the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

A Pro-Snarky Counterpoint to My Last Post

Philip Mirvis, Cynicism Researcher

As a counterpoint to the last post, I include this, also from this month’s Psychology Today:

“Though cynicism may not be healthy in the long run, it can serve as an emotional coat of armor tht blunts everday indignities.  Philip Mirvis, a cynicism researcher at Boston College, says cynics’ caustic, detached outlook on life, also known as defensive pessimism, helps “protect them from what they imagine to be the slings and arrows of hustlers and higher-ups.”  If they assume from the outset that a client can’t be trusted, or that a new mother-in-law will be a witch, they’ll be well-prepared in the event these fears come true.  Casting a cynical eye on situations you can’t control reduces your emotional attachment to a particular outcome actually lowers your vulnerability to depression.”

“Unfortunately, too much time studying cynicism can also cause male pattern baldness.” says cynicism researcher Philip Mirvis.


  1. Laurie

    Someone gets paid to be a “cynicism researcher” ??????

    I SO made a vocational error.

  2. paintergirl

    Wait, he gets paid to study cynics? I want to study the long term effects of being teased and growing up in a sarcastic house ,as my psych teacher once told me.

  3. mmariem3

    I need more data points to believe that cynicism causes male pattern baldness. 😉

  4. Churlita

    I think I’ve been going to cynicism school my whole life and am highly qualified to be a cynicism researcher.

  5. laurie

    Neil you have way too much mad innernet skillz. I can barely figure out how to delete spam on my website and here you are rearranging and stuff. Word to your inner nerd.

  6. Tatyana

    It all comes together!
    Bald perpetually smirking cynic (preferably w/o any hint of fur on his billiard-ball-shiny head) has been my favorite type all my life…


    he looks happy

  8. Caryn

    Well that explains all the hair on the floor.

  9. Cover Your Mouth

    I was taught from a young age to, “Plan for the worst. Hope for the best.” I was raised on cynicism. Cynicism and Velveeta. Thanks for both, Mom.

  10. Christina

    No, I am much more comfortable in my “cynicism contributor” shoes…though it’s widely unpopular (says family).

    Those who cannot be a cynic, research??

  11. Michele

    I think cynics often have the most clever sense of humor in the spectrum. As such, we laugh more. Laughing is good for you.

    Another debunk for the trunk.

    I grew up with, “They’ll always get you, no matter how hard you try. You’ll never get ahead. Get used to it.”

    Keeping my head buried in the sand has worked for me so far.

  12. Bre

    male pattern baldness and awkward facial hair discoloration!

  13. Janet

    I’ll read the post later… right now I would like to congratulate you on your recent royal appointment.

  14. jen

    It’s funny because nothing is more humbling than when your cynicism is outed in the face of something truly good, and it’s terribly embarassing when you’ve naively accepted something that a cynic points out to you is not true at all. Either way, you’re screwed.

  15. Erleichda!

    Sometime last year I read a great article about Abraham Lincoln’s struggle with depression, and one of the researchers interviewed said that people who are depressed actually have a more realistic view of the world than people who are happy. Though there’s something kinda sad in the feeling of “Ha! I was right! … Oh crap,” I think that’s also a good argument for not always looking on the sunny side.

    If you expect the worst, you’re always either correct or pleasantly surprised when you’re mistaken — either way, it’s good!

  16. better safe than sorry

    he’s hot, meow!!!

  17. Mist 1

    Does this emotional coat of armor make my butt look big?

  18. SFGary

    Who knew? I thought MPB was hereditary. I would have developed a more positive outlook in life if I knew that. Well, I might have at least tried.

  19. Crankster

    A Cynicism researcher? Sound like a load of BS.

  20. s@bd

    you actually read ‘psychology today’?

  21. teahouseblossom

    Yeah, he kind of looks more like a Pollyana than a cynic.

  22. Daisy Mae

    Well that explains ny hubster’s lack of hair. Thanks for clearing that up for me!

  23. justrun

    Hair or no hair, cynics are no fun. I mean, if you were going to jump on a plane, head to Mexico, sit at a beachside dive and swig Tequila for a week, you wouldn’t want a cynic with you, bald or not.

  24. Dagny

    You mean there are other people out there besides cynics? Sheesh.

  25. M.A.

    Whatever, Neil.

  26. JanePoe (aka Deborah)

    What happens to female researchers of cynicism??

  27. Chana

    Our leg and underarm hair grows at roughly twice the rate male researchers lose their hair.

    “Honey, I’m home!”

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