That's So American - Part 4

That's So American
Part 4 of an occasional series

You must put on your Middlespace Cadet Corps headphones and start this track
before you start reading this post: [


Today's That's So American topic is cynicism. Ha! What did you expect, something about Gaza? Most Americans have no clue where or what a damn Gaza is. Give the next person you see a world map and say, "Where's Gaza?" Just like that; challenging and a bit overly-aggressive. If they're not Jewish or Muslim, chances are my American friends will have no idea what Gaza is all about. That is so American; a blindness to a worldview of politics and geography. But I have discipline and restraint and will not venture into the riptides of important global issues. Oy! I'm being cynical.

Instead, today we are raising a proverbial bar toward meaningful analyses of important issues facing our culture and our civilization. We are not politicians. We are not hipsters. We are not jocks. We are not nerds. We are not superheroes. We are not Jesus freaks. We are not academics.

We are the (new) intellectual elite. We're old enough and intelligent enough from the colleges we attended to take some responsibility for the state of America. We are bold enough. We are the new America. We are staging an evolution revolution...for the people! Of America!!

Gotcha, suckers.


Here's what Interwebs Wiki says about cynicism:

Social cynicism results from excessively high expectations concerning society, institutions and authorities. Unfulfilled expectations lead to disappointment, which releases feelings of disillusionment and betrayal.

Occupational cynicism consists of cynical attitudes in relation to aspects of one's own work, leading to a loss of pride and respect concerning oneself in relation to one's own work.

I understand this in full like Tom Wolfe. Seen both sides those tracks ("from the clubs in D.C. to the house that sells crack" or some old lyric). To the death of me, it seems, I get it. It is my belief that excessively high personal standards and expectations cloud, if not ruin, how one interacts with a world filled with mopes. Mopes to the left of me, mopes to the right of me. Mopes filling every crack and crevice of society. Mopes, mopes, mopes, we're surrounded by mopes!

Let us be the judges; allow us to be the jurors. My personal expectations and standards (for only myself) completely smears how I process the world. I see through knots and there's so much bullshit, so much excess, so much cynicism. I often feel like Daniel Plainview, where I have this generalized hatred of people and a deeply-ingrained compulsion to win against them as a demonstration of my superiority. I have a well documented superiority complex. Is that cynical?

Various levels of government are often, and sometimes generally unresponsive, irresponsible, and just kind of stupid when you think about it for one minute. Yet, I understand that governments serve a purpose that are essential to our orderly society. I vote but it's like swallowing very large vitamins with very little water. Every goddamn time. I choked that shit down for Barack back in November and what did it get me? Roland Burris, Bill Richardson, and Al Franken. And a Chrysler bailout. Is that cynical?

I think working in a cubicle for business companies is a goddamn joke-of-a-curse upon mankind even in "these economic times." The office cogs in Dockers and shoes that tie and with buttons on their shirts. Having an organization demand that you give 110% while looking upon you as a field on a spreadsheet makes so little sense to me. But work(ing) is indeed a means, the means for most. Working while waiting to die while fat cat board members light cigars with hundred dollar bills. Is that cynical?

One of my closest friends told me that I am a cynic...but in a good way...that without my type of cynicism the "Pollyannas would wreak havoc." My friend said that I provide some sort of "sometimes forced devil's advocation; a curmudgeon contrarian attidude" to "situations that are too often taken for granted." That I am "willing to pick a fight just because there wasn't a fight going on at that very moment." Huh? I know I'm a kook, but I'm a cynic? Get out of here.

Maybe cynicism is my mask; maybe it's for some sort of self-protection or self-preservation of something. Maybe without cynicism I'd be overdosing on my own sad, salty tears all the time. Maybe without cynicism I'd just be dumb and fat and foreign and short and slow and gay and black and Jewish and poor and ugly. Maybe without my protective sugar-coating of cynicism I would be on the Prozacs and the Abilifys and the other mood/erection flattening pills.

So? No, let me hit that again: So! A lot of words and nothing enlightening today, right? I'm a cynic. So fucking what.

For context and perspective, here are some reactions to my solicitation of feedback on the words "American and/or cynicism" from smart people:

#1) Don't you think being a cynic is so un-American? I think there's the 'can do' attitude. Nothing can stop us. I think Europeans are cynical.

#2) You can take your cynical attitude back to Russia, comrade. I'm going to sit my lazy American ass down on this Pakistani made couch and play my Japanese engineered, Chinese built XBox and eat Argentinian beef Big Macs.

#3) I'm so not a cynic. I have a short memory. I secretly think that everyone can and will change. It's such a freakin' character flaw and, to be honest, I don't think cynicism is very American.

#4) I'm just sick of cynicism. I hear it at work all day long. It's hard to be around all the time.

#5) The one place I feel justified taking my place as a cynic is spirituality. I feel confident when I say that I heartily reject dogmatic, organized religions in favor of a personal, internal and external, meditative and debative experience of the higher connection of every being (maybe even organism, maybe even particle, or whatnot). And what one person calls god, another person calls nature, and another person calls brother, and another person calls dirt is all the same.

#6) Most people like to call themselves cynics if they think. People believe just because they think, or are critical, they are cynics.

Skeptical with a touch of scornful. Mainly it's a lack of trust in others' selflessness, but there's occasionally a haughtiness, a condescension, a know-it-all-ness that bothers me almost more. Maybe that comes from thinking you know what other people are thinking/feeling. Cynics are often very proud of being cynical, I think because they see it as critical thinking rather than taking things at face value.

In moderation, it's probably called "a healthy skepticism." Too much, and the person seems to have lost faith in others, which is a pretty nice feeling to have. So it's about loss, too.

Cynicism is a defense mechanism.

A gut reaction from people who have been let down by life and want to preemptively prevent the same from happening again.

I like that you have hired yourself as the fact-checking department.

David Cross said this with regard to the topic: [clicky]


What? Are we?

No, I can't say it because I'm having trouble believing it may actually be so....

But? Maybe....

Are we on an iceberg's tip? Are we on to something significant here?

Are we moving into.... Post-cynicism? Oh G-d! I just typewrote "post-cynicism," I just did that. I hate myself and now I want to die. American post-cynicism. Oh shit! I need help. Life vest. CPR. Insulated blanket. Are we evolving and revolutionizing:

(Hope + Change) x (Evolution + Revolution) / American post-cynicism = ????

Naw. Shut the fuck up. I'm a cynic, he's a cynic, she's a cynic, we're a cynic, wouldn't you like to be a cynic too?

How do I know? Take the quiz, bitches Middlespace Cadets! Shut up IT HAS TO BE SCIENCE BECAUSE IT'S ON THE INTERWEBS:

Cynicism Pop Quiz: [clicky]

Do not proceed until you take the interwebs pop quiz about cynicism above. We will all wait for your slow ass Windows 2000 Professional > Internet Explorer > "I'm at work" computing systems....

Enough waiting...I'm impatient too.

I scored 80%. Interwebs says:

"Ty, you're a full blown cynic... and probably even skeptical of these results.
You have your optimistic moments, but most likely, you keep them to yourself."

Stupid interwebs does not know shit about me. I only scored 80%? What is up? White man cheating me again. Damn! I didn't take no SATs. Shut up Interwebs, you do not know me. No mope better score higher.

Here are the four items I didn't check. That is, I (probably naively) do not believe these items:
  • Modern art is a joke and of absolutely no value.
  • You don't expect anyone to be truthful, including your family and friends.
  • When people play by the rules, it's only because they're afraid of getting caught cheating.
  • You don't vote. It doesn't make a difference in the end anyway.
What does this say about me? I'm a faggy art, truth-believing, rule-obeying, voter? No. It says I still believe! In something still. There may not be hope but all is not yet lost. Thank G-d.


You know where you can find a ton of cynicism? Yes, Web logs ("blogs") is one place cynicism percolates. Lot's of cynicism in them Web logs. I know. But you can find tons more cynicism in the Web log ("blogs") comments department. Sheesh! Web log ("blogs") comments are a weird place where anonymity allows people to supposedly speak with truth on their typing. But mostly that anonymity allows people to lash out. Nastily, mean spirited, and oftentimes with the cynicism. But, c'mon, this so-called (by me) "lashing" is such a transparent manifestation of personal insecurities. It's so goddamn simple, right? Whaaaahaa! I'm a loser on the interwebs and that Web logger ("blogger") I read everyday just wrote something I couldn't write so I'm gonna tell 'em and tell 'em good in the comments section: "First! You suck! You can't rite ether. Your ugly too. FTW!"

Can we start a betting pool for when the proportion of Barry Oh!® supporters of Hope and Change shifts to become the Barry Oh!® haters of Hate and Cynicism KKK lynch mob? Soon and very soon, we are going to hate the King. Or is it me? Am I not being post-cynical enough?


Am I done? Can I stop? I'm so over it. OK, I'll stop now. My grandmother once said (or I'm making this up):
"Boy. Just because you can do a thing doesn't mean you have to do a thing."


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