Today: Jul 16, 2024

Cynical about cynicism


Steven Taliaferro

Staff Writer

I have a friend in Norwalk who likes to watch the television series, “House M.D.” She enjoys the main character, Dr. Gregory House, played by British actor Hugh Laurie, for his cynicism and misanthropic wit. From the way the character has been described, I didn’t think I would be a big fan of the show, but I decided to give it a shot.

After watching an episode, I can safely say that the show is enjoyable indeed. In fact, the character of Gregory House is one of the highlights. Laurie’s portrayal of the misanthropic doctor is fun and entertaining as he insults and criticizes his fellow doctors and patients. Yes, House is definitely a fun guy to see on TV.

But he belongs on TV alone, keep in mind.

If I knew a real person with the exact personality of Dr. Gregory House, I don’t think I would hold the same regard for him or her as I do the television show character. If I did know a person like that, I would try everything in my power to avoid them at all costs.

Cynics, misanthropes and pessimists are people who I believe are bad for my health.

Just listening to their stories about how they are disgusted by other people and life makes my stomach churn. They’re always talking about how people are bad or how nothing in life is worth doing or trying–it’s really depressing.

I really don’t see how these people can live with themselves. It’s not my place to say how a person should live their life; that decision is up to the person, but I don’t think that being cynical is really the best way to live it.

The thing I like least about negative people is how some of them press their thoughts on others and try to make them think the way they think. You can tell them to leave you alone and say you don’t believe what they tell you, but they keep coming back with their negative thoughts and beliefs. Last time I checked, everyone is an individual. That means everyone is a distinct and indivisible entity.

Yet, who do these people think they are, telling us how to live and think or to say that our beliefs and thoughts are wrong? There is nothing in the Declaration of Independence saying that people have the right to change other people. It clearly states that everyone is entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and as a song from the off-Broadway musical, “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown,” states, “Happiness is anyone and anything at all, that’s loved by you.”

There are also the cynics who say that their lifestyle is not as bad as it sounds. There is a website known as “The Cynic’s Sanctuary,” which was created by Rick Bayan, author of the book, “The Cynic’s Dictionary.” The website invites “disgruntled idealists” into a group that makes them feel at home with other fellow cynics. A group of people that got hurt and then sit around to cry about it with no solution in mind, well that sounds as healthy as an X-ray tanning booth.

There is nothing healthy or respectable about being a cynic. I will agree that there are times when I want to pull my hair out in frustration about things, but I don’t, because then I’d be walking around, bald as a chicken. A cry helps to ease the pain, but wallowing in it does nothing to help a person.

Now I know there are a lot of people who might disagree with me on this, but I believe that being cynical and pessimistic will not really help anyone in life. People need to be more open and embrace life as it is. I’m not alone in saying this. Talk show host Conan O’Brien agrees with my theory. He said, in a Washington Post article, “I hate cynicism — it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. I’m telling you, amazing things will happen.”

I don’t want to press on people that they should go out into the world smiling nonstop like the infamous Batman villain, the Joker. I just don’t want to see people slip into a negative slump and find that they are comfortable with it.

There are plenty of things to be upset about–the economy, a broken down car, a breakup–but don’t forget about the good things in the process such as music, movies, food, friends, family, whatever makes one happy.

In the end, I find that if there is anything in life to be cynical about, be cynical about cynicism.

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