February 20

On the best TV shows, the main character has two lives. In their personal life, they meet various people and run into various incidents. In their professional life, they take on various cases which subtly reflect these personal incidents.

Buffy’s afraid of failing school and she has to fight a teacher who eats students. Ally McBeal’s dating a kid and she has to take on a statutory rape case. Sean McNamara turns to God and has to treat a woman with stigmata. And so on.

On the worst TV shows, the same thing happens except they hammer it home by cutting back and forth between one life and the other, having people in each say the same things or face the same problems.

These days, it seems like my life is like Unscripted, a show somewhere in between (often too heavy on the crosscutting). At night I attend lectures (as part of Zimbardo’s class) on flirting and smalltalk. By day I live them.

I remember that moment immediately after puberty when I could look back at my life before it with new knowledge. Before puberty, I knew whether a woman was attractive or not as a purely mental thing based on social cues — there was nothing intrinsically attractive.

That’s how I feel about lovey actions now. I know, mentally, I’m supposed to do this, that people are supposed to be happy when they do that, but I don’t feel anything. On TV, people are supposed to like being kissed by an attractive person. I’m still stuck in the “supposed to” phase.

posted March 26, 2005 04:37 PM (Education) (1 comments) #


The Truth About the Drug Companies
The Truth About Maryland
Stanford: Mr. Unincredible
Lessons in Capitalism #1: Division of Labor
Stanford: Out at the Movies
Stanford: Form Without Content
Stanford: A Wired Rave
David M. Clark on Cognitive Therapy
Stanford: Meeting the President
Stanford: Caught Red-Handed
Lessons in Capitalism #2: Management


That’s not stuck. If that’s how it is, that’s how it is.

If you don’t feel anything, well - so what? Don’t worry. Don’t pursue it if it makes you feel uncomfortable.

posted by Robert Brook at March 31, 2005 08:36 AM #

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Aaron Swartz (me@aaronsw.com)