I'm concerned about the Catastrophizer. Not the individual (although there is much there to be seriously concerned about), but the column. That's right. Column. Not blog. Blogs are about descents into depression, whether knee-high boots are passe, and/or whether political discourse in the US has become poisoned by increasingly poisonous forms of partisanship. Or they're themselves poisonously partisan. Columns are different. They're written in the New Yorker or by me. My concerns are as follows:

1) Smugness: How smug is too smug? A certain degree of didacticism is unavoidable, as I am trying to instruct others in a specific way of thinking. A whiff or two of reproach may rise from my responses to letter-writers as I am generally gently pointing out that they are witless. But will readers read these attitudes as indicating smugness? Imagine me chuckling richly and smirking complacently as I review my work? I scan each sentence with a suspicious and disappointed eye. A sinking feeling accompanies every edit. Each column is less worthy than the last, which itself was undoubtedly gruesomely inept. I may play the role of instructor, but only because the subject is dispiriting. 

2) Repetitiveness: I'm beginning to notice that my responses to letters are beginning to resemble one another. For how much longer will people read my column if it becomes simply an exhortation to the letter-writers to stop being stupid and to start questioning themselves instead of others, which they probably won't do very well anyway because they're stupid? 

3) Premise fatigue: Initially, this column was supposed to record my reflections on and instructions for catastrophizing. Then I realized I could not possibly find enough to say about catastrophizing if I were doing this twice a week, so I introduced the Dear Catastophizer angle. Very few people indeed took advantage of that, so I started purloining letters sent to other people. That has given me something to talk about. But will the column become uncomfortably reliant on the letters? Will they become merely props? Or rather, will people become tired of the fact that they are clearly merely props? But what if I assume my always potentially hostile readers have tired of the letter concept and switch it up, only to find they really enjoyed it and have stopped reading the column as a result?

Catastrophizing is like exercise in that makes you tired. It is unlike exercise in that it doesn't make you look any better. 

Send the Catastrophizer your requests for advice and/or rationalizations using the form conveniently provided HERE. I will publish my responses on the THE CATASTROPHIZER page.
POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough.
3/24/2010 05:37:04 am

Dear Catastrophizer,

Your blolumn (i.e. blog/column) has failed to fail, at least for me, because I am entertained by it and look forward to new postings. Shouldn't you have alienated me long ago?

3/24/2010 07:10:03 pm

Dear Catastrophizer,

Fear not! This blessed colog(?) gives real meaning to MY entire existence. Ok, it doesn't do quite that, but considering the extent of my mental confusion and pain, the joy of a little YOU-humour coupled with the familiarity of your voice and the loveliness and brilliantness that is you is never anything but short of cherished. That sentence sucked. Be gentle with yourself, a cherished Catastrophizer catastrophizing.


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