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Head aches

This morning I woke up very depressed. It also happened yesterday and normally never happens.

My depressive slumps are always worst in the evenings and my mornings are usually the brightest times of the day. Often I wake up feeling good but gradually remember things and think myself into a state of depression by afternoon or evening. Last two days I’ve been very cheerful during the day. Almost hypomanic and carefree. I suppose the misery has to go somewhere and the hypomania is a desperate attempt to drown it out. It isn’t a truly sincere cheerfulness, even if it feels so at the time.

It did feel so at the time. Last night there was a beautiful crescent moon over the sea and I felt like twirling around at the seaside to my favourite Elton songs. But sadly, even the darkest areas of the seaside don’t feel private enough for dancing. My social anxiety was as low as it can possibly be. I was vibrant, friendly and talkative. None of the difficulties seemed to matter. I’m still not sure that they matter.

Later I watched three episodes of War and Peace with Anthony Hopkins as Pierre Bezukhov. I love him. His Pierre has always been my favourite but I’m enjoying it with even greater relish on a second viewing. Sometimes I don’t even listen to what he is saying but study the way he does a socially awkward person.

My favourite Pierre moment is when he says a brazen thing he doesn’t mean and asks himself immediately after: what did I say that for? I’ve rarely seen that done in a socially anxious person portrayal and it’s quite relatable. Sometimes I also feel it is my words that speak and not myself. Some of the things that come out of my mouth when I’m socially anxious are really not things I mean or think at all. I also like how he is unintentionally rude because he is too oblivious or awkward. I’m rude too sometimes, less for obliviousness (though that happens) but more for plain overpowering anxiety. I still recall woefully how I accompanied a girl to the train station once and it didn’t occur to me to offer to help with her luggage, even though she said that it was heavy and was obviously struggling. I was feeling so anxious I couldn’t operate on the level of situational cues and missed it completely. I can start conversations/topics too abrubtly instead of sliding slowly into them too. That’s a deliberate disregard of small talk though, so probably not relevant. Other than these things there is also much that is different in mannerism and I’m not really like Pierre, but he is definitely part of my tribe.

I’ve switched tribe in recent years. Maybe it’s not good for my mental health that my tribe includes people like Elton John, Hart Crane and Dylan Thomas and I should strive to be a balanced citizen and look up to people that hold it together better, don’t make spectacularly wrong life choices or resort to alcoholism and debauchery to drown out the world. I do look up to them, but they are not my tribe. My tribe is people that make mistakes, emotional, sensitive, self-harming-in-the-process, struggling people. When I was younger, I couldn’t see it quite as broadly as I do now. I don’t drink almost at all, for example, and including an alcoholic in my tribe would have seemed quite alien. But it’s not about drink or drugs or whatever a person’s chosen way of drowing it out is. It’s about the emotionality and sensitivity underneath and having that struggle. Resorting to drink and drugs is just sad. That entire downward spiral is. I hope I’ll never have to know.

I think all weakness is the same weakness, really. It doesn’t matter what anyone has: eating disorder, alcoholism, butt implants, casual sex, drug addiction, obsessive working out, gambling, gaming addiction. It’s all the same root and what ends up being your thing is sometimes just a matter of upbringing and the kind of influence you have around and what your priorities or interests are. I’ve been fortunate to have so much good influences around me to protect me from many things like that – except for spectacularly wrong life choices – but I do have that weakness in me. And when you see things as connected, it’s easier to be sympathetic to weaknesses you don’t share, provided the person underneath is alright.

I think my way of drowing it out is to be totally passive and watch comedy or detective shows. But it could have been partying or food, so.

 

Snobs

The title is to be pronounced in the voice of John Cleese as Basil Fawlty.

 

I spotted a bunch of intelligent folk bashing 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight and some other books whose titles won’t say anything to most people. It was old stuff but it annoyed me enough to inspire. There are moments recently when I feel I have to watch that I don’t become contrary for the sake of it. That I don’t suggest a different take on something because I CAN, not because I believed in it. I do believe in what I’m about to write though, so it’s not an exercise in thinking outside the box.

So, what’s the deal?

Snobs irritate me. Reading how some fifty people were bashing the same book, most of whom had not read it, and were just carried along by the tide of collective hatred and contempt for it, I felt like going “Snobs, you arrogant wannabe middle-class wannabe intellectuals you snobs!” as Basil Fawlty would have done if he had intellectual interests beyond Brahms’s third racket. What was even more striking in these discussions and reviews was that the readers were – more frequently than the law of averages would permit – mentioning how they had just read Houellebecq and needed a break, or suggesting they will get back to their Houellebecq now, after the excruciating experience of having read *insert title of some bestseller of dubious quality*. LOL. There’s comedy in this.

I have a feeling that the success of that book might have partially been based on everyone considering it so bad you gotta read how bad it is to be able to say “This is very bad indeed”. It unites people, hating the same thing.

I have not read either E. L. James or Houellebecq, but both are well-known status symbols in a certain segment of society: absolute trash and contemporary masterpiece. So those intelligent people, who are sadly still lacking in the ability for independent thought and are frequently interchangeable with each other, as they read, watch and enjoy the same stuff, suppressing whatever their individual taste may drive them towards, well, that bunch decorates themselves with the name of Houellebecq and defines their taste by being against the trashy bestsellers.

Now, I’m a mighty insecure person too and I used to do that in my late teens and very early 20s. I read critically acclaimed authors because they were critically acclaimed and watched many a critically acclaimed movie for the same reasons, but that was mostly because I was a newcomer to the world of literature and film and did not know how to find my way yet. I defined my taste against modern literature and people like T.S. Eliot more than any bestseller authors, though. Why would I do that? They were simply not relevant. But that was a long time ago, and I digress.

What I’m trying to say is kicking downwards collectively is a bit wannabe intellectual and suggests lack of independent thought and backbone. I’d find it refreshing if one intelligent person admitted to liking something bad instead of parroting how horrible it is.

Point is, the world does not consist of intellectuals or people with excellent artistic intuitions, but enjoying different forms of art is pretty universal and human. I don’t think one should appeal to the lowest common denominator, but it is natural that, for example the third generation intellectuals and artists have their own art and culture with their own standards for quality, and the people who are different – I failed to find a good general term for them – so let’s just say different – they have their art, their favourite books and music, and their own standards for what is good.

This sort of kicking downwards is just annoying when it is done collectively. Individually I wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow if someone had bashed trash novels, that’s normal, but collectively, it just struck me as one of those moments when it begins to work against the accusers, making them appear quite silly and brainwashed and in need of someone interfering and holding up a mirror.

Kicking upwards is much more interesting, if sincere. I think that is why I enjoyed that John Clare story about the man who thought Shakespeare was the title of a play. He kicked upwards and he was sincere. Stupid, yes, but we can’t help our own stupidity, can we? That too the wannabe elite fails to realise. We can’t all be intelligent, beautiful, artistically gifted, assertive and socially extroverted because we aren’t born that way. And the things people enjoy, are able to enjoy, and how they enjoy, are just so very different as a result of who they are, and they can’t do much about it. So enjoy and let enjoy, I suppose. Read your Houellebecq and leave the rest to its target readers.

My arrogant opinion is that if you are truly intelligent and confident, and not masochistically curious, you don’t need to lift your status at the expense of lower league competitors. They are just not relevant. Champions League teams do not need to trash local fourth league players for how they play like shit.

In conclusion: SNOBS!

(said in the voice of Mr. Fawlty once more)