I’ve really enjoyed The Good Place because discussing moral philosophy and associated thought exercises has been one of my favorite things since I took my first of a jillion philosophy classes in college.
I’ve enjoyed it in that way that’s like, wow, why doesn’t everyone love this? Not in an asshole “I can’t believe you’re too dumb to see how great this is” kind of way but in that way when you just enjoy something SO MUCH it’s kind of impossible to understand why people don’t enjoy it just as much, even if you rationally understand that they don’t, and everyone has different tastes and things they like to do with their time and some people are just never going to watch kdramas no matter HOW MANY TIMES YOU TRY TO TELL THEM.
I got into a really fun discussion a few days ago about the ethical issues that crop up when it comes to self-driving cars, and just general talk about what the issues are and the different ways to think about them. People were having a nice time talking about it, even those who aren’t generally into the topic, because it CAN be really interesting, just working through the various issues in the “I understand there isn’t a perfect solution but thinking through it is kind of a nice way to pass some time” kind of way and I really was having fun.
AND THEN an absolutely shining example of That Guy came along. Just divebombed into a conversation that had been going on for hours. And he said “You just need to do XYZ.” Like, hey, dummies, problem solved, since you were clearly trying to solve the ethical issues of self-driving cars here in a Discord chat and FAILING AT IT. Totally ignoring the fact that no one was trying to solve anything, people were just talking. Just talking about the various ins and outs of different situations that could come up and what that might mean, and anyway, I don’t have to describe the entire situation because you already know exactly what this was. No one needs help, no one needs rescue, no one needs an answer and That Guy DESCENDS FROM ON HIGH (likely sitting atop his own towering sense of self-assurance that causes him to never even consider questioning whether his input is welcome, appropriate, or even on topic) and I was immediately like, oh. I see now why people don’t like to talk about this for fun. This is no longer fun for me.
Thanks, That Guys, for your insufferable need to be right and smug in situations where NO ONE EVEN ASKED YOU ANY QUESTION, LET ALONE THE SPECIFIC QUESTION YOU DECIDED TO ANSWER, ABSOLUTELY CLUELESS TO THE FACT THAT YOU ARE RUINING WHAT OTHER PEOPLE HAVE GOING ON BECAUSE YOU CANNOT IMAGINE A WORLD IN WHICH YOUR OPINION IS NOT HOTLY AWAITED AND WELCOMED WITH OPEN ARMS.
You might be about to say, “well, maybe he wanted to join in on the conversation” and I will say to you, very patiently, that you know damn well in your gut that isn’t true, because we all know That Guy, and he’s probably 85% of the reason people avoid philosophy like the plague in the first place. And I further submit that if he wanted to join in the conversation, which is understandable, because you’ll have to trust me when I say we were legitimately having fun, he would have taken a moment to UNDERSTAND THE ACTUAL CONVERSATION AND ITS PARTICIPANTS (at least one person with an ACTUAL DEGREE IN THE SUBJECT), and made an effort to join in the conversation that was ACTUALLY BEING HAD, rather than arrive, throw down his “I’VE SOLVED THIS FOR YOU!” dick on our virtual table, and waited for praise on his unwelcome wiener.
We did not praise his unwelcome wiener, and the conversation immediately broke up, as it was no longer fun, but hey, at least he got to tell us how much smarter he was than all of us and probably felt good about himself for a while, and isn’t that all that matters in the end? That random men you encounter throughout life come away from every interaction, including those they’ve forced themselves into, feeling good about themselves?
I have an unrelated story that you will either GET or you won’t, and both are fine, because this is definitely a me thing, and encapsulates the way I feel about a thing. You know how lately if something is praised as having all female writers, or a 90% female team, or anything at all like that, most of us can recognize that as a good thing, progress. But there’s always going to be That Guy who comes into the tweet stream to be like “YOU BITCHES SAY YOU WANT EQUALITY AND NOW YOU’RE EXCLUDING MEN? DOESN’T SOUND VERY EQUAL. BITCHES. YOU’RE BITCHES.”
That’s super irritating. It really is. I don’t think anyone who I would willingly associate with can argue that it isn’t super irritating. But for a long time, it was like tugging at the corner of my mind, I felt a way about it but couldn’t exactly put it into words, but then I remembered this story from my childhood that kind of summed up the sort of impotent injustice feeling and this is what happened.
The house I grew up in had three bathrooms, one being the master, and my sister and I were each responsible for cleaning one of the other ones every Saturday. There was the big one upstairs that had a big counter, and more space, and a bathtub/shower, and a smaller half bath downstairs. When we initially took on this job, it was decided that I’d clean upstairs for six months and my sister would do the half bath for six months, and then after that we’d swap for six months, and continue on in that way.
Well, when the first six months finally ended, my parents felt that the arrangement wasn’t exactly fair – maybe it wasn’t, maybe they had something else in mind, maybe they just changed their minds. Who knows, who cares. The new arrangement, starting right then, was to be a more even split, switching off week by week. So it’s finally my turn to have the easy job for a long while, and suddenly it’s only fair that the one who has had the easy job the whole time gets to split it with me?
IF THAT ISN’T EXACTLY IT, I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS.
The comments are still broken. I might fix them someday, I might not. Just like whenever the last time I did this was, you can talk to me on Twitter, or DM me on IG, or you can email me, or you can even text me, if you contact me and ask for the number I have just for that, and I will give it to you without question no matter who you are, because some people like to text and that’s valid. It goes to my phone but don’t bother calling me because that number doesn’t ring, I don’t use my phone for that, and I don’t actually want to speak to you with my voice. I feel I have provided several suitable ONE MIGHT EVEN SAY EXCESSIVE ways for you to comment, so I don’t feel particularly bad about my lack of urgency to fix this site, although clearly bad enough to dust off an old number for your convenience. We will call this even, and it is my blog, so I’m allowed to make that decision.