On Self and Other, mocker and mockee

by look i have opinions

“[I]f you are a dude like me and try to talk nondismissively/unironically about your love of Infinite Jest, how you have read this huge book multiple times, then you are a laughably easy target online (and offline) now, a clichéd stereotype—an object of derision or even pure hatred, a body-double for a whole class of obnoxious @GuyinYourMFA types who many, many other important, intelligent, cool, hip folks sincerely want to avoid or impede. This doesn’t make me want to change my love of DFW or IJ or act more withdrawn, though. One of William T. Vollmann’s ‘Rules’ for writing is ‘We must treat Self and Other as equal partners’ and I realize that usually the person mocking and the person being mocked are not that different. People fear being ridiculed for their cultural preferences so intensely that they sacrifice their true feelings in service of appearing cool, and the only way out of that double-bind is to inhabit one’s Self as fully as possible, until it disappears.”

—Matt Bucher (x)