Sunday, April 17, 2011

I learned that people who aren't cheery optimists aren't just thought criminals, we're emotional criminals as well, thanks to this super useful Oprah magazine article.

This is too stupid to parse every single dumb fuck paragraph, but suffice it to say that normal behavior such as wanting emotional support from your sister or having a bad day and snapping at someone is converted into a sign of emotional depravity. If your mom makes a comment about you having to work harder for success- it's a dagger. If your sister is sad and wants support, she's a cannibal. A lady made fun of your speech? She is just like a rapist. (BTW: it's not normal to check your husbands emails. Like wtf?)

Really, I'm going to have to quote the whole damn thing:

. Dementors
The woman who publicly shamed Pamela after her speech was the most destructive kind of emotional mugger, the equivalent of a rapist: someone who gets off on causing pain. In Harry Potter's world, such beings are called dementors. They are endlessly unhappy, addicted to the sense of control they get from violating others. They don't care whom they hurt, as long as they hurt someone.

Emo-Do Defense: If someone attacks with no provocation and seems intent on inflicting maximum harm, you may be dealing with a truly disturbed person. First, eat some chocolate (any Harry Potter fan can tell you that). Then distance yourself in any way you can. This wasn't a problem for Pamela—she was easily able to avoid her attacker—but may be daunting if you've got a dementor in the family or at work. If you can't remove yourself from the relationship, at least keep your emotional distance. Don't trust a dementor with your private thoughts.

Staying away from dementors allows them to socially self-destruct—and they always do. Though onlookers may at first be too horror-stricken to come to your rescue, most people are appalled by dementors' behavior. This is why cruel conversationalists ultimately end up friendless, and—on a much larger scale—why evils like prejudice and discrimination have slowly but surely become less acceptable in almost every human society.

She just doesn't think Pamela's speech is stupid and has a rude way of expressing it- she's endlessly unhappy and addicted to control! That's a lot to read into one instance of dickish behavior. I also like the demonization of unhappiness- people aren't rude because they are rude, they are UNHAPPY- HOW AWFUL.

And of course, how this lady is encouraging people to treat their families. She encourages people to blow off their sisters who are in trouble, and ignore their mom's sensible(although oh noes pessimistic- you know that pessimism is the biggest thought crime!) advice by blowing it off as well. When these self centered happy faces get into real problems and someone blows them off, they'll whine about 'emotional mugging' but who is going to be there to support them?

The self centered emphasis on keeping in a good mood is silly. Oftentimes, life isn't about putting on a happy face. It's about connecting to others even if they are having a hard time. It's about accepting criticism, even if it's rude. It's about accepting that things may be harder than you thought. It may even involve respecting your husband's privacy. By focusing on keeping in a good mood, we can never truly grow up, and learn to work with people as they are and the world as it is.

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