The Song: "Cynical Girl," Marshall Crenshaw. Words & music by Marshall Crenshaw. Track 4 of This is Easy: The Best of Marshall Crenshaw, 2000.
When/how acquired: Purchased CD, 2000.
Recent work obligations have required me to go out into a wider Internet community than I usually frequent, and it has dismayed me. Anyone who wants to feel bad about their fellow human beings need only pull up the comments section of any major news site, but even communities of the like-minded seem full of people just looking for opportunities to feel slighted, insulted, disrespected, undervalued and outraged.
After a day or two among these people, the only conclusion I've been able to reach is that people just like to feel that way. I don't know why it's taken me so long to figure this out. It explains so much, everything from Glenn Beck to Keith Olbermann. It explains the Crusades. It explains the Church Lady, though I feel obligated to remind people that the Church Lady is supposed to be funny.
Here's my theory about this (as usual, I have a theory). Outrage and offense require doubt. If people were truly comfortable and confident in their own beliefs, what would it matter what anyone else thinks? Why would they need to attack anyone else's beliefs? Why couldn't they just proceed, wrapped in the comfort of their own self-righteousness?
The people shouting loudest are the people who secretly suspect they're wrong, or feel guilty about their actions or positions, and are terrified about their uncertainty.
I want to live in a world where everyone starts the day by accepting the possibilities that they are wrong, and that other people mean well. I think this will require spending much less time online.
I don't want to be worldly-wise. I'd like to keep a few illusions. I don't want to be a Cynical Girl.