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Awkwardness: An Essay

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  87 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Argues that the awkwardness of our age is a key to understanding human experience.
ebook, 96 pages
Published November 26th 2010 by O-Books (first published November 16th 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 222)
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The machinery of social engagement is greased by the application of a sort of non-engagement -- the rules and conventions, explicit and implicit, that bound and steer our interactions. But these rulesets are not always shared, they are not always followed, they fall into decline, and sometimes they simply don't apply. Kotsko calls these gaps awkwardness, and he argues that it is the defining mood of our time. He starts by establishing a typology of awkwardness, walks his framework through three ...more
Stephen Case
I should write a truly awkward review of this book. It would start, perhaps, with stories about my best friend in high school dating the author’s sister. But it would be largely irrelevant, except perhaps to illustrate the point Kotsko makes at the beginning of this text: we live in an age of awkwardness. It’s become a recognizable and indeed ubiquitous social symptom. Our generation seems to find itself almost daily in social situations in which we don’t know the appropriate roles or cues to fo ...more
Joshua Buhs
Clever. On a couple of levels.

Adam Kotsko’s book is meant to be a philosophical intervention into contemporary culture—an old-notion of philosophy. As the publisher notes in in its epilogue, the idea of a public intellectual no longer makes sense, given the desiccated meanings of “public” and “intellectual”—most of the public having been turned into private, commercial turf, and intellectual now connoting someone who talks softly on TV, rather than yells. (That’s how David Brooks became an intel
Mike Hayden
Kotsko use of Hiedeggar to understand awkwardness is very interesting and I think fruitful; but I think Kotsko's application of awkwardness as a mood like anxiety or boredom falls short and needs something more (see Mary Cappello's 《Awkward: A Detour》(2007) for that something magically more). Moreover, having read his 《Creepiness》 as well, it is hard to except what he has to say about the awkward individual and everyday awkwardness (both of which are not well shown in his anslyses) since his und ...more
The entire argument of this essay, from its premises to its conclusions, rings true to my own awkward experience of awkwardness.
Adam Kotsko's essay takes a look at Awkwardness in television and film. Dealing with The Office (contrasting UK and US versions), Judd Apatow's films and Curb Your Enthusiasm, Kotsko attempts to classify and analyze awkwardness as a phenomenom, trying to explain why the past decade may have been so particularly fertile for awkwardness in comedy. Over 90 pages Kotsko's exposition is wonderfully clear and culminates with an outline of awkwardness as a force for good: a kind of step towards a utopi ...more
Some fairly rigorous analysis of contemporary society viewed through the lens of critically acclaimed comedy (Curb, UK Office). Essentially an essay - it's insightful, sometimes radical and persuasive.
This brief essay is a funny and trenchant pop-cultural commentary, but ultimately it is plagued by taking its own radicalism too seriously and becomes awkward at times.
Sean Capener
I expected this to be a fun, quick read. It was certainly that, but ended up being a more substantial cultural reflection than I had imagined as well.
I definitely dug this. Awkwardness as a vehicle of human grace. There's something there. I need to keep thinking about this...
Christine Spang
Marred only by my lack of familiarity with the television shows used as many of the examples.
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Adam Kotsko (b. 1980) is an American writer on theology, philosophy and popular culture, also known for his contributions to the blogosphere. His printed works include Why We Love Sociopaths (2012), Awkwardness (2010), and the authoritative Žižek and Theology (2008). Kotsko joined the faculty of Shimer College in Chicago in 2011, teaching the humanities component of Shimer's Great Books curricul ...more
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