Surprising no one, the way we behave toward one another bothers me. As the voice of treason, I am not silent about it…pleasing no one. I’m not any happier about it than you are, trust me.
But you’re either a part of the solution or you’re a part of the problem, right?
I’ve been looking for and ruminating on a root cause for this shift in behavior.
What is the bogey that enabled this new sense of…blithe disregard for each other?
Was it our increasing Short Attention Span? Were we or are we becoming too SASsy for our own good?
Fidget Spinners, for instance. I think most of us acknowledged the idiocy of this it toy from last year. However, did you see parents explaining to their children that this was a stupid toy and a waste of $10?
No. No, you didn’t see that. Because: shut the kid up is more of a parenting agenda than reasoning with ones child or developing critical thinking skills early on by making a child articulate why they want a toy. Hint: it’s because everyone has one. How about just making them earn their treats anymore.
Definitely a part of the problem…but just a symptom, not the cause.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for using this as a tool to soothe a child or adult that pings hard enough on the autism scale that they can actually count the spins. But face it, that wasn’t the target customer here.
But adults – parents included – have their own fidget spinner: Pop Culture.
How about that Hozier guy? Remember him, the Take Me to Church guy? Good for him, being the “it” artist in 2014/15, replaced midway through ’15 and well into 2016 by Ed Sheeran.
Poor Hozier…sold some records and then what? Our collective OCD saw something else shiny and new to distract us.
Poor Ed, too. Stealing the pop culture crown – only to learn that pop culture is basically a wood chipper when the mob learns you’re a great singer with a mild personality and not the Kardashian-monster-type personality we’ve come to expect of our pop icons. All this from a guest turn on Game of Thrones, no less…speaking of pop culture run amok. I don’t watch, but The Fox does and I spent the better part of two years waiting for the GoT shoe to drop whenever I was with him.
Not just in movies or TV shows we watch or discuss. The GoT obsession followed us to our local wine bar where somehow we learned that the co-owner and Som extraordinaire dated Jon Snow when she lived in LA.
But it’s not pop culture, again…that’s still just a symptom, methinks.
Ten-ish years ago, a friend of mine said this about relationships: Relationships happen in the moment – which I believe. However, he went on to say that you meet someone and hang out and hook up then never leave or nothing happens.
I’m not sure how I feel about that. I’ve definitely experienced the back half of that assertion, a lot. But the first part sounds so easy. And not in a slut shaming kind of way. The hooking up immediately part is pretty much The Gay Way, but the never leaving part sounds more like a relationship of comfort for a 20-something. I think that is sweet and helpful for providing security while one finds themselves and that these relationships can create some great gay adults – talk about an oxymoron, emphasis: moron – but what about the folks that doesn’t happen for?
Lol. Ed Sheeran just came on the radio at my coffee shop.
Eventually, I think these people become institutionalized by the hook up and get used to nothing happening after. They forget their hopes and expectations of more.
Wait for it…
Enter asocial media. The dreaded dating app. By our gay 30s, we’ve been bred – hush, Diezel – to expect less. And we’re Americans, so we want as much of whatever we can get as we can get.
Basically, we’re all a bunch of whores self medicating our loneliness with meaningless sex.
But that’s not good enough. We’re still gay, so we’ve got to make it fabulous and then, beyond reason, this hook up culture of ours becomes aspirational.
Now straight people have hook up apps. Whoopee! Everyone can now experience a life of nothing happening.
Great, deep, connective virtual conversations with the one. The one that you never end up meeting in real life.
Or the one that scratches your libidic – warning: that word has high Chrisism potential – itch and then you never end up hearing from them again.
These realities happen over and over again and more than people finding reward from this cycle, I hear people giving up. Returning to a focus on the friends that have been there time and again after either scenario. That becomes their focus, and it’s not a bad one. It’s just that – as a too longtime frequenter of bars and clubs…it’s their sole focus. People are with their friends and they aren’t open to outsiders breaking in.
So…what’s the right balance? I’d seriously like to know, because suddenly, the only thing happening in the moment is sex with no expectations. We are becoming hopeless, as hopeless as any other addicts: either we get our fix and that’s fine, or we go on the wagon and tell everyone about it in an innocently judgy-slash-superior fashion.
I blame Vegans for that behavior taking hold in American discourse.
While I think this is another symptom of the problem, I think those that break the cycle and change their behavior bring us closer to the cure.
Enter my early morning reading today. I read this article about a woman who thought she was confronting a Neo-Nazi in a restaurant I’d challenge a Neo-Nazi could scarcely afford.
She just didn’t know what the word Luftwaffe actually meant, which was what our alleged Neo-Nazi’s tee shirt was raping her snowflakey eyes with. Jumping to conclusions – assuming the worst, if you will – she said something.
Now, im one for saying something. Kudos for that. It’s what happened after that leaves her short in my ledger.
As this was happening, the husband of the owner was doing some Snopes-worthy googling and learned that while this is associated to Hitler’s Air Force, the term literally only means “Air Force”.
Not Jew Bombers.
Not Air Hitler.
End of story.
He goes out to soothe the still unfolding shituation, barely getting a couple of words in before our erstwhile Nazi hunter storms out of the restaurant and takes to social media to decry the unfair treatment of our self-appointed hero, being thrown out of Katchka, and all.
Which was barely partly true.
There was a dude there in a tee shirt with a German word on it.
The rest is dramatic hyperbole.
But maybe this isn’t exactly the psychotic behavior that’s been bugging me so much as it is just telling of our decreasing national character. Maybe it’s just another symptom of the problem that is eluding my pointing finger.
But then, no.
I check myself by asking, what if we applied character to all of these situations above?
Parents being responsible and shaping their children into good humans instead of placating them and essentially creating a race of entitlement instead of a generation that understands the cause and effect of earning things for oneself. Bonus points if they also teach them to think critically for themselves instead of simply following the crowd of consumers.
Adults taking that same critical thinking to analyze their in-the-moment self gratuitous acts and determine what the potential ripple effects could be before acting: swiping left or jumping into bed with a stranger.
“Will this make me a better person?” – No One on Grindr, Ever.
How about our Katchka Failed Hero? What if Deavon Snoke has stuck around, I posited this morning at coffee.
The Fox – probably spot on – asserted that she’d have endured furtive glances and whispers of other diners for the rest of her meal,
However, I challenge, what if she’d stay-a culpa-ed and bought our Neo-Not-zi dessert or a shot of Katchka’s much lauded horseradish infused vodka by way of apology?
She’d have demonstrated courage and character. That’s what.
Alas, the only courage she possessed was publicly shaming what turned out to be an innocent person, then cut and ran to play victim on social media, likely damaging the restaurant in the process of showing up her ego. In doing so, she showed herself to be more bully than hero, a designation that requires no character.
That’s the new American psycho, in my opinion…that right there. Fuck everyone, so long as we look good.
Katchka by the way – the restaurant from this morning’s readings means “duck” in Ukrainian. The restaurant’s owner never wanted to forget the word that saved her grandmother’s life. In fleeing her home in Belarus as the German Exterminators stormed her hometown, she was stoped by a soldier. She claimed to be returning home to Ukraine and definitively not a Jew. The soldier was skeptical but challenged her with a random test, what is the Ukrainian word for duck?
Luckily, it happened to be the same word in both languages, katchka…and life and death literally became a matter of a trivial coincidence.