It’s a wonderful time to be alive. Just think, as a society, we’ve survived a pair or World Wars, the Great Depression, Jimmy Carter’s presidency, Jimmy Carter’s toiling in Israeli-Palestinian relations, and Y2K. And that’s just in the last 100 years. I’d say we are doing pretty well.
But, even as society evolves, it seems segments of our population lag behind. Of course, this is to be expected, but sometimes this perceived lag begins to have actual, real world effects on the surrounding citizens, and I won’t stand for it! This influx of horrible people needs to be addressed.
However, we are all brothers and sisters on this earth, so simply discounting another living, breathing specimen as a waste of oxygen is neither neighborly, nor does it maintain any semblance of politeness. Thankfully, I’ve come up with a solution to deal with some of the world’s most awful segments of humanity, and the only way to do so is by placing people in appropriate tiers based on awfulness. Awareness is our best defense.
Tier One: The Onlooker
Unless you’ve been entirely consumed by misery, you’re probably finding yourself looking at the above photo and thinking; “wait a minute, that’s just a sweet old lady. There’s no way she’s inherently evil.” In fact, I would be wont to agree with your rhetorical statement; Gladys, I’m sure, is a fine member of society and undoubtedly voted Republican. But, I couldn’t find a better stock photo to suit my argument.
Let’s take a trip to hypothetical town: You’re at the grocery store buying almonds, baby powder, and a Batman mask when all of a sudden a fellow shop patron parks his or her cart and their gluttonous person directly in the middle of the aisle. You can’t pass them, and your very obvious nonverbal conveyance suggests you would prefer they move. No dice. This isn’t an isolated incident either. Whether it’s a guy texting as his car idles at a green light or a woman standing too long at a sporting event, the utter disregard for the comfort or accessibility of their fellow human beings is staggering.
Of course, I realize inclusions in the Tier One category aren’t inherently awful. Sure, they maintain absolutely no self-awareness and often place themselves (or others) in uncomfortable or even dangerous situations, so the Tier One participants, more than anything, are just annoying.
The Cure: Usually some sort of auditory disruption to return their wandering minds from dream land. Whether it’s a quick “excuse me”, a light tap on the car honk, or a thunderous drop-kick to the coccyx, the onlooker usually just needs to be reminded they aren’t the only human beings inhabiting the planet and often move on to other things.
Tier Two: The braggart
In the realm of class hierarchy, there’s not many things worse than someone who has achieved great success and then mercilessly reminds everyone of how great they are. Take the above subject, Richard Sherman, for example. Mr. Sherman is unquestionably the best defensive back in the NFL, and he’s gotten there by being a tireless worker, a rigorous student of the game, and possessing a plethora of God-given ability. And to top it all off, he recently became one of the richest players in the league. For most, climbing the ladder of success to the very top, pausing, building another story and then putting a bell on top would be enough, but not for the braggart. You see, for some, like Mr. Sherman here, success isn’t good enough: he wants to succeed AND make sure no one else can compete.
Listen, I’m 24-years old and understand the complexities of today’s job market. Even in college I was unreasonably competitive with classmates because I knew someday Jeff might end up competing directly with me for a job. Sorry about you and your family Jeff, but I need that job. No hard feelings. So, it’s not as if the braggart is being competitive. How could they, when they’ve already ascended to the pinnacle? Even Donald Trump, a man who competes in the most cut-throat industry in the world and is a roaring success is always quick to remind people of his humble beginnings. You see, Mr. Trump wasn’t lucky like you and me. When he graduated from the Ivy League college his dad put him through, he was only spotted $10 million to start a business. $10 million! Why don’t you just put him directly on the streets, Mr. Donald Trump’s father? You monster. But even in Trump’s tales of humble beginnings arise incessant bragging; he’s basically saying, “look what I once was, and look how awesome I’ve become. No one is like me. I’ll spit on your breakfast.”
While success is awesome, (and I hope everyone I know finds it), maintaining some level of modesty once you’ve attained it is really the difference between being a good and not good person. I haven’t talked to Gallup recently, but I can’t imagine public opinion of Sherman or Trump is too high, so maybe try to be like them from a success standpoint, but not a personality standpoint.
The Cure: With the braggart, it’s usually best to ignore them. The cocky types love attention, and once that’s gone it’s like starving a flame of oxygen. When there aren’t cameras in Richard Sherman’s face or Donald Trump forgets his Twitter password again, all seems quiet, so maybe take that advice to heart.
Tier Three: The internet troll
We’ve all seen it. You go to your favorite cooking website to find a recipe for braised short ribs, and you decide to scroll down to check the comments to see if any fellow members of the braised short ribs community approves of this recipe. After several inclusions regarding whatever short-ribbed trivial pursuits you may be seeking, you see it: “Bush caused 9/11 and Obama is gay.” Clearly, this individual has no interest in acquiring knowledge of appropriate pork-based stovetop cuisine, and simply wants to portray his ill-aligning political ideologies to the recipe seeking world.
It’s even worse on YouTube. I once saw a guy call a little girl the N-word on a video about a kitten. It doesn’t make sense. A few months ago, a particularly heartless individual posted some extraordinarily offensive comments about Dr. Martin Luther King on Twitter. After he was called out, he continued on a tirade of moronic insults that made less sense as his conversation wore on. He actually got so tired of his trolling he gave up. But the internet trolls are everywhere; Facebook, Twitter, Walmart.com, every news site ever. I can’t even click links on certain news sites anymore because I (foolishly) like to check the comments to see what the internet community thinks about a particular issue, and every single time there’s always several people who use comment boards for no other purpose than to incite controversy and just be all around terrible people. Are you a Christian? An internet troll with find a Christian site and spew atheistic hate speech. Did you vote for President Obama? A troll will seek you out to tell you some (usually racist) nonsense about how Obama (or Lucifer, as they say) is ruining America. Do you like puppies? “WELL TOO BAD, HERE’S A PICTURE OF KITTENS!” says the internet troll. “Oh, that’s actually quite pleasant, I like cats,” you foolishly retort. *Instantly sends 100 photographs of a gazelle being torn apart by a lion*
You see, the internet troll isn’t necessarily a bad human being because they say outlandishly, intentionally offensive things. In fact, it’s my opinion most people who troll the internet don’t actually hold the outrageously offensive opinions they portray online; they are simply trying to ignite an argument online. An internet troll may love his mother, but he will say disgusting things about yours if it means you will engage him in a battle of words. And this is why there’s a special, higher tier for internet trolls; baiting people into argument and intentionally trying to hurt feelings is sociopathic, borderline bipolar behavior. Sure, some comments are so stupid it’s impossible to take them seriously, but a few years ago a girl named Nicki Catsouras was killed in a car accident when she wrecked her dad’s Porsche into a concrete embankment in California. Somehow, photos of the utterly gruesome crash scene (seriously, don’t Google her name) found their way onto the internet, and some people actually emailed these photos to Nicki’s father. That’s an entirely new realm of messed up.
The cure: Entire, total, complete ignorance. To combat the internet troll, you can’t engage them, you can’t acknowledge them, and you can’t even click on their name. If an internet troll gets any indication you are ready to fight back, then they’ve already won. Literally the only way to fight back is by doing nothing; which in the end makes you an infinitely better human being for doing so.
Tier Four: the Idealist Extremist
Everyone has an opinion. Its one of the most beautiful things about our society. But isn’t it funny how sometimes the loudest opinions are the ones that are the most outlandish?
I was checking Twitter the other day when a sports journalist I follow asked if anyone could give her a recommendation of “American Sniper”; in my opinion, one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. If you aren’t familiar, it’s a movie about Chris Kyle, a former Navy SEAL sniper who apparently has more confirmed kills than any US sniper in history. Obviously, not everyone is going to enjoy the movie of the message, but one person replied to the journalist’s message by stating he felt the movie was propaganda. I’ll stop there, because while I don’t agree with this opinion, per se, I do feel like he has a legitimate point and I cant totally understand why he feels that way. However, he went on to call Chris Kyle a “mass murderer”, which really made me take a step back and think. The act of murder, by definition, is the killing of another person without justification. And even that term is loose because you can apparently shoot an unarmed teenager in Florida based on a bogus “neighborhood watch” and a shaky Castle Doctrine, but you can’t kill someone for, say, eating the rest of your ice cream. Chris Kyle killed people during a war, which you might recognize as a situation in which the people he was shooting at were trying to kill him right back. Adam Lanza is a mass murderer. Adolf Hitler was a mass murderer. A guy who served three tours of duty in a war isn’t a mass murderer. If this random Twitter user wants to live in a world where the United States military is entirely condemned for actions that allow him to speak his (“unpopular”) opinion, then his ideals seem a little flawed compared to the rest of society.
Groups like the Westboro Baptist Church are even worse. Not only do they want a world without soliders, they want to ensure homosexuals, Democrats, Republicans, hip-hop listeners, professional lawnmower jugglers, freelance bass fishermen, Macy’s loss prevention specialists, and Ron Howard never set foot inside the pearly gates of heaven. While all major religions have ideals in which they would prefer the world operate (including mine), it seems like everyone employs a “live and let live” attitude in terms of cultural tolerance. And that’s awesome. The Westboro Baptist Church is not awesome. Who knows, maybe I’m misreading them. Maybe they’re just the ultimate internet trolls. But when you attend a fallen solider’s funeral bearing a picket sign stating “God loves Dead Soldiers” maybe you’ve entirely lost sight of your faith.
The WBC is entirely too easy to pick on, but different segments of society possess extremists who ruin everything for everyone. Take feminism for example. (which should literally be a complete non-issue because we are in the 21st century, for God’s sake; treat everyone equally) On both sides of the feminism spectrum you have groups who are either so in favor of feminism they hope for the extermination of the male species entirely while the other end possesses the mindless idiots saying “LOL make me a sandwich hurr durr derp.” No wonder we are seriously still arguing about an issue which should’ve been resolved almost 100 years ago. If you can look past an argument as stupid as determining if men and women should be treated differently, there’s plenty of other opportunities to see just how mindless some arguments have become. Just when I thought politics was starting to gain a more moderate following, the racial tensions that have been plaguing the country over this past year have really enlightened me on just how far apart Democrats and Republicans really are.
The thing is, when everyone has their own version of “the perfect world” sometimes the needs of others tend to be phased out. As much as I would love to live in a world that was perpetually 67 degrees fahrenheit and no one fought about politics I realize that’s not convenient to a pretty sizable subset of our society (looking at you, Michigan). I don’t like to borrow quotes often, but I’ll use one from Donald Glover: he once said, (during a hilarious stand-up comedy special, and I’m paraphrasing a bit) that the two factors that make someone a good person is the presence of empathy and sympathy. Since a lack of sympathy literally makes you a monster, empathy is more of a relevant area of focus, since it refers to your ability to see both sides of a scenario and understand the plight of someone else. If you seriously can’t stand back, exit your dream word, and consider the feelings of a fellow human being, then you’ve totally failed your purpose.
The cure: I don’t care what religion you belong to, who you voted for, how much money you make, or how hot you junior prom date was (that’s seriously gross anyway, you’re like 30 now, you pedophile); always be a decent human being. The second you lose sight of the feelings of another individual then it’s time to pack it in and maybe try this whole humanity thing from a different angle, because clearly something is off. Remember; although you may have your own perfect version of the world, there’s another seven billion who might not be totally okay with you uprooting their situations.