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Power of the introvert

Society gives little reward to the introvert, so as a matter of acceptance and adaptation he sometimes pretends to be something he’s not: assertive and outgoing and a little bit of a prick.

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The extrovert is the superhero of our society. Adorned in a wave of charisma and slouchy high heel boots, she soars fist-first into social interactions small and large (board meetings, baby showers, wine tasting competitions), deploying her powers of enthusiasm and assertiveness through elegant physical gestures and vocal cues that leave her audience thunderstruck (and possibly pant-less). She takes pleasure in and gains her powers from the smiles and laughter of the people she’s around. As the High-Queen of collaboration, her primary weaknesses are solitude and white wine. Everyone wants to be her. Society worships the ground on which her boots click.

Hesitantly playing the role of the unappealing sidekick, the introvert doesn’t care much for large, loud social interactions, unless those interactions only include a few close friends, not mobs of strangers gabbing about seemingly vapid topics (like the time the girl in stilettoes tore her ACL dancing to “Gangnam Style”). While the extrovert recharges her powers through social stimulation, the introvert gains strength and creativity through quietness and solitude and thus sits alone, observing the actions of the crowd and analyzing the situation before he participates. Because of his aloof demeanor, his preference to thrive outside of the group, he is paid no mind. He seems shy; no one wants to be him. By society’s estimation, his decision to be alone is akin to volunteering for death by banishment. 

The Extrovert Ideal

Because no one wants to be the sidekick or the tag-along who holds the title of “anti-social poopy head” (a label every child aspires to have by 1st Grade), no one wants to be the introvert; everyone longs to be the extroverted mega hero. The reason for this is pretty simple: our well-meaning parents, party-hardy friends, educational institutions, and employers implicitly (and often explicitly) encourage extrovert behavior, the talkativeness and the aggression and the teamwork that might have made you a prepubescent legend by freshman year of high school. We are rewarded for this outgoing behavior by being promoted socially (those girls dig your style) as well as materially (those employers dig your style). 

Introverts, on the less praised hand, are lightly but repeatedly admonished on almost every social level: Parents with a quiet child often “apologize” if their child shows timidity during introductions; a friend of a quiet teenager who’d rather stay in than attend a Barbie themed birthday party may frivolously toss a softball at the teenager’s sensitive hips, begging him to “come out of your shell and stop being so lame!”; an educator of a quiet or reclusive child may think that the child has a learning disorder; and an employer refuses to hire a guy unless his skills include “ADORES and PREFERS working in a pile of people within a loud and cramped makeshift office space.” Essentially, society gives little reward to the introvert, so as a matter of acceptance and adaptation he sometimes pretends to be something he’s not: assertive and outgoing and a little bit of a prick. 

Over-Flirt With the Group Work

There’s nothing wrong with an introvert wanting to become a better-rounded individual by adopting extrovert traits – it’s always beneficial for an individual to expand the limits of his comfort zone — but a problem does arise when an introvert ultimately risks discomfort or unhappiness by performing the actions that define his personality type in a social space that refuses to accommodate them. Many introverts are more productive and creative in a quiet, solitary environment, yet most schools and businesses operate on what Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, dubs “New GroupThink,” the belief that collaboration is the hereditary king of creativity and productivity.  

This theory asserts that the more jabbering intellectuals and village drunkards you have pitching ideas at one another, the higher the probability of those ideas colliding to form a malleable gob of ingenuity, such as conduits for alternative forms of energy or bacon-flavored chewing gum. As I pointed out earlier, this is a technique that many schools (and pretentious college courses) rely on primarily to generate creativity and expediency in their students; all you really have to do is crab walk into a grade school classroom to notice this initiation in collaboration: the desks are arranged in pods while the seated students, i.e. scholarly business associates, consistently refer to one another’s professional counsel on everything from essays to arithmetic. It’s an extrovert’s paradise, a space that is only effective for half of the student population but stifling to the rest. And it actually lacks the efficiency in terms of generating fresh ideas that occasional solitude offers. 

Introvert + Solitude = Innovation

Introverts have a deadly edge when it comes to the creative process – they’re freaking better at it because they take advantage of the benefits of solitude. In order to illuminate these benefits, let’s take a gander at two reasons why focusing only on collaboration to form novel ideas is inefficient and silly. 

First, too much group work is overtaxing on that little supercomputer we’ve dubbed a brain. You probably don’t notice, but when you’re slouched in a meritocratic circle posing as a democracy and spit balling concepts for a new product, your mind is being distracted by a multitude of stimuli: “I hope my hair resembles Justin Bieber’s. Smells like taco sauce in here. My son loves tacos. Mmmmm tacos…….” Even if you’re not consciously articulating these thoughts in your head, your mind is still automatically processing every detail of your environment, from the color of Cathy’s skirt to the annoying inflection in Jeff’s voice when he says the phrase “Product safety.” The point is that the effort your brain puts into comprehending the space around you decreases the energy and effort it takes to formulate good ideas. Too much stimulation makes for poor inspiration; occasional isolation allows for uninterrupted concentration on activities that facilitate inspiration, a reason why introverts are more advantageous when it comes to creative endeavors. 

Second of all, we are very easily influenced by the most charming person in the room – even if his ideas suck. All it really takes are broad shoulders, smooth speech patterns, and a willingness to dominate the speech floor to gain influence over a peer group (it also helps if he’s over 6 feet tall and smells of the Amazonian breeze). So Cathy could jettison an idea out of her mouth that is absolutely high-five worthy, but if Brant, our mountain of man and charmer in this scenario, disagrees and counters with an idea that is less awesome and more terrible, the majority of the group will blow kisses at Brant’s idea while giving dual-thumbs down to Cathy’s. Remember, it’s all about bodily theatrics: body language, and tone and speed of voice. People eat that crap up like tacos (Mmmmm….). But within a space where ideas are meant to be shared and expanded by every member of a group, there’s a problem if one or a few people can have supreme influence over how everyone else thinks with ideas that are more popular yet less productive. 

This is why it’s beneficial to take the time to ponder the ideas accumulated from collaboration in the space of solitude without the influence of the charmer and the easily manipulated. That way, you can view the idea with untainted eyes and return to the group with a fresh perspective (and a bag of tacos). To state this craziness simply, what we need is a balance between collaboration and isolation, extroversion and introversion, if we desire true innovation. And the perceived faults of the introvert, which can actually be invaluable attributes, are where the key patiently resides.

By Jedidiah Hoy

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APRIL 1: Iceburg’s 17 minute investigation into April Fool’s Day

While April 1 should evoke a mandatory grin followed by a, “By-the-pecs-of-Poseidon, what’s that mega-crap on your shirrr – made ya look,” the scrolls of time tell us there were people who and events that replaced the frivolous, laid-back attitude that April Fools’ Day is celebrated for with the motivation to be forever recognized within the highest echelon of killjoys.

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Humor is to wellbeing as a tightened fist is to a lighthearted crotch-shot: they both leave you breathless, on your knees in a rejuvenating stupor (or in a red-rain of pain!), and eager to contribute to or reciprocate the joke (or low-blow) with giddy enthusiasm. 

With this month being helmed by All Fools’ Day, we’ve never been more accepting of the hysteria that comes with being barraged in the funny bone; regrettably, history doesn’t share our excitement. While April 1 should evoke a mandatory grin followed by a, “By-the-pecs-of-Poseidon, what’s that mega-crap on your shirrr – made ya look,” the scrolls of time tell us there were people who and events that replaced the frivolous, laid-back attitude that April Fools’ Day is celebrated for with the motivation to be forever recognized within the highest echelon of killjoys.

Those people and events include…  

The Pope Who Fooled the French

New Year’s Day was originally on April 1. No, really. Several ancient cultures, like the Romans and the Hindus, marked the now notorious day for practical tomfoolery as the beginning of the year because the date closely aligned with the Vernal Equinox, which is usually around March 20. 

In 1582 Pope Gregory “Me So Fresh” XIII ordered the use of the new calendar. It placed New Year’s in January, and when the change was made, rumor says that many of the French were either unaware of or rebelling against the date change and continued to celebrate New Year’s on April 1. These traditionalists became one of the most rotund butts in the history of jokes, and April Fools’ Day was born. 

The Volcano That Burst Forth (Probably Because It Took Offense to a Joke)

If we’ve learned a single piece of [mis]information from the science portion of our grade school education, it’s that a volcano’s ease to anger is only equaled by its unwillingness to be a comedic punch-line. You’ve at least witnessed parts of the eventful life cycle of a volcano on the Discovery Channel (before reality shows like Rise of the Stink People began oozing their irrelevance over the airwaves); its dome was seemingly sedated, calmly drooling its molten effluence down a thirty-degree grass patch at speeds that an infant in flame-retardant pajama bottoms could out-roll. Unexpectedly, like the quick snap of a sucker punch, the cameraman or the millionaire working pro bono as an expert in lava composition cracked a bad joke at the volcano’s expense, and all hell leaked, boiled, blew, and broke loose. 

This might have been the case on April 1, 1793, when a collapsing lava dome — Mayu-yama from Mount Unzen, an active group of volcanoes on Japan’s Kyushu Island — triggered a landslide that rioted through Shimabara City and belly flopped into the Ariaka Sea, creating a pant-fertilizing megatsunami that reached the titanic heights of 330 ft., which combined with the land slide killed an estimated 15, 000 good humored citizens. 

The man who offended the snoozing goliath with salty humor was never found (or existed), but if he was (or did exist), we’re assuming: (A) he was a white guy (because that’s provocative), and (B) he was a would-be galactic samurai, i.e. the megalomaniacal ancestor of Thomas Cruise Mapother IV (AKA Tom “The Pleasure” Cruise). 

The Novelist Who Sneered at a Royal Suggestion

You don’t tell royalty no, unless, of course, you’re Jane Austen (or a free spirit dying to experience exile). On April 1, 1816, Austen responded to a letter from the Prince Regent regarding a suggestion to write a historic romance by saying, “I could not sit down to write a serious romance under any other motive than to save my life.” 

Maybe it was a joke: “Prince Regent, your story pitch is awful; I wouldn’t consider it unless my life was on the line… April fools!” 

Claire Harman, author of “Jane’s Fame,” talked on NPR on March 25, 2010, about Austen’s personality in addition to her popularity, and it turns out everything you’d imagine Austen to be is probably true: she was witty, cynical, and judging by her response to the Prince Regent, a little bit headstrong. 

Harman says that Austen’s fame was, in a way, rekindled by the biography written by her nephew. “James Edwards’ memoir of his aunt made her into a sort of sentimental object. You know, and people loved her as a person and as a character, as well as the books and sometimes instead of the books,” Harman said. 

The idea, however, that Austen had a meek and mild personality would not be accurate. Who would have thought?

“She wasn’t necessarily a nice person at all. I mean there’s really nothing in the letters to suggest anything other than a very sharp-witted and at times rather acid-tongued woman,” Harman said. 

So the whole “screw you Prince Regent” thing probably wasn’t a joke then. You go, girl! 

The Theory That Big-Banged Science

Melodramatic male studs who claim ladies to be the ficklest of life’s challenges need to escort Science on a dinner date or two: During the appetizer (cheese sticks), Science would intimately observe your surface area to get an estimate of your internal composition. She’d alleviate your physical insecurities by assuring, “Your name’s Pluto? How cute! I hear that small planets are in touch with their emotional side.” 

But the moment the dessert platter (Hazelnut Dacquoise with Chocolate Mousse served on an Astronaut’s face shield) lands on the table, she’d be all curled up on Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, bragging about how she recategorized you as a Dwarf Planet, Science’s way of catapulting you into the “friend zone.” 

Science played the Steady State Theory in the same sort of way; prior to April 1, 1948, cosmological opinions were split between whether Steady State Theory or the Big Bang accurately described the origin and continuing development of the cosmos. But once the Big Bang Theory was officially proposed on the date listed by subjectively sexy, objectively brilliant geniuses Ralph Alpher and George Gamow in Physical Review through the essay “The Origins of Chemical Elements,” Big Bang began to gradually earn more favor within Science’s academic bedchambers. Science has been developing excuses to keep Steady State in the “friend zone” ever since. 

The Revolution That Preferred Loss-of-Life over Laughter 

Remember when McCarthyism was a thing? It was kind of a blip in American history. Luckily, China out did us. How often do you get to say that? 

Roughly ten years after the red scare settled down in America, the Cultural Revolution in China became the cool new trend. Just by chance, the nationwide witch-hunt for capitalists started on April 1, 1966. 

Admiration for market economies is no joke. 

This was the era of Mao Zedong and communism was at its peak. Zedong feared the country was headed in the wrong direction, so he called on China’s youth to put the country’s political ideology back on the right – well, left track. 

Nearly 1.5 million Chinese lost their lives and tons more felt the wrath of a large group of angsty, nationalistic teenagers. Take that, laws of supply and demand. 

By Leviathan Robb & Ginger Jones

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Profiles of our beloved supreme leaders – Kim Jong-Un, Paul Ryan and Chris Brown

Three men who want to rule the world and are the truest examples of what a supreme leader should be.

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Kim Jong-Un

At only 30 years old this bright individual is the supreme leader of North Korea. Not only has Kim Jong-Un legalized pizza he has also forced employees at the local gourmet restaurant, McDonalds to serve breakfast until noon. Sure he threatens people with nukes every day, what teenager who plays Call of Duty doesn’t? Kimmy is such an inspirational figure to local teens, they can really learn how to be a social success and loved worldwide.  Rumor has it that Kim has sent all local redheads to South Korea so that they can find Seoul—whatever that means. If your bratty little brace faced sweetheart won’t listen, why not pick up a copy of Kim’s new book, “The Nukes of Hazzard.”


Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan looks like a model straight off a package of Hanes boxer briefs—the look every politician strives for. Who cares if he has just graduated from pampers to public dampers. After recently announcing, “We are not going to give up on destroying the healthcare system”, his ratings went through the roof– taking with it your average American’s basic personal rights. Ryan is the guy you can go to with all of your personal problems, sure he won’t listen but you’ll be sidetracked by his baby blues. Like Kit-Kat give him a break! If Paul Ryan were an item at Big R he would be the perfect tool bag.   Paul Ryan has the kind of personality only a mother could love—which is totally in right now. 


Chris Brown

If young men want to know how to be the perfect guy look no further than Chris Brown. When Chris was a child listening to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” he took it to heart by utilizing the lyrics and incorporating them into everyday life.  Brown likes his women like he prefers his eggs; beaten and over easy. When Rihanna (Browns’ current girlfriend) told Chris that she wanted a “black guy” he misheard her and gave her a love stamp right across her face—now that’s love.  Recently, Rihanna had taken up a career in stand-up comedy at high school proms but soon gave up another one of her dreams due to Brown’s embarrassing behavior. Reports say he kept “beating her to the punch line.”

   

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Talking to the ‘that’s what she said’ girl at your mom’s house

Her name is Lauretta Scapini, and she is the “she” of “that’s what she said.” I ask her the hard questions.

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I recently sat down with a woman we all know, but few would actually recognize. Her name is Lauretta Scapini, and she is the “she” of “that’s what she said.” I ask her the hard questions.  

Iceburg: Hi Lauretta, thank you so much for meeting me today.

Lauretta Scapini: Of course, thank you for having me.

Ice-B: That’s what she said. 

LS: Yes, yes it is. 

Ice-B: Nice. So how did this whole thing get started? How have you taken the blame for so much, and please excuse my lack of decorum, but sluttiness?

LS: That’s a great question, thank you. Well, as many people probably know, the phrase “that’s what she said” gained tremendous popularity on the NBC hit show The Office. You know the one where the boss tries to screw over his employees?

Ice-B: That’s wh- um of course.

LS: I knew some of the guys on the set, you know, as a woman in my profession would–

Ice-B: Which would be what, exactly?

LS: Isn’t it obvious? I make wax sticks to light on fire. I’m a candlestick maker. 

Ice-B: Excuse me?

LS: It’s a very erotic field, and I mean come on, look at me. I’m a California “10,” which is like a New Mexico “87.” Don’t take it wrong.

Ice-B: None taken. So tell me more about being a candlestick maker and how that brought you to work with set guys at The Office.

LS: I’ve always been fascinated by my ability to mold wax into shapes, then just watch it burn. The scent combinations is probably the most exciting part of it. Anyway. I had a series of videos that were posted on YouTube that have since been removed where I walked the audience through the process of making candles, step by step. I know how men — and even some women — look at me, so I knew the best way for me to really market myself and my candles would be to play up my sexuality. So everything I said was meant to taken as euphemism. (Editor’s note: We love to take euphemisms.)

Ice-B: What would you say to those who criticize that sort of behavior? Discussions about who “she” must be inevitably turn to accusations of promiscuity and defamations of “her” character.

LS: It’s the cross I choose to bear. As much as I loved Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, I can’t help but feel more connection to the work and theory of Audre Lorde, specifically her discussions of intersectionality. As a beautiful, intelligent, mixed-race woman, I’ve found it frustrating to live and accept any sort of authentic experience that posits we live in simple binary oppositions that serve to differentiate men from women. Lorde maintains that there are a whole slew of categories and subdivisions for characterizing women because each experience is authentic and different and beautiful and can’t possibly speak to the whole experience of being a woman; of being a feminist. 

Ice-B: So by being overtly sexual, you’re helping women? I don’t understand. 

LS: We’re taught using the master’s tools. Our culture is a patriarchal one that we’re wholly dependent on. So I take what’s expected of me and blow it… out of proportion. 

Ice-B: Has it been hard? 

LS: That’s what I said. [Laughs] But yeah, it has been. It’s been a long, hard, road full of bumps and bruises, leather and lace– 

Ice-B: Ample alliterations. 

LS: Exactly. But my work isn’t done. We tend to categorize everyone: races, religions, genders, sexual orientations. If the world was meant to be black and white, we wouldn’t have colors. As much as women are forced into specific roles, men are, too. They need to know that they’re not sex machines, expected to fertilize the earth. And until I can get people to accept and own their sexuality, I won’t quit. I’m not finished yet.

Ice-B: That’s what he said.

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