Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pessimism, Judgments, and Fads, oh my.

In recent days I stumbled across a writing contest, via friends, for micro fiction. I considered it. The objective was to tell a short short short story using 135 characters or less. My only apprehension in entering? It was to be entered using Twitter. And Twitter? Was something I did not have an account nor motive to sign up for, until now.

I was never really a fan of Twitter. I never had anything against it. I just didn’t see my own need for it. I’m not one to follow celebrities’ lives, nor do I have the desire to know every time they step onto their gold plated helicopter pads. Of course I do have friends on twitter. I suppose I could follow them on it…. But, I already have a Facebook account, and well… Doesn’t that do the same thing with status updates? So, in short, Twitter was something I viewed as excessive for myself. I never bashed anyone else for their interest, but I was not about to run off to get an account just because it was the “in” thing to do.

I debated whether or not entering this contest was worth taking the time to create an account. I wasn’t really interested in the prize after all. On the other hand, it seemed like a fun writing exercise, and who knows, maybe good publicity for my writing endeavors as well. What I found after creating the account astounded me. Not only was the contest fun, it was downright addicting. I found Twitter to be a wonderful playground of quotes, philosophy, life lessons, and good humor. No one explained or made mention of this side of Twitter to me. Instead, I have heard constant bashing and claims of how anyone who would use such a tool is in fact a tool themselves. Well, call me a tool if you must, but I think it just goes to show… Keep an open mind and your eyes are soon to follow.

I’m not going to take the time to try and track down the million and one peoples’ whose entries I enjoyed, to ask permission to share them. Instead I’ll just give a couple of examples of what I entered myself, so you have an idea of what the contest was asking for.

Johnny, often warned of the dangers in reading comics, has never tried to fly. He's just certain he can't. Words were his Kryptonite.

“And what was this witch's crime?" He studied the pile of ash. "The usual; walked on water, raised the dead, turned water to wine..."

He used to say that she was never happy unless she was miserable. He left her. She's grown a little happier each day ever since.

Now, I didn’t win with any of these, but I got quite a few compliments off of them. Which made me smile. But to be honest? I’m actually quite relieved I didn’t place in the contest. The judges were extremely harsh and when the winners were announced, it was via an article in the Times. (In the UK) If you don’t believe how harsh it was here’s a link to the article. http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article6914029.ece But I can save you some time and really surmise the paragraphs upon paragraphs into something the writer could have easily said in one tweet. “Good job everyone, but you’re all a bunch of losers for using twitter anyway.” Really, the entire article was a slap in the face to those whom deserved a pat on the back. It was very back handed and belittling, and in essence the equivalent of saying, “You look great in that dress, for a fat chick.” It left the contestants wondering why someone that despised twitter, would volunteer to judge a twitter based contest. You wouldn’t expect someone with a prejudice against the obese to judge a plus size fashion show.

The article ranted and raved about fads and the authors dislike of them, which angered me. In recent days I’ve been realizing more and more that hating fads, is just that. It’s a fad in and of itself. “I don’t like Twilight, and I’m going to make fun of everyone that does.” “Twitter… pffft. What a bunch of tools.” “Britney Spears? Don’t get me started.” I cringe every time I hear such complaints.

Look. Just because you don’t like something does not mean you have to tear it down completely. Leave the poor sods that DO like things alone. Maybe they’re seeing something you don’t or failed to consider. Or maybe they just don’t care to over analyze every little detail. This attitude of, “I don’t like it and I’m smarter than you so if you do like it you must be stupid” is getting old. Yes, gee, how insanely cool you are for following a fad of hating fads. But all you are actually doing is painting yourself in a corner and alienating yourself. You hated one, and now you have to hate them all. You’re image of being smart or trendy, has overthrown your ability to just let go and enjoy, or be genuine at all.

I had posted something not too long ago, (as my status) that is a personal philosophy of mine. It’s something I truly believe and I posted it as a reminder to a handful of friends whom are going through rough times. “Love is not measured by the number of qualities we admire in another, but by the number of flaws we overlook.” Take the two seconds to think about it. How many times have we had crushes and once we wake up from that delusional admiration we’ve thought… “WTF was I thinking!?” You were in love. You didn’t see all those flaws. Love is blind and that’s all there is to it. I was horribly disappointed when one of my facebook friends seemed compelled to throw in a comment after this status update of, “or how many similar things you hate.” (I’m not sure if I got that right and don’t especially care to take the time to look it up. But that was at least the gist of it.)

Reading that comment made my eyes want to bleed. I can’t believe anyone thinks common disdain for the world around them is a proper basing for a relationship. But that aside, this comment is just a prime example of several encounters I’ve experienced with others having this outlook on life lately. What a bleak and self detrimental outlook to have. I find it disheartening that the same people whom have such pessimistic views on everything around them also complain with no understanding of why they find themselves lonely, or bored. How do you not realize you’ve alienated yourself? How have you failed to notice that your friends have become afraid that they have to validate why they like anything you may not. It’s a lot of work and soon they will just find it easier to not associate with you anymore.

Let’s make up a scenario. One friend HATES roller skating. His support to the argument is the rental skates are gross, it’s crowded, the music is cheesy, and it’s something that only immature children should want to do. WHAT is friend number two going to say back? It’s fun? Doesn’t seem like a very solid argument now does it. If friend number two admits to liking it, he’s admitting himself to be an immature child in friend number one’s eyes. Yup… Sounds like the basing for a solid friendship to me. Friend number two has already been bullied into insecurely saying, “Yeah, what loser would want to do something like roller skate.” It very much reminds me of the Emperor’s New Clothes. You’re alienating and doing a great injustice to yourself. People may be agreeing with and praising your beautiful robes at first… But eventually, a child is going to laugh at you, and people are not only going to be willing to follow, they are going to be damn near RELIEVED to do so.

Another friend of mine put a PERFECT hypothetical image to this attitude. I don’t think he’ll mind my borrowing it for a moment. Back in the late 90’s swing music had a short revival. (I blame chocolate chip cookies.) He equated those that seem determined to rip everything down, to people whom would sit on the sidelines at dances and make fun of those that were indulging in the fun. I must say, what a sad and miserable thing to do. God forbid you got up and tried to dance. Worst that could happen is you’re not into it and might have looked silly for a moment. No, best not to try at all and make certain that anyone within ear shot would feel self conscious about having fun themselves.

He also shared this fun little clip on Kevin Smith's Twilight Views too. :)

Yes, Twitter may be excessive for some, but that depends on what you’re reading. Yes, not everyone thinks vampires should sparkle, but it’s still got an interesting plot point. Sure, swing dancing may look a little silly, but chicks think it’s sexy as all hell. No, Britney’s music is not meant to be overly thought provoking, but it helps get the house clean when there’s a beat playing in the background. Yes, roller skating is cheesy, wasn’t that the point!? Sometimes you just have to let go. Don’t over think it. Let yourself enjoy something for once.

So whether you’re hating Twitter, or Twilight, Swing Dancing, Britney Spears, or Roller skating… I must ask, what your purpose in such a thing is? Have you actually given any of these things an honest chance? Can you even do so anymore? Or are you SOOOO caught up in acting cool, suave, intelligent, and just plain superior that you have painted yourself into a corner of missing out on something that could have made you happy. Like roller skating, some things are just fun. No need to over analyze them, or validate them. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. You don’t have to like it yourself but don’t be afraid to support your friends that do. THAT’S what friendship is about. Supporting each other. Not making them feeling stupid and inferior. In other words??? Get over yourself.

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