4 Behaviors the Modern World Is Only Making Worse
Are you familiar with the acronym "SMH"? My initial thought was "suck my hoagie," but it turns out I'm just a bad person and it means "shake my head." It's a thing people use in texts and on Twitter to express a diluted version of the exasperation you convey when you literally shake your head. And what makes us shake our heads? The disgust and bafflement and shame and disbelief we feel when confronted with that which should not be -- the foolish and stupid and appalling. We feel a helplessness because the world is unfolding in a way that ought to bring shame, and often we can do nothing about it except acknowledge that it's all kinds of fucking fucked. It's wrong. And this is how it's wrong. Everything that's wrong with the world.
For reasons that maybe psychologists who drink too much could explain after some pestering, as a society we're ever so slowly slouching toward a culture of people who feel like they're owed things. We want things without earning them because we're taught that we get something for nothing. And it's no longer an isolated incident; it's saturated into all we do with kids.
Schools actively resist failing students, which in turn means that a kid who never tries never faces consequences. That teaches kids to expect to get by for no reason whatsoever. A teacher in Edmonton was reprimanded for actually giving out zeroes to students -- what kind of message does that give to kids? Not only do they not deserve a zero, but it's wrong. It's so wrong that even an authority figure must be punished if it happens. Can you imagine a worse message to send that doesn't involve dildos or Duck Dynasty?
"Seriously, fuck those guys."
Kids who participate in sports are given trophies and ribbons just for showing up as part of an active plan to make sure no one feels like a loser. The problem with that is that when you lose, you lost, and now no one knows that. Fifty-nine percent of high school athletes believe they're going to get athletic scholarships, but 98 percent of all high school athletes will never play anything in college. Only 3 kids in 100,000 who play basketball make it to the NBA. They're conditioned to believe they're awesome at their sport until they get to a level of competition where feelings don't matter anymore and it's all about money, business, and actual talent, not the smoke that got blown up junior's ass because someone was afraid that if he found out he sucks at playing third base he'd spiral into a depression and never leave the World of Warcraft ever again.
"In Azeroth, no one dares call me Droopy Dick."
We're now a society of people who believe they deserve anything and everything, because that's how we're brought up. Half the people on TV now didn't even do anything to merit their position in life -- the Kardashians were born into a rich family, Honey Boo Boo is the result of genetic slapdashery and proximity to livestock, the Real Housewives of Bumblequat are the dregs of humanity that couldn't find anywhere else to exist. And people want to emulate them and be famous like them, get rich or die not trying, because they feel it's their right. That's fucked up.
Willful Ignorance and Disinformation
Go look at Donald Trump's Twitter feed and you'll see, every few days, especially this winter, about how global warming clearly doesn't exist. He even calls it bullshit. Global warming angers Donald Trump so much, it makes him swear. Two things about this are important for you to know. One is that global warming (or climate change, if you dislike the word "warm" in the winter) is real. Please leap to the comments now to argue if you like; it's a good place to put your opinions where they can be mocked and then forgotten, because they really have no merit. More on that later. The second thing that is important to know about this is that, while you may think Donald Trump is a loudmouth, blowhard ignoramus, he once had a nine-point lead over other candidates to lead the Republican Party when he was last playing with the idea of running for president. This means Donald Trump actually influences real people in the real world. His dumbass opinions become other people's dumbass opinions.
Now, whether Trump is a troll, whether he's got some kind of vested interest in supporting climate denial, or whether he's straight up stupid doesn't matter. All of those are equally destructive to the world at large.
"Know the difference between me and shit? Shit goes away when you flush."
Thousands of schools across the U.S. still teach creationism, and they're not private dumbass schools, they're schools funded by tax dollars. Schools supported by elected officials. All four candidates for lieutenant governor in Texas support the teaching of creationism in public schools, a testament to people's love affair with ignoring science in favor of what feels or sounds nice at the time.
Those who support something like creationism will, of course, try to back their stance with religious arguments, creating some kind of ignorance hypercube. Most vociferous evolution opponents tend to be the same people who probably ignore the sections of the Bible than ban eating shellfish, wearing clothes with holes or made from mixed fabrics, shaving your beard, mixing seeds in a garden, or gossiping. We pick and choose what to believe and never stop to appreciate the total lack of logic in doing such a thing.
Look at these fuckin' sinners.
Worse, the media understand this and cherry-pick the info they share with you, doctoring it to fit an agenda and every so often not even checking sources to find out if the story is factual or even true. Remember when the news covered that Asiana Air crash and listed the pilots as Sum Ting Wong, Ho Lee Fuk, Bang Ding Ow, and Wi Tu Low? The news, the goddamn news, didn't even take the time to weed out an obvious-as-hell joke; how can we expect stories that don't have punchlines from a vaudeville act to be reliable? We can't, and what's worse, we don't. We've come to accept that some people say things and do things that have no basis in fact, because we literally have no way to stop it. And they don't want to be corrected, because of ...
The Cult of Self
Being wrong is negative, and we've created a world of baseless positivity with our awards and passing grades. A person who is wrong now feels as though he is being attacked and singled out and will lash out with the battle cry of stupidity, the death knell of intellect -- "Everyone has a right to their opinion." No single sentence has ever been more destructive to the fabric of our world than that one.
To start with, everyone has an opinion. Unless you literally can't think. So good, we all have an opinion. But that doesn't make it valid. Here's a quick test -- it's my opinion that you should send me all your money and then go fuck yourself. Literally. With a kitchen implement. Do you respect my opinion? Fuck no, you don't.
"Leave the money on the table and stick this in your ass."
Having an opinion means nothing. Your opinion means nothing. Your opinion only becomes valid when it's backed by something, anything at all, that is rooted in tangible reality. In my opinion, mercury is a delicious topping for ice cream. Well shit, son, eat your shiny rocky road and see how that works out for you. In my opinion, alligator farts sucked directly from the hole cure cancer. Well guess what, you are not going to die of cancer after all, your face is going to be eaten off.
So maybe everyone can have an opinion, but it doesn't mean it's good or worth sharing. But that's not how people think. They think this right to an opinion they invoke puts them on even footing with literally everyone else. Because we don't have anyone who is a winner or loser, no one is ahead or behind, we're all the same, right? We all get a ribbon. So when a gastroenterologist tells you to stop drinking Drano, your opinion that it's delicious invalidates his opinion. Except his isn't the opinion of a random douche, it's as close as you can get to fact from another human being who has years of education and experience dealing with the issues at hand. It's informed and valid. Your opinion's a half a handful of duck squirt.
"Sup? Me again."
Now we're always a winner and we're never wrong. We're also the center of our universe. Other people matter less than us, and this is reflected in the media we skinny dip in. Facebook is our own little world in which we're the focal point. It's our pictures, our status, our friends, sharing what we like and making things go away that we don't like so that Facebook's helpful algorithms can ensure that the only things in your news feed are the things you want to see, never anything that challenges you. Have you noticed lately that you news feed has changed? Because people have so many friends on Facebook, the company had to find a way to ensure that only the "best" stories get to you. So, gone are updates that express dissent with any of the things you have liked over the years, and instead all you get are the things that neatly fit with what you do like. Wedding announcements. Baby pictures. Sketches of my penis in the moonlight. The things everyone shares mindlessly.
What do you hate? Do you hate how liberal Cracked is? Hate the media? Hate gay marriage? Hate Obama? Looks like everyone online hates something in a furious, ball-exploding way. I really dislike Justin Bieber -- his saturation throughout pop culture, the inexplicable and blind devotion of his fans, his brazen attitude, his disrespect for law and basic decency, his music, pretty much everything about him is objectionable -- but man, I don't have the energy to hate him. First, I don't even know him. Maybe he's an innocent victim of circumstance. Probably not, but I don't know. I'll never know. I don't care enough to know one way or another.
We're a generation that has no idea what to do with feelings. We're caught between the manly ideals of old -- men are men and they eat steaks while the cow is still alive and then make love to women in the dark while drinking bourbon -- and the new mass-market image of a man as a guy who wears nice clothes and gets manicures and drinks gluten-free tilapia/tofu shakes. You know, lame shit like that. And since neither of those things really describes an actual human, when we don't fit the ideal we get all frustrated and antsy, and we end up with dickhead behavior. We hate things and start fights and create the idea of donkey punching. Have you ever thought about that seriously? That someone thought of that?
"I got punched and now I am unconscious. So that's sad."
There's a lot of anger from the basic street level with dumb shit like people shooting up McDonald's for incorrect burger orders to police shooting innocent suspects over 100 times to governments turning on their people and gunning them down in the streets. Who the fuck are we all so angry at? And why?
I'm no expert -- in fact I masturbate entirely too much to focus on getting a Ph.D. in anything -- but I can hypothesize that, on some level, a world that continues to breed entitlement backed by ignorance and misinformed opinions that have no validity whatsoever, where everyone thinks they're the most important person ever, is just a ripe, stanky Petri dish in which to create frustration, disappointment, and a desperate sense of loss and desolation when reality comes home and has a seat, destroying all the false beliefs we've fostered. So we make ourselves crazy by building ourselves up with lies, then knocking ourselves down with truth, and that makes a hell of a lot of people unhappy, this terrible cycle of expectation and disappointment.
Of course this is bullshit; the world is vastly more complex than that, and none of this accounts for disease, starvation, natural disasters, accidents, psychotics, crimes of passion, and the million other ways we can be screwed, let down, abused and used and left unhappy and unfulfilled from one day to the next. But it does make you wonder, doesn't it? What if we were all honest from the start; what if people succeeded or failed on the merits of their own accomplishments and abilities; what if real, factual, and valid information was free for everyone? That'd be some wack shit, yo.