We all hate them, right? That one snob in hipster garb, scoffing at the mentions of Drake’s “Fake Love” with his small moleskin journal of doodles in his back pocket because this guy doesn't use social media when he's bored. Fuck that guy, right? I mean, what is with this guy? Does this person get off on being the bane of everyone’s existence? Does he think he’s better than you?
This might come off as rude, but he does…in a sense! Now before you chalk me up as some insolent, uppity cunt (as I’m sure you are much nicer) and let the world that my work is trash, let me make sense of this. Because I know you want to be thorough when you justify your distaste for me.
I know that you know that social classifications are subjective constructs of the mind. The person who listens to Bach shares the same fate as the person listening to Migos. And if we want to zoom in on this microscope, we are all particles of the same universe. So no need to remind you that love and hate are passions cut from the same clothe. Truth is, we love to hate those people. Those picky people who go on and on about all the things they have going on for themselves. They journal, exercise, eat colorful fancy plated meals, jet ski in cancun and still have enough time to read to Grandma. Sounds like someone you know?
Let’s be real for the remainder of this post. It would be kind of nice if the scales of time tipped in your favor allowing at least five minutes to just lay around. Secretly, you admire these assholes. Why are these assholes so privileged?
It’s because we’re assholes. Yes, myself included.
I confirmed that I was an asshole as I was talking to one because, you know, it takes one to know one. So because I’m an asshole, I’m going to give you insight into the minds of assholes’ and finally flesh out what our deal is.
My initial impression of him was “Look, at this asshole” as I got into the backseat of his car. He Lyfted me to work. Both of us held our airs. He was a little swarmier than I being that he was a screenplay writer and I’m a soon to be novelist. We commenced in pious conversation, one upping each other with how virtuously polite we could be. We flaunted our knowledge with talks of the paradox of human nature and how absolute power corrupts absolutely. We were absolutely getting off on our own wits, cackling and scoffing with contempt until our minds melded and then…the worse thing happened. We became friends.
The next week, in a conversation more genuine we philosophized. He speculated that the degeneracy of American society lies in pop culture. Yes, he’s that guy who resists Drake. He believes that members of American society are focused on hyper consumption due to the fleeting nature of instant gratification given by pop culture. This further decreases our capacity for discipline, increases depression and continues hyper consumption. That’s the degeneracy he speaks of. He said: We’re just waiting for the next product to be made by big conglomerates so we can consume them and move on to the next thing. He believes society at large will do or participate in just about anything to ignore the big elephant in the room.
I begin to believe that this asshole is on to something. So I probe.
I offer, “Maybe some people genuinely like pop culture. Maybe products are not created and shoved on us, more so products are being demanded because that’s what people love.”
He responded, “We are convinced to demand them.”
This would have been a lie about 97 years ago before business became focused on marketing. Now advertising is a 95.35 billion dollar industry and it’s for a reason (Don't believe me, google it). They want to distract you from the big elephant and that is yourself. You’re an intricate, unique, whole human being with perspective. And because of that, you are valuable. Follow me.
Value is within you and what you value gives worth. Anything worth anything should be cared for. The secure one knows their own value and owns their worth. Business thrives on value, your value. If one is insecure, one does not hold firm to their value leaving them susceptible to the wants of business. And what does the business want? You know it – your value. How else can a business establish it’s worth and get people to spend money?
Now follow me, if you will, to a world where someone mentions you. Suddenly, for no reason at all, someone else jumps in to defend your honor, “You don’t know what you’re talking about. (Insert your name here) is fucking amazing. Something’s wrong with you. You’re out of your mind.” Would be awesome, right? Sounds like a dream… the dream of a highly successful business.
A successful business leverages their worth through a collection of individual value. Advertising is that fake friend jumping in for no reason, claiming someone is out of his or her mind and something is wrong. And the way to be right is to conform to what they believe. The duty of the advertiser it convince you that you are incomplete and that they have the solution to make you whole. And even though we are all intricate, unique, whole human beings, if one is insecure and denies their perspective, this random input will make that person conform.
Now imagine if millions of people conformed because they believed something was wrong. That’s what mass appeal looks like and how mass production happens. Here’s the kicker, the person who refuses to conform is considered the asshole.
It is a behavioral custom to be offended when someone says no. In result we have created a culture of being compliant. Yes to everything. Be nice. Get along. Belong. The fear of being perceived as undesirable has everyone accepting whatever is being shoved in their faces. We say yes as to show we’re not the offensive asshole. Essentially we're saying yes to valuing everything outside ourselves. What separates the nice person from the asshole hipster dude I described at the beginning is that the asshole will not tolerate. Period. The asshole chooses to be around things that align with what he values, which is his or herself. If it doesn't align, the asshole does not associate with it. When that one friend says, “You don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re out of your mind.” The asshole does not value it. It’s not worthy of his or her time. They don’t care.
After buying countless mass-produced products, I’ve learned that the one-size-fits-all principle does not work for every individual. How can it? There is absolutely no attention to detail or my uniqueness. How can I lead my best life while ignoring parts of myself that make me unique? More importantly, what can I truly gain from products that are not made with my uniqueness in mind? So I decided that I no longer wanted a life that’s for everyone. I want my life. That’s what makes me an asshole.
I rather be the asshole if that's what it takes. I learned that the best things in life are fit for me. I don't have to like everything or be everything to everyone. These days I am flexing my "No" muscle. Now that I own my worth, time disappears. As in, I am on no one's schedule but my own. All of sudden there is time to exercise, journal, talk to moms, sky dive and eat healthy. The veil has lifted. I could see and feel the cheap quality of mass produced products. Now when I look at these products, I scoff in contempt and cackle at their tricks. I’ve grown so much from then.
And that’s why assholes are so privileged. They’re willing risk outside perception to gain a life they will be proud of. Assholes live authentically.
If that didn't make sense to you, fuck it. It wasn't for you.