On the necessity to say things
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the necessity to voice some opinions. Opinions you hold, opinions you’re proud of, opinions, at least, you can defend — but the stating of which, in context, doesn’t serve any purpose at all.
Here’s one example: I’m a vegetarian. I’m proud of it, and I believe that for the majority of people the benefits of being a vegetarian vastly outweigh the inconveniences. I believe that animals and the planet in general would be better off, and that people would be better off, if the majority of us switched to a vegetarian diet. Yet I also believe that every responsible adult has a right to make choices for themselves, and that you can’t coerce people into doing what is, according to you, best for them. I’m also aware that vegetarians in the West have a history of racism, neocolonialism and classism, and more generally of putting animals ahead of fellow human beings. So I shut up about being a vegetarian in front of omnivores, pretty much all the time, except when asked about it.
There are opinions you should keep to yourself. It doesn’t make them less valid, it just means that you know how to talk to people without being aggressively self-centred. This is the difference between making a blog with yummy vegetarian recipes and making a blog berating omnivores for their dietary choices, I suppose.
Following this idea, opinions no one needs to hear include:
- I’m really the smartest person in the room right now
- I know I should care about this particular human rights issue but I just can’t bring myself to it
- Not All Men
Anonymous said: Hello! I feel a bit silly for asking but I am really interested to know what Anti-Genius is / all about. Somehow I feel like I should just know, but I don't. Love your horoscopes, by the by.
Oh anon I’m glad you asked!! I worry that “anti genius” is really easily interpreted to mean something totally different than what I’m trying to do, and I am grateful for the opportunity to keep being a broken record about it!
First, to be clear, Anti-Genius is not anti art! Not anti-good art, not anti-difficult art, not anti-complicated art. Not, as all these litbros insist on believing, about reducing great literature to a sad flat landscape of “good” and “bad” people. It’s not about being “offended” by “characters i don’t like,” it’s not about wanting to only read “viewpoints that I agree with.” (I trust that you know this, anon, but I think probably it’s an important thing to get out of the way. Ok!!).The tag has started to sprawl a little bit, but the original and most basic point of Anti-Genius is that producing great art does not excuse a person from the responsibilities of being human. The most basic point of Anti-Genius is that good literature is the most important thing in the world to me BUT STILL people are more important.I went to a liberal arts college full of brainy social justice-obsessed weirdos and even then, in one of the first lit classes I took, we spent the entire semester discussing whether or not The Artist is of a fundamentally different breed than the regular person. Liiiiiike, truly, I cannot believe that is even a question. The artist is a human just like the rest of us. The poet is a human just like the rest of us. Same as the movie actor, same as the Wall Street banker, same as the pro football player, I don’t care. This is not to say that “we’re all human let’s get along!” but rather that we all live in a difficult world, and we all need to do the best we can to live kind and just and moral lives, and having a cool job does not excuse you from this. This is like so basic, it’s so uncool to say. My internalized poststructuralist theorist is cackling and groaning at me right now, my internalized Cool Brooklyn self is cringing so hard, I don’t care, here we are.Not saying that nobody should consume art by anyone who is a “bad person,” etc etc etc. We all have our own complicated moral arithmetic to do, to determine what we’ll ignore, what we’ll let go, what we’ll forgive. I will not watch a movie by Woody Allen but I still love David Foster Wallace. It’s not easy and I’m not pure but like, but likeI once went to a comedy show at UCB where Donald Glover did a joke about Michael Jackson, about how liiiiike wellllll maybe a kid or two got abused but Thriller was worth it. Anti-Genius means fuckkkkkk that. Anti-Genius means that the wives matter, the girlfriends matter, the kids matter, what is even the point, otherwise. Anti-Genius means that art is the most important thing there is but it is never that important.
He’s a wealthy young businessman with a dark secret.
He’s ridiculously good-looking. He’s been involved with dozens of women, but because of his dark secret he’s hurt some or all of them. He doesn’t really care who they are; when he meets them he already has a fantasy that he wants to project on them and make them fit into.
He’s self-assured and charming, but a little bit socially awkward. He has many acquaintances and business contacts but few close friends; you get the sense he just isn’t interested in people he can’t use.
He goes on a lot about how troubled he is—the book is even named after the way he describes his perceived mental problems—but he never acknowledges that it’s really his wealth and social power that allow him to get away with what he does.
Christian Grey is Patrick Bateman.
This guy I’m proofreading for literally wrote that reading books is a waste of time.
Here’s his argument in a nutshell: For a long time, I was a loser. After reading a lot of books and attending a lot of events, I started making sense of things. But! Why would you do that to yourself when you can just listen to what I have learned. Don’t go wasting your time when I am right here, me, who’s already read the books!
I give up.
Does everyone hate me now or did Tumblr just eat my messages: a memoir