A Catalog of Reiterated Thoughts
Before I begin, I’m aware that this post may appear to be a direct attack on my victim, sorry, subject, but rather I intend it to be a questioning remark of an article, picking up on themes, topics, and things that are, to me, grievances. I am not trying to discredit Thought Catalog in any way (not that there’d be much point, they’re enormously bigger than me) and I don’t have the slightest thing against them. So please remember this disclaimer when I appear to be doing little more than venting unwarranted anger at a well-meaning site.
I’ll start with a brief outline of what Thought Catalog is, in case you’ve not heard of it. It’s a sort of online blogging magazine/directory. They have a few employed writers that contribute regularly, as well as posting pieces submitted by the general public. As a result of the magnitude of posts published, obviously there is a vast range of topics covered, but I’m going to look at the posts that make up the blogging desire paths through the meadow of catalogued thoughts.
Now, Thought Catalog is, as I say, quite a good website. To an extent. The first issue I want to raise is not entirely a problem with Thought Catalog itself, but more of an issue with its pandering to what society wants. The majority of the posts that are publicised more heavily, and written by the more frequent contributors, tend to focus on a small range of topics. Having said that, within their boxed thinking, the posts definitely run across a spectrum of themes rather than being categorised distinctly and unambiguously. There are posts about sex/dating (lots and lots of these), apparently uplifting posts about your own personal strength, what you shouldn’t be ashamed of etc etc (see my post Generic Inspiration? No Thanks. for more of my thoughts on these types), Social situations and how to deal with them with heavy undertones of ‘psst, you should be an introvert, faux social anxiety is cool these days’, what to do/not to do in your teens/twenties, including the general things like travelling, reading classic literature, ‘finding yourself’, you know, all the stuff that applies to everyone ever, the posts that are meant to be funny (but rarely are) and those posts that tap into the secrets of psychics and horoscopes, broad relativity. Oh, and the occasional dabble in celeb culture, mainly with the celeb in question being the Internet’s darling, Jennifer Lawrence.
Sex sells, we get it. Stop posting articles about ‘the best sex I’ve had’, ‘the best positions’ and ‘how to…” great, I’m happy for you, but I don’t quite see how this endless, generally pretty self-absorbed bragging and ‘advice’ qualifies as journalistic – a characteristic claimed to be necessary for the publication of writing on the site. As for the relationships posts, they have probably by now covered just about every angle for them, do one thing, but don’t dare do that same thing, that’s apparently both the absolute worst thing to do, and the very best, but all girls love it, and all guys hate this but do that because every guy loves it. These 10 bullet points are precisely what you want. Oh, they don’t perfectly describe your desires? You’re clearly wrong, except you’re never wrong because individuality is what makes you special, just like every other person’s individuality makes them special. If you’ve lost track, that’s everyone and no one who’s special.
It’s lovely how Thought Catalog tells you exactly what society expects you to do, and what it will condemn you for. Unfortunately, these two are far from mutually exclusive. One post, consisting of a number of bullet points about what society expects you to do, could be reposted with the title ‘what society says you must never do’ and be as relevant as useful as it was the first time round. They inform you of the necessary chivalry, and the inherent misogynism of your attempted chivalry. Fortunately, these can always be re-posted a year later and specified as being the rules for that particular year.
What to do/not to do in your teens/twenties
Basically, when whittled down, these types of posts consist of ‘you know that stuff you really want to do? You’d probably enjoy it, go do it’. Or ‘these are all ridiculous things for adults to do, don’t be a moron’.
I blame these posts on those people that are still impressed by them. Let me spell it out for you: Humans have a lot in common, throughout the centuries of diverse sophisticated society trends have emerged about what people of certain groups enjoy. Just regurgitating these popular pastimes, embellished with some faux-philosophical-ramblings does not make the writer an amazing insight into your own personality. Get over it, boycott this rubbish and maybe it’ll stop popping up.
Alternatively you could ignore originality altogether and just compile a list of amusing posts from Reddit.
About Mark DolanHello there, I'm Mark, a 21 year old English archaeology student. I write about various things; archaeology, musings on my life, and various bits of society that I have something to say about.
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