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View Full Version : The absurdity of defining who's "real" and who's not



Bubastes
09-16-2008, 08:47 PM
Every so often I see a debate on AW on who's a "real" writer and who's not. As can be expected, these conversations are always handled with grace by the AW folks. If you write, you're a writer. I like that.

What I've found interesting, though, is that this debate seems to extend to other areas. I recently read an article saying that recreational marathoners aren't "real" runners. Huh? I don't know about you, but I'm in awe of anyone who can go 26.2 miles on foot.

And then there are the "real" knitters who only knit with expensive natural-fiber yarns, and "real" musicians who only play original music as opposed to covers. Add to that "real" lawyers who litigate (as opposed to doing transactional work) and "real" frugal people who practically recycle their dryer lint (as opposed to people who simply live below their means). See how absurd this can get?

So what's up with trying to figure out who's where in the pecking order of these activities? Where have you observed it? Is it a symptom of insecurity or what?

Joycecwilliams
09-16-2008, 08:49 PM
Every so often I see a debate on AW on who's a "real" writer and who's not. As can be expected, these conversations are always handled with grace by the AW folks. If you write, you're a writer. I like that.

What I've found interesting, though, is that this debate seems to extend to other areas. I recently read an article saying that recreational marathoners aren't "real" runners. Huh?

And then there are the "real" knitters who only knit with expensive natural-fiber yarns, and "real" musicians who only play original music as opposed to covers. Add to that "real" lawyers who litigate (as opposed to doing transactional work) and "real" frugal people who practically recycle their dryer lint (as opposed to people who simply live below their means).

So what's up with trying to figure out who's where in the pecking order of these activities? Where have you observed it? Is it a symptom of insecurity or what?

Real women have real boobs.. :)

Shadow_Ferret
09-16-2008, 09:20 PM
Was that a real question?

CaroGirl
09-16-2008, 09:22 PM
Simple. I'm real and you're not.

Bubastes
09-16-2008, 09:23 PM
Was that a real question?
:tongue

mscelina
09-16-2008, 09:29 PM
It's a competitive thing. I've seen people say that erotica writers aren't 'real' writers because it's all about the sex, or that fantasy writers aren't 'real' writers because everything is made up or a rip-off. It's a way that people use to establish themselves as better or more attention-worthy--"I write literary fiction. You're just a spec fic hack."

Just like when a burly guy says to a techno geek "I'm a real man and you're just a nerd." Instantly, the pecking order of dominance is established and reinforced with fear or feelings of unworthiness.

In other words, it's a refined form of bullying. We're exposed to it as soon as we begin to develop interpersonal relationships and it continues all the way to the end. Lately while sitting in my now-defunct doctor's office, I heard a lady say to another, "You have no idea how much pain I endure; I have THREE herniated discs and you only have ONE."

Bubastes
09-16-2008, 09:31 PM
Lately while sitting in my now-defunct doctor's office, I heard a lady say to another, "You have no idea how much pain I endure; I have THREE herniated discs and you only have ONE."

:facepalm:

Yeah, that's a competition I'd rather not win, thankyouverymuch.

Shadow_Ferret
09-16-2008, 09:33 PM
Just like when a burly guy says to a techno geek "I'm a real man and you're just a nerd." Instantly, the pecking order of dominance is established and reinforced with fear or feelings of unworthiness.
Except this example is true.

BenPanced
09-16-2008, 09:38 PM
http://pics.livejournal.com/benpanced/pic/00090ytq

I'm getting it from all sides. I'm not a "real" man because I'm gay, and because I look like Santa Claus' younger biker brother, I'm not a "real" gay.

I hereby declare myself a fishstick.

Maryn
09-16-2008, 09:40 PM
This exists in almost every arena where humans compare themselves to others. Store-bought Halloween costumes aren't real. RennFaire clothing stitched on a machine or based on a pattern isn't real. Spaghetti sauce that came from a jar isn't real.

My take is that anybody who insists something other than who they are or what they do isn't real is either terribly insecure and puts others down to build themselves up (welcome back to sixth grade, kids!) or is a complete dickwad. I got no need for more of those in my life thank-you-very-much.

Maryn, rich in dickwaditude

Jcomp
09-16-2008, 09:46 PM
I keep it real. Real talk. That's what's really good.

If the word real wasn't so ubiquitous in hip-hop slang that it's lost all meaning then I suppose I could more clearly see why people are really affected by someone else's definition of what is or isn't real.

Really though...

Bubastes
09-16-2008, 09:48 PM
My take is that anybody who insists something other than who they are or what they do isn't real is either terribly insecure and puts others down to build themselves up (welcome back to sixth grade, kids!) or is a complete dickwad.

"Or"? I'd vote for both. Really.

BenPanced
09-16-2008, 09:52 PM
You're not a "real" writer if you participate in NaNoWriMo.

DeleyanLee
09-16-2008, 09:55 PM
It's all part of the "them vs us" mentality, I think. "Us" has always got to be better than "Them" so people find ways to make it so, even if it's totally invented. Then the result has to be proclaimed as fact so that "They" believe it and validate how much better "We" are.

Who needs any other form of entertainment than the ever-fascinating Human Race?

DeleyanLee
09-16-2008, 09:56 PM
You're not a "real" writer if you participate in NaNoWriMo.

Nah. It's "You're not a 'real' writer if you don't do a BIAW." (Book In A Week)

And, yes, I've heard that in a certain writers' group.

Pagey's_Girl
09-16-2008, 09:57 PM
One time when I offered to put a caller into someone's voicemail because the person wasn't available at the time, the caller very snarkily replied, "No, you will not put me through to his voice mail! I am going to sit right here on hold until I am speaking with a real person!" It's so nice being a figment of someone's imagination.... [/snark]

BenPanced
09-16-2008, 10:01 PM
"Hello. All of our answering machines are busy right now so at the tone, you'll be forced to speak to a real human being."

*BEEP!*

rugcat
09-16-2008, 10:01 PM
When I talk about "real" writers, I'm almost always talking about those who exhibit a certain level of skill and professionalism. Or those who are so insanely talented that their work is simply beyond my ability to match.

Just an emotional response though; it has no validity in the real world.

TrainofThought
09-16-2008, 10:04 PM
Um... quickWit can be a real jackass, does that count?

TrainofThought
09-16-2008, 10:10 PM
You try to get anything out of a fake jackass and see what you get.But quickWit says he's always faking it.

quickWit
09-16-2008, 10:12 PM
Real women have real boobs.. :)


Eek! I'm not a real woman!

How you doin'? :D


Um... quickWit can be a real jackass, does that count?

:D

Love ya back.

NeuroFizz
09-16-2008, 10:16 PM
Every so often I see a debate on AW on who's a "real" writer and who's not. As can be expected, these conversations are always handled with grace by the AW folks. If you write, you're a writer. I like that.

What I've found interesting, though, is that this debate seems to extend to other areas. I recently read an article saying that recreational marathoners aren't "real" runners. Huh? I don't know about you, but I'm in awe of anyone who can go 26.2 miles on foot.

And then there are the "real" knitters who only knit with expensive natural-fiber yarns, and "real" musicians who only play original music as opposed to covers. Add to that "real" lawyers who litigate (as opposed to doing transactional work) and "real" frugal people who practically recycle their dryer lint (as opposed to people who simply live below their means). See how absurd this can get?

So what's up with trying to figure out who's where in the pecking order of these activities? Where have you observed it? Is it a symptom of insecurity or what?
This is an exercise of the REAL intellectual masturbators.

Maryn
09-16-2008, 11:23 PM
Ooh, baby, rub my hippocampus!

Maryn, melting

BenPanced
09-16-2008, 11:29 PM
Oh, noez! It's...TEH CAMELEOPARD!

Clair Dickson
09-16-2008, 11:32 PM
How about an alternative high school is not a "real" high school. (Though they still do "real" work from "real" textbooks and get a "real" diploma.)

Or references to a person's "real" mother or father. Sometimes it's a descriptor that comes from anger/hut/frustration, sometimes it's just another adjective to differentiate between "step" or "adopted" parent (or mom's boyfriend/ dad's girlfriend.) I prefer, should such a distinction need to be made, "biological" instead of real.

JoNightshade
09-16-2008, 11:36 PM
After Clair's post I am compelled to link to the "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks (http://quotation-marks.blogspot.com/).

Oh, and I'm full solipsist. None of you is real.

Judg
09-16-2008, 11:42 PM
Everybody wants to be part of the In crowd. And the cheapest and easiest way of doing that is to draw a tight little circle around yourself that excludes as many people as possible. And if you can convince others that the circle is important, you're in. Voila. Easy as pie.

The other extreme is to reject all value judgments as being irrelevant. All standards about anything are out the window as being exclusionist.

Of course, the really neat trick is to combine both of them at once.

"People like me, who are truly inclusive, are infinitely superior to those narrow-minded fools who only..." Happens all the time in politics.

TheIT
09-16-2008, 11:48 PM
Everybody wants to be part of the In crowd. And the cheapest and easiest way of doing that is to draw a tight little circle around yourself that excludes as many people as possible. And if you can convince others that the circle is important, you're in. Voila. Easy as pie.

The other extreme is to reject all value judgments as being irrelevant. All standards about anything are out the window as being exclusionist.

Of course, the really neat trick is to combine both of them at once.

"People like me, who are truly inclusive, are infinitely superior to those narrow-minded fools who only..." Happens all the time in politics.

Reminds me of a book my sister had which was titled "How to be a Non-Conformist."

:D

Susie
09-16-2008, 11:56 PM
I say if you make real money from your job, whatever it is, that you're definitely 'real!'

Bubastes
09-16-2008, 11:57 PM
Reminds me of a book my sister had which was titled "How to be a Non-Conformist."

:D

That is too funny! I knew a guy who was so proud of avoiding any music that was by "the establishment." I decided not to tell him that by using "the establishment" as a reference point for his choices, he wasn't exhibiting much independent thought.

Donkey
09-17-2008, 12:18 AM
You try to get anything out of a fake jackass and see what you get.
What are you tryin' to say? Hmmm?

http://i166.photobucket.com/albums/u92/donkeyrokman/donkey-5.jpg

Judg
09-17-2008, 12:25 AM
That is too funny! I knew a guy who was so proud of avoiding any music that was by "the establishment." I decided not to tell him that by using "the establishment" as a reference point for his choices, he wasn't exhibiting much independent thought.
Knee-jerk anti-conformism is just the mirror image of knee-jerk conformism and equally worthy of respect. Maybe less, because it often has a desire to hurt built in.

vixey
09-17-2008, 12:32 AM
I'm a REAL brunette. That's right. Now matter how, uh, silvery it might look. (Hint: some consider my hair color to be a bit premature.)

ETA: I live in a very small town where everybody knows your business (everybody who thinks they're are anybody, anyway). I got caught up in what I refer to that "plastic" lifestyle a while ago, and I'm glad to say I learned many valuable lessons. The most important of which is if you're comfortable with yourself, your choices and your ambitions people respect you even more. If you're trying to keep up or follow a crowd, you might as well be beige wallpaper. Stand out, people! Live your life! Dance in the rain!

vixey
09-17-2008, 12:40 AM
And in regards to my previous comment about boobs...
I've been asked if mine are real.
My answer, "They're really mine." ;)

I can't imagine how many men on this board are dying to see a "real" picture of you, Krystal. Clothed, of course.

TrainofThought
09-17-2008, 12:41 AM
And in regards to my previous comment about boobs...
I've been asked if mine are real.
My answer, "They're really mine." ;)They never need to ask me that. ;)

vixey
09-17-2008, 12:51 AM
Oh, and I'm full solipsist. None of you is real.

Learned a new word today.


sol·ip·sism 1.Philosophy. the theory that only the self exists, or can be proved to exist. 2.extreme preoccupation with and indulgence of one's feelings, desires, etc.; egoistic self-absorption

JoNightshade
09-17-2008, 01:40 AM
Learned a new word today.

JoNightshade: Making people totally incomprehensible to their peers, one person at a time.

vixey
09-17-2008, 01:46 AM
;) Maybe I'll throw off my readers with it in my WIP.

JoeEkaitis
09-17-2008, 02:40 AM
Heck, a few reviewers at a few magazines get to decide who's a "real" author and whose books are "real" books. It's just as absurd but it's reality.

vixey
09-17-2008, 02:53 AM
Doesn't matter. Your readers don't really exist.

*slumps shoulders and pouts, moaning why does Kevin always have to be so clever?*

Are you a "real" author because you've published a book, or because someone wants to read it?

To address Judg's comment about conformism versus anti-conformism, I agree. To shun something for the sake of non-conforming is to conform. The problem then lies with judging certain groups and subscribing to stereotypes. For people with little self-esteem but who need to feel important, it's easier to lump individuals into stereotypes. These people can't be bothered with what to them appears threatening. Their solace is in feeling superior.

But, no matter our motivations, we are all individualistic in some way. That's what makes us real underneath the veneer. It's those of us who are willing to expose our "real" persona to the world who I admire.

vixey
09-17-2008, 03:11 AM
Stop! I was being serious. You get a tomato. :e2tomato: Mostly because I think it's a fun smilie.

SPMiller
09-17-2008, 06:22 AM
But yeah... they're pretty perfect. lolOkay, I'll say what the other guys are thinking:

We demand evidence.

And it needs to be real evidence, too.

C.bronco
09-17-2008, 06:39 AM
In the same vein, I'm confused by the gossip magazines who determine whether celebrities are caught doing normal or abnormal things, which they slyly call "not normal."

The photos on both ends are usually so mundane that I am suprised by what they deem abnormal.

They should visit my neighborhood if they want rampant abnormalities.

I live in a normal town, by the way.

SPMiller
09-17-2008, 06:42 AM
I live in a normal town, by the way.For real?

C.bronco
09-17-2008, 06:48 AM
Dude, of course. Abnormal towns have higher taxes.

NeuroFizz
09-17-2008, 03:49 PM
Solipsist Poetry

This poem
doesn’t exist,
an overdrawn
account that once
held nothing

But if words should
appear here
they must only
be known in
my experience

And if you can
read them
they must not
make sense beyond
your experience

BenPanced
09-17-2008, 11:39 PM
Actually, when people discuss their own body parts like that...that's the last thing I want to look at. I don't need any evidence, thanks.
I don't have "body" parts like that, remember. I'm a fishstick.

Here's a picture of me with an Important Movie Star:
http://pics.livejournal.com/benpanced/pic/00091h6r

NeuroFizz
09-17-2008, 11:55 PM
Ben's new nickname - tater chunk. (Fish stick just doesn't have that zing.)

BenPanced
09-18-2008, 12:24 AM
Ben's new nickname - tater chunk. (Fish stick just doesn't have that zing.)
That's because you don't have any tartar sauce.

Oh, I've just opened the floodgates, haven't I?

Pagey's_Girl
09-18-2008, 12:43 AM
It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that zing....