Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Stone to Trouble the Living Stream

Michel Houellebecq, Whatever:

I've just turned thirty. After a chaotic start I did very well in my studies; today I'm in middle management. Analyst-programmer in a computer software company, my salary is two and a half times the minimum wage; a tidy purchasing power, by any standards. I can expect significant advancement within my firm; unless I decide, as many do, to sign on with a client. All in all I may consider myself satisfied with my social status. On the sexual plane, on the other hand, the success is less resounding. I have had many women, but for limited periods. Lacking in looks as well as personal charm, subject to frequent bouts of depression, I don't in the least correspond to what women are usually looking for in a man. And then I've always felt a kind of slight reticence with those women who were opening their organs to me. Basically all I represented for them was a last resort. Which is not, you will agree, the ideal point of departure for a lasting relationship.
There is an interesting parallel to Sarang's second reason to avoid having to deal with friendly attractive women at work: "(2) They might be of the kind that are _into nerds_ -- which, for any sufficiently self-loathing nerd, is a turn-off (qua confirmation of one's own nerdiness)."

It is only a parallel, since being a nerd is not the same thing as being abjectly pathetic. But it suggests that there may be a sort of psychological barrier to mutually-beneficial transactions, much as there is when Westerners shy away from paying poor people in developing countries miserable wages to do dangerous, degrading work. Maybe another way of thinking about it is that the transaction is not mutually beneficial when you take into account the revulsion that the transaction arouses.

[Update: note that the minimum wage in France appears to be €9.22, so at current exchange rates, 2.5 times the minimum wage works out to just above $30/hour.]

9 Comments:

Blogger Sarang said...

Thanks for the post title. Henceforth I will never think of Yeats w/o thinking of kidney stones.

I think a lot of one's motivations are partly self-regarding, i.e., you often want/like things partly because of the place they would have in the narrative you construct for yourself about your life. This is one of those cases.

2:11 PM  
Blogger James said...

I didn't mean to conjure up the image of a kidney stone. I was referring to an imperfection in the market, a barrier to the smooth functioning of supply and demand, to the laminar flow of capitalism.

2:18 PM  
Blogger James said...

Although while we're on the subject, Sarang, would you agree that a terrible beauty is porn?

2:33 PM  
Blogger Sarang said...

Yes!

2:49 PM  
Blogger James said...

I agree about narratives, by the way. I wish I had a way to get some traction with this concept, but I don't seem to. It reminds me of Vonnegut's admonition, "Be careful what you pretend to be because you are what you pretend to be." Our narratives are almost constitutive of ourselves.

3:12 PM  
Blogger ninest123 said...

ninest123 16.02
prada handbags, ugg boots, jordan shoes, louboutin outlet, michael kors outlet, longchamp outlet, replica watches, louis vuitton outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, michael kors outlet, ray ban sunglasses, ugg boots, oakley sunglasses, nike free, chanel handbags, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, tiffany jewelry, nike outlet, tiffany and co, cheap oakley sunglasses, louboutin, oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton, polo ralph lauren outlet, oakley sunglasses, prada outlet, michael kors, gucci outlet, louis vuitton outlet, ugg boots, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton, nike air max, longchamp outlet, louis vuitton, ugg boots, nike air max, uggs on sale, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors outlet, burberry outlet online, longchamp, replica watches, burberry, louboutin shoes, christian louboutin outlet, tory burch outlet

8:19 PM  
Blogger ninest123 said...

oakley pas cher, vans pas cher, nike trainers, true religion jeans, abercrombie and fitch, north face, michael kors, lacoste pas cher, nike free run uk, nike roshe, hollister pas cher, hogan, hermes, coach outlet, ralph lauren pas cher, vanessa bruno, michael kors, michael kors, sac guess, nike air max, nike free, air max, timberland, converse pas cher, nike roshe run, sac longchamp, coach purses, burberry, nike blazer, new balance pas cher, ralph lauren uk, true religion outlet, longchamp, lululemon, nike air max, air jordan pas cher, ray ban uk, hollister, tn pas cher, air force, louboutin pas cher, true religion jeans, michael kors, nike huarache, mulberry, ray ban pas cher, longchamp pas cher, true religion jeans, nike air max, north face, replica handbags

8:21 PM  
Blogger ninest123 said...

louboutin, soccer jerseys, celine handbags, valentino shoes, iphone 6s cases, babyliss, bottega veneta, nike roshe, mcm handbags, hollister, nike air max, timberland boots, ferragamo shoes, north face outlet, jimmy choo shoes, vans shoes, lululemon, beats by dre, iphone 6s plus cases, birkin bag, vans, north face outlet, p90x workout, s5 cases, herve leger, ralph lauren, ray ban, baseball bats, nfl jerseys, iphone 6 cases, soccer shoes, nike air max, iphone 6 plus cases, giuseppe zanotti, ghd, mac cosmetics, abercrombie and fitch, iphone 5s cases, chi flat iron, mont blanc, instyler, iphone cases, insanity workout, hollister, new balance, converse, gucci, asics running shoes, wedding dresses, reebok shoes, oakley, ipad cases

8:23 PM  
Blogger ninest123 said...

moncler, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, canada goose, juicy couture outlet, moncler, barbour jackets, coach outlet, canada goose, canada goose uk, moncler, louis vuitton, replica watches, sac louis vuitton pas cher, doudoune canada goose, louis vuitton, moncler, moncler, thomas sabo, hollister, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, wedding dresses, karen millen, canada goose outlet, swarovski crystal, louis vuitton, canada goose, louis vuitton, pandora charms, barbour, moncler outlet, pandora jewelry, pandora jewelry, ugg pas cher, supra shoes, canada goose outlet, moncler, canada goose, lancel, ugg boots uk, swarovski, pandora charms, montre pas cher, doke gabbana outlet, converse outlet, juicy couture outlet, moncler, toms shoes, bottes ugg, links of london, marc jacobs
ninest123 16.02

8:25 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home