To a surprising degree, we live our lives according to notions of genre. When it comes to entertainment the role of genre is obvious. We like rom-coms but don’t like sci-fi or horror (I don’t understand those people, but they do exist). Yet genre rules our work lives as well (the types of reports we produce, the inter-office memos. . .all of these often fall into predictable categories with their own conventions and sets of expectations). But it is equally true of our mediated social lives. It is one of the reasons I’ve pretty much abandoned FB; every visit I see the same old genres of posts playing out over and over again, people saying the same old stuff, engaging in the same old debates, occupying the same old positions, the stunning lack of originality of our species on soul-sapping display 24/7.
Recent exchanges on the listserv of our local randonneuring club, however, also had me thinking about some of the predictable but odd genres that seem to characterize the discussions that randonneurs have. Now some of these are specific to the strange world of long-distance cycling, but not a few of them also seem to cross over into the more general world of cycling. And not a few of those (especially the medical ones; see below) I see (or used to see) all the time on FB. So for my own amusement and, I hope, yours, I’ve collected a few of the more prominent genres of rando-talk here.