Unpopular Opinions

By The Peeved Punjabi

[Note from SloWord: To deal with the subject of Unpopular Opinions, I had to call upon the Peeved Punjabi. So here he is. You have been warned…..]

I have a few Unpopular Opinions.

In this article I will chat about my Unpopular Opinions. Now, the fact that I am choosing to talk about my Unpopular Opinions instead of allowing the usual guy to give you one of his

  • horribly long-winded (but much loved) recipes, or
  • quirky travelogues with terrible photos or
  • whimsically nostalgic meow-meows, as he has recently dubbed his memoirs,

in itself could be Unpopular.

However, now mark this closely, I have Unpopular Opinions because I don’t really care to be Popular. Let me restate that, actually.

I believe my popularity is driven by the fact that I have Unpopular Opinions and I’m unashamed to air them to the suspecting public. Now, you could argue that I am not really popular. You’d probably be correct and the reason for it is very simple. I have Unpopular Opinions.

Now that we have that settled (almost) to my satisfaction, onwards to them, then!

Unpopular Opinion #1: NO GUSHING

Popular, the word, probably comes from the Latin for popularis, pertaining to the people, belonging to or used by the common people. In other words something that is, or someone who is, popular, is liked and/or loved by the general populace. Now, we know, or I believe, which is the same thing, really, that the human race is tribal by nature. So people like people like themselves. People are drawn to people who think like them, speak like them, eat the same kind of stuff, read the kind of stuff they read and venerate the same people they do.

I do not think or behave like most people. I seem to lack the social graces, especially on social media. I cannot coo and gush over people’s photos of their kids or cats. I may deign to remark on their dogs. Cats – though, no! Them, and their kids, absolutely not!

As per Sloword’s Social Media Comment Policy v 1.9, commenting on photos of people, especially on their appearance, their clothes, their taste in clothes and hairdos is frowned upon most seriously. Any transgressions are reported to Executive – Social Media Council and a Severe Reprimand, Level determined by severity of transgression, is handed out.

Comments on landscapes, flora and fauna, as well as culinary products are permitted.

CONCLUSION: Social media is anything but social. Don’t make the mistake of believing it is.

Unpopular Opinion #2: NO MIXING UP ART AND ARTIST

Artists, writers, singers, song-writers, poets, dramatists produce art. I like some of the products. I am ambivalent to some. I dislike some. I detest some. Note the “like”. I may even love some of the work. There are writers, who shall remain nameless, whose books and stories I enjoy thoroughly, often re-reading at regular intervals. I don’t sigh over their work in public. I don’t sing paeans to them in social media. I don’t gush over them. I don’t force people to share my feelings for them.

Nor will I be forced into that collective oohing and aahing.

First of all, my own work. I am well aware that not everything I (or the rest of my avatars) produce is worthy. Some of it is downright crap. That little fact is true of every artist. Take, for example, PG Wodehouse. I enjoy reading his books. He is funny and has a great way with sentence construction and words. Yet, he has written some bilge, too. The Coming of Bill is tripe.

Another example that comes to mind, is music. Not every song by bands I like is worthy of praise. Probably the best the Beatles had to offer came in the last 2 or 3 albums, by which time Beatlemania was a memory. And while I have a soft corner for hippie music, there’s a lot of rubbish out there, too.

Now the key here is, these artists are humans. And thus, as humans, they are susceptible to all the curses, foibles, vices, biases, prejudices and bigtory that humans have. I can separate the jerk that is Eric Clapton from the music he produces from that guitar of his. By the way, George Harrison lied on that song. It isn’t his guitar that gently weeps. Still, I like George’s music too. Some of it. Not all. There is some evidence that Bob Dylan faked some of his early background. His poetry, some of it, well, can be pretty good.

CONCLUSION: I don’t reject the art because the artist is a certified jackass.

Unpopular Opinion #3: NO HEROES

In another post, or two, somewhere on this site, I had mentioned that I do not have heroes. I do not venerate anyone. I respect those who achieve something. I may not agree with what they have achieved, or how they achieved it. I do respect their belief in the goal they scored.

Corporate life is replete with people who have gained exalted designations and positions of power over the careers of many people. Some of them are decent humans who, I have personally seen, treat the people around them with respect. Others have hornswoggled their way to the top and continue to trample on the bones of the carcasses they leave behind them. This latter group I do not respect as people. I do respect their position, though, and the effort they put in to get themselves what they wanted. For themselves.

I do not bow and scrape, nor do I come over all weak-kneed if they happen to pass by. A good friend and colleague once remarked “Huh. They breathe the same air I do. I do my job and they do theirs. So what makes them special?”

I concur heavily. If they need to get that email as part of whatever job they faked their way into, I will send them that email. I had a boss, once who was thunderstruck, that I did that.

“But you don’t like her, do you?”, she asked, wonderingly, “so why did you copy her on that thread?”

“What has my liking her got to do with the business at hand?”, I asked, in pure bewilderment.

Digression Alert: Remind me to tell you about this boss, someday. I guarantee you will be…  um… ah.. never mind for now.

Some people have political leaders as their heroes.  Others have religious gods/prophets/gurus/pastors/rabbis/<insert whatever>. And then there are actors, actresses, singers, dancers…..

CONCLUSION: Respect the achievement without venerating or deifying anyone.

Unpopular Opinion #4: DYING ON THE JOB DOES NOT MAKE YOU A HERO

Somewhere down the line, in this need to aggrandize everything we’ve lost perspective.

This is what I call the Starbucks Phenomenon. Where the Extra-Small is Tall, the Small is Short, the Medium is Grande and then some unspeakably excruciating pretentious Italian for Extra-Large. Nothing these days is what it used to be (and still is). Everything is Super-Duper Awesome. Epic. Every effort is Heroic. Every storm is cataclysmic. Every sordid crime is horrific.

If I was to keel over and die in the middle of yet another Powerpoint deck, I wouldn’t be a hero. Not even, much as I’d like to think so, a martyr to the cause. I’d just be dead and the corporation that pays me will fill in the paperwork, get someone to take my lifeless body off the property and have the role filled by the end of the week. Yep. I’m not irreplaceable. Or a hero. The same is true of the almost most people doing what they were hired to do.

This Unpopular Opinion will be particularly Unpopular. The poor soldier standing guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa was killed as he stood. His death was not heroic. Nor was he a hero. He was the innocent victim of a cowardly attack. He didn’t have a chance to show his heroism.

The guy who ran like the wind to scoop that infant off the rail tracks inches from the train is a hero. He went above and way beyond his normal job. We don’t know what his job is. But clearly, no body is paid to do what he did. He saw the danger, to someone else, he acted, speedily, efficiently and bravely at the risk to his own life.

Writing articles on this website may seem heroic, given that that it is generally ignored in all directions. But no, sadly, this is not heroic. Filled with the pathos, it may be, but not heroic.

CONCLUSION: JUST STOP WITH ALL THE SUPERLATIVES!!

If you have strong feelings about what you just read, you can write in to give us your mouthful, or keyboardful. Use the comment feature.

Go ahead, make your day EPIC! STUPENDOUS! AWESOME!

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