21st century Status Games

I recc. Affluenza for coverage of this sort of thing, although the book has a heavy universalist bias. It’s like Hunger Games if they hungered for attention.

Ironically, the hipsters who appeal to authenticity stole it (cultural, symbolic) from their lower class white kin (The South in America). The hipster has two weaknesses: the objective truth, which they object to for selfish reasons, and formality, which they are incapable of embracing. Nothing scares them as much as a man in a three-piece suit telling the unvarnished truth.

But by the turn of the millennium cool had ceased to be credible as a political stance, and we have since seen yet another shift, from conspicuous non-conformity to what we can call “conspicuous authenticity.” The trick now is to subtly demonstrate that while you may have a job, a family, and a house full of stuff, you are not spiritually connected to any of it. What matters now is not just buying things, it is taking time for you, to create a life focused on your unique needs and that reflects your particular taste and sensibility. (more)
A fashion of consumerist hypocrisy. All the benefits of capitalism and none of the, like, old evil white patriarchy.

What’s next?

Maybe no one you know will read the above, and you can safely ignore it. But if you start to learn that many people you know are starting to see conspicuous authenticity as just another way that posers vie for status, then of course your community will come to not accept that as giving real status. No, you’ll start to see some new kinds of behavior as the sort of thing that people do who don’t care about status, but are just being “real”.

The Millennial spoilt middle class age group trying the hipster lifestyle couldn’t be genuinely creative if their lives depended on it. They sound, walk, think alike. #### I blame Nathan Barley.

Then you’ll start to become aware that other people that you know agree with this new attitude of yours. You’ll get more comfortable with saying that you approve of these sorts of behavior in others, with hearing others say the same thing, and you’ll notice that you feel good when other people credit you with such behavior. You and your associates will all feel good about themselves, knowing they are all good people who deserve respect because they do these things, things that they all know are not about status seeking.

At which point these new behaviors will have become your new status game. You see, status-seeking behavior must be a respected behavior that isn’t seen as overtly status seeking. Because we all agree that we don’t respect behavior that is done mainly to gain status. Even though we do, we do, we very much do.

It’s like a hedeonic treadmill for class, you can see it in naming trends. The middle class are desperate to distinguish themselves by what they do, because they are not the upper class, who are still upper no matter what they do, they don’t care because they don’t have to. Inevitably, the middle class steals inspiration from the working class, who worked hard to obtain that identity, and when a habit becomes common [mainstream], it falls into disuse, a castoff for the lowly to adopt for a few years.

1. Be civil. 2. Be logical or fair. 3. Do not bore me.

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