To say that I’m not a people person would be an understatement. Faced between having to speak to a room of total strangers or be torn apart by jackals, by the time you offered me the choice I’d already be in the cage full of wild dogs, giving them names and offering them treats (bits of me, I presume, I didn’t really think this analogy through). I am misanthropic almost to the point of sociopathy.
That being said, I know that for the most part my dislike is irrational and I accept that. People are largely good: man is a noble animal with weaknesses. When I wrote Playing Doctor (still at the bottom of the Amazon kindle sales chart with no reviews, thanks guys!) I painted everybody as a self-centred, callous sociopath; not as critique on people, but as a study in contrasts. People are basically okay.
There are, however, some people who raise my ire and justly deserve it. I do not divide my distaste for these people by race, religion or culture: I like to think I’m an equal-opportunity offender. Here’s my self-indulgent list of groups of people I despise.
Disclaimer to the above video: it makes genuinely disturbing viewing. Mainly because somehow this shit got on television without contravening the Fraudulent Mediums Act.
Let me be blunt: anyone who relieves gullible or grieving people of their cash under false pretenses should be chained to a large rock and hurled off a cliff into the sea. To set yourself up as a medium, a spirit-talker, an astrologer, a chiromancer, a fortune-teller, a palm-reader, a faith healer or a ghost hunter and charge dullards for your services is to commit fraud of the worst kind: picking on people who should know better in order to fill your pockets. You are the worst kind of entrepreneur; worse than ambulance-following lawyers, worse than cold-callers who sell old people double glazing at a 200% markup, worse than the man who sells stolen televisions out of the back of a van.
Why? Because you are selling a service that doesn’t exist anywhere except in the minds of your clientèle (and maybe your own, if you are also deluded). You might claim that you “give hope” to people who have lost relatives, but that’s not true. You offer false hope, which is a great deal worse. You are the open cell door that leads to the gas chambers. You delude people into offering you cash in order to impersonate (and therefore assault the memory of) a person dear to them, or you offer them a false vision, a platitudinous prediction of the future that gives them a meaningless sense of entitlement. People who consult with mediums are not bad people: they’re gullible chuckleheads, afraid to live in a universe filled with random events. The people who exploit (and there’s no other word for it) these people are despicable. I would curse you but I don’t think it would do any good.
A final word: if any single medium in the world can demonstrate, under falsifiable experimental conditions, that they possess a genuine ability to communicate with the spirit world, I will organise a grand rally that culminates with my being chained to a large rock and hurled into the sea. I’m not too worried, because if mediums have a genuine gift, everything we know about the universe is wrong. And if Derek Ogilvy is reading, I am prepared to fight you on a hilltop during a thunderstorm for duping a lonely, impressionable single mother with your unbearable horseshit.
The original tumblr that sparked the Nice Guy thing off has since disappeared (hacked by some Nice Guys, no doubt) and all I could find was a link to the Daily Mail (yech) coverage of the thing. If you can’t be bothered to hit the jump, I’ll paraphrase: Nice Guys are guys who cosy up to a woman and become their friend in order to get sex. They consider friendship with a woman the logical first step in a relationship (and, practically speaking, they’re not wrong) but then things get darker. They believe that offering company, a shoulder to cry on and emotional support gives them a right to get in her pants. These guys are terrible people.
The issue stems from the fact that they believe that sex is a trading game. Like those hideous pricks who follow Neil Strauss’ The Game code, they treat sex as a commodity to be bargained for. These men are passive-aggressive in their attitude towards women: rather than ask for what they want (a date, a kiss, a fondle) by way of charm, sophistication, honesty and attractiveness, they believe they can get it by stealth. They thrive off of the pity of women and believe that pity is the first step in a relationship.
I have a confession to make: my early forays into the dating game (many millennia ago) were characterised by this behaviour. I am, if you like, a reformed Nice Guy. I didn’t have enough faith in myself to appeal to a girl by being attractive. My hatred for Nice Guys stems largely from self-disgust, because I know how they think and operate. They are sociopathic idiots; people who believe they can manipulate a woman’s feelings towards sex by being her best friend. Ugh.
I am better these days, by the way. I’m still sociopathic, I’m just not stupid any more.
I don’t need no man to help me raise a kid! I’m a strong, independent woman and men are all beasts! Hoo girl, damn, you just stepped over the line!
Right on, sister. You are the female equivalent of the Nice Guy. Your relationships with men are characterized by poor judgement and irresponsibility, and when you emerge from one of your many short-term relationships with inappropriate men you assume that the problem is men, not you. You behave like a bitch to your female friends, and when they get tired and dump your ass, you assume they have a negative attitude.
In reality you are definitely the problem. Your relationships with men and woman are based on your self-aggrandisement. You are passive-aggressive and bitchy to the world out a misplaced sense of entitlement. You are the sort of woman who believes all men are rapists in waiting. You are the sort of single woman in the club at 2am on a Tuesday with two kids waiting at home with the babysitter. You believe that women should rule the world.
You are a tragic case of enfranchisement leading to entitlement. I am all for men and women being equals. I think it’s great that we live in a society where women can be CEOs and government ministers. But so help me, the next woman I see wearing a “You Say I’m A Bitch Like It’s A Bad Thing” T-shirt, I will slap you with my Robert Mitchum ring hand. Guess what? It is a bad thing. It means people have a low opinion of you. It means your relationships are based on aggression. It means you need to go away and think about how you behave towards people. You want to be respected? Then treat people with respect. Your bitchiness is just a crutch for your low self-esteem, and we can all see it.
Prejudiced Old People
Old people with opinions – what’s up with that? Particularly when those opinions go so far as “Blacks are ruining this country and one-parent families are the sign of a disintegrating society”. Guess what, wrinkly? Things are better than they’ve ever been. Crime of all kinds is down, people are happier and live longer. You may yearn for the days when men were men, women were baby machines and immigrants were second-class citizens, but you’re living in a haze of nostalgia. You have no more grasp of the past than you do of the present: you think that things were better in the “good old days” even though domestic abuse, poverty, disease and assault were endemic, there were four teeth to a family and everybody died at fifty due of asbestos poisoning. Your hazy recollections of halcyon days are a lie you promulgate in order to feel better about a world you don’t understand. I’ll break it down for you: things change. Technology changes. Society changes. You can either keep up or shut up.
And one more thing: the reason things are the way they are today because you made them that way. When you took drugs and took your clothes off during the sixties, you were bringing into being the world of reduced societal constructions and constructs that you now bitch about. When you voted for a female Prime Minister, you brought into being the modern woman with a career. When you invited the Jamaicans over here in the seventies to do the menial jobs you didn’t want to do, you were the one bringing about those modern immigration laws you complain about. The banking collapse was brought about by the de-regulation of banks during the eighties, when greed was good and you were building up your pension. This is all your fault.
The “Legalize Pot Now” People
I can’t really complain about drug use, because it seems to me our laws are a bit too strict and a lot of good stuff has come from drugs (music mainly), but there’s a section of the population who believes that cannabis is the wonder plant. It cures cancer. It cures depression. It can be used by people undergoing chemotherapy, people with MS, bipolar disorder, etcetera etcetera. Some of these things are demonstrably true; a wide range of medical literature has been published in peer-reviewed journals showing that some of the active chemicals in cannabis can have positive effects. The problem is that claims of medical efficacy do not constitute a de facto argument for cannabis possession or use. Consider equivalents: morphine is a widely-used drug in the medical field, yet it remains illegal to possess unless there exists a specific reason. People who advocate legalizing cannabis tend to ignore that.
So the largest part of the “legalize pot now” group is people who want to be able to buy and smoke cannabis, not for medical reasons, but for self-serving reasons. These are people who are pushing a campaign under the auspice of helping the sick, when really they don’t give a shit about the sick. They just want to get stoned.
That kind of hypocrisy is pretty terrible: these people are as cynically motivated as “the state” or “the man” or whatever it is hippies spend so much time railing against. Their ultimate goal would be to be able to light a fat blunt in the middle of the street and not get arrested; they don’t actually care whether your cancer-riddled grandmother is in pain or not. Let me put it in the most extreme kind of context (a reductio ad absurdum argument, if you like): imagine if a big group of heroin addicts started a pressure group pushing for the legalization of opium to help sick people. Are their motives suspect.
On a side note, cannabis is not a wonder drug. It has several very interesting compounds in it that have profound and complex effects on body chemistry and some of these have obvious medical uses. Cannabis also causes lower fertility, withdrawal symptoms and dependency, anxiety, depression, psychosis, lung disorders, memory loss, behavioural changes and lowered IQ. Just, you know, for balance.
So there you have it: my list of reprehensible people. Feel free to disagree in the comments, but try not to get too personal: I will freely admit to being as bad, if not worse, than some of these people.