Stereotypical People I Find Uncanny

“[The Uncanny] is closely related to Julia Kristeva’s concept of abjection where one reacts adversely to that which has been forcefully cast out of the symbolic order. Abjection can be uncanny in that the observer can recognize something within the abject, possibly of what it was before it was ‘cast out’, yet be repulsed by what it is that made it cast out to begin with.”

There are people that I have a hard time comprehending. By that I don’t mean that I can’t understand what they do, but that I don’t have enough perspective to understand by what justification their actions occur or what personal or cultural histories could provide a precedent for such behaviors. In other words, when I’m witness to the following behaviors, I think things like “What the fuck?” with serious feelings of confusion and when I think about them later the thought remains “What the fuck?”

People that have ten-minute cell phone conversations about ‘nothing’ while in your exclusive presence in a situation where the overarching theme is that you two are ‘hanging out’

This happens without the offending person telling you “Excuse me” or “I have to take this phone call.” He or she gets a phone call from a friend and they proceed to have an extremely long and detailed conversation about someone’s cat or the date one of them just went on or what he or she got shopping that day while you sit there and mock interest in some old text messages on your cell phone.

The conversation goes on for well over ten agonizing minutes covering such a variety of asinine could-definitely-be-talked-about-another-time topics while your feigned interest moves on from your cell phone to things like corners and exposed plumbing in the ceiling, the whole time at pains to avoid looking at your friend’s face, wondering why they would choose a time such as this to ‘catch up’ with someone they see on a weekly basis.

Concepts related to such situations include bars, coffee shops, ‘hanging out,’ ‘feeling lame,’ ‘feeling awkward,’ ‘being inconsiderate’ and ‘being out-of-control.’

People that live in societies with significant access to higher education that are devout

Religion and the concept of ‘worship’ seems so abstract and arbitrary once one recognizes what seems like extremely obvious contradictions and logical impossibilities (that the religious person is asked to accept by ‘faith,’ or in other words the demand that one “just believe in it”) are understood.

I often have a hard time understanding how people can remain religious in a society where fundamental ‘flaws’ in religions or myriad philosophical disconnects that run between many religious peoples’ behavior (reality) and what they profess to believe have been identified by a broad spectrum of the population (i.e. from YouTube users to academia). Or how people can have the belief, for example, that all non-believers are going to literally burn in hell for eternity while at the same time working an office job, taking out a mortgage, eating solely from franchised “restaurants,” living in a suburban neighborhood their entire existence and going to church service one hour per week (in effect doing their ‘duty’ to God) – rather than spend every waking hour trying to stop the billions of non-believers from literally burning in hell for eternity and converting them. Seems uncanny.

Concepts related to this stereotype are fundamentalism, ‘Rural America,’ suburbs, minivans circa mid 1990s, Starbucks, McDonalds, Chipotle, Kentucky Friend Chicken, Taco Bell, Wal-Mart, Super Target and xenophobia.

People that talk shit under anonymous pseudonyms on the Internet

I am and have been administrator to forums and online magazines in which people can comment, and as one of these people I have been privy to commenters’ IP addresses. When there have been particularly vicious instances of internet shit talking I have looked at the IP addresses of the offending commenters and found that they were the same IP addresses of certain people who conduct their internet-selves with a certain haughtiness or stance of intellectual purity.

Upon discovery of such facts I have sometimes felt very surprised (or even a little bit of fear, the fear one feels when he sees something unexplainable yet terrible) that the same people that purported the values of reason and clear, irrefutable strings of logic would talk shit in what seems to be such a misguided or blatantly hurt/defensive/masturbatory form and proceed to do it anonymously.

To comment in this way seems like a ‘gravely’ contradictory behavior because to shit talk anonymously is to provide a blanket-level opinion that one has no responsibility to back up with any sort of logic. Shit talking anonymously is often done in a black/white sort of way, where one is accused of simply being ‘bad,’ yet at the same time the fact that the commenter chose for the comment to be anonymous is a very clear admittance – to everyone that reads the comment – that they’re choosing not to stand behind that comment. I find anonymous shit talking uncanny because choosing to talk shit anonymously seems almost like an admittance that the comment itself is ‘wrong’ or ‘incorrect,’ a conscious and deliberate recognition that whatever’s being said is so far removed from logical argument that the commenter is actually choosing to distance him or herself from it in order to avoid the ‘shaming’ that comes along with confused logic that often occurs in internet forums and in the comments sections of blogs. There’s a big gap for your cognitive dissonance to cross there.

Concepts related to anonymous shit talking are hypocrisy, unseemliness and ‘being out-of-control.’


More From Thought Catalog

  • Anonymous

    Serious apostrophe abuse.

    • Bill A Pomerans

      a single quotation mark is not an apostrophe

  • David Fishkind

    the possibility that the anonymous shit-talker attached with a respectable ip address is shit-talking in an ironic/sarcastic manner out of boredom or antagonization to fuel [selfish, though not inherently sincere/malicious motive]

    • Ryan Call
    • leighalexander

      the possibility that the anonymous shit-talker conducts themselves with a haughty stance of intellectual purity simply to project a persona, possibly for career reasons or to 'control' other people's impressions, etc, despite having a deep well of resentment and distaste toward others that they would like to express occasionally without the associated consequences or without launching a 'big fucking production'

  • Anonymous Praise talker

    this is good, i like the psychological and philosophical undertones to this, you should consider writing more stuff like this but maybe bring the undertones to the surface more. thought catalog needs a deep analytical thinker. keep up the good work.

  • Herro

    People with tribal tattoos always remind me of Japanese video game characters I thought were cool when I was ten.

  • Brian McElmurry

    I feel your empathy for mankind. I mean that. And anonymous shit-talking is lame. I loved the long sentences in the anarchist part. And anarchist don't make sense.

  • Gerry Rice

    damn, why are thoughtcatalogers so politically uneducated?

    while one can't defend the contradictions in the social and theoretical variants of anarchists/anarchism, anarchism can definitely be defended as an “ideal” the same way democracy can be defended as an “ideal.” contradictions do not, hopefully, preclude larger concepts from being valid/desirable.

    e.g. “The DEMOCRATIC People's Republic of Korea” (North Korea) calling itself a democracy probably shouldn’t mean we have to throw out democracy as an ideal.

    There is likewise a fairly obvious problem/contradiction in thinking, say, dumpster diving or stealing from whole foods are politically substantial acts. while it might be practical for the individual, the positive impact it has on society is marginal at best. now, i wouldn’t say being a freegan is wrong/bad/immoral/politically undesirable (in the way making yourself a god-king-autocrat of North Koreans definitely is), but I would say its political utility is so microscopic that it’s almost definitely a waste of time – and possibly, yes, even harmful to the “revolutionary cause.”

    let’s say one tries anyway to resolve the contradictory variants that fall nominally under “anarchism.” i think the philosophical strand that runs through everything from Kropotkin to Crimethinc is salvagable, desirable and is summed up perfectly by Noam Chomsky:

    “That is what I have always understood to be the essence of anarchism: the conviction that the burden of proof has to be placed on authority, and that it should be dismantled if that burden cannot be met.”

    Yes, there are people wasting whole cans of aquanet trying in some oblique way to make this happen, and they may or may not see the larger picture and they probably sully the reputation of anarchism toward alienation of potential converts to radical politics, but hell, who can find anything wrong with challenging honestly illegitimate authority?

    • James

      I agree. I don't really know what to say other than I am glad the author at least entertained the notion that he didn't really know what he was talking about (but then why write it/publish it?).

      It is a real fallacy to think that someone can't be in support of an ideal world unless they are doing everything in their power to bring that world in effect.

      Beyond that, the characterization of anarchism in the article is based on knowingly shallow stereotypes that don't attempt to engage it as anything other than a caricature, which doesn't do readers (even of a quasi-satirical, humor, lifestyle website) service.

  • aaron nicholas

    “People who you are with on the sidewalk that see their friend who you don’t know approaching and stop and talk to that friend for five minutes and never introduce you and don’t include you in the conversation so you just sit there excluded from the conversation until the interaction ends, you never having said anything and leaving without any sort of acknowledgment to the person met on the sidewalk”

    hate this too, though I have been guilty of it ~3-7 times via not remembering random-passerby-friend's name. in another ~5-8 times I introduced the friend walking with me to the other person without saying names, so they can say their own names, thereby gracefully saving the awkward “I forget your name” moment.

    in retrospect, it could be argued that random-passerby-friend is not actually a friend if the name has been forgotten.

  • um

    isn't this just a list of things you don't like?

  • Ok

    Enjoyed this.

  • Gary Starcher

    Yeah man, at least your shit-talking isn't anonymous.

  • stephen


    i like “lame ghost,” nice

  • Student

    Ahhh, “people WHO,” not “people THAT”

blog comments powered by Disqus