Tuesday, March 29, 2011

To Like

For a long time now, I've firmly believed that the root of all conflicts comes from liking and not liking things and others' opinions on the matter. While at first, it starts off as mere childish stupidity, it generally leads to discrimination, and even genocide. This may be a far leap, but let me walk you through a lifetime of likes.

For little kids, things are easy and they're friends with everyone because they are just emerging in the world. They don't see differences between people and mostly spend their time happily playing with one another.

But then, as they get older and spend more time away from their friends, they start developing their own interests. New likes come along, and, with that, new hatred towards those likes. How many times did you hear, growing up, something to the effect of "Ewww, you like that [TV show, movie, boy, girl, singer, video game, pastime, sport, etc]. You're stupid!" How many times have you said it yourself? Unless you liked the things everyone else liked (or, more appropriately the things that the kid in "power" liked), you were ostracized. I remember a particularly scarring incident where I confessed to one of my classmates in 7th grade that I bought the new Pokemon Silver game. He was shocked. "You still like Pokemon? What is wrong with you?!" From then on, since I was the new kid, I never offered up anything that I truly liked. Even though I spent much of my free time playing video games with my friends, I never brought up the subject of video games or any thing I actually liked at my school (where I didn't really have any true friends) for fear of criticism. Whenever I went out with anyone from school, I painstakingly kept up a facade of things that they liked just to please them. Looking back, while it made me popular, it was pretty fucking stupid.

Next we get to high school. I could write a fucking book on how any interest you have at all in high school will get trampled under the social order for no reason at all. But there are two particular things in high school that overwhelmingly irked me. First, among boys, the knowledge of what you like with be used to taunt you in the most vile way. "You like that song? You must be a fag!" "You don't like football?! You're a queer." "You homo, I can't believe you watch that show." Any deviation from typically "masculine" interests results in instant branding as a homosexual, whether true or not. And the inevitable reaction of those taunted in such a manner is to do something "so totally not gay" in order to be accepted back in the social graces.

The second, and by far the most idiotic in my opinion, is the high school mentality surrounding music. I've mentioned a couple of times already on how music will label you "cool" or not. Since when (and, more importantly, why) does the type of music you listen to determine what kind of person you are? Growing up, I didn't really listen to music for this exact reason. The only thing I saw music (and I'm talking about popular music. CD's, concerts, the radio, etc.) as was a tool for others to berate and control you.

And the insanity doesn't stop in high school. It continues on into infinity. College may be even worse than high school in this regard. And, the craziest thing, people's musical interests fluctuate in an instant. One song may be deemed "hip" and "cool" one day and "lame" and "over-played" the next. I'd like to say people are smart and rational enough to realize this neanderthalic social institution's hypocrisy, but, sadly, no.

It's then obvious to see how conflicts arise over different ideology. This faction likes this leader while the other faction likes this leader. This race likes this physical feature, therefore this race is less-than. etc.

I honestly could forgive all of it if people just realized what they were doing. Going to a university who's central theme is "social justice" and doing what "right", I've never seen more discrimination due to what one likes. While they'll quickly point out that they don't "judge" others' actions (and doing as such is seen as the lowest thing you can do), they'll just as quickly judge you for your fashion taste, your choice in music, and the way you spend your free time. In my opinion, it is much more appropriate to judge someone based on their actions rather than their likes.

I hope that you can see through the bitterness and actually get to the point I was trying to make. Even though this needed to be said, I don't think I said it very well. Oh well, at least I liked writing it. Just don't judge me for it.

--Till then...

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