Bring it on

Is it any wonder that people are drawn to awkwardness, that strange social bond that takes place outside the realm of normal social constraints? In an era where social norms can only tell us no, should we be surprised if people enjoy saying no to social norms themselves?

If the bond of awkwardness is more intense than a social encounter mediated by social norms, it also holds the potential to be more meaningful and enjoyable. It can even provide a way forward that avoids the pitfalls of isolation and hierarchy seen in Mad Men. The enjoyment of awkwardness allows the possibility of actually identifying with those that social orders seek to exclude.

In one episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm,

Larry is at a restaurant where the chef has Tourette syndrome. When an obscene outburst silences all the customers, Larry tries to make the situation better by yelling out obscenities himself, prompting other customers to do the same. The result is a joyful experience of awkwardness, where everyone identifies with the person who has violated social expectations.

From: Adam Kotsko: The bond of the awkward