Photo by Mark.
2014 is here! Everyone’s making their lists of resolutions and impossible goals. For those that are going to attempt to make it through the year sacrificing your true nature so you can trick your brain into thinking your martyrdom makes you a better person, stay gold! For the rest of us, here’s a list of more attainable challenges in 2014. Many of them are interrelated so the good news is, you can feel more productive by crossing multiple things off your list for the price of one.
And now, here are 14 things to avoid in 2014:
1. Using Facebook. It’s time we admit that Facebook doesn’t have the luster it once had. It used to be so fun to “connect” with old friends, minor celebrities and random people that loosely share our interests or that have “mutual friends” in common. It’s time we all admit that it’s a mostly just a bunch of bullshit. We don’t really care what these acquaintances are up to. Some people (myself included) tend to have ‘diarrhea of the status update’ and post stuff all day long. [Note: in my defense, the majority of stuff I post is for humorous purposes, despite the fact that most people completely miss the point.] Using your online voice has become a warzone of negativity, complaining, being politically discreet (which I will get to in a minute) and knowing too much about the mundane activities of people you actually don’t really care all that much for. Studies are coming to light that show that people that are heavy Facebook users are typically unhappy people because they are upset they are not getting some kind of reaction, be it too many or too little interactions or “likes,” which cannot be exchanged for any monetary value, I might add! As a result, people are going out of their way to do things for online attention. For some reason, nobody wants to admit it, but it’s a bubble that is getting ready to burst. Let’s also not forget that Facebook ads have ruined the experience by either filling your news feed with advertising or if you are sharing something, the majority of your “friends/followers” won’t even see your post unless you fork over cash to Facebook. If the phoniness of social media is a new concept to you, I recommend this article.
2. Being politically correct. As I said in my 2006 book “Sketches of Verbal Alchemy,” “Being politically correct or discreet is lying.” Everyone needs to relax! For some reason, we seem to be treating the actions of people that lived hundreds of years ago like these offenses just happened. As a result this group of people hates that group of people and it’s making the world have to collectively walk on egg shells so as not to upset some other group. It’s bullshit. I had nothing to do with wars that happened thousands of years ago. It sucks that they happened, but do not blame me for those things. NEITHER of us were there, so let’s learn from the mistakes of the past and start over! You are allowed not to like someone, just try not to be hateful about it. Do not blame an entire group for the actions of one person. Why then are people shocked when someone says something crappy about another person (or group of people) and then immediately has to issue the apology press release?! Guess what the person is really sorry for? They are sorry for having been told their opinion pisses people off. I’m not saying you should go out of your way to be racist, sexist or anything of that nature. What I am saying is if someone says something idiotic, don’t keep their hatred alive by constantly rehashing it on the news or social media. Ignore them and their hatred will also be ignored.
3.Endorsing hateful companies/people. This goes in tandem with ‘resolution’ number 2. If a group of “humanitarians” that sell fast food chicken feels the need to publicly utter hatred towards homosexuals and that really bothers you, DO NOT BUY THEIR PRODUCT! Bam. If zero people support a company that goes out of their way to be haters, simple mathematics tells you that 1,000,000 customers that spend zero money = $0. If you say you are going to boycott and then don’t, what you are doing is enabling and encouraging bad behavior.
4. Participating in celebrity gossip. With the advent of reality TV (which is as fake as fake can be), the entire world is clamoring for their 15 minutes of fame. Braggarts who’ve got nothing better to do than flaunt their bling or your lack thereof, people that are severely rich and people with such low opinions of themselves they need to resort to having major plastic surgery in order to feel accepted are becoming megastars. And why? Because, we as a society are enabling this bad behavior. Being famous and having a creative skill that nobody else has used to be what turned us on about celebrity and now becoming an irresponsible teen mom can make you a star. With the immediacy of the internet, we are being subject to hear about the comings and goings of these uninteresting people. Also with paparazzi stopping at nothing to get photos to sell to every gossip site (and the internet is being flooded with these sites that are all reporting the same stuff), people are eventually going to get hurt. Sure it will probably happen infrequently, but if we have to go through all the airport security with the infrequency of accidents that do happen, we shouldn’t have to put up with having to be subjected to all this gossip. Stop making stupid people famous!
5. Using kitschy language/hashtag abuse. I might lose my mind if I hear any of these phrases in 2014: “This gives me life,” “LOL” (when people aren’t actually laughing), “Wow…. Just wow,” “I have no words” (and yet, those ARE words), “Realness,” abbreviating the shit out of everything for the simplicity of a ‘txt msg’ and the overuse of hashtags. Thank you for captioning a photo of your lunch with things such as #lunch #bun #burger #person #human #photo #delicious #tomato #hamburger, but when I see a lot of hashtags in a photo caption, my first inclination is to #unfollow #your #ass.
6. Using our mobile devices so much. People have forgotten to live in the moment because for some reason they think every moment is worth documenting. Why stop to smell the flowers when you can stop to Instagram the flowers? People have forgotten how to interact in social situations because of these devices that are supposed to give us the illusion of feeling closer via “social media.” It’s more like anti-social media. It’s annoying to go to a concert to watch the entire crowd viewing the show through their phone (and not caring that their selfishness in holding up their phones is causing a chain reaction of everyone blocking each others view) and that spills out into other areas such as people stopping to send a message and being completely thoughtless in moving out of the way to do their personal business. It’s annoying to catch up with an old friend to find that they’d rather be texting or handing you their phone every 5 seconds so they can show you photos of what they are up to. Unless lives are at stake, we need to all get over the fact that none of us are really all that important and replying to emails/texts/social media can wait. LIVE IN THE MOMENT! The moment is fleeting.
7. Getting caught up in the hype. Have we not all learned by now that advertising is filled with subliminal messages that are the equivalent of a hypnotist convincing you that you are getting sleepy. The hype machine tells you to endorse lackluster product so you won’t look like an uncultured idiot when you are at the water-cooler on Monday. How many movies/books/TV programs that are utterly atrocious become #1 and therefore you feel the need to see what all the buzz is about only to actually have your faith in humanity shaken that people can be so stupid? Be an original and make up your own mind. Go with your gut. If something looks unappealing to you, chances are your gut instinct was correct. It takes a stronger person to say NO than to say YES!
8. Listening to the news. Do you ever hear of anything good that happens on the news? Rarely. Instead, you are being scared into submission with the news of robberies, murders, bad weather, massive cutbacks, world atrocities and with our “trusted” reporters offering no solution. Not to mention at any given time, some group of people are spewing hatred about another group and instead of snuffing it out, it’s being reported over and over ad-nauseum giving legs to a brief event such as the infamous “Janet Jackson Superbowl wardrobe malfunction” that in actually lasted for less than 10 seconds and was repeated over and over again for years. We should be hearing about what our politicians are doing with the money that our tax dollars are being spent on, so that if they are squandering our resources, they could be fired. If you worked for a company and you were up to shady activities or were being secretive about how you spend your time, you’d be fired. Why doesn’t that seem to apply to politicians? Why doesn’t anyone question this? Too busy being distracted by shiny objects?
9. Nostalgia. Let’s face it, The Smiths are not going to reunite. They had an impressive run of good albums in the 1980s, but it’s over. It’s 30 years later and for lots of reasons, they feel no need to tour around the world rehashing their old material. It’s far more interesting to see what a person becomes other than constantly revisiting what they once were. This also applies to remakes, sequels and bands reuniting. People want the familiarity of seeing new life in their precious characters, but rarely is the original bested. Leave it alone and quit trying to cheapen a beloved product for the sake of making money. Take a risk and come up with a new idea instead. What a concept!
10. Not swearing. As George Carlin so rightly pointed out once (and I am paraphrasing here), “There are over 5 million words in the English language and 7 of them are bad.” We’ve reached a point in our society where the word “fuck” is not just a verb any more. It’s also an adjective that has very little potency these days. And really, what’s the big fucking deal? It’s just a word, that is far less offensive than inflicting something bad on people (such as “hate,” “kill” or “murder.”) It might not be too much of a stretch to say that if more people spent more time “fucking,” there’d be less time for “hating.” Many of these “bad” words are in reference to body parts or body excretions and since the majority of the world either have these parts or do these actions, people need to quit being so sensitive and GET THE FUCK OVER IT! What is right or wrong to you might not be how I feel on the subject so quit trying to force your belief system on me. “Swearing” works for me so leave me the fuck alone about it!
11.Keeping fair-weather friends. Also in tandem with point #1, our society has tried convince you of the importance of keeping your numbers up. You may have 5,000 Facebook friends but are all those people REALLY your friends? Can you really count on that 5,000 if you are in a bind? You may have 100,000 Twitter followers, but are those people REALLY paying attention to your message? These days, you can buy followers/friends for as little as $5 US, so I advise you to choose quality over quantity.
12. Memes and Listicles. I am really over seeing a famous image captioned with the new phrase of the current millisecond. Come up with your own image if you think you are so clever! Also, there is really no need to point out ’15 things I should have learned’ from something as mundane as a TV show that was on the night before. It’s become apparent that people are so bored in life, they need something to try and fill the boredom, but there has to be a better way! How about coming up with a list of 15 things we should be doing instead of wasting our lives on the internet?
13. Binge Watching. Put down the remote control and say yes to real life experiences.
14. Being so serious. We pretend we know what life is all about and that we are in control to avoid the actuality that we pretty much have no idea what we are doing. It also doesn’t help that every human is only inhabiting this planet for approximately 110 years or less and deep down that totally freaks us out. Therefore, it is imperative to RELAX, LIGHTEN UP, STOP BEING SO SERIOUS and ENJOY LIFE!!!!!!!!!!
May 2014 be your best year yet!