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Stuff It, Emo Boy!

This old, but still relevant today "Stuff It, Emo Boy!" from The New York Observer, the world's greatest source of trend journalism. Where else would you find a triple-bylined story with two (!) additional reporting credits on a subject that's so seemingly trivial? Via Reihan Salam.

December 7, 2004 | Permalink


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» Stuck in the middle with you from Strata Lucida
Matthew Yglesias links approvingly to an amazingly retrograde article in the New York Observer entitled, diplomatically, "Stuff It, Emo Boy!" Purporting to be a sophisticated exercise in up-to-the-minute trendspotting, the article in fact is a backward... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 8, 2004 2:29:49 PM


Good grief, that is a waste of resources.

On the substance of that article, maybe the women fleeing the emo boys should come to DC where they can find plenty of emotionally blocked men unable to think or talk about anything other than the latest poll numbers and blogosphere spatfests, the idiocy of the other party, and how important their jobs and bosses are.

But then, I suppose the added influx of thin, stylish women would only worsen the odds for my ilk.

Posted by: veruca | Dec 7, 2004 3:30:06 PM

Jebus. No one figured out that immature and insecure men, who in the past yammered on endlessly about their trivial accomplishments, would continue to yammer on about their precious emotions once allowed to do so?

The problem isn't men emoting. The problem is post-post-pubescent boys emoting childishly.

Posted by: modus potus | Dec 7, 2004 4:08:45 PM

"The problem isn't men emoting. The problem is post-post-pubescent boys emoting childishly."

Playing devil's advocate for the emo boys: why should women get to hog all the childish emoting? Frankly, there's a vanishingly thin line between "open and honest" and "whiney and narcissistic," and it amuses me to no end that women are just starting to realize this after a couple decades of telling men to put up with every "mood swing and fit of self-searching," no matter how loony or arbitrary, from their partners, in the name of emotional understanding.

Posted by: Cmas | Dec 7, 2004 4:23:31 PM

Where else would you find a triple-bylined story with two (!) additional reporting credits

OK, I'm not a journalist or anything, but did you notice that all 5 of the "reporters" were women? Here's how I imagine this "story" came about:

Reporter 1 says to Reporter 2: "I had this awful date last night. This guy was..."

Reporter 2 says: "I met a guy just like that!"

Reporter 3: "Me too!"

Reporter 1: "We should do a story on this."

[They go off, call a couple friends for some anecdotes, and regroup.]

Reporter 1: "We need another anecdote or two. [Calls Reporting Credit 1] Do you know anyone like this?"

Reporting Credit 1: "Yeah, he was..."

Reporting Credit 2: "I know someone like that too."

Reporter 1: "Thanks for your help. Now we've got a story."

Posted by: Al | Dec 7, 2004 4:28:03 PM

I'm just happy to see someone trashing Tobey Macguire's simpering performance in Spiderman(s). A good superhero should be inhibited in a contained resentment sort of way, like Batman, or Donald Rumsfeld.

Posted by: spacetoast | Dec 7, 2004 4:29:16 PM

Batman's too much of a wuss. Doesn't kill anybody, spends all his free time brooding with his gargoyles. The Terminator, Charles Bronson, Ronald Reagan's cybernetically-enhanced corpse - all of these are much better choices. Real MEN'S men.

Posted by: Cmas | Dec 7, 2004 4:36:11 PM

Oh, I thought this was gonna be this year's toy shortage: the "Stuff It" Elmo doll. Too bad. That might have been worth a look.

By the way, Emo is a real first name.

Posted by: Paul Callahan | Dec 7, 2004 4:38:24 PM


Why, indeed! The fact is that immature, self-centered people suck, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

Of course, it is just such people who receive guidance on their relationships from hack newspaper articles, so there is a bit of a feedback loop, here.

Posted by: modus potus | Dec 7, 2004 4:42:14 PM

"But here on the ground in Gotham, a different story is emerging, as women flee emos in droves."

So true, and rightly so. Self-absorbed whiners!

Posted by: sofia | Dec 7, 2004 4:43:31 PM

Ha ha. Many women have been saying they want men to be more like them. I guess you should be careful what you wish for...

Posted by: blah | Dec 7, 2004 4:46:17 PM

Cmas, the body count is immaterial. What matters is his attitude toward the problem of contending. I'm quite serious about this.

Posted by: spacetoast | Dec 7, 2004 4:55:52 PM

I liked this article better when it was published in the New Yorker nearly a month ago, and at least carried some topical weight (the women in question made more money or were more ambitious than their male counterparts). Frankly, I think this aggressive, combative, peeing-while-standing-up attitude about what male sexuality is supposed to be—given all the years that women spent trying to define the role they would prefer to play rather than fitting the role men chose for them—is unbecoming, somewhat hypocritical, and avoiding any statement beyond tawdry machismo. News alert, women! There are men out there who can't find what they want, either, which is why everyone isn't married right now. Suck it up!

Posted by: Kriston Capps | Dec 7, 2004 5:02:25 PM

Kriston understands! Such a comfort to know there are non-judgemental listeners out there.

I haven't expressed a feeling other than rage in thirty years, but then, not sure I have had one.
I am lying, but the key to understanding men is that we are lying beasts who only want one thing. All else is sarcasm.

Speaking of sarcasm, I got to wonder if MY is an emo kinda guy (not that there would be anything wrong with that..snicker), or the kinda guy who thinks emo is so funny he can't stay away from it.
Back when I was his age we would get loaded, put on James Taylor or Jackson Browne and laugh our asses off.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Dec 7, 2004 8:27:26 PM

". . . Tobey Macguire's simpering performance in Spiderman(s). A good superhero should be inhibited in a contained resentment sort of way"

Well, but with great power comes great responsibility . . .

Every time I see one of these articles, I get down on my kneww and thank the gods I'm gay. We may have our own issues but at least they're not THESE issues . . .

Posted by: rea | Dec 7, 2004 9:45:40 PM

We've all seen that picture of you with the button-down shirt on under a sweater, and you do hang out at the Black Cat. That probably makes you a hipster, which is dangerously close to being emo.

I'd watch myself if I were you, Matt. You're too close to the dark side.

Posted by: Blogtheist | Dec 7, 2004 10:02:59 PM

Zach Braff is quite gay, no matter what chick he's dating. Jake Gyllenhaal...oh, better leave a little mystery to that one. It makes him even hotter. Michael Chabon is bi. Emo boys are one of the last waves of boys in denial. I recently met a boy who loved emo and had a girlfriend. I enjoyed my suspicion (certainty:)) in silence until a girlfriend of mine, a mutual acquaintance, told me about the guys he'd gone home with when he had some liquor or drugs in him.

Posted by: infallible 'dar | Dec 7, 2004 10:28:06 PM

rea, I don't take your point really. I've known plenty of gay dudes with pop-culture-ish issues and neuroses that equal and go beyond mine (as a straight dude) in bizarreness. For instance, one of many in my career of shit-jobs was doing health food demonstrations in grocery stores. Until we both got fired, I worked with this obese gay dude who talked incessantly about his spiritual connection with Dusty Springfield. So, err, you guys do have those issues.

Posted by: spacetoast | Dec 8, 2004 12:57:44 AM

The article was pretty superficial and uninformative. I mean, how could they leave out the fact that about 90% of all male Harvard grads are Emo boys?


Posted by: Jonathan King | Dec 8, 2004 1:04:05 AM

i almost puked at the latest spiderman flick. such a selfish bastard who really only gets his spidey on when he's out for revenge. if this is emo, fuck it. they should set spiderman 3 in seattle.

Posted by: bs23 | Dec 8, 2004 6:03:47 AM

"So, err, you guys do have those issues."

Well, we certainly have issues--just perhaps not THOSE issues. We don't have to try to impress women with how sensitive and in touch with our feelings we are we are!

I'm not sure what the point is about having a spiritual connection with Dusty Springfield--wasn't he that soap opera dude who tried to be a rocker?

Posted by: rea | Dec 8, 2004 8:10:04 AM

Anyone who has listened to Dusty Springfield should feel a spiritual connection to her.

Posted by: infallible 'dar | Dec 8, 2004 9:14:31 AM

She's 20 minutes late on a first date and she's surprised he's pissed? "Trouble on the subway," uh-uh. How about "I'm high maintenance and you better get used it." I'm amazed he was still there when she bothered to show up.

Posted by: jr | Dec 8, 2004 12:12:42 PM

"She's 20 minutes late on a first date and she's surprised he's pissed?"

Third date, but I think it was more how he responded than that he was angry. I'd have rolled my eyes and made some sort of playfully sarcastic comment like, "so you finally decided to show up?" How she responded would have been a huge factor in whether there was a fourth date.

The thing is, I probably would be upset too. But I realize I need to put her in a position where she can (a) explain what happened, and (b) apologize. Explaining why she was late means I get to learn a little more about her (and she gets to see me sincerely listening to her, which is also very important). Whether and how she apologizes lets me learn a lot about her personality and her level of interest in me.

What the emo guy did was lash out and put the woman on the defensive. It looks like he's pathetic, trying to control her, and doesn't really care why she got held up. In addition to demonstrating that he's self-absorbed, he also misses out on a great opportunity to learn more about the woman and decide whether he actually wants to date her. Also - more cynically - he's passing up an opportunity to put her in a position of guilt, which he could then leverage by accepting her apology (thus scoring points by showing he's a nice, sensitive guy).

Posted by: Dave | Dec 8, 2004 1:32:16 PM

I think the "whimpster" piece (I think I saw it in Bitch or Bust, but I guess it was online as well) was a bit more insightful. Blaming this kind of behavior on feminism misses the point; this is just some men who have figured out how to adapt their male dominance to feminist values, replacing pre-feminist domination (physical and intellectual intimidation and bullying) with emotional manipulation. The "emo boy" doesn't work within feminism; he coopts it.

Likewise, the antidote is not machismo or a return to antiquated manly virtues -- that's just the same old backlash nonsense. There are plenty of feminist men who aren't manipulative jerks.

Posted by: tps12 | Dec 8, 2004 4:29:26 PM

Is there any quantitative evidence at all to suggest a recent surge in the number of emotionally fragile men? This sounds like an entirely made up issue to me.

Posted by: Paul Callahan | Dec 8, 2004 4:43:30 PM

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