Discover more from bad cattitude
why the world has become unfun
and how to reclaim our joy
the problem with totalitarian creep is that everything becomes political and politics suck.
they suck so much that they used to be a specific, enumerated exclusion from polite conversation. you did not talk about them in most social settings. it was considered rude, boorish, and inflammatory precisely because no one ever changes anyone’s mind and everyone just gets pissed off.
so you talk about something else.
but when EVERYTHING becomes political (as tends to be the case in late stage totalitarian structures) then every topic breaks this taboo.
so everything becomes a minefield and you can either hunker into ever more balkanized groups or never talk about anything.
the cross cutting cleavages that establish common ground among differing people and overlap the venn circles of life are effaced and tribalism takes their place as we seek some sort of societal speakeasy where every utterance need not be guarded.
the public square becomes penitent performance art.
the defense of dogmatism and the cultivation of endless offense proscribes even simple ideas that everyone knows to be true often precisely because they are true and permitting them currency undermines “political truths” elevated to the role of non-interrogatable foundational salients.
and this renders life angry, empty, and absurd.
simple laughter at self and with one another vanishes as does genuine commonality and community.
we can share a box, but not a world.
and this is the road to both misery and subjugation.
fear of the thought police enlists each and all as cognitive coppers self-censoring and instilling fear in place of fellowship.
this cannot be the way.
our society has become sick.
and laughter is the medicine it needs.
laughter is the path back to honesty and commonality.
all this endless nonsense is politics, not life.
let me tell you a story:
a cat, a polack, and a chinaman walk into math class…
the cat and the polack are there first because they had class next door. as the chinaman arrives, they sing him a little chinese song “doo-doo-doo-doo-doot-doo-doot-doo-doo” and imitate a gong. they bow. “hello, randy ping!” (not his real name)
randy then glares around in fine kabuki tradition, fixes his fiery eyes on the singers and says (in a thick chinese accent that bears no resemblance whatsoever to his typical speech which is as american as apple pie) “one day, you work for me lazy white!”
the three dissolve into peals of laughter and back slapping. we were friends. and we could laugh together about differences and hamfisted stereotypes. it was not threat, it was invitation. because we had a great deal in common. and because that’s what friends did and how friendships deepened. laughing at yourself is both freeing and bonding.
sure, this would be inappropriate behavior to a stranger in a mall, but among pals, it was just connection. it had no malice. it was proof of camaraderie and affixed us more tightly together. none of us would have had the slightest idea what you were talking about has you called it “insensitive” or “hate speech.”
we would have looked at you like this:
but today, even at that same school, you do this and you’re risking expulsion.
and that is just wrong.
that is politics, not civilization.
and politics is the thief of joy.
who, if not we ourselves should stand judge of our intentions and impacts upon one another?
shall we have some adjudication commissar to guide our bonding and our friendships?
shall we reduce all interaction to that which will offend none, because that my friends is some seriously bland gruel or worse, something so doctrinaire as to be deeply offensive to any right thinking person.
and that is the beggaring of all that is good.
and that is the road to sourpuss estrangement in the land of the unfun.
the fact that it’s a little scary to tell that story from high school for fear of the winged monkeys of cancel culture IS the problem.
and so telling it must be the solution.
if it offended you, sorry, but not sorry. it certainly did not offend the people involved. it was our happy place. we are all still friends to this day.
my hangover and i binge watched some 80’s movies the other day and could not help but be struck by how positive they were in comparison to today, how the characters had differences, overcame them, learned things, became friends, and found good endings. they reflected a better, healthier time and a better, healthier attitude.
just take it back.
reclaim the personal sphere from the political.
excise the totalitarian tentacles from everything.
they are not a “safe space” they are the danger.
this suffocating tide is receding. woke is dying. people have had enough of politics and enough of being robbed of the basic space to breathe and live freely.
what we put in its place will determine the tenor of the emerging age.
choose deep, genuine laughter and even if we get it wrong (and doubtless to some extent we will) at least we will enjoy doing it…