Sunday, December 23, 2012

So, what's this all about?

So - much to my chagrin - it appears that the world hasn't ended just yet. I suppose that means I should talk about what I mean to accomplish with this blog.

Basically, I'm fed up with our happy-smiley culture. I'm tired of empty gestures, meaningless platitudes, and false hopes. I've had it with the myths we tell ourselves (and, more importantly, the children in our lives) to help ourselves sleep at night. I'm at my wits' end with the rampant dishonesty and inauthenticity that plagues our society.

And perhaps - most of all - I feel the need to stand up in defense of pessimism and cynicism. Pessimism gets a really, really bad rap. "Oh, you're so negative." "You're so cynical!" 

For example, some of you may recall what Conan O'Brien said on his last edition of The Tonight Show back in 2010:
Please don't be cynical. I hate cynicism -- it's my least favorite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere.
I love Conan, but I think he was absolutely wrong. If Mr. O'Brien had been a little more cynical...a little more realistic (pessimistic?), maybe he would've seen trouble coming sooner. Could he have persuaded Jay Leno to retire? Or could he have given up on "Tonight" instead of getting - and then losing - the show? There's no way to know, of course. This is all speculation. But I think that it would've helped if he - or at least his advisors - had been a little more clear-eyed about the situation. 

It's a lot harder to see when the sun is blinding you. And that's what optimism can do...blind you to threats, dangers, and inconvenient facts.

So this blog is where I'm going to call out all the absurdities I see. I'm going to defend pessimism and cynicism. I'm going to write about the people and the books you need to know about. 

Maybe you'll find what I have to say amusing. I'd be OK with that. 

Maybe you'll disagree. I look forward to hearing your arguments (so long as you don't resort to name-calling and logical fallacies).

In any event, hopefully I'll give you something to think about.

(And this probably goes without saying, but if you like what you're reading, I'd appreciate it if you posted comments and shared me with your friends, enemies, teammates, families, arch-nemeses, etc.)

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