Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Some Thoughts on Negativity

Yesterday, I read this. (For those who aren't "into" clicking, this is a hilarious bit by Joe Hill (one of my future husbands) talking about hating Nickelback):
Or… maybe… just maybe… you could give up on publicly hating a band or an actor or an artist for entertainment value altogether, and find some other way to yuk it up. You know? The world is not exactly suffering from a hate deficit or a lack of public mockery.
There was cheering over from these parts.

Then today, I read this. "On Loathing The Lumineers And Other Not-Quite-So-Radical Musical Acts" And, okay, I'll admit that maybe this last piece struck a chord with me because I love The Lumineers and Mumford and Sons and am actually actively using them to prove to myself that good music has been made since 1999. And really, this piece (which is kinda hilarious) has plenty of barbs, but it's also about irrational hate and that I can get on board with. For instance, I hate bacon. Not because it's not yummy to eat with some Wonder bread, mayonaise and tomatoes, but because it's not a freakin' condiment. Bacon is not the new ketchup, quit putting it on everything.

See, there. I got all worked up about nothing.

Back to my point. Over the past few days, I've read a really biting piece about Miley Cyrus which seemed to be centered around, "stupid hair, stupid dance, stupid outfit." I've watched Justin Beiber crash and burn. I just got through reading why Jesse James is a horrible person and doesn't deserve love. And Paula Deen, don't even get me started on the Paula Deen hatred.

Then, I read a piece on why we shouldn't judge Rhianna for marrying Chris Brown. Which, I don't know, does not compute. If we can judge Paula Deen for liking butter even though her body doesn't want her too, and we can judge Jesse James for breaking the heart of America's sweetheart, then why the pants can we not judge a woman for going back to a person who beat her black and blue?

And I guess at the end of the day, what I really don't get (besides the attraction to Chris Brown anyway) is why anyone cares. About any of it. Why should anyone care that I love Selena Gomez because she's never let down my daughter and hate George Clooney because he's always struck me as kinda skeevey?

It's one thing that we've taken celebrity culture to the extreme that we feel the need to report on every little thing, but another entirely that we now believe that everyone's opinions are newsworthy. I am a firm believer in liking what you like and hating what you hate. But why do we want to put so much emphasis on what we hate? Why do we want to take all that negativity and push it out there into the ether?

And what affect does it then have on us?

And that last, is ultimately what I'm getting at. I know that snarkiness is funny and that there is some joy in watching someone fall, but by giving those negative stories and thoughts and opinions so much traction, by writing and reading and thinking so much about how terrible everyone is, aren't we incrementally making ourselves less happy?

Not to mention the people on the receiving end. We like to think of those in the public eye; be it celebrity, politician or the accidentally famous; as being immune to the daggers we throw with our words. But are they really? Are they less human because we know their faces? Or do we just assume that they don't have access to the internet and the very human inclination to google their own name?

I know that I'm not blameless. Everyone writes from time to time about what makes them angry, sad or confused. To do otherwise would be disingenuous. But from this moment on, I'm going to strive to make sure I'm putting more positivity into the world than negativity. And I'm going to make sure that in what I read, watch and otherwise ingest I am taking less negativity out of the world than positivity. Maybe nothing will really change, but maybe I'll find myself incrementally happier.

And don't we all want that anyway?

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