When did society’s standards for behaviour become so low that simply doing the right thing became worthy of accolades? Maybe this is all part of the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality that has become so pervasive in recent years, but the last time I checked praised was something given for extraordinary acts. Maybe it is because everyone is so consumed with their desperate attention whoring that it leaves them no time to accomplish anything of note that would be worth the attention they crave. Maybe it’s because they feel that if they give someone else attention for the most meager of “achievements” that others will in turn do the same when they do something for which a bit of self congratulation just won’t suffice. Whatever the reason, I find it very difficult to view this as anything other than repulsive.
Earlier in the week a Magic personality who I guess used to be relevant for reasons that elude me declared on Twitter that he was going straight edge. That’s all well and good and I’m sure your friends will be interested in this and supportive of it, but asking people to retweet it? Harassing a professional wrestler to read your blog presumably in the hopes that he’ll retweet it too? The fuck is wrong with you? This is the sort of thing you do for yourself. You don’t go straight edge because you want everyone to see how strong and amazing you are, you do it because you want to be a better person. And if you succeed? Good for you, but shut the fuck up about it. While it may not be the way our society works anymore, the world should give zero fucks about you for doing this.
But why, Jeebus? Isn’t he brave and strong and noble for giving up drugs after 16 years of use? He was using drugs since he was 14, cut the guy some slack!
Wow, what a deep and meaningful point you raise. You know, if we ignore the fact he shouldn’t have been doing it in the first place. If I brutally murder a dozen people today and then tomorrow swear off killing forever, would you declare that I am an incredible person? Would you sing my praises from the mountaintops? Of course you wouldn’t, because giving up behaviour which one should never have partaken of in the first place, while the right thing to do, is not worthy of commendation.
As an aside, while making a public declaration of your decision to go straight edge is ridiculous, going straight edge should never actually be necessary. It is a label, a character archetype, that one forces oneself into because they are weak spirited. While I do not condone smoking crack or anything like that, giving up things that are legal and that you enjoy because you don’t have the fortitude and self control to moderate your own behaviour effectively is cowardly. That’s not disciprine.
Let’s fast forward to today, where another puzzling article went up. To the writer’s credit, this one was much less self congratulatory in tone, but the message was similar. It was a rather disjointed article telling two different stories at the same time. One story, taking place ten years ago, was about the writer deliberately cheating to win a match. The next story was about a recent tournament in which he won via clerical error, and then alerted the judges of the mistake when it was pointed out to him. The article lacked any sort of explicit thesis, but the community responded with immeasurable praise about how it was one of the most well written pieces in ages and how important it was for everyone to read and blah blah circle jerk. I can’t for the life of me figure out why, however. Some kid cheats in a tournament, and then a decade later does not. Are we to congratulate you on not scumbagging some 12 year old in the losers bracket of a tournament? What does it say about Magic players if this is considered a “must read” article? Is everyone such a fucking piece of shit that we expect everyone to cheat at all times, even by accident, and that anything less is somehow deserving of a ticker tape parade?
The Lost Art of Common Decency
Life is full of binary choices (If you’re an idiot, that means choices with two options). Almost invariably, there is a clear cut right thing to do and a clear cut wrong thing to do. I do not mean right and wrong strictly in the moral sense, but also in that one option is correct and the other is incorrect. Given the opportunity, shooting heroin is incorrect. Cheating in a game is incorrect. Punching a dog in the face is…well I don’t like dogs so we’ll skip that one for now. These things should all sound obvious to you. I shouldn’t have to tell you what the right thing to do is. Unless you’re a sociopath, this shit is ingrained in your blood. Doing the right thing should be expected of you. You should not receive special praise or attention for doing what is expected, but rather you should be punished for doing the wrong thing. You may think you deserve some recognition because it was just so damn hard to fix your behaviour and it shows a real strength of character, but you know what? If you weren’t such a fuck up in the first place then all this “extraordinary” effort wouldn’t be necessary. If you find it that difficult to change, then maybe rather than considering it a feat of strength to overcome whatever line of crap you’re trying to feed me, maybe you should acknowledge that it’s nature’s way of punishing you since society is so unwilling to.
Oh, and if you’re able to kick all your bad habits and do the right thing on a consistent basis then know what that makes you? Normal. You are not special, you are not unique, you are not a daring and brave individual facing unfair adversity, you are just a normal person doing what you should have been all along. Congratulations on being just like everyone else.