Monday, March 01, 2010


You can't blame people for being cynical in this day and age. Our politicians are crooks, the protectors of the law are no better, you can't do well in life unless you choose to take shortcuts, our favourite actors prove they're complete twits (literally) by joining twitter - what is there to make you feel good about the world? Really?

I’ve been guilty of it oh-so many times in the past. Despite being pro-Obama during the 2008 US Presidential elections, the day after he won, when a colleague mentioned that he seems to be “clean” I remember looking at him and asking him “But how do you get where he has by being completely clean”? I don’t any of us are capable of believing that the biggest successes came the “right” way.

Occasionally, however, you come along an overly cynical comment, which either makes you wonder the author is either trying too hard to sound cynical because y'know, it's the done thing, or whether he/she is simply blinded to anything else.

Exhibit A: A tweet during yesterday's World Cup match between India and Pakistan, where we were nicely thrashing the visiting side:
Seems almost like a fixed match, no? #hockeyworldcup
To which I responded "Why think that? Just enjoy the fact that our guys did a good job no?". And called an optimist for my pains. An optimist. Me. Gah.

Exhibit B:
Rehab, whose blog I have recently discovered (as in, some hours back), put up this post about a month back about Conan O'Brien's farewell speech where Conan essentially talks about how he hates cynicism. And there is, on that page, the following comment:
you should never take to heart what a guy who makes millions an hour tells you.
of course, he would advise against cynicism.
note: cynicism is not equivalent to pessimism.

My issue with both these comments was their refusal to acknowledge the message behind what they were observing, and look for hidden, darker messages. India can’t play so well, the match must be fixed. The guy earns millions, who is he to talk about the softer emotions?

But then again, I’ve been guilty of this as well. A friend and I were recently discussing a series of blog posts a fairly popular tweeter puts up – on her gratitude for various things in life. I was wondering if it was just me who though that far from sounding beautiful, the posts just ended up sounding preachy and priggish in nature. My friend, as it turned out, agreed with me, but I still wonder, have we completely closed ourselves off from acknowledging niceness, for lack of a better word, in people?

In our angst against “the system”, in our frustrations at our lot in life, in our tendency to hide our love and gratitude for near and dear ones, have we completely lost the ability to allow for the fact that others may not be the same way?

I get that there are times when we look around and see utter darkness. But does that mean we stop waiting for the light to come back? Is it so hard just to believe?


The Seeker said...

You know, I don't even disagree so much with the Conan O'Brien comment. Same with the (worn-out, cited a million times) example of John Lennon and 'imagine no possessions'... well, yeah, I do believe he meant that and believed in the sentiment behind it - but it's nonetheless easy to say for him.

Purely Narcotic said...

Oh is this the particular self-righteous blogger who seems to have everything going her way, and oh-so-easily too?

Anonymous said...

what nonsense - I have in no way, shape or form closed myself off from niceness. CONTRARY to popular belief, I am surprisingly capable of searching for, recognising and appreciating positive qualities in people and it's only when I can't find ANY excuse for being a prick that I turn to cynicism which isn't really cynicism, it's just honesty

a traveller said...

@Purely Narcotic: Quite possibly. Depends which self-righteous blogger in particular you're talking about!

@tendstozero: Indeed.