You want to know a physical object I have a fairly strong resentment for? It’s the refrigerated cracker. The cold crisp. The iced chip, not the chip of ice.
I really hate the fact that in any scenario, a crunchy munchy snack could wind up inside of a refrigerator. They get soft, and damp, and icky. Obviously, I’d want to stay away.
I try to avoid those portable Lunchables-for-adults packs for that reason. I just don’t like cold, crispy things at all.
I have, however, constructed scenarios where the carby crisp was allowed to cool off and become much more palatable. Of course, that doesn’t cleanse me of resentment of Triscuit winding up on a dinner plate, and getting refrigerated.
And I’ve indeed fantasized about this silly scenario. Somebody putting out a class-action lawsuit against Hillshire, et cetera…..forcing them to invent a string or something that allows the melba toast to hang just outside the refrigerator. Or some weird thing involving a voucher that has to be given to the cashier.
Obviously, this is silly. And you obviously agree, it’s wrong to waste energy blaming someone for selling a tiny pack of cold cuts with some crackers.
Why waste your breath and effort trying to correct something which has nothing to do with anyone choosing to make anyone else actually suffer any discomfort?
It sounds like a clown show. Something out of a “Far Side” comic. Something that if it were to happen, might make you GUFFAW with your teeth agape.
But for you to stop there, that would be lame. Because culture is still a thing floating around. And this is a metaphor for culture.
The emotion that I feel when I think ugh, refrigerated crackers, can somebody so something?
is exactly the type of thing that leads to traditions that just won’t go away.
They could be innocuous, they could be controversial, they could be helpful, they could be heinous. They can be a lot of fucking things.
But on the part of the person who commits to them, is a mind that seethes with the sensations of
“yeah, this isn’t really necessary, but it makes things better!” and “they hate on us for this, but we weren’t hateful when we started doing this!” and “why would anybody get so mad when we’re just using common sense?”
Maybe it’s food rules, maybe it’s censorship, maybe it’s performance, maybe it’s the respectful language, maybe it’s rewards and punishments, or maybe it’s the agreed upon ideal neighbor or worst visitor.
You can probably think of a dozens of examples of cultural habits that make your elbows tremble with resentment.
But modern society has yet to really do anything about those, hasn’t it? We can only slowly chip away at the solid hunk of cultural satisfaction through giant books about how bad things got in insert community here followed by pages and pages of someone trying to BEG THE UNIVERSE that insert group here stops doing something.
We can change our traditions, but the traditions that seem abhorrent get held as delicately as as infant by the holders of them.
Because it’s all about that indescribable inner beauty people feel. The kind that makes a movie engaging, that makes makes discipline feel dignified, that makes effort feel valuable, that makes actions feel unworthy of belittlement.
What they feel….
when they’re blaming or praising some phenomenon in nature barely worth making a fuss over, but in a way that seems to whimsically satisfy the need to correct problems.
When they’re applying preventative measures to a harmless flaw in labor or leisure, in a way that feels giddily excessive, like some kind of sunlit marriage of childish wants and mature aspirations.
When they’re deriding someone for some preference or experience unrelated to their crimes, in a way that feels like a hero’s craftiest tactics that somehow bizarrely confirms their moral alignment.
When they’re patting themselves on the back for rising above what they see as instinctive etiquette and ordinary justice, as is they’ve somehow leapt beyond the morals inside of fables, like they’ve traveled the earth looking for who is the bullshit maker and given them the right lovely little smack on the face.
Culture itself is people banding together and speaking with mouths popping out their necks these words to each other:
“if somebody acts in a way that feels nastier than all nasty, don’t fucking feel ANY shame in what you do to them”.
Belligerent actions empowered by culture are nearly unblockable.
Unmanageable, impossible to criticize.
Discouragement of that person is simply unavailable in all regions.
Not unless you can see these inside this heart of your adversary. Which is a lot easier if you read my other posts right here.
The cognizance of being excessive,
an understanding of pettiness,
an appreciation for the arbitrariness of rules,
the awareness of the indulgence in correction,
and an understanding that making problems out of small things is not inherently noble.
Those are things mature adults all share.
It’s the big fat grin on a person’s face which shows you they’re feeling “yeah, I’m gonna act despite knowing those five things about being a person”, the type of smile which is guaranteed to make you smile infectiously or frown so hard your jaw could fall off.
With the power of this blog, you can learn to do neither.
I see these scenarios as beautifully sincere tantrums that can be changed from battles to dances.
Fighting through the will of the worst of us is possible if you can appeal to a person’s awareness of their own excessiveness.
In order to engage with and soothe the worst traditions there are,
you just need to see it originates from some fellow somewhere saying
“dude can we do something about this annoying thing?”
a thousand other someones saying “yeah okay”
and a million other someones lowering their eyebrows when somebody happens to interject.
Culture, you are my beast I hope to see finally lie still like a pet.
If the world is to be absolved of its worst traditions, it will require something other than mockery.
You need to help people feel that they can still get around the ill will of others, in spite of all your vitriol.