Misanthropy

I just read Charlie Brooker’s weekly column in the Guardian.

It is, as usual, an apocalyptic rant, railing against an aspect of modern society that fills him with despair.

In this case, the subject of his ire is clubbing.

The following quotes, selected at random, give you an idea of his take on what it is to ‘club’:

“Clubs are such insufferable dungeons of misery, the inmates have to take mood-altering substances to make their ordeal seem halfway tolerable. This leads them to believe they “enjoy” clubbing. They don’t. No one does. They just enjoy drugs.

Drugs render location meaningless. Neck enough ketamine and you could have the best night of your life squatting in a shed rolling corks across the floor.”

And:

“Everyone had clearly spent far too long perfecting their appearance. I used to feel intimidated by people like this; now I see them as walking insecurity beacons, slaves to the perceived judgment of others, trapped within a self- perpetuating circle of crushing status anxiety. “

I’m sure you get the idea.

Every word of that article rings true for me but somewhere an alarm bell is going off.

You see, I am growing more and more concerned – or maybe brainwashed – that such misanthropy is in some way unhealthy.

I have given enough thought to ‘personal development’ – and been told enough times that I am a sardonic, sneering snob – that in recent years I have attempted to change my ways and become more positive and less judgmental.

God knows it’s been hard. Not making snap judgments of people, keeping my mouth shut when some buffoon drones on about American Idol/Big Brother/almost any music that I don’t own/Harry Potter is increasingly difficult.

I smile beatifically and my eyes glaze over. But in my brain, imaginary darts are flying into that person’s eyeballs with deadly precision.

I don’t know where this snobbishness comes from. I imagine it’s a mild form of whatever convinced Hitler that only he really knew what was best for the world.

Thankfully, my convictions merely manifest themselves in an increasingly obscure record collection and not the cold-blooded slaughter of six million Jews.

But I am getting off the track.

My point is, I have tried – and to some degree succeeded – to become more open, more accepting, and more tolerant of those with different tastes.

But now I somehow feel a lack. It is as though the mantras of positive thinking have stripped me of the courage of my convictions.

I used to know that Weezer was infinitely better than Westlife. In fact the old, cynical me would rather rip out my own fingernails and eat them than even entertain the notion that people who liked Westlife were not congenital imbeciles.

Now I am not so sure. Does that mean I am a better person?

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1 Response to “Misanthropy”


  1. 1 talil August 22, 2007 at 11:56 am

    Misanthropy is a perfectly natural reaction to the human condition. People are idiots – irredeemable, disgusting, monstrous idiots. I hate them all, each and every one of them. I wish I could live in a world with no one else. I hate all life and wish there was no other living thing in existence but myself. You should just accept the feelings you have inside because they are perfectly natural and normal. Most people lie to themselves about the nature of life and the nature of their fellow human beings. These lies are the source of their misery. These false beliefs lead them to throw themselves repeatedly into the meat grinder of human interaction. It is best to realize the utter futility of searching for value in your fellow human beings and write them off completely. That will free you to search for happiness in the only place that it can possibly be found – within.


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