Intellectual disenfranchisement

Stay Gold, Ponyboy

Wow that’s a lotta denim crotches and winsomeness right there, running wild on the streets of Tulsa in “the Sixties” a time which apparently included some proto-mullets.

I’d like to take this time to answer any questions you have about either the movie or the book “The Outsiders”.  We can focus mostly on denim, hair grease, and why so much fuckin’ unrelenting bad, terrible shit had to happen to poor little Johnny (played by a superlatively greasy and adorably teeny-tiny Ralph Macchio), and also we can debate why Matt Dillon was allowed to act ever again, especially in the artsy-fartsy Rumblefish, which was actually filmed in black & white so that, you know: undershirts.

Rumblefish consists of a pouting badboy in a mullet, a fake Zen 80s dancey knife-fight gangbanger older brother, and: Undershirts! Undershirts! Undershirts!

At some point we’re going to delve a bit further into why all of the required “teen fiction” I was made to read when I was but a callow adolescent lass was dark, overly dramatic, and belabored, featured mostly uptight white dudes trying to not sell chocolate or fail out of prep school or get their asses pulped by the Socs, and was full of the taunting.

Oh, the taunting!

The lesson in all this is: don’t be at a Catholic boys’ school in the first place if you can help it. Well, that and don’t wear sportscoats. Ever.




Social(Media)Life™ Part Deux: Beware The Lovefest

When Dr. Ding first began to explore the exciting world of social media she was puzzled and intrigued, because so few were making a distinction between their professional and personal identities.

Let me splain. In my shrinkalicious and I’m sure very rumpshakin’ world, these are two different things. I’m no social media guru. I have no “solutions” for your web presence, no PR campaigns to my credit, and no brand of my own. Not a thing. I have nothing to sell you and obviously I’m not looking to get famous here what with my alarmingly frequent references to assless chaps, glitter, and enthusiastic tooting. For you see, my relentless pursuit of world domination is fundamentally incompatible with these aims.

So what is my thing? Mostly I just enjoy long walks on the beach, lazy Sunday brunches, and poking giant holes in cherished assumptions that bug the living shit out of me unless I poke holes in them. I can’t help it. I’m an Aquarius, baby — it’s just what I do*.

Web 2.0 Lovefest: Duh

I know, I know. Transparency is the much-touted and au courant working model of web-based communication. The Personal and The Professional are all wond’rously comingled in a paroxysm of nerdish imagination each and every time you log in. The private is the public and we all frigging love each other because we ALL have some sort of ill-defined but, like, totally fabulous social capital we’re leveraging.

Woo de freaking hoo.

I fail to understand this recursive reified narcissism. I fail for a variety of reasons, primary of which is that I’m a shrink.

Of course you should be clear, honest and accountable in your communcations with others. Of course we should be treating each other with respect and listening well. Of course it’s great to share creative ideas, gorgeous music, stirring rhetoric, sublime humor, truth-exposing reportage. Of course. And of course it’s nice to feel important because we’re cozily storing up Gemütlichkeit and fulfilling our Maslowian social-affiliative needs for belonging. These are all good things and it’s about frigging time we feminized** the web, meta-communication and interaction in general.

We should have been doing this type of thing all along, long before Web 2.0. Duh.

Boundaries: Look Into Them

But here’s where this Web 2.0 Lovefest starts falling apart for me: I don’t want to share everything with you. I really don’t. Okay, well after I few martinis I might. But I shouldn’t do it. And neither should you.

Honest. It’s called having interpersonal boundaries. Boundaries are sometimes described as how we know who we are and who we aren’t, where the Self/Other dividing line is placed. They are considered central to being able to closely connect with others while simulatenously maintaining autonomy and individual identity. They’re integral to how we think and feel about ourselves, and how others feel and think about us. And they can prevent you from making a giant ass out of yourself.

Where we situate these psychological structures depends on our life experiences, stressors, and a whole bunch of mystical shit I don’t have time to explain. Suffice it to say that if your boundaries are poorly defined or maintained, you’re going to eventually reveal to much. If they’re too tight or impermeable, people will likely find it difficult to connect.

My Point: Think About Where You’re Drawing Your Boundaries

Some day long after Obama gets elected and just prior to the planet being overrun by robotic alien overlords, everyone is going to be using Social Media. Everyone.

Your boss. You future boss. Your mother-in-law. Your impressionable kids. Your Wiccan High Priestess from the Coven of the Shiny Vagina. Random criminals, hucksters and trolls trying to plan a home or identity invasion. The day shall soon be upon us.

Think about how easily these folks might access your series of diabtribes about a frenemy or your gin-pickled assessment of your job situation or your boiling hatred of Wheaties. By all means, if you don’t give a tinker’s damn about all this, pray continue with your 3 a.m. rants about whatever obscure band you hate or relationship atrocity you’ve committed, underscored by some Flickr’d photos of your recent colonoscopy. Oh and definitely keep blurting out your exact whereabouts on BrightKite so that the stalker folk can track your every move.

But if you plan to ever have a security clearance, a professional license of any kind, a sweeping background check conducted or even just a jaundiced eye turned on you….might wanna be a bit more selective about how you choose to distinguish the public v. private on the intardwebs. Just saying.

*Supposedly Aquarianism gives me the inalienable right to be deeply and profoundly weird, according to my grocery store booklet. I’m okay with it.

**Yeah I fucking went there.


Dear Dr. Ding

I need your wisdom Dr. Ding. I have had a very weird dream this week that
is confusing to me. I shoot myself in the head about 4 times. It
doesn’t hurt and I am fine. The only thing I remember being concerned
about is that one of the wounds was on my forehead and others would see it.
In the dream I was worried about what I would tell others about what had

I don’t remember feeling depressed or anything that would
make me want to hurt myself. I don’t think the process of shooting
myself was about killing me becuase that just doesn’t resonate with me.
I can’t figure out what it means. What is your intrepretation?

Hard Headed

Dear Hard Headed:

You think Dr. Ding has actual wisdom? May the Lords of Kobol and GirlJesus™ Herself bless you, but I suspect this assumption explains like 90% of your issues right there. I’ve got plenty of the following things: hair products, black clothing, red thumbtacks, the perfect moue of distaste when confronted with people that don’t think feminism is a good idea, KFC “fixin’s” and withering sarcasm. The whole wisdom thing is debatable and varies according to my mood, the planetary alignments, and whether or not I’m getting my fill of words that haven’t been used since Agatha Christie bought tampons.

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