Your inferiority - it's not that complex

30 March 2011

You know how people watch Cops, or The Real World, or Charlie Sheen or Sarah Palin because it secretly makes them feel better about themselves to witness the miserable and more pathetic reality of others? Since I'm the best kind of lefty, I've always hated that trainwreck mentality;  I feel sorry for the people who are being exploited, and I feel even worse for the fools who find it entertaining, completely blind to the fact that the joke is on them. And I really, really hate the manipulative bastards who create those shows, and/or those absurdly narcissistic public personae, and keep feeding them to us.  

But as I was thinking about this tonight, the words "miserable" and "pathetic" and "narcissistic" of course triggered thoughts of you, and I thought, "Hey! Maybe I secretly love to hate Scott Walker because it makes me feel better about myself."  Because that might be true. The more I despise you, the more assured I am that I am in the right and you are in the wrong, which does make me feel good, I guess, in the moral vindication department if not the social justice department.  But then I thought to myself, "Hey, again. This is an unfair comparison. Scott Walker is not a reality star. He is a bona fide public figure, whose actions have actual and serious consequences in my life. So my sick desire to watch his evil plans unfold fills a real need, not just a psychological one."  And that's true.  But it doesn't explain the puzzle at hand: my realization that my incalcuably sanctimonious attitude toward (and, let's just say it, hatred of) you, is predicated on the simple fact of my moral, ethical and intellectual superiority to you. Which doesn't sound very nice, when I type it out like that, but I might as well admit to it, since it has rather become the elephant in the room.

So I began, slowly, to realize that I have to change my position on this.  Maybe it's not always all wrong to take some pleasure in feeling better than someone else. Because it's not simply a matter, I don't think, of feeling superior to you, or thinking I am superior to you.  Because when you put it to the empirical test, I actually am superior to you, in many and significant ways.  If you have a minute, I think it's worth our time to list a few of them.

  1. I'm willing to compromise, under most circumstances, even though I hate doing so as much as the next guy.  I like thinking things through, correcting myself when I'm wrong, and learning through everything I do.  I don't like making my mind up before I start something, and I never make my mind up until I look at the evidence from both sides.  [Aside to my children: please note that this fact about my regular self does not extend to my mother-self and most certainly is not part of my parenting philosophy. As I have explained many times, I am not an elected official and our family is not so much a "democracy" as a "my way or the highwayocracy." So stop getting your hopes up until you can pay some bills around here. Then you can vote. I think the age for that is 18. And don't forget to bring valid id to the polls.]
  2. I'm honest and you're a liar. I don't really feel, at this point, that the burden of proof is on me to demonstrate this, as the record clearly shows that you are incapable of speaking honestly to your constituents or upholding the oath you made to this state when you were sworn in as governor. I will leave that burden to you, and challenge you to demonstrate an instance of public honesty in your short and repulsive reign of terror.
  3. I am educated.  Yeah, this sounds snobby, too, and I don't really like to say it, but it's true. I have an advanced degree and you are a college dropout. But I'm not just talking about my formal schooling: I'm talking about the fact that I am a reader and a thinking and a listener and I am motivated to do most of the  things I do by the desire to learn more and not by the conviction that I am smart enough, or worse, as in your case, by the moronic conviction that you have "real world smarts" and "know things they can't teach in school."
  4. I am humble.  I know, you're thinking "That's not true at all! She is showing now that she is also a liar like me!" But let me explain: I can be confident in my superiority to you while I simultaneously acknowledge my many, many flaws and the fact that I really don't know the half of it about most of it.  But I do know that I do not live my life blindly driven by the desire to preserve my own well-being and achieve material success (what you call "making real money"), but by the desire to make some small effort to have lived a life worth living.  This is probably the biggest difference between us: I do not feel entitled to a "piece of the pie." I don't even really like pie. My humility rests in my conviction that there is nothing I can do, or say, or be that could lead to a situation in which I "deserve" more or less pie than the next person. And you believe that people who have "earned" the lion's share are "entitled" to it by virtue of having "worked" for it. Which leads me to my next point
  5. I am smarter than you are.  Because I understand, having studied history and done the research, that those who have controlling interests in this country have not "earned" the right to exploit the rest of us. They have not worked themselves up by their bootstraps to achieve the American Dream of Being Filthy Rich. They have, as a matter of fact, simply stolen the share of those of us who actually did all of the work to earn that money and are now doing everything within their substantial amount of power to try to cover up their blatant theft of our dignity.  You, on the other hand, believe that people who are poor just need to work harder, tighten their belts, save up, and shut up. Which is stupid, and offensive.
  6. I'm capable of restraint.  I could go on all day.  But I think I'll save  the rest for another day, and another letter, while you let these things sink in and think of ways you might improve your behavior, and change your personality, so that you're more like me.  Good luck with that!
In the meantime, maybe I'll watch a little tv. Maybe Sarah Palin's Alaska is on. I haven't seen that yet, but I think I might finally be ready to give it a chance, now that I know it's ok to embrace your own strengths, and not feel guilty for acknowledging the other's weaknesses.

Until you resign,

Heather DuBois Bourenane

1 comment:

  1. Rock on Heather! I feel sorry for Scott's family because they are also subjected to his ego. I hear that he is quite personable, it is just too bad that we don't elect a Prom King, or something along those lines, for the state.