August 30, 2012

I Hope I Never Become a Cynic

There is sometimes a confusion or misunderstanding conflating skepticism with cynicism. While I'm a card-carrying skeptic (without a card), I am not and hope never to be a cynic. I don't know what joy there is to be had in cynicism, but I am regularly given generous helpings of it from a fair few twitterererers whom I do choose to follow.

In a way, there is a strange, social bonding to be had in cynicism. A coming-together through sneering, upturned noses, through a refusal to allow a smile or share the joy or potentially wonderful things, but instead to kick down sandcastles and revel in a strange nihilism. The twittersphere and neighbouring blogosphere a both packed with these folk and their jokery, knocking everything down a peg or three.

And there's absolutely nothing wrong with jokes based in mockery or popping over inflated balloons. And there's nothing wrong with anger and scoffery, in general. But gosh, is there no joy to be had? And when you've knocked down crappy sandcastles, do you have any better ones to offer? Criticism is crucial, but being a grumpy old fart is not. There is something bothersome about people gathering to mock and laugh at things which may not be perfect, while those people don't even try to do what their mockees have done.

Boo to them. Rise up and take action. You don't like something? Make a better something. Or try and find something better. Jen McCreight saw something she was deeply dissatisfied with and crowdsourced something better. She wasn't sure if it would stick and she knew it would be difficult, but it's easier to stand on the edges and mock. It's harder to enter the ring and fight.

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