Monday, April 27, 2009


In discussing Dudes, it is sensible that we speak of those qualities which make each individual outstanding. There are many types of Dudes and as many interior levels of subtlety and specificity as one is willing to consider. We may observe a group of people with similar dress and posturing and understand “them” to be a single type of Dude; and we may also consider the traits of an individual and discover another, less obvious Dude Archetype in that person’s inclinations and projections.

The Creep is remarkably versatile and can be found in the company of a variety of Dudes and Folks. The Creep is aware of social norms and mores, but has made a wholly individual discovery: social rules are inessential. Perhaps this discovery arises from the internal acknowledgement of deviant predilections. The Creep has no intention of relinquishing its predilections, but has a sense that they should be secret from the world-at-large. In this way, the Creep gains a heightened sense of self-as-outsider.
The Creep can be social or non-social in activity, but always has a guarded sense of its own attitudes in relation to those of others. This gives the Creep a certain sidelong glance as it scans individuals, attempting to discern how much of its bent it can safely reveal. Conversationally, it is given to silent pauses and deflective techniques. When unleavened by social jocularity, these irregular qualities give rise to the uneasy reaction that many associate with the Creep.
There are many types of outsiders to social medians, but it is the Creep who is most covertly aware of its outsider status. Perhaps there are two kinds of Creeps – those brought up in an environment that directly denied some crucial predilection, and those whose predilection is deviance itself.
The irregular pacing of the Creep can be quite charming, depending on one’s degree of attachment to social norms. The Creep is so named for its furtive qualities, preferring stealth and shadows, where its activities will not attract attention.

The Jerk is so named for a disruptive social sensibility. The Jerk is quick with interjection – unconscious blurts or well-aimed jabs that tend to offend. The Jerk is a master of timing and may possess a noble sense of righteousness, not permitting the standard passage of social niceties to slip into bland mistruths (the origin and accuracy of the righteousness being variable). Or perhaps the Jerk is motivated by a titillation – the demonstration of its own power to yank a body from whatever indulgent inertia it prefers to engage.
Certainly an objective consideration of the Jerk can value it as palette cleanser. However, motivated Jerks are rarely warmly received. A repeat victim will be unable to feel comfortable in the presence of a Jerk, anticipating a variety of ridicule. The motivated Jerks enjoy this deference, as it bows to their power, and can incorporate it into a kind of personalized abuse.
Other Jerks are more impish, playing liberally with a sense of obfuscation and surprise, more misleading than mocking. The classic Tricksters are, perhaps, real Jerks. All Jerks have a heightened association with agitation, or “jerking.”

The Vocal Opinionists vary between intelligent, thoughtful humans and the Blowhards of yesteryear. They contrast with contrarians by possessing actual love for the object of their opinions, and are thus less prone to the jerking action of having “opinions for opinions’ sake”. However, the weight they place on the things they love (a particular band or sports team, for example) can end up paradoxically pushing others away from these things. This may be a desirable effect, preserving this dude’s singularity (Dude Currency). In a related fashion, the Vocal Opinionist can also develop a taste for the obscure and the niche, declaiming anything remotely popular; this high ground has dick character, mostly populated by cowards who assert the superiority of the unknown.

A dude influenced by folk structures, the contrarian moves with the Group by moving away from it. In some this is merely an argumentative stance, in others, a reflexive way of life. The contrarian may be honestly but unconsciously motivated by a will to balance or perhaps by a habitual revulsion to popular opinion.
The career contrarian (dick tendencies) will skillfully perceive another dude’s self image and reflect the opposite impression of that dude; in this way, she immediately establishes herself as noteworthy or unsettling in the other dude’s landscape.

The Proto-Hippie is enamored of the same goals and values that entranced the common Hippie (1960’s). However, contemporary awareness of the generational arc of the original Hippies lends the Proto-Hippies a less na├»ve approach to the vast idealism of their values. They have seen the essential wisdom of love- and Nature-based ideologies easily co-opted and insidiously distorted by savvy media empires and dick conglomerates. In order to perpetuate these ideologies without hypocrisy, they must develop a wily style of independence.
The core and shared values of Hippie-types have an Emersonian heritage. It is an arguably essentially American desire to reject the accepted power structure and forge ahead with a will to self-discovery and resourceful independence.

Like the contrarian, this person acts by reaction, but to different ends. The Holier-Than-Thou operates from a overriding sense that the decisions they have made are far and away morally better than anyone else’s and that because of this, they are oddly exempt from normal societal rules, like a Creep but more righteous. This type is perhaps best described from this field description, taken from a first-hand account of a Proto-Hippie gone awry:

“She's this social rebel sort, young and infuriated about … capitalism? Pretty political, pretty dirty, would never hold a job or buy a car or anything like that, tends to scoot around the country on hitched rides and maybe train hopping, living in group situations, always dumpster diving or working on a bike or a compost pile… do you know this sort of person? I really don't mind them, very spark-y and maybe kind of corny but hey, I don't really like capitalist system either, and undoubtedly they are going to run into hypocrisy sooner or later, but I find it kind of charming. And maybe I'm a little jealous. I mean, by not buying into a system (or by living off of its dregs), they have a good amount of … freedom, I guess. I mean, you could take a canoe all the way down the Erie Canal. You could do that! But the problem with this Dude is she is so totally into her own system that she can only really deal with people that are also on that level. We went to a bar and she was like a fucking dud. Some older gentleman starts chatting with us and she just shuts down and becomes the most miserable jackass, probably mulling over sexism, etc. Finally, the last time we saw her, she confessed that she was just on a "higher spiritual plane" than most people, and when you got right down to it, she COULDN'T communicate with others, because of this lofty plane. Hm. So socialist, and so elitist. I guess these freewheeling types are in a weird position… they don't want to be sucking at the teat of society, but if EVERYONE drove around in their jerry-rigged vehicle, there wouldn't be enough French fry grease fuel to go around.”

This type does not stand out in a crowd – she and he present themselves with an utterly sober comportment and fashion (often bespectacled). They tend to primarily value refined knowledge, or the air of education, which tends to remove them from passionate expression and urges to debauchery. Also called “enunciators”, these are avid subscribers to NPR and pack the house at a Spalding Grey concert, emitting muffled clouds of knowing laughter at his most oblique references.

Consumer par excellence, devoting much personal resource to the study and/or acquisition of unique cultural goods.
Hipsters comprise a substantial branch of Dudes, given this loose definition. In fact, most dudes are Hipsters. Yet it is a curious and persistent pastime among Hipster dudes to hate on other Hipsters. Perhaps we can locate, within the Hipster Dude Type, the sub-types and spiritual pairs of Hated Hipster and Hater Hipster. A Hipster operates among these designations on a sliding scale, and may find herself hating or hated. But it is the Hater Hipster that defines the immediate relationship, by focusing on an individual or group of Hipsters that poses some irritation.
For example, one type of Hater Hipster, the Curmudgeon, might feel himself to be the descendant of America’s original Hipsters: beat poets, jazz musicians and feisty roustabouts not yet sullied by irony or the illusion of human powerlessness. The hunted acquisitions of the Curmudgeon might come from these times or earlier, and his senses have been refined to detect the relative “authenticity” of the commodities he pursues. This dude’s Hated Hipster, Skinny Pants, has an acquisitive focus that is merely style itself, outrageous in self-presentation and vacuous at its core.
Not all Hater Hipsters are so intellectual – indeed, Hipster Hate is both the birthright and the baptism of any Hipster. It is easy to see this problem as a simple self-loathing, one only a bit more disguised than that possessed by Trustafarians.

This is a Dude whose primary social group tends to gather in conventions – comics, anachronism societies, and furries are all representative of this social type.

These Dudes have been strongly shaped by a non-local region and possess a natural novelty (Dude Currency) for any Dude hive. Accents will get you far.
A notable corollary to this phenomenon is a Dude whose style naturally emulates a non-local Dude hive, especially if the Dude keeps threatening to re-locate to that area.

This is perhaps the consummate dude, well-known for being well-known. The M/LAT is relative to the Town Crier, as both keep the Dude Network alive in their physical activity. The M/LAT is a potential Zombie.


marylew said...

"Trash Royalty" - the dude who gets everything and anything out of the trash or secondhand, and is quite proud of this fact. The more commonly known "Freegan" subsists through similar principles of consumption, but acts on the opposite end of the Quality spectrum from Trash Royalty; so, a Freegan consumes anything rightfully found, but TR will throw out the unopened crappy beers at the end of the party. There is the sense that this person lives in a kind of bourgeousy opulence, with all needs and, potentially, luxuries satisfied. Trash Royalty attitudes touch upon values of the Holier-Than-Thou and disciples of Awesomeness, but tend to be more acquisition-focused. Trash picking may be elevated to obsession.

marylew said...

The "Knitter" - this dude is specifically productive, especially in the context of social forums. The Knitter is recognized at music shows, bringing personal projects to work on before and during the entertainment. This dude will set up or attend "craft nights" - social gatherings where all attendees simultaneously work on personal projects.

marylew said...

Party Terrorists - These dudes have a real will towards disruption, this tendency forcefully evident in gatherings of friend-groups (like parties). The PT's urge is deliberately obtuse and irrepressible. The urge may be chronically present, even in the daily preoccupations of the PT, or may be the temporary infection of an otherwise-identified Dude - perhaps ingested physical intoxicant or maybe just a sensitive individual's aggressively contrarian response to a group's charge. The PT is driven to counter the manifesting group whim with outrageously squelching acts. Irritating. The Party Terrorist implicates himself. This is a blurry ground between Dude and Fiend. May be the active opposite of a Creep.

Anonymous said...

The Handyman- the dude who happily volunteers his time, tools, truck, etc for physical work, many times for free, which seems like a very Dude-like way of comporting oneself, but there's also a nearly creepy sense they're accumulating favors. Occasionally this dude can get too assertive with display of skills, as if to ward off the effects of (potentially) lazy friends.

needs to be revised...

Jayce from Rochester said...

I see a desperate need for gender-neutral pronouns, especially in light of "Dude" being default-masculine. Consider mine ... dunno where this puts me in the Dudiverse, but there it is.