I’m Not Gonna Get Angry

(at least not today, anyway)

The communicative revolution that’s swept through the human race over the last half century is, for the most part, a wonderful thing, opening up new and diverse cultures presented to us on their own terms, and allowing the gift of communication to people once rendered perpetual strangers by random geographic placement. But one impact has been decidedly less clear-cut: we’re now more aware of the problems of the world. While an optimist would point out that this allows more minds to engage with these problems, and find solutions, a realist would say that this has opened people’s eyes to worlds of suffering that they would have previously lived in blissful ignorance of; for what it’s worth, the fact that ‘rape crisis’ is a top Google autofill result has less to do with there being more violence against women in the modern day than greater awareness of the violence against women.

And, when it comes to issues as prickly as gender identity and our idiotic marginalisation for people for daring to decide on a particular identity upon that important but largely trivial spectrum, there’s a fine line between being engaged with problems very worth solving, and becoming bogged down in an endless Twitter feed of despair and misery, that can motivate and demoralise in equal measure.

However, I’m stepping away from both of these responses today, and I’m not gonna get angry, either as the springboard for constructive action, or for the base delight in raging at someone with idiotic things to say. Specifically, this piece of news annoyed me, that some people feel the need for cultural products targeted directly at men when the majority of culture is so aggressively indirectly targeted at men that ‘men’ has become too established of a demographic to really function as a niche for an artist to shoot for. By all means, fire up your keyboards in outrage at this latest example of Poor Men Oppressed By The Victorious, Misandrist Feminists, I just won’t be joining you this time.

Problems aren’t there to be ignored, and certainly not to be run away from, but constantly committing oneself to single-handedly righting one’s perceived wrongs of society can be draining. People aren’t machines to wage war against organisations and institutions they find harmful, but complex collections of personal desires and societal goals, with the equal potential for massive outputs of energy for a certain agenda, and long periods of deep, Netflix-binging rests. Often in my life I’ve neglected the latter, and ended up as the bitter, anti-social punk fan sitting moodily at the end of the table spouting feminist rhetoric while expressing disgust at the lack of a vegan / vegetarian / James-centred menu at the pub we’re at.

For every Anti-Flag moshpit I’m in, I have a file on Mario Sunshine to waste a few hours with; for every chapter of my novel I write, there’s a local park that needs someone to wander through the trees of; and for each shitty piece of lad culture to rear its head from the cesspool of the Internet, I’ve got a dim light, a silenced phone, and a copy of Jim Lindberg’s Punk Rock Dad to relax to.

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