I definitely have some thoughts on my mind today… I’m going to talk about one of them, but I’m going to have to put it out there; one of the greatest annual sporting events has started today, “A tradition unlike any other,” The Masters. All I’m saying is that yes I’m following Tiger Woods and 60-year-old Tom Watson is currently sitting atop of the leader board with a blistering 5-under 67. So, my mind is flooded with golf. But for you non-golf peeps, here are a few things to chew on. I hope you’re slightly hungry or are seeking a piece of gum.
I’m going to start off the post with the Beatles “Think For Yourself.” Expect many more Beatles videos in upcoming posts, American Idol Beatle week got me, and the fact that I said that I can name Beatles song for almost every occasion.
Earlier in the week, I found myself in a discussion over my friend Jillian’s statement: “People who are offended, choose to be offended.” I’m a firm believer in free-will. And I also believe your situation is whatever you make it out to be. So I agree with Jillian that an emotion/feeling/thought is a choice. Whether the choice is made by the heart or the mind, well that brings about the whole physiology v. human interaction/internal connection debate. I’m not going to get into that now. Whether the heart and the mind are separate? Well I say, “Don’t let your head cloud your heart, let your heart clear your mind.” That being said I believe there is a symbiotic relationship and the key to unlocking the potential of both, is to not let one override the other.
Jillian’s statement had interesting timing with a recent Burger King commercial. HAHA, yes three consecutive posts about commercials. But I have a thought that commercials provide a general pulse on society. The newest Burger King commercial to offend the “sensibilities” of society features The King running through an office building. He busts through a window, gives a befuddled-looking woman a sandwich and then is tackled by two white-uniformed medical peeps. The King is called out by the medical peeps call him “crazy” and “insane,” because he wants to give away his sandwich for the low, low price of $3.99! The Washington Post ran an article where mental health organizations got their undies all up in a bind. A part of the article reads:
“I was stunned. Absolutely stunned and appalled,” says Michael Fitzpatrick, executive director for the Arlington-based National Alliance on Mental Illness, one of the nation’s largest mental health advocacy organizations. He called the ad “blatantly offensive” and hopelessly retro in its depiction of mental illness, adding that the commercial could lead to further stigmatization, the primary barrier for individuals to seek out treatment. “We understand edgy,” Fitzpatrick says. “But this is beyond edgy. Way beyond.”
Are you kidding me here? Seriously? It’s a DAMN commercial, with a creepy mascot, who always has jokes. I don’t know what is up with society. And initially I had an opposing opinion to Jillian’s statement. But after I read a number of articles similar to that in the Washington Post, I’m siding more with Jillian’s sentiments. I’m trying to figure out when our society got all bent out of shape over some things. I get it, there are people with mental health problems. But do you honestly believe that Burger King was trying to offend those people?
This is starting to roll my dice.
I also understand that “bullying” is a big problem these days, or is it? Back in my playground days bullies ran rampant, but you stood up for yourself. You said, fuck it, avoided them or stepped up and got your shit rocked. Kids these days are going to grow up not knowing how to deal with people and situations that may just knock them on their ass, literally and figuratively. I don’t at all condone physical confrontation, but if you keep hiding from it, how will you ever learn to deal with it.? I can promise you, it will happen. The truth of the matter is that there are just some real fuck-ups in the world, and unless you plan on living in a cave the rest of your life you’ll run into them. I mean when the hell did vampires become all emo?
I think it’s pretty indicative of my generation. We’ve yet to face real hardships. Oh, the economy is bad. Fuck all that noise, shit was inflated to begin with. America has become an oasis of materiality. Yes, we may be in a “war,” but nothing like WWI or WWII. There has been no real “oil crisis,” I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of mile long lines back in the day.
For some reason we’ve all been caught up in this idealistic world. Don’t get me wrong, I want change, and I’m a dreamer. Actually I’m probably THE biggest dreamer. But I also understand that humans will always be humans. That somethings may be offensive or hurtful, but flip the coin, it could be comedic or truthful.
Why do people fear the truth so much? Why does my generation fear taking an honest look at themselves? Is it really that hard of a realization, that we’re not all perfect. No, we don’t live an a utopia. There is good in every person. But at the same time we all have our faults, fears, or dark parts. Our generation has become so accustomed to hiding all of that, burying it in pills, psychologists, relationships… When did it become hard to become your own light? When did it become “self-centered” to take care of yourself? If you feel like you have a fault, address it. Try to change it or accept it. But you need to take an honest look at it.
So my thoughts have been scattered… but if you’d like to talk in person about these issues, I’ll be glad to. This is kind of what happens when you’re watching The Masters and trying to write a blog, which turned deeper into thoughts than I expected.
Anyway, to have a more concise opinion on similar matters I am going to post an Esquire magazine article by a solid writer, Stephen Marche. If you haven’t read any of his “A Thousand Words About Our Culture” columns, it’s definitely worth checking out. So with that, I’ll leave it to a man who actually gets paid for his thoughts. Enjoy or hate it, at least you’re addressing something within yourself.
Why So Sad, Fellas?
Twenty-first-century men with money might just be the luckiest group in the history of the world, but a casual glance across pop culture would give the impression that they’re an oppressed underclass, barely able to find enough to eat. Everywhere you look, sheep are begging and baaing for your empathy and, if you can spare it, your sympathy, but a closer look reveals rough fur wimps, the ostentatiously meek, are inheriting the earth, with vulnerability becoming the definitive, and most profitable, affectation of our time.
How long can this massive, finely wrought bluff continue to stand? This month, the film version of a publishing sensation comes out – more than twenty-seven million copies of the book series in print – and its basic premise is this: “Being a kid can really stink.” I’m going to go way out on limb here and say that being a kid is actually terrific. I, for one, loved it. Hide-and-seek is a seriously underrated game. The Fruit Roll-Ups alone are worth the price of admission. At any rate, the promoters of the book are wrong to describe the wimpy kid as an “unlikely hero.” Robert Pattinson and Michael Cera have become the foremost leading men of their generation by becoming, respectively, the serious and comic aspects of the same projection of weakness. Pattinson’s face, geisha pale, reminds me of an elaborate piece of modernist pottery. Between performances as the feyest vampire of all time, he’s now starring in “Remember Me,” tortured-rebel claptrap of the most treacly variety. “I’m undecided,” his character says at one point. “About what?” his beloved asks. “Everything.” Sigh. Cera, the kind of actor who plays the same nonthreating character in every movie, can soon be seen in “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,” a nerd-meets-girl comedy based on a graphic-novel series whose first volume is “Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life.” I hope Cera has insurance on his shoulders, which look like a pair of upturned newborns’ bottoms. They’re they key to his appeal, the weedy equivalent of J.Lo’s ass. He epitomizes a new kind of flamboyance: If you don’t have it, flaunt it.
Rock ‘n’ roll, meanwhile, which began as a defiant howl or youth’s irrepressibility, has devolved into ever quieter, ever more solemn dirges. There has always been a niche of emo sensitivibots in the music scene, but now they have taken over the factory. And I don’t just mean John Mayer, who uses passive-aggressive moans to bed women way out of his league. (Sample lyric: “Excuse me, Mrs. Busybody/Could you pencil me in when you can?”) Or even Coldplay, the worst band ever to be the world’s biggest, who come off as feeble as they are boring. The best and most original musicians require wanness as a cover for their brilliant musical experimentations. If the Beatles wanted to hold your hand and the Rolling Stones wanted to burn your town, today’s rock starts want to suck your thumb.
Writers, too, have never been more desperate to paint themselves as weaklings and victims. Every memoir is now suspect. Writers will claim to have gone to jail when they’re upstanding citizens. They’ll claim to be drunks when they’re clean. They’ll cry rape. They crave debasement in order that they may be more exalted. And that’s just the nonfiction. The thirty-something generation of American novelists has replaced Hemingway’s hypermasculinity – writing like it passed the time between rhinoceros shooting and threesomes with Italian whores – with poses of rapt loss. Jonathan Safran Foer tries his hardest to write like a precocious twelve-year-old girl. He takes breaks from his neutered novels to write defenses of vegetarianism. Dave Eggers pursues the most direct course, though: He just assumes the voice of victims – a Sudanese genocide survivor and an Arab immigrant caught in Katrina-addled New Orleans – and writes their stories as if he were them. His first screenplay was genuinely original in the purity of its ascetic violence, but he kind of pulled back the curtain on his own motivations: Art is his means of demonstrating contempt for the world and his moral and intellectual superiority to everyone in it.
Everybody understands, even those who won’t admit it, the basic psychological mechanism at work in the world today: By negating your power, you serve only to deepen it; restraint of surreptitious, more intense expression of the will to power. “The slave revolt in morals begins by rancor turning creative,” Nietzsche writes in “The Genealogy of Morals,” but what he failed to predict was the slave revolt in morals would actually lead to people pretending to be slaves. The luxuries of feigned weakness are many: muddying the waters of responsibility, permitting intellectual and moral laziness, like the roots of a tree through the privilege of their own experience for ever deeper sources of resentment. Glenn Beck is the political avatar of this aggressive ersatz vulnerability: He weeps like a baby to promote the destruction of his (or, if you believe him, America’s) enemies. Weakness sells, which is why I can’t really blame the fake-hurt men – they’re just hustling. I blame us for being suckered by all this mewing and for basking so cozily in the warm glow of virtue by association. It’s our fault that self-pity prospers where gratitude never would. As for these men, they won’t admit their own prosperity, lest it require they give of themselves. They won’t admit their own health, the beauty of the world, and their luck to be alive in it. They won’t give life itself the satisfaction.