Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen
mrissa

Hierarchies

I really, really, really don't like it when people have to find some way in which they are above you in the hierarchy they've set up in their heads, but they have picked a method of developing hierarchy that makes that difficult for them.

Like -- oh, to take a totally random example -- when you have a middle-aged person who is really not comfortable with a younger person being published before she is and then has to go on and on about how short stories don't count. For most of an hour, in close quarters from which no escape was likely.

It's partly that she stayed on the nice side of being smacked down, but partly -- honestly, I just refuse to get into that kind of one-upsmanship. Because lines like, "Well, I was talking to New York Times best-selling author Steven Brust the other day, and he said it totally counts as real writing to write short stories people want to publish, so there," while true, are just not helpful. Everybody feels a little sticky after that. Anyone who needs to feel bigger than someone, by all means, feel bigger than me. I can take it. I just don't enjoy it. So I sat there and made neutral noises and apparently convinced her that not all respect for one's elders is dead among the youth of today -- once again I was "such a nice girl" and "so artistic! I'm sure you'll go far." But I felt pretty bad for her, to be at that point in her life and not have any more independent sense of self and purpose than that.
Tags: cons
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