November 19th, 2003


De-junk your life

I finally unsubscribed from JunkList. <sigh>

JunkList -- more recently known as [niddle] -- was originally the mailing list for Oxford University's "DougSoc". DougSoc was originally the Douglas Adams Society, but had long since lost all but a nominal connection with Douglas Adams and his works, devoting itself instead to general acts of intellectual silliness. When the society disbanded, the list remained as a forum for like-minded people to talk to each other.

I've finally realised that I am not, and will never be, of a like mind with these people, or rather with what they have become. I'm tired of the double standards persistently displayed and applied by the list's heavyweights, whereby the "in" crowd are allowed to be as clueless as they wish while those who aren't "in" are criticised and sneered at where possible, and otherwise ignored. I'm tired of the smug, self-satisfied, Guardian-regurgitating predictability of the political opinions expressed on the list, and the indulgent smirks (there's a feeling of "goodness, that wouldn't happen in this common room, dear boy") with which the mere possibility of alternative viewpoints are met; I'm tired of the whole Mornington Crescent whose-gerund-is-it-anyway small-laughing-and-less-grief Radio-4 clever-cleverness.

I'm saddened, more than anything; I remember these people being witty, interesting and intelligent when I was an undergraduate, but the vast majority of them seem to have become hideous caricatures of themselves, like something from the dark side of the Looking Glass. They move round the table to give a semblance of progress, and loudly berate the newcomer for breaches in some unwritten etiquette, but nothing actually changes. I'm saddened, too, that I once wanted to be like that myself.

There are still a handful of people who post to JunkList whom I like and whose opinions I respect. Hopefully they know who they are (and most of them read this journal). Fortunately I have plenty of other means of keeping in touch with them.
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