Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Glenn O'Brien

Brilliant contemporary man. His thoughts below:

What Makes a Good Friend?
The best friends are people like us. Smart, secure, cultured, cool. The best sort of friends are givers, not the needy. We bestow our surplus goodwill on them because they are winners. They seek us out for fun. But they also respect us and so want to back us up, almost politically, as if to say we want a world where people like us do well. We are allies in the cultural conquest of the world.

Friendship With the Opposite Sex
While some men maintain that it is impossible for hetero men to have a true non-sexual friendship with a woman, those are men ruled by their glands. I can be genuine friends with anyone smart and funny, gender aside. Many of my best friends are women, who are, sorry to say, far less likely to be assholes than men

Breaking Up With Friends
Sometimes we grow apart and that old mutual magic doesn't work. Usually it's best to drift apart, avoiding all forms of drama, but when the alienatee is the dramatic sort or a psychopath, this can prove difficult. Drifting apart is nature's way. We can still be fond of that old high school chum, but that doesn't mean we have to keep in touch. (One of the worst effects of the social networks is the past suddenly rearing it's now-less-attractive head.) I find that it's best not to explain your course of action as it will only serve to heighten the emotions occasioned by rejection. Even if you wanted to you cannot always explain why a friendship no longer works. It's best to just chill out and stay cool. Explain how busy you are, if necessary, and then be unavailable. If and when confronted deny, deny, deny.

When Friends Are Jealous and/or Possessive of You and Other Friends
Who appointed them president of the club? You may have to point out that they are acting more like a spouse than a friend—more like a ninth grade girl than a 31-year-old Marine Corps veteran. The universe is expanding. Friendship must keep up.
Fighting with Friends (Words You Can't Take Back)
Don't call a friend a cunt unless he's English. Think before speaking. What you say may be forgiven, but it won't be forgotten, and it hurts a lot more coming from a friend than an enemy.
If you wish to insult a person, vague generalities are ineffective and often counterproductive. Think of the scoundrel Don Imus, America's great AM radio star, brought low by a misapplied "ho." If Imus had called them meretrices he'd still be on the radio.
It pays to be as precise and specific as possible. Alluding to someone's race, ethnic background, or sexual preference demeans only yourself. Insults should precisely characterize the fault you find in the recipient. Correct usage of common terms like asshole, dick, prick, or scumbag is important. For example, an asshole is a person with a delusional world-view who is incapable of observing social boundaries. A dick is a careless egotist who abuses others in demonstration of his high and misplaced self-regard. While a prick is similar to a dick but with a connotation of a more refined and thought-out maliciousness. A scumbag delights in the misery of others and will do his best to contribute to that misery if it is convenient and without onerous repercussion. A scumbag is a meaner and more malevolent dick. But such words are all too common. Think of the allure of an insult that not only sounds bad, but which is quite specific and possibly unknown to the recipient making him feel even more stupid. Confusion over arcane terms can only help drive the point home to a lickspittle, toady, stumblebum, rube, bounder, middlebrow, mythomaniac, charlatan, yokel, lout or shmendrik. And those words just feel good on the tongue.
Mixing Friendship and Business
When you are a hard working person you probably find your friends (and even lovers) through work. This is perfectly fine and preferable to advertising for friends or seeking them out on the street. Problems arise when there is competition. You may be on the same level at the same company; then someone is promoted. You may work for competing companies. You may covet their job or client or vice versa. This is where ethics—that mostly forgotten department of mostly forgotten philosophy—comes in. When things seem headed toward sticky territory and you value the friendship, talk about it. Let reason (and a couple of drinks) guide you.
Another problem area is expertise freebies. Did you ever wonder why doctors tend to be friends with doctors and lawyers with lawyers? You don't want to give away free what brings home the bacon. Or at least not much. A tourniquet to stop arterial bleeding—fine. A complex diagnosis—that's pro shit. We can't give it away. Don't expect anything from your friends except friendship. I somehow got talked into writing a substantial introduction for a friend's art book, an expensive book, and all I got was complaints that I didn't go to the gallery show.
When pressed for freebies by apparent friends you can try dropping hints: "I'll give you a 5% discount." Or you could bring up barter: "Sure I'll edit your manuscript. If you paint my kitchen."

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