Meaning: Inability to experience joy in enjoyable experiences or pleasure in pleasurable ones.
Usage: “It’s of some interest that the lively arts of the millennial U.S.A. treat anhedonia and internal emptiness as hip and cool. [...] Maybe it’s the fact that most of the arts here are produced by world-weary and sophisticated older people and then consumed by younger people who not only consume art but study it for clues on how to be cool, hip—and keep in mind that, for kids and younger people, to be hip and cool is the same as to be admired and accepted and included and so Unalone.” — David Foster Wallace in Infinite Jest
You should know it because: Last week there was a piece on Jane Pratt‘s notoriously hate-readable website, xoJane.com, by the beauty editor Cat Marnell. Among probably too many other things, she talked about suffering from anhedonia—except it’s not really suffering, because you can’t feel much of anything. She talked about sleeping through New York Fashion Week. She talked about not caring. I wanted to dismiss the piece (how spoiled must one be to stay in bed when you’re supposed to be at Condé Nast?) but I couldn’t; it was true of me too. I’m in New York right now, and for the first season since I started writing about fashion I’m not even trying to go to the shows. The effort—the dressing up, the lining up, the waiting up—isn’t in itself rewarding in the way it used to be, and the actual reward is what? I get to look at the back of a Misshape‘s head while someone takes my picture for their spectacularly unnecessary blog? I wonder if everyone feels this way in one season or another; I wonder if it’s cynicism or, worse, anhedonia; I wonder if maybe it’s just good sense.
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