The Energy of Cynicism

I am a fan of Feministing. In general, they have relevant posts about issues affecting women. But with these relevant issues one must accept a heavy hand of attitude and a focus on the negative experiences of women in society. Posts over the last several days include a tirade against Hooters, against "offensive" bulemia ads, the hyprocisy of abstinence-only education, an update on the Prop 8 offensive, and the never ending tirade against Vagasil ads . The overriding attitude seems (to me) to be that unless we are ever vigilant, the world will step on our sensibilities, treat us like children, and basically screw us over. What I consider to be Feministing's attempt at women-positive posting equally falls flat. For example, their review of women-positive sex toy shops. Ugh. I can find my own sex toy shops without any help, thanks. LOL

Now I am not picking on Feministing. Not really. Like I said, I enjoy reading their blog. But it brings up an interesting point. I read a lot of other blogs. Liberal political blogs. Blogs dealing with racial issues. Blogs dealing with racial issues as they affect political issues. Economic blogs. Science blogs(including evolution blogs in which cynicism reaches new heights). Off the wall blogs. Let's face it, I read a lot of blogs.

Oh, there are a few blogs them seem to sit squarely in reality. Five Thirty Eight, for example. While the authors may espouse a political leaning, they do so infrequently, and their analysis is unbiased. (Where it is biased, they are quick to point it out.) And Paul Krugman has mastered the short, poignant post that can disagree with someone without being disagreeable. But the vast majority of the blogs I read that have a particular bent don't seem to be able to lift their heads out of their posteriors and realize that other points of view are valid. The general idea of most posts is "these idiots that I'm posting about are so _____ist that they don't even understand what is wrong with their actions. Are you as incensed as I am? You should be!" After enough of these posts, is it any wonder that the readership begins to think that the whole world is _______ist and is out to get them?

Here's a little tip from your friend D: they ain't out to get you.

Now, I will admit to getting my shorts in a knot now and again about something happening in the news. . But, I don't go out looking in the world to get pissed off. I don't look at the world as ready to screw me over at a moment's notice. In fact, all in all, I think the world is a pretty interesting and fun place. Curious sometimes. Frustrating on occasion. But it is what it is and if we don't like it, maybe we should do something about it instead of sitting around bitching. It takes a lot of energy to maintain that constant level of pissedoffness and I can't do it long term.

Which is why you'll see my cynical posts punctuated by posts about my camping equipment (which makes me happy), or my forays into the wild places of So. IL (which makes me happy), or some reflection on my own life (which may or may not make me happy, but was obviously preoccupying me at the time). I can't seem to stay pissed off enough to make me a true warrior against -isms. Or maybe I just have a different take on it.

There are people who say I have a quick temper. In one sense, they are right. I can get very angry, very quickly. However, I also seem to get it out and over with just as quickly. I suppose at some point in my past, I made a choice in dealing with life. I'd rather get mad, get it out, and move on rather than steep and seeth. These bloggers seem to ooze cynicism from every pore. While I may post my take on some particular topic of current events, I am bound to let it go eventually. Usually very quickly. I wonder if that makes me a sub-par blogger. I hope not. I think we all have our take on current events and social ills, but we don't have to let the bastards run our lives.

I like being happy (despite what anyone says). So please, take MY rantings with a grain of salt. They are the idle wanderings of a curious mind. And if you choose to discuss my ideas or give your ideas--if you choose to disagree with me--I may get momentarily excited, but it isn't going to ruin my day or ruin our friendship. I'm just saying. Life is too short to stay pissed off.

It's another beautiful day out there and I'm off to enjoy it.


  1. Hmm. I don't read Feministing enough to share, or refute, your opinion, though I do sometimes disagree with their analyses. But I think, on the whole, their consistent POV is that the deep structures reinforcing sexism in culture and media should be exposed and confronted, and not elided as being insignificant or coincidence, a point of view I often agree with. And I don't feel like they take no joy in life, the founders seem to have a relatively good sense of humor and zest for life, even if they do pick topics to rant about far more than topics to laud. But meh, I don't have strong feelings either way, other than feeling like they do a good job on the whole and have an interesting and thought provoking blog.

    And while I find much to be happy about in my day-to-day life, I know that doing so, especially in the ways that I do so, is a glorious privelege. I (re)heard an interview with David Mamet the other day, and he said it isn't possible that so much of the world is bad or has bad things going on as NPR would make it seem. ("I love NPR, and I love hating NPR," said Mamet, who feels NPR has a regretable pro-Palestinian bias). While it's true many good things happen every day and knowing and rejoicing that is important, I also feel that people are not, on average, outraged enough -- not nearly. Thousands of innocent people killed in Iraq, 1 billion people hungry every year with millions of children dying from starvation in a world that has an average of something like 2300 calories/person/day available, etc. etc. You're quite right that outrage (and protest) is not enough, or even necessairly effective -- and feeling bad constantly does nothing to change things, either -- which is why I don't, among other reasons. But the protesters or others aside, on average people are not aware, pissed off, or cynical enough (or cynical enough about the right things), so I can see F'misting's point. But also yours.

    I'd love to fulminate about Israel-Palestine (seriously D: Gaza schmaza?) but I'm off to check if I got a parking ticket, and perhaps pick up my first batch of Ithacan groceries.

    hasta la later,


  2. I guess what I'm saying that perhaps the over-the-top outrage, the sense that anyone who disagrees with you is a moron, and the balance of outrage to kudos is an aspect of an issue blog that should be looked at critically instead of ignored, lest the readership burn out quicker than the authors, which is squarely where I am with that blog and others. Like those who always type in ALL CAPS, reading Feministing occassionally leaves me with a feeling that I'm conversing with someone jumping up and down and screaming at the top of their lungs. That's when I know it's time to take a break.

    I concur on the whole glorious privelege deal. It only takes me a moment to remind myself of the conditions in Haiti, the DRC, and Somalia to make my frustration at a lack of grant support seem pitifully trivial.

    And pissedoffness is only beneficial if it actually leads to action. I saw a T shirt the other day that says it all.

    Actions speak louder than blogs.


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