Tips for Big Babies 9

Article by Scott Locklin. I like number twelve the best.
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While I’m all for increased awareness of modern America’s sexual dimorphism crisis, we face a much more serious problem—one from which all other social problems emanate like a nasty bathroom smell. I’m talking about the lack of adults in America today. The concept of adolescence was popularized in the 1950s. (It was only discovered in 1904; adolescence didn’t exist at all before then.) The first generation of adolescents liked it so much, they made it the cultural norm for everybody for all time. Marketers love adolescents, adult and otherwise. They’re a perfect helot class in a democracy: People with no self-control are easily led to purchase their identities through consumer products on credit. Totalitarian nanny states love adolescents, because someone has to take care of such people after their parents get sick of them. Big Brother loves ruling over a population of adolescents. You think acting like a superannuated teenager makes you a rebel? It doesn’t; it makes you a conformist. Act like an adult for a day to find out what rebellion against the modern age is.

Being a creature of my time, I was an adolescent until 34, at which point I immediately molted into a very grouchy and hung-over adult, complete with Cap Toe Oxford shoes and a disapproving look. As such, I have experience in these matters and am thus uniquely qualified to offer a Unisex 12-Step Plan to Wrench Americans Into Adulthood:

1) Be discriminating and judgmental. It’s presently considered rude and possibly illegal to be discriminating against things that people can’t help, but it is important to be discriminating and judgmental about things over which people do have power. Do they have good manners? Are they slobs? Do they have facial tattoos? Do they live in Berkeley? You are not only allowed to judge people for such things—it is a fundamental duty of adulthood.

“Act like an adult for a day to find out what rebellion against the modern age is.”

2) Dress like you have self-respect. Your ironic T-shirt wasn’t funny or fashionable when you were young, sleek, and seventeen; it’s even worse now that you’re wrinkly, fat, and forty. This may seem frivolous, but it isn’t: Fake it until you make it. Wearing a grey flannel suit and rep tie for a day will bring you more spiritual enlightenment than fifty years in an ashram. This has been proven by science.

3) I know it’s been said, but stop wearing your fucking backpack. If you’re not a soldier or otherwise hiking through the wilds looking for a remote campground, you are not allowed to wear a backpack as an adult. Travel is no excuse, nor is bicycle riding. Whatever you have in your backpack, you don’t need to have it with you. Corollary: If you’re not deplaning or a homeless person, you’re also not allowed to drag a wheeled suitcase more than 100 yards. If I had my way, all urban adult backpack-wearers and suitcase-draggers should be pressed into agricultural servitude until they are capable of leaving the house without 40 pounds of junk.

4) Get a job. Work is adulthood’s defining characteristic. Unless you’re a lady or gentleman of leisure, or you’re raising small children, you need a job. If you’re 30 and still in school or “discovering yourself,” you’re not admirable; you are an adolescent birdbrain. Alfred Krupp quit school and expanded the Krupps steel empire when he was 14 years old; what’s your excuse?

5) Get physically fit. Barring crippling disease or injury, there is no excuse for being a flabby lump of protoplasm. Fat people: Stop pigging out on candy and sugary drinks. Skinny manorexics: Grow some muscle or I’ll stuff you into a locker. The few skinny ladies left in the republic: I won’t stuff you in a locker, but I will make fun of your chicken legs and slouchy posture until you get fit.

6) Stop playing fake sports. Lift weights, run, or man up like our Lord and Master and play a real sport which involves a risk of hurting yourself. Fake sports such as BMX tricks, skateboarding, Frisbee golf, rock-climbing on things which aren’t rocks, bungee jumping, and parkour are kid stuff. None of these are real sports, and any adult who does them should be ashamed of themselves for being an undisciplined bubblehead. Women: Stripper poles are for low-rent hookers, not responsible adults. Belly dancing is no excuse for being a fat narcissist. Learn real dancing which involves other people, or learn the ballet. Learn things which require the adult qualities of discipline, skill, and not looking like a sequined barnyard animal.

7) Make your peace with your family. You are not an atomic individual birthed in a test tube. Whatever your personal circumstances, you are a member of a family, a tribe, a nation, and a civilization. You owe your parents for putting up with you while you were a kid. Your parents are jerks, you say? Well, the apple probably didn’t fall far from the tree. Give them your filial respect for raising the next generation of jerks.

8) Stop being a passive lump waiting for something nice to happen to you. Escapism is something children do to avoid the hard facts of life over which they have no control. Unfortunately, modern adult children excel at escapism. How many chicken-hearted nerds complain that women won’t have anything to do with them, then go spank it to bukakke and play World of Nerdcraft all night long? How many aging party girls complain they can’t find a nice guy with whom to settle down and make a family, yet they go leaping from peen to scabby peen like a deranged bonobo looking for validation? If Nerdly McMasturbator wants a girlfriend, he needs to quit choking the chicken, eat some red meat, drink some whiskey, and go make out with a real, live girl. If Penny O’Dyingeggs wants a white picket fence and a passel of chilluns, she needs to have the gang’s PROPERTY OF tattoo removed from her hiney and marry a hardworking accountant who is a poor judge of character. Take risks and make decisions with consequences. You’ll be worm food soon, anyway. If you’re waiting for something which is just right or gives you magically delicious feelings, you will wait forever.

9) Make stuff. Making things is the penultimate human activity. Unlike pushing papers around or futzing with a spreadsheet, or whatever most people do for a living these days, when you make stuff, you can see and enjoy your work’s end product. It doesn’t matter what you make. Knit a sweater, write poems, build a deck, cook dinner, start a business, or make little doilies or ashtrays which look like Karl Malden’s nose—just make something. Even savages with bones in their noses make things.

10) Stop living life according to your whims and passions. The ancient Greeks, fathers of Western Civilization, had a word for such people: slaves. Nature’s slaves are people who can’t govern their passions well enough to think about the future. If your every decision is guided by whim or feelings, you are an animated meat puppet controlled by manipulative advertisers and what you had for dinner last night. Adults make choices based on reason and foresight. Decadent children do whatever they feel like. While I’m at it: Stop wallowing in your emotional narcissism. Your emotional life is not important or interesting to anyone. It is almost certainly trite and disgusting.

11) Do something nice for others once in a while, you selfish git. Donate your time and money to a good cause. Assist someone worthy who is down on their luck. Be helpful and kind to your significant other rather than complaining about them. Clean up, cook dinner, or buy a round of beers; do something selfless once in a while. Show people the common decencies even if you feel grouchy. Don’t do these things to show off, and don’t do them for the undeserving. Do them because you’re an adult human being capable of empathy for others. Selfishness is adolescent.

12) No texting.

9 comments

  1. I like the premise, #5 and #7-11. 10 is incredibly important and I’d even argue that’s a huge part of the problem with society. But the rest is kind of bullshit. I ask Scott Locklin to try any of the “fake sports” he mentions. I agree with the first part of #4, but how are you going to tell a 30 year old veteran in community college to “grow up?” I question why people think discovering oneself is arrogant. Self-discovery happens everyday if you’re not a tool.

    “I know it’s been said, but stop wearing your fucking backpack.”

    Come take it from me.

    “Do they have facial tattoos?”

    I’ve met plenty of people who have facial tattoos that can comprehend something Mr. Locklin has a hard time doing. GETTING MONEY AND MINDING THEIR #$!%ing BUSINESS.

    “Do they live in Berkeley?”
    Awww… do the cooperatives infringe upon your hardnosed satirical reactionary worldview?

    “12) No texting.”

    I text my ass off cause girls like it when I text them. My weedman likes it when I text him. I’m not going to stop a convenience in my life because some dude thinks it’s adding to the nanny state’s agenda.

    “bubblehead. Women: Stripper poles are for low-rent hookers, not responsible adults.”

    Well then stop your “responsible adult” buddies from going to strip clubs. Low-rent hookers? They’re getting money and minding their own business just like the guys with facial tattoos.

  2. Crank. I’m all for discussing the adolescentization of our culture, but come on – texting is not the problem. It’s a shame because this is a topic I’ve been thinking about lately (as somebody who apparently offends Mr. Locklin in several above described ways). Two things are at work, best I can tell:

    1. We’re losing a lot of the formal constructs in our culture. Used to be that unless you were a manual laborer, you didn’t go out in public without a suit on. Now, I have to admit that I’m amazed (not offended, just amazed) at how mainstream the word “fuck” is becoming, or graphic sexual descriptions (I feel like Lewinskygate might have been the turning point here). Used to be wearing jeans to the office was a big deal; now I haven’t needed to wear any special attire for any jobs I’ve had for years.

    Part of this, I think, is media, which has played an exceedingly transformative role the more vividly it mirrors our culture. People get cues from it, and now normal people are actively participating in its creation. If it leads to a vulgarization of our culture, it’s only because it reflects the reality of people’s lives. Media has torn down the veneer of formality.

    I also think that, since mass culture has played such an anonymizing role, there’s little incentive to maintain the kinds of formal social habits that once kept communities organized (and disciplined). This has good and bad aspects, obviously.

    2. The “deep nanny state” created by the corporate control of social institutions is a prime enemy. I don’t necessarily think that people wearing backpacks or texting is a bad thing, because these people grow up and have kids eventually. We’re in the middle of a fucking baby boom, from where I’m sitting. But still: the increasing role of third party entities in making lives more convenient comes at a cost of dependence. Government and business both play roles in this, where before people sought to make their lives more convenient by, I dunno, working together and trusting one another.

    I’d like to be able to discuss this issue without having to get into Mr. Locklin’s personal gripes.

  3. This so called generation of adolescents has housed more anti-state tendencies than any previous in this country. I’ll wear my backpack where I fucking please because it’s efficient, same with texting, and not give a single fuck what some retrograde demands I behave like.

    Funny how all these guys bemoaning the death of masculinity and adulthood essentially want me to act according to their expectations.

    Pro-top: if you find feminism and it’s end result so disgusting quit trying to be the fun house mirror version of them.

    Being a man or woman, that is an adult, is recognizing your own sovereignty and not gicing a shit what cultural norms, left or right, that screeching harpies and bombastic caemen ascribe as gospel.

    For your trolling I give you 1/10

  4. “Funny how all these guys bemoaning the death of masculinity and adulthood essentially want me to act according to their expectations.”

    That seems to be conservatism all over: bitch about how infantilized/feminized blokes have become, yet erect themselves as paternalistic, hectoring, Daddy-Knows-Best figures, handing down Thou Shalts from high.

    There are good, practical reasons for some of the tips Locklin puts forward; if he appealed more to egoism–and less to traditionalism and his aesthetic hang-ups–this might be less of an eye-roll to read. (I get the impression he was aiming for shits ‘n’ giggles from his choir, more than anything.)

    I also notice he self-describes as “adolescent until 34”; putting myself (ex-Christian) in the crosshairs with him and others, I notice its always the converts who decry the loudest.

    “Being a man or woman, that is an adult, is recognizing your own sovereignty and not gicing a shit what cultural norms, left or right, that screeching harpies and bombastic caemen ascribe as gospel.”

    Pretty much so, namesake. Pretty much so.

  5. Wow, I’m not even sure where to begin. This to me is the right’s version of the left’s totalitarian humanism, the left nags people about racism, not giving money to alleviate poverty, not recycling enough, materialism, driving instead of cycling etc, whereas the right whines about this stuff. The thing is that both of these people believe that individuals must sacrifice their happiness in order to serve others. I consider maturity to be a subjective concept in the same vein as morality, so to me being called immature is nothing more than someone expressing their personal disapproval of me. I think dan nailed it, this is far more anti-statism and distrust of authority than in the past and I actually think that these paleocons are really up in arms about that more than anything. I also believe that what these people despise about the young are their hope and idealism which these types think should be disposed of as soon as possible.

    As for this, “You think acting like a superannuated teenager makes you a rebel? It doesn’t; it makes you a conformist. Act like an adult for a day to find out what rebellion against the modern age is.” So what? being a Nazi would be far more rebellious than any other position, would Mr. Locklin endorse that (on second thought, that wasn’t the best example to use 😉 ) Anyhow, isn’t knee-jerk contrarianism just as conformist as being a part of the crowd, how about just doing what you want regardless of whether it’s in fashion or not. I can tell right now this guy really wouldn’t like me, I’m anti-children, marriage and pretty much every other “rite of passage” into adulthood.

    As for these points,

    1) Not too much disagreement, depends on the circumstances,

    2) Have never been into such logo heavy t-shirts, but I disagree for the most part. I actually like formality at times, but dress for me is more a matter of circumstance than age. Hell, for most of history, the majority of people had only one set of rags to wear and were dressed far more poorly than the majority of teens today.

    3) Who cares, Never really like them, but sometimes they are convenient.

    4) Couldn’t disagree more http://www.inspiracy.com/black/abolition/abolitionofwork.html

    5) Ironically enough, I was more into fitness and ate better when I was an actual adolescent and had a little more optimism and hope for the future.

    6) Another of Locklin’s personal gripes, who cares.

    7) Have to quote part of this, “Whatever your personal circumstances, you are a member of a family, a tribe, a nation, and a civilization.” Uh, I don’t think so. As for parents, I think whether someone considers anyone a jerk is a matter of personal subjective analysis. It really doesn’t matter because I’m not having children so whatever my personal defects, they won’t be passed on in the gene pool.

    8) I sort of agree with this, though when it comes to critics of escapism, I can’t resist quoting Tolkien on escapism, “What class of men would you expect to be most preoccupied with, and most hostile to, the idea of escape?’ jailers.”

    9) Don’t really feel one way or the other about this

    10) Well, you know it’s funny because I decided to not take part of what Locklin considers to be adulthood through many years of forethought and planning. I tend to think though that if anything, it is adults stuck in crap lives that ought to care less about future planning than the young who have their whole lives ahead of them.

    11) “Selfishness is adolescent” LOL, I have a potential blog post on this issue alone, this is one of the most annoying things about these types. Conservatives whole political philosophy and social philosophy is based on the idea that people are horrible selfish monsters who will prey on others when given the chance. They laugh and deride at young foolish idealists who actually think people can act decent without the threat of force, because they just don’t understand human nature. Then these types turn around and demand that people stop being narcissists and moralize about how people today put themselves before others. Am I the only one who says the nonsense here?

    12) Who cares?

  6. Jeremy, MRDA, dan, and Jared have pretty much dissected the ridiculous aspects of this article, while acknowledging its good points. MRDA was even gracious enough to offer a constructive criticism:

    “There are good, practical reasons for some of the tips Locklin puts forward; if he appealed more to egoism–and less to traditionalism and his aesthetic hang-ups–this might be less of an eye-roll to read. (I get the impression he was aiming for shits ‘n’ giggles from his choir, more than anything.)”

    I’ve seen many senseless criticisms of the different social scenes I’ve been involved in, and I come across the moral authoritarians all the time…

    Nihilistic losers criticizing “scenesters” when all scenesters do is throw cheap parties, awesome dance music, and very little violence. How can you complain about people who just accept you for WEARING WHATEVER THE HELL YOU WANT? Wanna know how? It’s because some people don’t do shit with their life and instead will take any random social fad and use their “resistance” of it as the most obscure “one-up” on everybody else.

    The pseudo-academic crowd that thinks anybody who doesn’t listen to conscious hip-hop is under the White man’s “mind-control” while completely ignoring the fact that this is the age of the end of intellectual property and we can actually begin to distribute the wealth that can come with the underground entertainment industry.

    People criticizing others using facebook or other social networking sites just because they themselves can’t think of a creative way to use it as a constructive tool. Take some fucking responsibility and work with the people we got. Otherwise, go start another irrelevant Tucker Max style ripoff blog or a Nation of Yahweh chapter.

    It’s getting really old and I have to wonder if for all this talk if any of these “intellectuals” actually have any sense of urgency. All I can do is laugh at people like Locklin and Henry Rollins who will never go down as revolutionaries, radicals, or entrepreneurs, but just grumpy old men trying to criticize a culture they refuse to embrace.

    “This so called generation of adolescents has housed more anti-state tendencies than any previous in this country.”

    Damn straight. And the moral authoritarians can kiss my ass from the sidelines making big deals about aesthetic choices while we’ve got a system to attack.

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