Positive Cynicism – The death of good manners

Aaron Davis

Aaron R. Davis

Hey, did you hear that Amy Poehler and Will Arnett are getting divorced? If you’ve been on the Internet at all this week, you’ve probably heard that over and over and over. You’ve also probably heard that it’s the saddest thing that ever happened because they’re the most adorable couple that ever existed and this is truly the death of love itself.

At least, that’s what fans and social media and even some entertainment websites who should have the grace and self-respect to not say those kinds of things keep trying to tell me.

Everyone has their fan areas. They say they don’t, but the same person making fun of teenagers for liking One Direction is generally the same person who can’t wait for the next time the Spice Girls get together in front of a camera. That one Tumblr follower you have who gives you shit about being obsessed with Doctor Who and Sherlock is himself a big fanboy for other BBC America airings like Top Gear. Just because a guy doesn’t like three-hour Batman movies doesn’t mean he’s not counting the days until a certain other big superhero movie with a green-skinned Hulk comes out on Blu-Ray. And no matter how much anyone complains about changes made in the Star Wars movies, they will still buy it when it comes to any new format ever.

For the people who told every little girl what an idiot they were to get so upset about Kristen Stewart’s big cheating scandal, it’s apparently the Will Arnett/Amy Poehler break-up.

I don’t even know the details about this one. I don’t think I want or need to know. It’s sad when families break up. And yes, that’s what it is: this is the dissolution of a family. How many of you out there are children of divorce, like me? I never felt quite whole again. Both of your parents can be as involved as possible, and it’s still never the same. I’m 36, and I’m still dealing with issues that I didn’t even realize that I had that stem from my parents getting divorced when I was 13. All of those years when I said I was fine with it and had accepted it? Turns out I’d just buried my feelings and chosen to ignore them. Turns out they still affect me and all the relationships I have with people. It fundamentally changed what I expected from life and the ways I dealt with those expectations.

My point here is that it’s just bad manners to publicly lament someone’s marriage breaking up. It’s the worst kind of fannish behavior to look at someone’s hard, probably painful decision to end their marriage and break up their family and make it all about you.

Look, I get it. You love Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation. Somehow, you think that one character that Will Arnett overplays in everything is still funny. The love of certain characters always fools some people into thinking that that intimacy is shared with the people who portray those characters. We don’t tend to see actors as professionals doing a job; we too often enjoy their work and think of them as surrogate friends. People think that about celebrities in general, which is why you see moments of supreme idiocy like people threatening to kill Nicki Minaj for maybe endorsing Mitt Romney, but not really. There’s this thinking that says your favorite celebrities are part of your clique, and the second you find out that one of the biggest members of the group is secretly a homophobe or something, they’re out. You don’t feel the same way about the guy who makes your sandwiches or rotates your tires or fixes your sink. You don’t need to think the person who works the reference desk at the library is your friend in order to ask where the county records are. Why the obsessive need when it comes to Taylor Swift? Why abandon Kristen Stewart just because she had an affair? Who cares? It’s not your life and it doesn’t affect you. But it is someone else’s life, and you don’t get to have an opinion on it just because you like some TV show.

Every time I read some crap about someone wanting to cry because Amy Poehler and Will Arnett are getting divorced, I just wonder how these people would handle their own break-up. Would they want people they were only casual acquaintances with through Facebook making this big a deal out of it? Wouldn’t that seem really strange? I don’t think I’d want someone who doesn’t really know me telling me that they loved me and my wife together and that they’re so sad and this is the death of love. That seems like too much from someone I don’t really know very well. Like someone had built up too much of an affection for something they weren’t even a part of.

Don’t be so involved. It’s just not good manners.

Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at samuraifrog@yahoo.com.

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