Frequently Questionable Answers

for alt.angst

By Jym Dyer

  1. What is angst?

    "Angst" is German for fear. The word was embraced by French existential philosophers to describe the dread and hopelessness that arises when contemplating the concept of nonexistence after death.

    A quasi-popular English usage of "angst" is to use it to refer to any kind of dreadful anxiety. I personally think that anything less dreadful than the existential contemplation of nonexistence is just Angst Lite (TM); but it is quite true that various facets of an existence in which everything gets worse (the proliferation of the word "lite", for example) is at least resonant of True Angst (TM).

  2. How do you pronounce "angst"?

    The German word would sort of rhyme with "wrongst". English speakers tend to corrupt foreign words so that their written consonants match English pronunciation, so it comes out rhyming with "gangst." All these are considered acceptable by dictionaries. Clearly the dictionary makers have given up and have caved in to the inevitable decline of everything.

  3. Is there any hope?

    No, of course not.

  4. Seriously?

    Well, okay: As a famous existentialist once said, "There is all the hope in the world ... but not for us." Do you feel better now?

  5. Is this the newsgroup whose name suggests a philosophical concept, but which is actually about alternative Gothic death-rock musical bands?

    No, you're thinking of alt.postmodern. This is the newsgroup whose name suggests a philosophical concept, but which is actually about college boys whining about how they never get laid.

  6. Will I ever get laid?

    No, of course not.

    And even if you did, you'd probably catch a fatal incurable disease, and die a horrible death while critics tell you this is the punishment you deserve in the eyes of their loving God.

  7. Why be so afraid of death? What's the big deal?

    If you haven't thought it through that much, I'm not going to be the one to tell you.

  8. Doesn't the invetability of death free us to live life to its fullest?

    Why bother? 1000 years from now, what difference will it make?

  9. Well, what about reincarnation?

    If reincarnation occurs, you'll just end back up on a planet whose biosphere is rapidly being destroyed. If, somehow, you end up on another planet, there's still the matter of the universe entropying.

  10. Let's change the subject. What's all this stuff about macaroni and cheese dinners?

    Macaroni and cheese dinners are the ideal food for eating all alone in a squalid little apartment while suffering from angst lite. They're very inexpensive, and they don't taste very good. And there's a certain cruel irony involved because the eminently useful folks at Consumer Reports have proven that you can make a macaroni and cheese dinner from scratch in just as much time for less money and it will taste better. But of course you won't do that.

  11. Do you have any macaroni and cheese hints?

    The alt.angst rule of thumb is that the cheaper the box of macaroni and cheese, the more brightly-colored the cheese mix is. Also, you can save money by mixing it with tap water instead of milk.

  12. What do cafes have to do with angst?

    Cafes are a "scene," were you can wear black and loiter sullenly, breathe in the poisonous tobacco-and-clove smoke, and try not to look like the poseur you are. And of course you can imbibe lots of caffeine, which is an anti-depressant.

  13. An anti-depressant? Does it work?

    Physiologically, yes. But it sharpens your perceptions, and you end up seeing facets of your hopeless existence more clearly, and you often end up more depressed than before. And so you get overwhelmed, and wander back to your lonely apartment and go to bed. But of course it's not possible to sleep anymore, so you lie awake in the dark thinking about death.

  14. What is a "gril"?

    "Gril" is an alternate spelling of "girl" used by many male readers of alt.angst who can't get laid. Many women object to being called "girls," so this is what these guys call them instead. And they wonder why they can't get laid.

  15. Will I ever get laid?

    The answer is still no.

  16. Is there good angst literature?

    The big names are Camus, Kafka, and Sartre. But I prefer Matt Groening, who does a comic strip called Life in Hell. Strong doses of Groening can lead you either to or The choice is yours. It won't make any difference anyhow, since nothing matters and everything is hopeless. Have a nice day!

"Are we alone in an uncaring universe, or is God some kind of wiseguy?"
    -- Matt Groening