It started innocently enough. I was done working on Friday afternoon before the clock indicated an acceptable time to leave - and by done I don’t mean finished so much as fed up. Desperate to kill time in a mildly interactive and entertaining, I ended up getting sucked into the captivating world of online personality quizzes. Then again, at the Spyhouse yesterday. Again today. I’ve found:
I’m Neopolitan ice cream: “You aren't satisfied with just one flavor. They say variety is the spice of life and this shines through in your ice cream of choice! Just don't eat all the chocolate and leave the strawberry and vanilla behind!” (that‘s totally what I do with Neopolitan ice cream);
An INTJ in relationships: “Being an INTJ means that you can be a real intellectual powerhouse. Chances are that your mind is almost constantly engaged by one fantastic thought or another. Because you're the kind who is highly creative, keeping up with you can be like riding an intellectual roller coaster. But your zest for life usually goes beyond your own big ideas and endeavors. You can take real pleasure in helping others to reach their dreams as well. You seem to know how to bring out the best in people. In relationships, your type is known for deeply valuing your commitments. Not the kind to be an open book, you're often hesitant to share your feelings with others - especially in the early stages of a relationship. You may take a long time to admit the depth of your feelings for someone. It may also take some coaxing to get you to share personal details about your life. Given your test results, one of your most compatible types is an ESTJ.” Anyone…? Bueller…?;
61% unintelligent (what?): “The subject shows an astounding level of intelligence, and her sense of observation is one of her best qualities. Considering this, she shows a lot of potential, but that's only part of the equation. Finally, the subject displayed a pathetic and useless (seriously bad) sense of humor, a down and dirty sense of morality, and a complete lack of self-confidence.” Hmm…;
Due to die on Wednesday, October 4, 2045 at the age of 66, most likely from either cancer or electrolysis (Happy Birthday, Steve!); 49% dateable (ouch); Obi Wan Kenobi from Star Wars (right on); single because I don’t want to commit (uh duh); and if I were a movie I’d be a suspenseful thriller (aw yeah).
What interests me is the phenomenon - the market. The effort to make you feel crazy in order to sell you a cure. People want to know what flavor ice cream they are. Why they’re single. What television character they’re most like. They’re depending on someone they‘ve never met to give them a pre-determined answer. Entertainment, while entertainment, isn’t without a cultural context and an inherent, telling draw. The desire to have any insight whatsoever into the self that - despite your gravest efforts - you just can‘t seem to figure out. The further desire to be exhibitionist about it and share the information with all your friends and blog readers. You examine the other results for more desirable outcomes - you’re the Log Lady from Twin Peaks when you’d rather be Agent Cooper.
She notices the glint in my eye, the hunger, the threat of addiction. She reminds me in her knowing tone that these sorts of tests are for entertainment purposes only. I hear the words, agree, but there’s more to that sentence than what’s actually being said. I argue back that I can construct a fascinating piece on the subject of online quizzes, but I catch the subtext. Quiz results: “Your personality traits are self-evident and you know it. No one needs to tell you. P.S. You take yourself WAY too seriously sometimes.”