From the Annals of Self-Criticism

In defense of hobbies

Tim Wu lays out the case that the pursuit of excellence has corrupted the world of leisure:

But there’s a deeper reason, I’ve come to think, that so many people don’t have hobbies: We’re afraid of being bad at them. Or rather, we are intimidated by the expectation — itself a hallmark of our intensely public, performative age — that we must actually be skilled at what we do in our free time. Our “hobbies,” if that’s even the word for them anymore, have become too serious, too demanding, too much an occasion to become anxious about whether you are really the person you claim to be.

Performative has been one of my watch words this year. Try paying attention to how often you do something — see: Instagram, especially — in which the subconscious goal is having an audience. 

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