Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bane of the Universe the First: The Inappropriately Self-Referential Interrupter

Welcome to my new series (yeah, I know, I say that every other blog post) concerning the many and varied irritations that populate Planet Earth, also known as our local Banes of the Universe.

Friends, stalkers, good down-home countryfolk, lend me your ears! I come to warn you of the most irritating individual on the planet: Bane of the Universe the First: The Inappropriately Self-Referential Interrupter.

I think everyone who went to Northwestern is highly familiar with this foul individual, because tepid classrooms of overprivileged faux-academia are the ideal breeding grounds for this kind of delusional ego. (I know lots of big words!) The inappropriately self-referential interrupter LITERALLY HAS NO IDEA WHAT ANYONE IS TALKING ABOUT, and yet sees no shame in raising their hand and inserting a personal story into the discussion, effectively killing any semblance of intelligent discourse and making people like me stare at their newly-sharpened pencil while a little voice in their head whispers but it would be so easy to stab this into your eardrum and pop it.

Example 1:

Teacher: “Can anyone rhapsodize on the themes of anguished nationality in The Dead?”
ISRI: “Well, so my dad has a lake house and one day I was on the beach with some friends, we were drinking, and they started playing the national anthem at the house next door, and we just had this moment, you know? Where we were like this is America, the sand of America. Then Katie barfed into the lake and I felt really alone and I feel like that’s what Kafka is going for with this ending.”

Unfortunately, college is a place where people--who somehow managed through the sweat of their brows!!! to get straight A’s in high school--go to have their egos stroked and their wallets filched by the Establishment, so the ISRI rarely learns his or her lesson. If the ISRI were thrown naked into the streets (as I suspect will happen in my friends' future fascist state), he or she would quickly learn how little the world cares about their struggle with their own sexual identity, their impassioned plea for human rights because like animals are people too!!, and how they "really get" James Joyce because they're part Irish. The street would crush them.

But here? In the land of self-expression and free blog domains? They flourish.

Example 2:

Hip oboist: “My favorite oboe solo is the one from Britten’s sixth Metamorphosis After Ovid.”
ISRI: “Cool. I just really like Radiohead, you know? I feel like their songs are very poignant in their grief. They make me remember...things.
Hip oboist (sighing): “Is there something you want to talk about?”
ISRI: “I thought you’d never ask.”


  1. YES YES YES YES YES YES I learned this lesson in 7th grade: people often do not care/SHUT UP HEAVEN. I still semi-drop in stories that dont matter but I REALLY TRY to make them matter and only talk WHEN NECESSARY. Not like retard in the corner who wants to seem like their life is so important and relevant, hey yo, its NOOOOOT.

  2. DON'T SHUT UP HEAVEN!! i'm positive that any story you told would be interesting and relevant and wouldn't KILL CONVERSATION (like the IRSI do). xoxo


You are truly great.