Dwelling on the End of My Snark

The Con

Originally, the Zola System began as a way to tell parts of my father’s story and the life advice he gave my brothers and me. However, in the past 15 months, the blog has evolved into something else, taking on a life of it’s own.

I wanted to use my experiences to examine the current culture and New York City. What I managed to do was present myself as a character who is totally self-absorbed, with a huge ego, and a massive amount of arrogance. However, that isn’t just a character it is me and I was appalled the more I read. All of these traits have no place in a person who has accomplished so little with the life and opportunities presented to him.

During the past decade I was living out the Beta Male Bar Syndrome. My biggest feat was mounting a captain’s chair to snark at those who were leading their lives. It was easier to blame everyone and everything else for my failures instead of my own laziness. Even the Loser bar blogs don’t really place the blame for throwing away my life where it belongs: on me and me alone.

When I started working at SPIN in 1990, the part of the rock and roll pantheon I disliked the most was the confessional singer/songwriters. I found them to self-important, whiny and arrogant. So, of course, I have been writing a confessional blog straight from my navel. Either I am a very perverse individual or irony rules my life.

The thing about my navel gazing is it has only taken me nowhere as a writer. It seems like a well written, insightful post to the Zola System is followed by several sneering critiques of popular culture. And when people tell me how wonderful my work is, the praise just feeds my massively out of proportion ego. Then the snark and I know better than you attitude comes out. The very same attitude I used on my parents when I was an obnoxious teenager in the mid 1980’s. As an adult, this helps me trash contacts, blow deals and come up with whiny excuses. My personal favorite has always been the misunderstood genius but I’ve used fear, apathy, to much pressure. What I manage to do is drive those who want to help me achieve something better in my life far away.

My failure to man-up and move forward as an adult has left me right where I was eight years ago: an aspiring professional writer with some promise that I have yet to fulfill. Writing for the New York Law Journal, SPIN, the Forward and the New York Press is nice but I’m not getting paid for the work. Not a good place for a 40 year-old man with an out of control ego to find himself.

Some might think my issues are standard for men in Generation X. We’re the first generation that won’t out earn our father’s. We have to deal with the women in our lives out earning us etc. These are just more excuses for laziness and failure.

Bob Mould wrote in his liner notes to Warehouse: Songs and Stories that revolution begins in the mirror, an idea I am going to take to heart.  Tomorrow, I’m going to go out and buy a mirror and start my revolution towards an uncertain adulthood without snark. I’ll even get to shave properly. That can’t be a bad thing, right?

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