Positive Cynicism – I don’t understand what people are offended by anymore

Aaron Davis

Aaron R. Davis

Last week, People named Gwyneth Paltrow the Most Beautiful Woman in the World, and actual people were pissed.

And not just pissed, but angry. This is the Internet we’re talking about here: people couldn’t just ignore it; they had to write blog posts and lists with titles like “5 Reasons Why Gwyneth Paltrow Is NOT the Most Beautiful Woman in the World.” That’s right, there’s apparently scientifically objective qualitative proof that People’s pronouncement was completely incorrect, because if there’s one thing that Internet users will not do, it’s just ignore something they don’t agree with. Especially when it’s something as totally meaningless as something that’s really only meant to grab as much attention as possible right before an actress’ high profile summer blockbuster is released in theaters.

In actuality, Ms. Paltrow’s non-winning of this non-title and non-honor is calculated perfectly. It offends — truly, weirdly offends — enough people that they’ll talk a lot about Gwyneth Paltrow all over the Internet for a week, but doesn’t offend them enough to not go see Iron Man 3. And once again the nattering me-monkeys that make the Internet run are too busy getting butthurt over something no one will remember in a month to realize that they’re falling prey to a marketing decision designed to turn them into free word of mouth. As usual.

Don’t you opinionated assholes ever get tired of being scammed?

Actually, I don’t care. If some magazine you most likely don’t even read saying Gwyneth Paltrow is beautiful is enough to spin you out into a toddler-style tizzy, you pretty much deserve to be used like that. You were probably raised with this lie that everyone’s opinion matters equally and you need to make sure it’s heard or else you’ll just explode inside because someone dared to declare their opinion with a bold, authoritative voice.

I think that’s a part of the problem here that can’t really be underestimated. People hate that authoritative voice of other people stating an opinion. I see this a lot on Tumblr where the professional victims over there write things pleading for people to be more obviously subjective in their opinions, as though having an opinion is naturally aggressive in some way. I saw someone whose writing I generally respect say that she thought perhaps people should take more care to write out “I thought The Dark Knight Rises wasn’t very good” instead of the more natural “The Dark Knight Rises was terrible” because the second one sounds like it’s making the assumption that everyone who disagrees is wrong. She thought that would be a more sensitive way to write, by taking the contrary opinions of others into consideration.

I say that’s just wishy-washy and needlessly defensive. Someone disagreeing with you shouldn’t keep you from stating your opinion; you should have the confidence to state something authoritatively. Any writing teacher worth his or her salt will tell you not to qualify your opinion with “I think,” because it’s weak, passive writing, and no one wants to read weak, passive writing. Use a strong, active voice and have faith that people will be smart enough not to read “Jennifer Lawrence is a shitty, overrated actress” as “Jennifer Lawrence is a shitty, overrated actress and every single person who disagrees with me is a fucking idiot.” And if they’re not smart enough to know you’re only speaking for yourself, well … fuck them. They’re the kind of people who get hurt, cry and rush to the Internet to write things that amount to “Gwyneth Paltrow is the most beautiful woman in the world? Nuh-uh!”

So, we can argue all day over whether or not Gwyneth Paltrow is beautiful (I say yes), much less the most beautiful woman in the world (because clearly Kat Dennings is), but what really slayed me is that at more or less the same time, Star released a list of The 20 Most Hated Celebrities in Hollywood. Right at number one: Our Miss Gwyneth, who had the bizarre honor of being named Most Beautiful and Most Hated on the same week. Yes, yes, people hate — and I mean really, truly, burningly, obsessively fucking hate — Gwyneth Paltrow.

Here’s what really got me on this list of Most Hated Celebrities, though: Chris Brown is number 20. Chris Brown, the bastard who is so unrepentant about beating Rihanna nearly to death that he got a neck tattoo to commemorate his victory over human dignity, is number 20. There are 19 people who are somehow more worthy of hatred than Chris Brown.

Seriously, what is Gwyneth Paltrow supposed to have done that makes you people so angry? “Uh, she’s annoying and full of herself and talks about herself and how she thinks she’s a better mom than anyone else in the world and it’s really annoying.” And that makes her the most awful person in the world, apparently.

Some of her fellow criminals against humanity: Kristen Stewart (#2), who doesn’t smile enough or seem grateful enough for men to accept her existence; John Mayer (#4), who’s full of himself; Katharine Heigl (#5), who’s full of herself … really most of these people seem to be on this list because they’re full of themselves, unlike the people who make judgments about their value as human beings, let alone entertainers, online, I guess. Lindsay Lohan (#16) doesn’t go to jail! Taylor Swift (#18) dates people and stuff! Don’t you understand?! They’re full of themselves and they get attention from the media and we can’t stand it!!!

And annoying us is so, so, so much more of a crime than the actual, legally-defined crime of attacking a woman and beating her within an inch of her life and leaving her for dead. And that’s why we hate Chris Brown a bit, but only one-twentieth as much as we despise Gwyneth Paltrow for having a cookbook and being smug about it. That is truly unforgivable.

Have fun at Iron Man 3.

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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