SOCRATES VS. THE INFALLIBILITY OF IDENTITY

In the SethFM broadcast promoted in my previous post, WHO DARE YOU?, I criticized Cancel Culture apologist, Dr. Hannah McGregor, for following the identity politics’ trend of using race and gender as a sorting mechanism for who should be speaking and who should be silent. For instance, the professor criticized the writers of the famous/infamous Harper’s letter (which criticized Cancel Culture) for, not possessing the appropriate demographics to be making such criticisms.

As the Seth of SethFM pointed out: if identity is the determining factor for moral accuracy of argument, then how are we to comprehend the fact that many people from every identity designation seem to exist on every side of nearly every argument?

Therefore, I suggested that, in lieu of utilizing the content of a philosopher’s identity as the basis for measuring the strength of their contentions, we instead inspect their actual arguments. To my delight and simultaneous embarrassment for accidental plagiarism, I have since heard a thinker of slightly greater talents than my own making a similar case. His name is Socrates, and his argument as well as my celebration of it is now available on SethFM for your consideration.

 

WHO DARE YOU?

Have I told you lately how much I detest Cancel Culture?

The mission of the Problematic People Wing of Cancel Culture is to remove bad people from roles in society for which they are perceived by the good people at Cancel Culture Central (CCC) to be morally unfit. This may sound sweet to you in theory, but the devil is in the practice.

Last year, I was excited as I learned that Harper’s Magazine had put forth a letter criticizing the alleged (by critics like me) censoriousness of our current cultural predicament. My merriment quickly dwindled, though, as I realized that, as ever, the most common response from CCC was to avoid discussing the principles under consideration (such as freedom of expression, freedom of association, cultural appropriation theory, the separation of art from the artist, and so on), and instead to focus on irrelevant matters such as who was making the argument.

For illustration of such an ad who-minem critique of the Harper’s letter, I’d like to look at an interview presented on the radio program, On the Coast (a Vancouver-based discussion show living on the airwaves of my ideological nemesis, and CCC council member, CBC Radio). In this case, the host Gloria Macarenko surprised my rolling eyes as she went off brand and asked a Cancel Culture apologist, Professor Hannah McGregor, some reasonable questions about whether the Harper’s letter writers might have a point. But, not to worry, the spinning academic quickly renewed my faith in my lack of faith in mainstream media discussions of these matters. While she didn’t directly call for restrictions on free speech, she did come precariously close. For instance, she said:

 “…maybe it’s a good moment for a lot of people who are saying, you know, ‘Oh, we need more free speech,’ to say, ‘Who’s free speech? Is it yours right now? Is that the speech that’s needed? Maybe somebody else’s speech would be better, and maybe our job right is to do a little more listening.’ ”

So, in protest, I asked my namesake and colleague at SethFM to retroactively add himself into the conversation so as to counter Dr. McGregor’s scary arguments. Feel free to like or dislike, but please don’t cancel.

THE OVERSHUN WINDOW

The philosopher John Rawls created the “veil of ignorance” as a morality check.

When contemplating ethics and justice, he suggests that we place said veil on our minds to imagine we don’t know what position in society we possess. From this veiled position Rawls argues that thinkers are then in a better frame of perspective to assess the reasonableness of moral proposals with less reference to our own current circumstances, and instead, in theory, we will aim for a moral infrastructure that will be fair no matter where we end up.

This idea can be illustrated in the classic example of the cutting of the cake. If two kids, say, Seth and Zaff, are dividing up a piece of cake between the two of them, and they both want as large a piece as possible, we would ask one of them—let’s say, Seth—to cut the cake, and then Zaff would get first choice of which piece he wanted. In that situation, Seth would try to cut as close to the middle of the dessert as possible, because he’s in the veiled position of not knowing which piece he would eventually get.

While such veiled thinking is not foolproof, I think it can be a useful exercise for building and critiquing one’s values.

Consider the case of free speech vs. protecting us from hate speech. You may believe that it is appropriate to restrict certain kinds of speech that you think are racist, sexist, or otherwise deplorable. However, before you jump to that happy conclusion, I request that you step back under Rawls’ veil of ignorance, and consider that the definition of what is hateful is always changing and subject to the assessment of humans who are occasionally fallible.

Take, for instance, the ever-changing Overton window, the theoretical concept of the current values that are morally acceptable in polite society. While you may happen to agree with where that polite moral consensus is currently located, are you comfortable with the possibility that the Overton window may be constricting, while its cousin—the Overshun window—may be expanding? With the veil of ignorance fogging up your vision of the future, are you satisfied that these two judgmental windows will always fit you and those you care about?

Again, maybe you are content to live with the judgments of those holding the steering wheel of our public morality. Maybe you think that hateful speech is so terrible that it must be legally limited. My only request is that, before you advocate for censorship, that you sneak back under the veil of ignorance to make sure you can live with where such restrictions may plausibly take us.

So, with that idea of looking at moral issues from an ignorant veiled position, I would like to examine the concept of “Cancel Culture.” A friend of mine suggested that we can do better than the now set expression “Cancel Culture” so, for this essay, I offer the alternative term, “Socially Demanded Extrajudicial Role Eviction,” or SDERE.

While I’m not sure if SDERE captures the phenomenon formerly known as Cancel Culture as crisply as the latter did, the exercise of trying to re-name it was useful to me in identifying exactly what I think we mean by SDERE.

As I see it, SDERE comes about when there is a call to steer a person out of a role because of perceived moral failings of that person.

SDERE is not related to someone being fired from their job for workplace-related failings. For instance, if someone showed up late to work every day, and they were disciplined for it by their employer, that person has not been a victim of SDERE. Instead, they have lost standing in their job because of a possible defect in their actual performance at work.

Nor is SDERE criticism of a person in society for perceived wrongdoing. SDERE only occurs when there is a society-based call for a person to be removed from a role because they are perceived to be morally unfit for it.

Let’s say, for instance, that an employee is suspected of cheating on their spouse. Now it is not illegal to be unfaithful, but it is certainly morally questionable, so based on an extrajudicial assessment, some members of society might call for such a person to be evicted from their job.

In assessing whether such a firing is justified, I ask that you re-apply the veil of ignorance.

Do we want our employers to be assessing our outside-of-work conduct, at the behest of the public, and then potentially disciplining or even firing us on those grounds?

Before you land on your answer, please consider that both the public and employers have throughout history used the morality of their times to make decisions that most of us now register as unethical (and sometimes evil). You may think that we’ve evolved to produce a superior morality now that has no reason to provoke such retroactive cringe, but look at how rapidly public mores are changing. Are you certain you’re comfortable that you would pass every test of tomorrow’s leading popular moralists?

Pierre Trudeau famously said the government has no business in the bedrooms of our nation. This was to protect gay and lesbian Canadians from being prosecuted for their sexuality. Do you want our employers in those same bedrooms?

I’m not arguing that, because mores change, that there should never be consequences for doing something bad. But I do contend that the punishment should stay in its jurisdiction. If someone cheats on their spouse, that is a private matter between the people involved. If someone is accused of a crime, then it is up to the justice system to look into it. But personally, I don’t want our employers deciding what we can do or say outside of work, do you?

Perhaps you think I’m creating a moral panic about a moral panic, and that in reality SDERE only ever goes after the most extreme of bad behaviour. But, again, I ask you to go back to your veiled position. Even if you think a particular behaviour or idea is wrong, do you want a society in which people who allegedly have the wrong values, but haven’t committed a crime, are sentenced to the margins of society?

Recall McCarthyism. I happen to believe that, in practice, communism is a terrible idea, and I think we should criticize the concept whenever it pops up. However, I also think that Senator McCarthy and his allies were wrong to punish people for allegedly believing in a flawed ideology. McCarthyism created an environment of fear and suspicion, and an inability to freely associate and freely discuss ideas. Therefore, from my veiled position, I propose that we would be better off criticizing ideas and even people we don’t like, without exiling them for their alleged sins.

Again, you may be satisfied with where the Overton window is right now, but when you apply your veil of ignorance, are you sure you’ll agree with society’s future judgments?

HOW I MET YOUR INDEPENDENT DESIGN

A mere decade after my initial post, HOW I MET YOUR INDEPENDENT HUMOUR regarding the 2005-2014 sitcom, How I Met Your Mother, I have finally completed my witnessing of this most creative of television comedies.

Against SethBlogs’ standard procedures, my updated review must begin with some contrition. You see, in that first analysis, I brashly noted that the premise of the show (a dad in 2030 telling his two kids about how he met their mother somewhere between the years of 2005 and we didn’t yet know when) was likely too daunting to sustain coherently.

Mused 2010 SethBlogs:

“…the premise is a wee bit troubled: the idea of dedicating a plot to explaining to one’s future children how one discovered their mom is nice, I think, for a defined timeline such as a movie, but in the case of an open-ended TV series, it seems too difficult for the writers to keep each episode on point considering they don’t know when exactly to bring the mother in, and so in turn, they don’t know how exactly to relate each show to her eventual arrival.”

I can now report that—while I was perfectly right that the challenge the writers had set for themselves was “difficult” (well done, SethBlogs!)—I was wrong to suggest it was “too” much so (badly done, SethBlogs!). As it turned out, our writers were not toiling in the linear boundaries that most television writers reside. Instead, the authors of HIMYM were working in the realm of literary novelists where time, place, and perspective were free to wander outside the lines of sequential thinking. Yet, unlike their literary forewriters, the HIMYM creators had a sense of humour about both the lives of their characters, and about themselves, as they often pranked their future selves by having the dad-narrator reference peculiar future incidents which they would somehow have to finagle into later seasons.

The nine-year show is bursting with successful payoffs (as it high-fives those ideas prognosticated in past seasons) as well as retroactive payoffs (as it explains previous behaviours that we didn’t realize were mysterious at the time).

But this show is not just a non-linear story where jokes can be told out of order: instead, How I Met Your Mother is a collage of collages. Each season tends to live in a particular year between 2005 and 2014, but because our narrator’s memory is not limited by temporal rules, stories are bound more often by theme than by time. So, if an episode is about a particular bad habit of one of the characters, we’ll receive examples that might exist anywhere along the 50-year timeline of the show.

Perspective, too, is a mosaic on How I Met Your Mother. Along with the dad, guest narrators grab the microphone occasionally to tell the story of the episode, and the explanation for the alternative viewpoint is often as interesting as the plot, itself.

These collages of perspective and timeline work alongside the series-long arc of meeting Mom as we get many foggy hints about her, even though we don’t officially see her face until the end of the penultimate season. And, when the writers finally do let us meet Mom, they still aren’t beholden to our linear expectations: in fact, they first introduce our lead couple together later in the timeline than their long-anticipated first encounter, and so we actually get to know them as a duo before they “meet.”

The finale on the How I Met Your Mother timeline has—at this point in our real-world timeline—not been as popular as the show, itself. However, as with perhaps the greatest movie of all time, The Empire Strikes Back, which might have been titled, How I Met My Father, and which initially did not receive a positive critical reaction (unlike its precursor, Star Wars), I predict that our perspective will eventually shift in regard to HIMYM’s conclusion. While (semi-spoiler alert) the ending contains a twist on our expectations—and I admit that I, too, was miffed about it for an hour after watching—I now contest that it beautifully ties together an unspoken promise: it tells us why we’re being told the story. And that information, I predict, will change our future viewings of the show to being more meaningful than we’d realized.

Please don’t misunderstand my gushing: HIMYM is not a perfect show, and it has some dud episodes (even masters of situation comedy, such as Seinfeld, Frasier, and Jane Austen lose their way on occasion). Nevertheless, How I Met Your Mother is perhaps the most inventive sitcom I have ever met. Plus SethBlogs did get another thing right in my previous description: the show has lots of clever turns of dialogue. (Well spotted, Sethblogs!)

HOW TO CELEBRATE MYSELF FOR NARCISSISM III: Interview By Time-Traveller, Todd Van Allen

SethBlogs’ lead writer, Seth McDonough, wrote a book, and he can’t stop talking about it.

HOW TO CELEBRATE MYSELF FOR NARCISSISM COLLECTION:

I: QUOTES ABOUT GREATNESS, COMPILED BY SETHBLOGS
II: INTERVIEWS BY RIVAL-WRITER, ERIK D’SOUZA
III: INTERVIEW BY TIME-TRAVELLER, TODD VAN ALLEN (you are here)


I’m honoured to honour me by reporting that my book How to Cure Yourself of Narcissism has now reached interprovincial fame as I have been interviewed on comedian Todd Van Allen’s Ottawa-based podcast, Comedy Above The Pub.

TVA’s CATP has a fascinating set up as the elite comedian and storyteller launches himself and his visitors into conversation as though they’re at a pub, without artificial barriers of required topics, but instead with anecdotes and deferential curiosities that he surreptitiously ties to his guests’ wares.

Most fascinating  to my philosophical eye, the podcaster dances with time as the interview ends with a mini-discussion of the conversation just past, which then becomes the introduction for the later-released episode. To my ear this post-convo pre-convo sets the listener up with a much more accurate and vibrant introduction than if the podcaster had begun with a pre-written description of what might be approaching.

For the full podcast, listen here.

Or, for the video version, watch the live initial broadcast below (although, since the live broadcast was live, it lacked the ability to anticipate its post-show introduction, so I recommend listening to the intro above before watching).


HOW TO CELEBRATE MYSELF FOR NARCISSISM COLLECTION:

I: QUOTES ABOUT GREATNESS, COMPILED BY SETHBLOGS
II: INTERVIEWS BY RIVAL-WRITER, ERIK D’SOUZA
III: INTERVIEW BY TIME-TRAVELLER, TODD VAN ALLEN (you were just here)

TEN WAYS TO A MORE CANCELLED YOU

In studying the various works of Cancel Culture, I believe I can narrow its prime purifying works down to ten leading values:

(1) Punishment must be consolidated. If someone does (or is accused of doing) something wrong in one aspect of their life, then the punishment for that moral failing ought to be applied to every aspect of the wrongdoer’s life.

Corollary: All artists and their art are synonymous. If an artist is determined by Cancel Culture to be guilty of an offence, then so too is their art, and so both should be removed from public consideration.

(2) All morally problematic opinions are produced by bad people. Therefore, if you are on the wrong side of a moral disagreement with Cancel Culture, then you yourself are unfit for polite society.

Corollary: Cancel Culture has a strict no-nuance policy; any attempt by a troubled thinker to consider distinctions, exceptions, or gradations in a moral failing are just as evil as promoting the worst version of the allegedly unethical behaviour.

(3) Silence is violence. It is not sufficient for a person in the public eye to simply not state the wrong opinion; they must also publicly acknowledge the correct opinion.

Hint: When Cancel Culture does receive the correct opinion from a problematic celeb, the no-nuance policy still applies, and the previously violently-silent person can and should be micro-critiqued for any deviations in language or tone from Cancel Culture’s guidelines for correct thinking.

(4) Context doesn’t matter. If a contemptuous phrase seems innocuous when surrounded by introductory statements and explanations, those clarifying portions of the message will be removed so that the unclothed result can be broadcast on mainstream and social media.

Corollary: Historical context doesn’t matter either; no matter how much “positive change” a historical figure might have brought forth in their historical circumstances, their entire existence will be checked against our modern mores.

(5) Intention doesn’t matter. The worst possible interpretation of an enemy thinker’s meaning is always the right one.

Hint: Cancel Culture curators are invited to conjoin Intention not mattering with Context not mattering for super cancelling power.

(6) Privacy is for the righteous. While privacy is a vital right of all good people, if you are recorded saying something offensive to your spouse, you are not a good person, and so Cancel Culture shall judge you as though you were speaking at a public convention.

Hint: Combine the right to judge private moments with Context and Intention not mattering for best results.

(7) You are your worst moment. If you’ve ever done (or considered doing) something morally questionable, that bad behaviour (or thought pattern) defines you for life, and repentance is never sufficient.

Exception: Cancel Culture reserves the right to forgive the very worst in society on condition that they unconditionally support Cancel Culture’s currently approved opinions. So, if a reformed neo-nazi becomes an anti-racism trainer, they will be recognized as an infallible truth-purveyor.

(8) Association equals unconditional agreement. If a newly problematic thinker has ever been friends with, shared a stage with, or liked a Twitter post of a now cancelled thinker, that association can be used as evidence in a future cancellation trial.

Corollary: It is best to never converse with—let alone debate—thinkers on the wrong side of a moral dispute.

(9) Privilege denunciation. The race, sex, gender, sexuality, and other identifications matter when assessing the validity of a person’s arguments (as well as their art).

Exception: If a wrongful arguer’s identity matches that of a group that Cancel Culture has entrusted themselves with protecting, then the inconveniently-raced-or-gendered person will be ignored, or if necessary, criticized for betraying “their own people.”

(10) Cancel Culture shrugging. It is best when speaking publically that Cancel Culture members downplay the power of Cancel Culture. Instead, Cancel Culture agents are advised to treat the effects of Cancel Culture as minor inconveniences which powerful people experience when they do evil things.

THE GASLIGHT SIDE OF THE FORCE

Cancel Culture has claimed another trophy on the flimsiest of arguments. Star Wars: The Mandalorian star, Gina Carano, has been fired from her job of playing a soldier in a far, far away fictional universe, because she expressed an opinion (while not on the job) that has been diagnosed as immoral by her former employer, The Walt Disney Company.

That is, in a Twitter post, Carano captioned a gruesome historical photo with commentary that:

“Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors… even children. :(”

Then she added in quotation marks [which I take to mean she’s quoting someone else as she says]:

“Because history is edited, most people don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different from hating someone for their political views?”

Now, you might argue that this parallel is simplistic, and that holocaust comparisons in general are overwrought and perhaps even insensitive (I, myself, found Carano’s use of an unhappy face emoji to be rather crass), but clearly, by making the genocide the villain of her analogy, Carano is positioning herself as anti-holocaust.

As far as I can infer from her subsequent comments, she’s arguing that we should be careful of dehumanizing our neighbours just because they disagree with us, because history has proven that dehumanization can lead to catastrophic results.

Yet somehow, the leaders of Cancel Culture were able to take this pro-tolerance, “love thy neighbour”-style argument, and gaslight Disney into viewing it as anti-Semitic. Thus the corporation said on the day they released Ms. Carano from their employ:

“Her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable.”

How in Disney’s digitized brain can they possibly interpret Carano’s neighbours-before-haters argument as denigrating of any cultural group?

This baffling reinterpretation of an individual’s argument so as to have them removed from their job is (once again) evidence that there is no limit to Cancel Culture’s appetite to control our public (and private) conversation by threatening our livelihoods if we don’t follow its demands.

My personal moral position on Cancel Culture is straightforward. If you say something with which I disagree, I may dislike you; I may even publically criticize you for it. However, I submit that it is unethical for any employer to punish us for our outside-of-work opinions (or non-work-related behaviours). Otherwise, we will find ourselves living in a corporation state where our employers can tell us not only what to do at work, but also after work. If that sounds okay to you because you think that employers are generally pretty good judges of morality and would only ever excommunicate us for extreme ideas or actions, I ask you to double check your findings.

Please consider that the Cancel Culture Hall of Shame features a long history of various mainstream morality police going wild with such powers (from religious persecutions, to witch trials, to policing of sexuality, to McCarthyism). Even if our present day employers would prefer not to overstep their purview, they are in constant threat of being hounded by a small group of self-appointed social media officers who are in charge of outrage at Cancel Culture Central. It is a digital mob that is scaring corporations into firing their employees for wrongthink. And that unnerves me more than any individual’s dumb or even abhorrent arguments ever could.

When any opinion—no matter how extreme—can make one unfit for employment, then all opinions are in danger because—as we saw in Gina Carano’s post—with the right filter, even the most love-thy-neighbourly of sentiments can be reframed as hateful.

SETH IN HALFMOON BAY

In the metro Port Coquitlam area of metro Vancouver, BC, my friend Erik D’Souza has been dubbed by the staff at Sethblogs, “the author-wrangler,” as he has achieved the difficult, convincing local authors to get out of our book jackets. He interviews us (including yours truly here and here), he tricks us into reading our work in public, and he even wrangled a group of us to publish a collection of short stories called New Beginnings, and then he donated all profits to the Share Society.

In short, I was delighted recently to finally be given the opportunity to put the prolific spotlight provider in his own spotlight, as I guest-interviewed him on his own broadcast, about his mystery novel, Death in Halfmoon Bay. That conversation is now available for your consideration here (or watch the video below).

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE STAR WARS

Disney and Lucasfilm recently announced that they would be producing a grand new collection of TV series and movies to expand the Star Wars universe beyond anything we fans could have possibly imagined. But Mark Hill, a satirical writer at The Beaverton, struck back at Disney’s “joyless” efforts, noting that:

“Media journalists predicted that most of the series would feature, holy crap can you believe it, lightsabers, incompetent Stormtroopers and, wait for it, spaceships. In response to this speculation, some dork on Reddit said ‘I hope we get to see some wurmpuses too,’ whatever in Christ’s name that means.”

Against my better biases, Hill’s profanity-led mocking of the expansion of our galaxy far, far away (as well as those of us cheering it on) got me chuckling like a Nien Nunb.

I even cheerfully paraphrased the article for my spouse on our nightly walk, and she laughed harder than I would have liked as Hill scoffed at us fans for buying:

“…clothes that say garbage like, ugh, ‘Reading my t-shirt, you are.’”

Cool! Where’s it selling?

I’m tempted to point out that Mr. Hill’s comedy, while amusing, calls upon a rather redundant set of jokes that we Star Wars fans have heard throughout our history. Yes, Mark, many of us are,

“…excited dweeb”s, who get worked up “to witness the adventures of Luke Skywalker’s distant cousin, one of the aliens who’s on-screen for two seconds in A New Hope…” (intrigue me!) “…and the Millennium Falcon’s sentient space coffee maker” (right on!),

along with any other scraps of detail George Lucas’s acolytes are willing to toss our way.

However, because I don’t want to seem as humourless as Hill’s familiar caricature of Star Wars’ fans implies, I’m going to instead take the path of the Jedi and support Mr. Hill’s cranky work by publishing here a complementary piece from the magazine, The Curmudgeon.

NO HOPE by Oscar T. Grouch

Curmudgeons everywhere have had enough. Disney and Lucasfilm are expanding their already oversized Star Wars universe with plans to make a pathetic collection of unnecessary new content. Grumps are not pleased.

“Why are these damn kids doing this to us?” one leading grumbler asked.

More Star Wars?” another said. “Great, now dweebs are going to be blathering on about it while I’m overpaying for my coffee.”

Desperate to stop the dorky domination, world-leading cranks have joined forces (pun neither intended nor acknowledged) with elite snobs to denounce Disney’s new Star Wars’ plans.

“We’re not happy about working with a bunch of hoity-toities,” one despondent crab explained, “but if you’re gonna take candy from a bunch of babies, you’re gonna need help distracting them first.”

“Exactly right,” a high-ranking member of the snob collective added, “this is not an ideal collaboration; but occasionally one must have an imperfect wine-pairing just to get through a meal.”

Leading this alliance of the snotty and the haughty is a rare dabbler in both groups, Mark Hill of The Beaverton.

With crotchety panache, Hill noted during the joint Snob & Crank depress conference that Disney is:

“…a joyless, all-devouring pop culture monolith that tells the same simple children’s story ad nauseam…”

“Precisely,” an elite-aesthete said. “You can’t give consumers what they want. That’s pure consumerism.”

“Bravo!” cheered another. “We mustn’t let this derivative and jejune nonsense persist!”

Then a dorky journalist—dolled up with dweeby glasses and a horrid holiday tie—humiliated herself by asking the leaders of the snob collective if there was a contradiction in their criticism of Disney for being “joyless” at the same time that the mouse-eared regime seemed to be bringing so much “joy” to their fans.

“That’s not the joy we’re looking for, my dear,” Beatrice von Snooterson explained.

“I don’t know about any of that,” one of the top grumps replied. “All I know is they’ve already made so much garbage, which I’m already not gonna watch—why do they think I’m gonna wanna see this new pile of junk?”

Hill brilliantly responded to the high-ranking grouch’s question by sardonically explaining that—contrary to all recognized guidelines of good taste—dorky Star Wars fans are obsessed with studying the detailed motivations and back stories of every galactic character as though they’re studying Shakespeare’s canon.

That provoked a crescendo of chuckles among the snobs.

“Ha, ha, they’re all dweebs!” one of the curmudgeons added.

“Hear, hear!” a snob called out with an elevated eyebrow. “Why do they insist upon exploring every particular of their make-believe world? Are they under the misapprehension that it’s real?”

“I must concur,” another snooty-voiced elite replied. “Moreover, if Disney absolutely must produce more Star Wars, surely they can provide something a little more grim and challenging to watch. Give us a movie about how Luke Skywalker had an eating disorder, and how he used his laser sword to fend off anyone who tried to help him.”

“Indubitably!” called out a nearby avant-garde filmmaker. “Now that’s the sort of bleakness for which I’m looking!”

Sadly, despite these crusty and erudite calls for Disney to stop imposing their vapid product on their vapid audience, neither the provider nor that consumer of Star Wars has agreed to discontinue their relationship. And it looks like there is little hope that they will any time soon.

HOW TO CELEBRATE MYSELF FOR NARCISSISM II: Interviews By Rival-Writer, Erik D’Souza

SethBlogs’ lead writer, Seth McDonough, wrote a book, and he can’t stop talking about it.

HOW TO CELEBRATE MYSELF FOR NARCISSISM COLLECTION:

I: QUOTES ABOUT GREATNESS, COMPILED BY SETHBLOGS
II: INTERVIEWS BY RIVAL-WRITER, ERIK D’SOUZA (you are here)
III: INTERVIEW BY TIME-TRAVELLER, TODD VAN ALLEN


Well! I’m pleased to report that my book How to Cure Yourself of Narcissism has now found a starring role in two interviews, featuring yours truly excited and Erik D’Souza, author and author-wrangler.

First I was a brief guest called in to discuss etiquette on Erik’s Canada Day broadcast. (Click this link for our mini-conversation about whether Canadians are as polite as Americans claim we are, or watch the video here.)


Second
, this past weekend I was the inaugural long-form guest on Erik’s Writers in Our Midst publication. (See the video at the bottom of this post to enjoy a cheerful, if meandering, discussion of self-absorption in modern society.)

Now you might think that the fact that Erik and I are friends implies that Erik may have invited me for nepotistic reasons, but you would be wrong—embarrassingly wrong! You see, Erik and I are both writers, which means we are rivals, and therefore Erik is best off not making me look as grand as I normally do.

In fact, in the long-form interview, Erik celebrated our rivalry with some tough questions, such as, asking me if I—of all wonderful people—was a narcissist.

You’ll have to tune in (here, or watch the video below) to find how I escaped that perilous query.


HOW TO CELEBRATE MYSELF FOR NARCISSISM COLLECTION:

I: QUOTES ABOUT GREATNESS, COMPILED BY SETHBLOGS
II: INTERVIEWS BY RIVAL-WRITER, ERIK D’SOUZA (you were just here)
III: INTERVIEW BY TIME-TRAVELLER, TODD VAN ALLEN