It always bemuses me, in this era of ultimate choice and convenience, to see people choose to spend their time in the most negative ways possible, and then complain about it. While it is undoubtedly human nature to focus on the bad over the good, especially in social and news media, that nature is not a necessity.
It’s one thing to watch a bad trailer for the purposes of mockery, or a political speech by an errant politician or religious leader, as you wait for them to expose themselves for the buffoons they usually are. But it seems there are an alarming amount of people who elect to spend inordinate amounts of time on a drip feed of the things they hate, and the excuse in defense is usually boredom.
How exactly anybody is bored in 2021, short of being absolutely broke with either no decent internet or no device to engage with it, is beyond me. Most of the world’s recorded music, video games and televised media are available, legally or otherwise, at the touch of a few buttons. Niche entertainment is barely even a thing anymore – everything has a digital support group, a streaming service or both. The hardest part, for many, is option paralysis – choosing what to consume first, and prioritizing amusements.
There are those who would argue I may be lecturing from a position of privilege. Without going into detail, I can almost guarantee I’ve lost more of my income over the last seven years than just about anyone else, and been out of or low on work for extended stretches in that time, yet have run into boredom maybe twice in that period. Yet people around me with double my money and half my spare
time seem to have nothing better to do than shitwatch reality TV they claim to hate. Or binge on news or social media that clearly do nothing but ramp up their anxiety and compromise their self-esteem, and then judge other, happier people for choosing not to participate in these mediums.
Be it liberals hatewatching Fox News, giving them ratings all the while, or conservatives watching CNN in like fashion, it all reeks of both closet fetishism and an overwhelming desire to be miserable, when said misery is totally avoidable. Cancel culture has existed in many forms for centuries, long before the phrase was coined, but it seems like the canceling crowds of all stripes would largely lose identity without enemies to rail against.
It amuses me when people use intellectual condescension as a defense for their consumption habits, be it mocking Trump speeches, or laughing at talentless reality TV fuckheads and their complete lack of value beyond the financial. Yes, they are all idiots, but at least they get paid for it, while those hatewatching them are wasting their free time and bosting the metrics of the ‘enemy’ in the process, despite being ‘smarter.
Given the name of this website, and the nature of my writing, it’s obvious I hate social media. Not love to hate, just hate, so I don’t participate in it. Instead of giving it negative attention through participation – which plays into a rigged game that will forever be against people who think like me, regardless of my politics and personal tastes – I win by refusing to play. I left news media behind over a decade ago for similar reasons – my point of view is barely (if ever) represented, and likely never will be. Or simply be misinterpreted in kneejerk, reactionary fashion even if it was.
This avoidance is not cowardice, nor is it ignorance, no more than refusing to look a bad car crash while tasteless agonists rubberneck at the wreckage. Even if i had the time for these things, which I don’t and hopefully never will again, I would spend that time otherwise. I could learn a language, take up a new skillset or craft, or engage with people in person instead of through poorly manipulated digital artifice, with it’s constant lack of tact and context.
I am not obligated to engage in these formats of media, and I know many of you are, for professional or personal reasons. But that doesn’t mean they have to dominate your consumption habits in an era with dozens of great shows, albums and video games being released every year, not to mention the fact that few of us have to leave home to access them. If you’re bored, at this point, you’re probably just boring, and need a new hobby.
I have been accused by liberal friends of being ignorant for not being on the bleeding edge of media, knowing very well how badly it affects their mental state. I have conversely been accused by more conservative ones of not being suffiently alarmed at things like the Islamic influx in Western countries or the rise of trans rights and visibility, neither of which pose a threat to me or ever will. Why? Well, I’m not being drip fed misplaced fear and anger by watching too much cable TV for one.
Trans rights are a good example actually, and I’ll use them to illustrate my point. Whether you think a person can change gender or not (and I do, and it’s fine), their choice to do so has no negative bearing on anyone around them. Those who are offended CHOOSE to be, and many of them decide to proverbially die on that hill when it’s not even on their property. If someone changes their pronouns or their genitals, the sum total of harm caused by them is absolutely nil – you don’t have to agree with it, nor do you have to care, so why waste energy complaining about it?
I don’t need to watch the news to know that humans are treating each other like shit, and corporations and politicians are capitalizing on the misery and confusion of it all. It’s been that way since I was born, same excrement, different buckets. I don’t need to be on social media arguing to convince people of my views, and being offended at theirs. Frankly, if my conclusions are valid, they should be reached naturally through logical and critical thought, thus attracting the ‘right’ sort of people instead of the easily herded, who will distort and pervert even the most decent of causes.
I hate a lot of things, but I do it from sniper range, not close enough to be a target. Even then, ammo isn’t cheap. And there IS a place for hate in this world – of bigotry, ignorance, herd mentality and demographic inequality. I despise advertising, and the insane aggression of it in this day and age, so I mute and look away from literally every ad that comes my way that isn’t for something I want. Why yell at the screen when I could silence it, or just change the channel or stream?
That mute button is a powerful tool, and often a more powerful one than verbal resistance. Past a certain point, repeating an argument incessantly devalues it’s impact, a fact that our culture of excess and mind numbing repetition tries to ignore. We live in a world where ignorant armchair critics review bomb products, services and establishments to the point of severe economic harm, despite not even being remotely qualified to review anything. If I get bad service at a restaurant, which could be an isolated incident, why potentially harm everyone else who works there with a bad review, when I could simply vote with my feet and never return?
There’s enough negative in the world as it is, despite there being plenty of positives to embrace and focus on. Why waste the hate?