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Athens, Ohio, United States
"Art and love are the same thing. It's the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you."

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Misanthrope Buddies and Me

Now that I have returned home after ten weeks in the dense wilderness of the jungle called "college", I have discovered something very telling about myself.

I hate people.

They're loud. They're obnoxious. They smell bad. They do the same things that everyone else does and then call themselves original. There are too many of them. They ruin any good time. They are disease-ridden. They make poor decisions. They have opposable thumbs. They punch each other a lot. And they went to see Beverly Hill's Chihuahua in droves.

It turns out, I have become quite the misanthrope. You try maintaining a bright outlook on life when the people in the dorm next to you blast fake gangsta' rap and insincere nasally acoustic  soft rock songs in alternation until 3:00 in the morning...on a Wednesday. So, I hate human beings and I hate them openly. 

At first I was rather ashamed and quiet about my misanthropy. How would my intimates react when they found out that I hated my own kind? Would I be shunned from society as a hateful old hermit? I remained in my hate-filled misanthropic closet for some time. And then one day I realized: wait a minute, I am in good company! There are dozens of likable Misanthropes strewn across literature and popular culture. From Lemuel Gulliver in Gulliver's Travels all the way up to Randall Graves in Clerks, misanthropes have been an integral part of Western tradition.

Therefore, I thought it was high-time to reveal some of my fictional heroes who encouraged me to live my life loud and proud as a Misanthrope.

Daniel Plainview- There Will Be Blood
"I look at people and see nothing worth liking." Sounds like a misanthrope to me. Oil tycoon Daniel Plainview speaks these words at the beginning of his long descent into moral ruin. And he spends the rest of the film proving those words. He expresses more human hatred in a blank glare than I think I will ever be able to muster in a lifetime. His silence is a symphony of burning anger and his mustache quivers at the very sight of company. It is clear, when his visage becomes resolute, like a sculpture, that the only thing he is thinking about is the utter disdain of the fools that he must walk the world with. And lest you think "thinking about utter disdain for fools" is the extent of dear Daniel's misanthropy, he does commit a murder or two for good measure. Don't worry, neither is for provincial reasons like greed or jealousy but rather the complete and total disgust for the walking, talking bag of organs that are human beings.

Pigeon Man- Hey Arnold
Pigeon Man is quite different from Daniel Plainview in that he doesn't appear to have a violent bone in his body. In fact, Pigeon Man is quite gentle. He spends his days on top of one of the city's many buildings, tending to and making friends with the area's pigeons (Hey, why'd you think they called him "Pigeon Man?"). But make no mistake: he is a true-blue misanthrope. You see, what Pigeon Man lacks in passion, he more than makes up for in alienation. Pigeon Man despises people so much that he has simply cut them out of his life. Instead of spending his days suffering fools, he wisely chooses to spend his time with pigeons, a much smarter than nobler animal than homo-sapiens. After some local punks trash his rooftop home (typical of human-beings), the Pigeon Man attaches himself to hundreds of his feathered friends and flies off into the sunset, but not before leaving the show's protagonist with a dire message regarding the folly of man. 

Dr. Perry Cox- Scrubs
I know that most of you would argue that Dr. Cox isn't even the most misanthropic MD on network television; you would prefer Dr. House. But while Dr. House is an honorable and competent misanthrope, Dr. Cox combines his misanthropy to something that is near and dear to this human-hater: sheer verbosity. Dr. Cox doesn't just hate people, he will never shut up about how much he hates people. He delves deep into his psyche to drudge up a verbal treatise on all the various reasons he hates humanity from the nit-picky to the grandiose. And he does this virtually every day of his life. Best of all, he doesn't do it to clarify himself, or to make a grand moral gesture, he does it because, well...he just can't help himself. He legitimately enjoys being a cranky old pessimistic bastard. The fact that this misanthrope is a reluctant mentor and hero is just icing on the cake.

Those are the brave men who make me proud to be part of the sacred Fraternity of Misanthropy. I find it is always a good time to poke fun at humanity's faults. But my Misanthropy isn't caustic in nature....just a little exasperation at our short-comings.

After all, it isn't like someone will ever act on their Misanthropy.


Woozie said...

"Stoop Kid's afraid to leave his stoop!" I'll bet those cries made Stoop Kid something of a misanthrope, if only temporarily.

Mr. Bojangles said...

All those old shows, man, they MEANT something. Recess, Doug, they all taught something, I need to lay off the green stuff