I felt both a little bit spanked and intrigued when I read this in Esquire, excerpted below. An interesting counter to some of my feelings of late about the election, swearing in, etc.
Do you want to be happy? I suspect that you do. Well, here's the first step to happiness: Don't get pissed off that people who aren't you happen to think Paris Hilton is interesting and deserves to be on TV every other day; the fame surrounding Paris Hilton is not a reflection on your life (unless you want it to be). Don't get pissed off because the Yeah Yeah Yeahs aren't on the radio enough; you can buy the goddamn record and play "Maps" all goddamn day (if that's what you want). Don't get pissed off because people didn't vote the way you voted. You knew that the country was polarized, and you knew that half of America is more upset by gay people getting married than it is about starting a war under false pretenses. You always knew that many Americans worry more about God than they worry about the economy, and you always knew those same Americans assume you're insane for feeling otherwise (just as you find them insane for supporting a theocracy). You knew this was a democracy when you agreed to participate, so you knew this was how things might work out. So don't get pissed off over the fact that the way you feel about culture isn't some kind of universal consensus. Because if you do, you will end up feeling betrayed. And it will be your own fault. You will feel bad, and you will deserve it.
Now, it's quite possible you disagree with me on this issue. And if you do, I know what your argument is: You're thinking, But I'm idealistic. This is what people who want to inflict their values on other people always think; they think that there is some kind of romantic, respectable aura that insulates the inflexible, and that their disappointment with culture proves that they're trapped by their own intellect and good taste. Somehow they think their sense of betrayal gives them integrity. It does not. If you really have integrity—if you truly live by your ideals, and those ideals dictate how you engage with the world at large—you will never feel betrayed by culture. You will simply enjoy culture more. You won't necessarily start watching syndicated episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond , but you will find it interesting that certain people do. You won't suddenly agree that Amelie was a more emotive movie than Friday Night Lights , but you won't feel alienated and offended if every film critic you read tells you that it is. You will care, but you won't care.
You're not wrong, but neither is the rest of the world. And you need to accept that those two things aren't really connected.
Insightful or just bullying?