People don’t know how to offer opinions, specifically negative ones. No, that’s not quite right. People are under the faultiest impressions of when it’s appropriate to offer negative opinions. That’s much better. Okay, here’s what I mean. Listen up. No, before I even get into this, I should explain my qualifications a little bit. My name is Brendan and I write this blog in which I expound on my often negative opinions of things. Also, I spend a lot of time dealing with other people’s negative opinions of me (ie ‘you’re an asshole, your blog is stupid, your band sucks, you can’t sing, you’re a terrible bartender, you dressed the baby in WHAT?) and on and on and on. Now, make no mistake, I also get plenty of praise and compliments and I’m fine, self esteem wise. I’m not looking for any sympathy here. I’m merely spelling out that I have lots of experience in both receiving and giving criticism. Why is this important? I’ll tell you why…because everyone’s an asshole. Hey, look, me too, but the new sort of western cultural currency of irreverence and this internet thingy have created a world where everyone’s an asshole because THAT’S the best way to be, EXCEPT no one is good at it. (Right now, extra credit question…What’s this all going to come down to, eventually? YES! Exactly. Thank you for paying attention…anyway)
SO, not only am I positing a mass critique of the world at large (which will lead every self important prick who’s been foolishly raised to believe that they’re special to the conclusion that I’m writing about them specifically) but I’m employing a rather sketchy method of operation. Namely, I’m criticizing people about how bad they are at criticizing people, which is the idiot’s definition of irony, and the FIRST thing people who are mentally lazy do when they argue is hop on hypocrisy/irony as an iron clad defense against anything their critics are saying (yes, I KNOW the definition of irony. I JUST said ‘the idiot’s definition’). Am I jumping around too much? Probably. Let’s just suffice it to say that I slept well last night for the first time in weeks and my brain is shooting half baked ideas out faster than I can type. Where are we?
Okay, hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is like blood. It’s in everyone. As such, it’s rather easy to point out if you know someone at all. Anyone who’s ever considered the complexity of the human spirit for any length of time has come to this conclusion, but the idiots of the world act like they’ve made some amazing discovery every time they point out someone’s hypocrisy. It’s the end of the argument as far as they’re concerned. “Oh, you won’t eat meat but you wear leather? That’s it. Game over. You’re an idiot.” This is a stupid perspective for several reasons.
1. Suggesting that you can’t make a small improvement unless you improve every single thing surrounding you is a lazy person’s excuse not to do anything. Small changes are the beginnings of big changes and to suggest you shouldn’t do something you feel strongly about because you can’t or won’t do all of it (oh, you’re in a band? Do you make a living at that? Ever win any awards? Sounds like a real cool band…heh) is just nothing but shit talking and naysaying and pissing on someone else’s enthusiasm/attempts to improve the world they live in. Yes, there’s a complicity that goes into buying leather shoes (I, by the way, eat meat and wear leather shoes, and I wear puppy skin briefs, but I won’t crack eggs. Too cruel.) and YES, self righteous assholes are irritating, but when you flip it on them like that, you’re playing their same stupid game. It’s all just semantics. “You shouldn’t eat meat!” “Well, you wear leather.” Sheesh, people. Which one of you is going to say “don’t tell me what to do” first? Because you’re having the kind of conversation that just sounds like farts to the rest of us.
2. There is no 2. I’m proving a point here. Go ahead and criticize.
3. Kidding! There is a 2. And here it is. YOU’RE a hypocrite too. Yes. Yes. Yes you are, dummy. Don’t pretend you’re not just because you caught someone up in some bullshit game of wordplay. You’re a hypocrite and if that’s an argument ender, then I’d bet that all I’d have to do is go through your text history or your netflix queue or your last FM account to be able to discount your argument completely too. What’s this? I thought you said that your favorite band was Grimple and that Dave Matthews is a dildo? Looks like all you listen to is Dave Matthews. You’re an idiot. Caught in a moment of hypocrisy. That’s the end of your argument about leather shoes. Now YOU’RE wrong forever. See? Yeah. Not the best argument in the world, certainly not an argument ender. (Oh, and yeah, Grimple is an awesome band, for reals)
Next up, opinions are like assholes and yours stinks:
The western world is currently running on a cultural fuel of irreverence. Punk and rap are mainstream music. Frat guys and hairdressers walk around with Mohawks and green hair. Tattoos are as common as obesity. Half our youth culture thinks that religion is retarded and the other half thinks science is retarded (yes…this is a loaded comment, smarty. Spare me. I’M EDITORIALIZING. THAT’S WHAT THIS PLACE IS FOR). Everyone who was once a rebel is now running things and even your parents listen to rock n roll. Hippies and metalheads run the place. What is the result? Irreverence is cool. Irreverence=success. People think that they MUST criticize in order to fit into the greater social scheme of things even when they don’t have a reason to. I mean, all the cool people just tell it like it is, right? No filter. If Howard Stern doesn’t like something BOOM! He just lets you have it, right? It shows that you’re keeping it real when you fucking insult someone a little. Take em down a peg, you know?
This is also the internet’s fault. Dumb people now believe that they have as much a right to everything as anyone else. It’s not just anonymous message boards either (though that’s a huge part of it.) Now that we can follow (for example) Chris Martin’s Tweets, we know he’s just like us, and where we used to see him and praise him, because, you know, we like his music (play along), now we’re so familiar with the culture of “letting it all get out there” that we feel compelled to inject our dumb opinions and say shit like “really liked that first record Chris, but the new one kinda sucks man.”
Why would we say that? Why would we go up to someone we don’t know and insult what they do? Why would we be more impolite to someone whose work we admire than to some total stranger we don’t even know anything about at all? Because we think, erroneously, that he’ll appreciate the candor. Well, news flash. He doesn’t. HE COULDN’T give less of a shit what you think, and he sure doesn’t want to have a conversation with someone boorish enough to just walk up and insult what he does out of the blue about the finer points of what works and what doesn’t. When my friends and I talk, or when I’m really interested in dissecting my work/someone else’s, I’ll ask someone with an opinion I trust, or I’ll enter a dialog with someone who’s opinion I respect. I don’t want yours, random asshole at the bar. I don’t want yours, vague acquaintance. AND before you begin to tell me and chris martin that we’re just being rockstar dickheads, stop and think for a second…YOU DON’T WANT SOME RANDOM DICKHEAD’S OPINION EITHER, MAN. When some asshole comes up to you at the bar and says “nice shirt, fag” that’s fucking FIGHTING WORDS. And, he’s just insulting your dumb shirt, not what you do. (nice shirt, by the way) Do you see what I’m saying? Andre 3000 is not more likely to be interested in lending a song to your movie just because you make it a point to tell him that you’re not a fan of his acting. Same with when I mention to John Mayer that I’ve always hated his music, but now I’m coming around on him because I think his tv show is funny. They don’t care. In fact, that’s wrong. They do care. They’re pissed that you just came up to them and insulted them under the guise of “keeping it real.”
You know why people who are famous for being critical make it? Because they put themselves in positions where their opinions are valid and they speak to an audience of dummies who need opinions. There’s a big difference between being a Howard Stern or a John Stewart or even a Sean Hannity and just being some douche with a half formed idea of what’s working and what’s not. It’s the same difference between being Phil Jackson and being your fat drunk uncle.
It is, to get to the answer portion of this epic post, all a question of confidence. There’s nothing inherently confident about blindsiding someone with your opinion. In fact, it’s pandering and pathetic in a way, because it’s really just dealing out a slight insult with the hopes of being seen as ‘more real’ or ‘cooler’ by the person we’re insulting, because that’s how the people they know and trust MAY talk to them, except we AREN’T one of those people. Howard Stern doesn’t tell Paul McCartney that he never liked Rubber Soul right before he mentions how great Wings was, because it’s irrelevant, and it’s not what he’s talking about and it’s just a weird thing to do, man. It’s not confidence. It’s complete lack of confidence masquerading as the opposite. BUT, as I think we’ve discussed before, that’s the most pathetic kind of insecurity, innit? That’s the combover. If all you want to do is impress upon someone that you like them, stick to nice things. Hell, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been guilty of this shit in the past. That’s why I’m here, right? To explain my own mistakes in hopes of making the world a better place.
Oh, and one more thing, if you really, really don’t like someone, why would you even waste your time giving them your opinion? You wouldn’t. Unless they were up in your face, at which point “go fuck yourself” should suffice. Is that enough hypocrisy and holier than thou, opinionated yet also shockingly sissyish and defensive ranting? Good. There you go kids. Have fun out there!