Cringeworthy

Life is cringeworthy now isn’t it? It’s cringeworthy to be alive, to exist and be exposed and to occupy space at this time with you all. This will be a cringeworthy thread. You’re all quite embarrassing and I’m embarrassed for you, and myself.

What is cringing about? How is it different than other embarrassment? It seems to happen when the audience are at a higher level of awareness to the performer... who’s painfully unaware of the fact. And the thing is, as a subject in a world of surveillance and constant content and social media this is almost always somehow true of you now isn’t it? You’re almost always putting on a shit show.

We don’t really cringe at children, but we start to cringe at teenagers, because teenagers are starting to get an idea of who they are and want to be, they’re trying and failing. Trying to be something and falling short.

Do you think there’s an intensification of cringe today, a new scale? I think there’s an amplification and distortion of our blind spots and desperations through these platforms. And I think the machine feeds on it. It gives you a million opportunities to miss the mark. Maybe in some ways it’s the cringe that keeps us coming back, there’s a debt to pay. It’s partly your horror at former outfits that makes you buy new ones.

What does it give you to watch someone do something cringeworthy? There’s an elitist pleasure in this vicarious embarrassment, watching their graceless reach. Watching their social capital drop in real time. You can feel the schadenfreude along with empathy, part of you wants to jump in and and rescue but something stops you (you’re enjoying watching their social death), and of course you’re in the know, aren’t you?

We fall in love with our image extended through new media, McLuhan said. And as we try to broadcast our best bits the price we pay is in this awful amplification and distortion of our shortcomings and blind spots. This big beam of desperation is there for everyone to see. You embarrassing cunt! You vomit inducing try hard!

I find something cringeworthy in most of my friends and family’s social media posts because of this gap. And Instagram influencers are the David Brents of today. Self appointed experts, the wellness hashtags and ‘spiritual bypassing’.

But what’s an ethical response to cringeworthy stuff? Can the cringe actually be something to follow? What can it reveal? Is the exposure of a blind spot a learning opportunity, a chance to connect or act? Because what’s exposed isn’t just a persons failure in a social context, the cringe can also show how a system or model of reality is alienating, or failing to connect us.
 

craner

Beast of Burden
*cringe* is one of the critical words on Made in Chelsea. It's an important concept for that milieu and generation.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I think if any of my normcore friends were to find dissensus and read out my posts in front of (I was going to say a group of people but actually) just me, I'd cringe until all my ribs cracked.

It is an interesting reaction, yes... Something to do with social cohesion, invisible forcefields of behaviour and status.
 

Simon silverdollarcircle

Well-known member
I did some mushrooms at the weekend and got a bit excited and tried to tell my (non dissensian) friends that free jazz was somehow proof of the existence of the spirit world. I forget my exact argument

I look back on that and am mortified now for some reason. It's a very standard kind of conversation on here but exposing it to the cold light of the normal IRL world seemed wrong somehow
 
Do you think you would cringe more or less on MDMA? We certainly laugh less. I dunno if you’d cringe much while tripping?
 
I think if any of my normcore friends were to find dissensus and read out my posts in front of (I was going to say a group of people but actually) just me, I'd cringe until all my ribs cracked.

This thread will liberate us. We're going to reclaim. We're moving from shame to pride.
 

entertainment

Well-known member
If I were to put some of my posts here in danish, I’d cringe more I think. It’s lije there’s a distance when I’m writing in English.
 
Ah yes. I imagine being impersonated very well would be uncomfortable but useful too, to see your bad habits and blindspots and move on.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I am reading this book about psychedelics atm.

I was thinking about how I could maybe get a friend to volunteer to accompany me on an acid trip, only they'd be more or less sober.

And I thought that would probably be embarrassing - I'd be all beatific and philosophical about it.

And while I was on it I wouldn't be cringing. But afterwards I would.
 
And if we're talking about cringing at ourselves, there's listening to your own voice... unbearable. Corpsey watching himself dance on that other thread
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I did some mushrooms at the weekend and got a bit excited and tried to tell my (non dissensian) friends that free jazz was somehow proof of the existence of the spirit world. I forget my exact argument

I look back on that and am mortified now for some reason. It's a very standard kind of conversation on here but exposing it to the cold light of the normal IRL world seemed wrong somehow

Ooh, didn't even see this
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Cringing at your OWN behaviour is about being extremely self-conscious.

Whereas psychedelics are arguably at the other end of that pole.
 
Everyone is doing it, it’s a psychedelic effect.

And yes the openness and the little release from self-concern is the most beautiful thing about the experience.
 
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