similar to me had issues with social acceptance for various reasons. sometimes we played pariah about it when really the stigmas we faced weren't so bad. sometimes we struggled very genuinely with the existential questions we faced in the relative comfort of america. As Marx said, the past weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living, and i would likewise add that the terror and violence committed by America abroad, upon which our lifestyles rely, weighs on those inside of it, whether they know it or not.

Conformity is not a problem about people not being able to express some supposed "true" "authentic" "inner self" versus having to repress it and conform. The problem is not that normies conform out of malevolence or stupidity and need to be awakened to some enlightened path. The problem is that we live in a society where conforming to completely arbitrary and bullshit norms can determine not only if people are socially accepted by their peers, but whether peoples are seen as human beings at all, are valued enough to even have peers to be judged or ostracized BY. The issue of conformity maybe does not have to work this way, but it does for many of us.

this problem of social acceptance, although we can dismiss it as a petite-bourgeois concern or as an ideological battle between competing labor-aristocracies, does in fact offer us, i think, a faint glimmer of Universality - of common human experience - that can shine through to all of us at some point: that in extremes, a deprivation of social acceptance can lead not only to harm to our mental health, but can even physically hurt us, or even pose an immediate threat to our survival.

Many of us in the "first world" do not experience such dire effects of social stigma.

Our position as marginalized makes us into pariahs to some people who romanticize it. Like is completely natural, we do play into tropes so that we can get some of the benefits of being seen as a pariah. this observation does not come from cynicism, but empathy and compassion. trans people always struggle with whether they are "trans enough", disabled people struggle with if they are really "disabled enough", and so on.

the reason these insecurities exist in the first place is because the number of people willing to help us, be decent to us, much less fight for us, is limited - especially to people marginalized in many ways. with any scarce commodity we want to protect our access to it. we all understand how other people can make us into pariahs, and out of compassion and empathy for ourselves and others, we should recognize that "pandering" doesn't have any bearing on the truth of who we are as marginalized people, although it might hurt our "authenticity" - but you can't buy food or pay rent with authenticity. in a way we have to "pander" to survive, for many of us, it is either "sell out" or starve. the ones who sell out enough to make a good living, might throw the rest under the bus, or they might just live in ignorance of the ones they left behind. the ones who choose to starve while keeping their perceived bonafides are just treating themselves to that little psychological fix that comes with self-assuredness. but then, for some people who are marginalized in so many ways, that psychological fix is really all they can get, and it is almost all they have to feed themselves and go on living. so trying to wrestle it from them can be like taking water from someone dying of thirst.

there is always fighting within or between marginalized people. normies and the naive among us always want to pretend that it doesn't happen but, we are reflexively defensive and accusatory of other people who we don't see as authentic, and there is a competition among marginalized people. if you don't think this happens often, then it just means you are either so naive that pretty much the only thing you can be relied on is to gender a person correctly, or youve been lucky enough to not be on the receiving end. If you not only don't believe in this, but aggressively deny it as some kind of slander against marginalized folks, then i am immediately suspicious of you, because this means you are you have either always been on the side dishing out accusations of inauthenticity and tearing others down, and have had a clique of other marginalized folks to defend you, or you retain some fucked up hope that someday you yourself will have a clique or a personal army to attack people with that will defend your every word and act.