Iss. 5 || July 30th, 2022

The Argument for Douchebag Media, or: Aren't You Tired of Being Nice?


I have found a pretty effective form of emotional 'spring cleaning' that I fall back on whenever difficult or upsetting feelings descend upon me. It seems to really get the job done for me in most cases, and I am grateful that I have found such an easy coping (?) mechanism that helps me get through difficult times. The mechanism is very simple. Are you ready?

Are you feeling sad? Consume lonely media.

Are you feeling angry? Consume violent media.

Are you feeling stressed? Consume douchebag media.

I can see you scratching your heads out there. "Okay, I can understand the argument for those first two things," you're saying. "But what on earth is douchebag media?"

Well, my friend, 'douchebag media' is the affectionate term I have cultivated to describe a wide mass of things. These things vary wildly, but they usually have some or all of the following traits.

- Fans probably skew towards the masculine.
- Satirical in nature.
- Don't be showing this to kids.
- Absurdist humor.
- Loud and obnoxious.
- The type of thing you have to excuse yourself for before sharing it with people.

Shows like South Park, or It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Music by groups like Mindless Self Indulgence, The Bloodhound Gang, or Pink Guy. Media that carefully skirts the edge of being genuinely hateful, while also pulling no punches in how it attacks certain subjects. Not every pitch that these pieces of media wind up is a winner - in fact, some of them are huge misses - but a lot of them are.

There is, I think, something very freeing about content like this. However, I think that the people who benefit the most from this 'freeness' are the ones who would normally never engage with things like this. People who are constantly aware of every little word they say, how they engage with people, how they engage with media, how they engage with events in the world - and all of these are very positive traits, by the way. I am in no way saying that people shouldn't be self-aware, or strive to make other people comfortable. However, the people that try to be as open and kind and inoffensive (I use this word not in a weird way) as possible often stress themselves the FUCK out.

If you're one of these people - a people-pleaser, a news and trend follower, a 'help my friends through their issues' person, a 'hyper-aware of every upsetting thing that happens on both a micro and macro scale' person - I know that you know what I'm talking about. You act out of kindness and a genuine desire for the good of others, and it's precisely because your desire is genuine that it ends up stressing you out so much. It can seep into your life even when you aren't meaning to. It can leave you feeling guilty and ugly about yourself in moments of respite, when you're simply trying to watch or read or even just exist. Hyper awareness leads, sometimes, to an inability to turn this awareness OFF.

For me, there were a few years of my life where I just genuinely could not find joy in anything without spending so much of my energy explaining why I didn't ACTUALLY enjoy it, because of all the (minute or relevant, it didn't matter) things wrong with it. I was having a hard time distinguishing being critical of my interests and being critical of having interest in anything at all. People cannot function to any healthy degree without letting their brains rest, and having to contemplate everything at every moment of every day had left me utterly drained and defeated. I had cared so much that I wasn't able to care anymore when it really mattered.

For me, I finally found respite in the most backwards way: consuming content that was so, well, atrocious, that spending any energy at all defending it was a complete waste of time. Was I really going to explain every single thing wrong with South Park, for example? I would lose ten years of my life before I finished. Was I going to bother defending a song by the Bloodhound Gang that consists entirely of suicide baiting lyrics? No, because that song fucking sucks. Somehow, things like this just clicked with me; I could consume media while - pardon the language - just shutting the fuck up about it, honestly. It was tacky, and ugly, and I felt no need to defend it, because it had so little value in the long run. I still don't know why this works for me, but it just does. It was the most freeing thing in the world to me.

Obviously, this won't work for everybody. For some people, ugly humor is still ugly and unpalatable no matter what, and that is totally okay. However, I encourage anybody reading this who resonated with this feeling to give some thought to what their piece of 'rest' media could be. Maybe a violent movie, maybe a cartoon with a fanbase that behaves poorly. It doesn't even have to be anything with negative connotations. Just something that you enjoy or take part in without explaining it to anybody, even yourself. A guilty pleasure without the guilt. Maybe it's Peppa Pig; maybe it's the cheesiest rom-com on earth; maybe it's an album with some questionable lyrics.

As we Neocitizens will reiterate time and time again to anyone who will listen, learning to extricate yourself from the prison of being presentable and monetizable online will be so freeing in the long run. A big part of this, in my opinion, is tied in with your hobbies and likes. This isn't a message encouraging bad behavior or anything, more of a 'dance like nobody's watching' sort of message. And it's not even technically a message; just my thoughts on the matter. My opinion shouldn't sway anybody unless they actually agree with it! Well, anyway; there's my ramble for the night. Sometimes, you just need to give yourself a break. Trust me, there will always be a fight to fight or a discussion to have tomorrow; tonight, you can just respectfully step away, and get your batteries charged again for when it counts.


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