Sunday, July 7, 2013

Why is the World Four? Part 1. A double dichotomy of payoffs and entitlements, or, a quick but limited classification system for bozos and bozettes

The other day I came up with this little diagram; if you remember far more of what I write than is good for you, you might recognize it as one of those double-dichotomy diagrams that I love to mess with (see Why is the World Four? Part 0. It occurred to me that most people I’ve met, and known well enough to form a judgment, want one of two payoffs from interpersonal interactions, and also want to feel entitled to the payoff for one of two possible reasons. 

I'm not necessarily talking about the payoff that you actually get, but the one you want, and I'm interested in why you want to feel entitled to it, a somewhat harder concept.  Some examples:  You want to win the first place ribbon, but you want to feel entitled because you ran faster than everyone else (and not because everyone else tripped). You want to be top salespersons, but you don’t want to feel “entitled” by the pity of all the customers who said “He’s such a sad sack I had to order something"—rather, you want it to be because you really are a great sales person.  A lot of people from privileged backgrounds will identify with this (they want to feel they hit their triple, not that they were born on third base, to paraphrase Molly Ivins's mean and deadly shot at poor old silly Bush).  Sadly, I've known some people who put so much effort into cultivating one aspect of themselves that they couldn't accept a would-have-been-great romatic partner who didn't care about it.  

So this is about the payoffs people want, and what they want to be given them for, and here is the double dichotomy I came up with:

PAYOFF: What they want other people to give themè
ENTITLEMENT: The reasons they want other people to give it to them ê
Attention (adoration, loathing, horrified fascination, compulsive staring, anything that is not indifference)
Personal Liking (being “well liked” as Willy Loman might put it)
Because other people have been Fooled by their act
FA: Trolls, exhibitionists, “politically incorrect” loudmouths, show-offs, attention whores, affectation-flaunters. Characteristic lines: I just like to stir things up, I like to make people think.
FL: Sales people, con men, politickers (that is, not politicans as much as practitioners of small group politics), would-be gurus, pick up artists, powers behind the throne, eminence grises, wheeler-dealers. Characteristic lines: one hand washes the other, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours, we’re all in this to help each other
Because other people have Perceived their true and valuable essence
PA: Narcissists,  needsters, clingers, cinderella-complexers, lonely fantasizers, romance-scripters, “Nice Guys” and their “Great Catch” female equivalents.  Characteristic lines: Deep down I just know there’s something special about me, Sometimes I’m so adjective I scare myself, I’m the most adjective person you ever met.
PL: More or less healthy people, plus various kinds of jerks and loons that don’t fit into the other three categories. Characteristic lines: Hi, have we met? Is something wrong, can I help? Hey, fella, get your hand off there and cut that shit out. Anybody want spaghetti? Give me five minutes of your time and if you want a car I’ll sell you one. The Face on Mars talks to me late at night. (I didn’t say they were all nice, or non-jerks, or even sane; just different from those three other groups.)

On my grid, anyway, the guy who spends years trying to “Nice Guy” his way into the pants of a woman he doesn’t really know (or take enough genuine interest in to to get to know) and then takes one of those silly pick up artist courses and begins pressuring insecure women into having sex with him has merely moved diagonally from PA to FL, neither of which is a good place.  Trolls and showoffs are the farthest away from reasonable people on the grid.  FAs think we’re their audience and they’re going to make us watch, FL’s think we’re their prey and they’re going to keep us unaware, and PA’s think we just need a little help to understand that as a matter of fact the world is about them.  (And of course PLs only think about us if there’s some reason to).
There are a lot of  would be writers in FA, FL, and PA.  Many writers struggle all their lives toward the shining city in PL.

And what am I going to do with this?  Well, I just did it, as far as I know.  Maybe sometime if I need to invent a fictional world populated with jerks, I’ll do something else with it.  Maybe the “bad” non-PL boxes are three children of dysfunctional parents. Maybe I shall have three branding irons made up with FL, FA, and PA and creep through the night judgmentally charring  the skin of people I don’t like.  But anyway, that’s a toy I enjoyed playing with, so there it is.