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Faux Outrage

Literally the most important blog in the universe since 2010.

It has been a little while since I’ve added to the fictionary.

My apologies.

This is the fourteenth FWOTD.

eccentrick (ik-sen-trik)
noun

an individual’s inherently narcissistic belief that by engaging in seemingly “contradictory” behaviors, he/she has an unusual, peculiar, or otherwise interesting personality.

In other words, a manufactured sense of eccentricity.

For example: “Isn’t it weird that on some Fridays, I like to party all night and other times I just like to sit in my pajamas and watch a movie?”

No, it isn’t weird.

I praised Alanis a few weeks ago for (unfortunately but) fundamentally changing our use of the word “irony,” so it might not be a big surprise that I am pinning eccentrick in part on another female singer/songwriter from the 90’s: Meredith Brooks.

_
I’m a bitch, I’m a lover

I’m a child, I’m a mother
I’m a sinner, I’m a saint
I do not feel ashamed

The song above (understandable titled “Bitch”), which peaked at #2 on the Billboard charts in 1997, tells the tale of a proud, fierce woman who, so far as I can tell, is completely normal.  Yet woven throughout the lyrics is the implication that by acting differently depending on the singer’s mood or circumstances, she is worthy of our attention.

This mentality is eccentrick.

Though Meredith Brooks may have helped popularize this particular brand of self-absorption, eccentrick behavior is most pervasive in the world of online dating.  The unattached are so frightened of scaring off a potential mate that they find it necessary to hedge any statement or claim that could be considered strong.

Rather than be thought of as a “girly girl,” someone might write, “I love buying shoes but also like to lounge around in flip-flops!”  Rather than be thought of as a workaholic, that same person might say, “I take my job seriously, but I also find time to go out and have fun.”  Instead of saying anything, this person has said nothing.

Though the (faux) definition of this term is couched in negative language, the fact is I believe we are all guilty of this kind of thinking in one way or another.  We seem to be more than capable of giving ourselves the benefit of the doubt — or even patting ourselves on the back — when we act in a way that is antithetical to what we know to be “usual.”

As it turns out, we don’t view our contradictions as problematic when we weave them into our definition.

Yet when we are witness to another acting outside the scope of “normal” behavior, we immediately judge the scenario based on an objective, static understanding of the world around us.  We would never do something like that.  We would never be so drunk, or so wrong-headed.

We would never wear those pants.

“There are rules that must be followed!” we might say.

But our own contradictions?  Of course we can be forgiven!

Our own failings?  You just have to understand where we’re coming from!

We are precious snowflakes!

No.

As it turns out — we are not.

That we are not as interesting as we tend to believe we are is both good news and bad news, and the good and bad news is the same news:

We humans are all pretty much the same.

We want to believe that our contradictions are what makes us us, but the reality is that they simply makes us human.

 

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