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Arrogance: A Love Story (An Ill-Tempered Week Part Two)

 

I am a tremendously arrogant person.  As much as I hate to admit this, it is certainly true.  Now I’m not pretentious–a whole other form of fucktudedness–but that means very little without giving context.  Sure, among other arrogant people the pretentious are scum, the target practice douchebags we use our presumed superiority to destroy, but it really comes back to the same thing.  We’re assholes.  All of us so sure of ourselves, assuming without question our supposed dominant skills or talents or whatever designated titles that we grant ourselves (“genius” comes to mind), but the truth is we really are just a bunch of arrogant pricks.

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So how can I get into this?  Clearly it is not over a concern of making myself look bad–I admit it, at the start (says the arrogant asshole seeking to remove himself from the coming judgment).  But how does one speak about the insufferable self-importance of others when believing themselves to be better people than they actually are?  It undermines the judgment, the affected morality of the situation.  It becomes a difficult subject to consider when looking down upon those who look down upon you.

 

I’ll start with an example.  Other than my wife and a few personal friends, the very first person who complimented and began following Recording Editorial History I recently inadvertently offended.  It certainly wasn’t intentional, but my own arrogance allowed me to not bother considering whether a certain subject might be a sore spot in a side conversation I was having with them (on messenger; we have never met and live in different countries).  When I offered a flaccid apology it came across more as self-justification for my comments, depersonalizing the statements in a similar cold tone that I use here when trying not to take sides.  Clearly this was the wrong thing to do.  The response I got back, to paraphrase, was “You . . . arrogant cunt.”  A fair judgment in retrospect.

 

The point I am making, to bring the discussion back to the general, is that arrogant fuckers like me are amazingly blind to other people’s opinions, and most especially their feelings.  It does not occur to us.  We go on and on and like to hear ourselves talk.  I’m sitting by myself in a room right now shrieking into the wind, assuming that a handful of people will come across this essay, read it, and make whatever judgment they choose.  It does not matter to me after the fact what they think, yin or yang, that was awesome or you’re an idiot.  My fragile ego is comforted by the fact that I have however many certain number of “views.”

 

And that is in many ways the heart of the matter, this arrogance

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That is a Nobel Prize winner who said that, a very impressive man.  And yet . . . what an asshole.  What an arrogant, condescending prick!

 

One of the obnoxious justifications I have used

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has been a mantra of mine for years.  Another one, much cruder, I have repeatedly stated (probably more than once scattered throughout this site, likely in some of the earlier, untitled pieces) is about the US Bill of Rights.  I cite the First Amendment of the Constitution.  I say, “The First Amendment doesn’t protect your fucking feelings.”  An awful thing to say in the moment when someone is hurt, and yet something I stand behind like the free speech fanatic I am and have always been.

 

Of course, people better than me have a much higher view of humanity

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This gets to a root that the cynical and the wannabe indifferent try so hard to refute, the “I don’t give a fuck” tone that has permeated so much of modern life

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Self-justifications for being a fucking asshole, this smilingly selfish comment.

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There’s even a bestselling self-help book teaching this sort of foreboding selfishness and cynicism to the millennial generation that will soon take over the world

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written by this arrogant douchebag

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featuring smug, cynical quotes like this:

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Now we can say that bullshit like this is part of the problem, but that really isn’t true.  A book like this, the t-shirts, the goddamn baby onesie, all of this is a reflection of how arrogant society itself has become.  This book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, this obnoxious piece of smug drivel, has sold more than six million copies.  Sure, plenty of the people who bought it have never actually read it, amused for a moment by the title while compulsively spending on Amazon, or by chance wandering in a Barnes and Noble to pass the time, or, I suppose, purchased with enthusiasm by shitheels in a college bookstore, or given as a gift to someone they think might laugh at the title too, but that makes the point of the narrative certainly better than obnoxious Mark Manson does (disclaimer: I have never met the man and therefore make this arrogant judgment based upon skimming through his book).  People indifferently laughing at something they do not actually care about, or trying hard to offend people just by reading something with the word ‘Fuck’ in the title (or ‘F*ck’ as the pussy publisher released the book, fearing less opportunity for sales; one hardcover version actually uses ‘#@%!’)  Three years after it was published, the print version of the book is the #42 bestseller on Amazon.com.  It is #22 in Audible, showing the cultish laziness of modern society, allowing the words to pour into your head without any effort at all (another point supporting the book’s thesis).  On Kindle, due to all the soft-porn titles selling ahead of it, the book ranks only #381.

 

Now before you dismiss me as some jealous writer pissed off that I cannot and never will sell anywhere close to as many copies of my work as him, that is not my mission here, to demean a tremendously successful person.  I do not even wish to call the man untalented.  After all, his success has spawned a whole sub-genre of knock-offs

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and of course Manson’s sequel

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So what does all this noxious cynicism spell?  The paranoid cynics on the right rant and moan about how “children are being brainwashed by the leftist agenda,” all the while warning right-wing parents that they need to brainwash and be brainwashed themselves.  As a matter of fact, check out this hilariously arrogant and hypocritical article on the religious conspiracy news site WND:

Majority of teens fear climate change

 

I do not reprint the full article because these are the type of assholes who would sue me for such a thing, despite my crediting and even advertising them, and regardless of the fact that they could not win the lawsuit on the basis of satirical intent.  (to quote Mark Manson “Fuck them!”)

 

These clarion call warnings from paranoid kooks are misguided and misdirected.  The fact is that the people they are worried about are not following any sort of agenda at all outside of their own immediate desires and needs.  They don’t actually care.  And for all the youthful passion they may briefly pour into a cause, as with all of us we grow older and more tired and that cynicism we once used as a shield turns into misanthropic scorn.  All of these youthful movements, every arrogant little know-it-all who believes they will someday change the world will eventually fall into the same slog, into Bunyan’s Slough of Despond, where everything gets smaller and grimier, and the future no longer looks so bright, and even ‘not giving a fuck’ becomes wasted energy, a figment to be transformed into the misremembered past tense.

 

This is the final doom of arrogance, the terrible, inevitable danger of losing confidence in yourself and just giving up.  The arrogant are all dying souls inside, people with so much hatred and worry that they can only look down upon the world and declare it a place not worth saving.

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