The whole fun-shaming trend is starting to get annoying. It appears that it's becoming unacceptable to enjoy anything without acknowledging and caring for things that "actually matter". Except that the only things that "actually matter" are things that I take interest in. Let's begin by examining this popular meme -
How surprising: People get more excited for the release of new gadgets than they do deciding between two corrupt politicians who will ultimately find ways to rob people of their money and individual rights. Excuse me for not scheduling a few days off work so that I can pitch a tent outside of my precinct as I get get pumped to choose between scumbags like Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. Honestly, what should I pop a bigger boner for: Choosing between a few flatscreen televisions at a discount price, or the slew of garbage candidates for the 2016 Presidential Election? I don't even like Black Friday, and this meme still pisses me off. Aside from that, the propagators of this meme assume that the people who shop on Black Friday and the people who stand in lines for the latest smartphone don't also participate in democracy, which is a ridiculous assumption to make.
This isn't to condone people who stick their head in the sand on important matters like politics. To not concern one's self with the actions of government is to announce to the world "I don't care who represents my interests or what the government does". Willful ignorance is flat-out foolish. But to be passionate about politics at the cost of joy and fulfillment? It's absolutely insane, especially given that America was founded on the idea that people have the right to pursue their own happiness. Not to mention, being passionate about politics doesn't always pan out too well. The members of the National Socialist German Workers Party were pretty passionate about politics. As were the Bolsheviks, the Iranian Revolutionary Council, ISIS, feminists, you get the picture.
What I don't understand is this urge to shame people for being passionate about their interests, as if it's something to be ashamed of. Take this recent meme that flooded the internet following the release of "The Force Awakens".
The main problem I have with this is that it doesn't even address specific things that "actually matter". What exactly matters more than Star Wars? Is it poverty? Is it hunger? What about war? Disease? Racism? Sex slavery? Drug addiction? Ron Paul? Garbage Island? Climate change? Mass shootings? Whether or not Mark Zuckerberg is really donating his billions to charity? GMOs? Artificial intelligence? Underpaid workers? What the fuck "actually matters" to these fun-shaming losers that have nothing better to do with their lives than to make condescending memes? I honestly couldn't give less of a fuck about how others spend their free time. That's their business.
And if you think I'm exaggerating, this isn't the first time I've seen shit like this.
Given the consistent vagueness of these memes, it's fair to assume that they're not meant to promote awareness for certain problems, nor to motivate people to work on solutions to certain problems, but rather to simply condemn people for enjoying life. Let's assume that poverty is something that "actually matters". Okay, then share a link to a related charity. Or start a food drive and invite all of your friends on Facebook. I don't see what video games and the Super Bowl have to do with poverty. It's as if to suggest that people should resist enjoying life until all important matters are dealt with, which is beyond stupid because the purpose of life is to enjoy it. Anyone who suggests otherwise is an idiot. Are emotions like joy and amusement to be shamed, as if people should burden themselves with guilt for feeling happiness, until planet earth is finally one perfect utopian society where problems and suffering have ceased to exist? It's absolutely ridiculous. So what if people get a little too excited to watch fictional stories being played out on a series of digital pictures with booming sounds for two and a half hours? You know what I say? Good for those people, and good for humanity.
Works of art like "Star Wars" are symptoms of a healthy, flourishing society. And that goes for all forms of entertainment, from music to video games to professional sports.
First off, visually stunning masterpieces like "Star Wars" are not possible in primitive, poorer societies. Consider the third world today and in times prior to the Industrial Revolution - It's difficult to conceive of ideas like Darth Vader and The Force and X-Wing Fighters when you're too concerned with finding your next meal. It's difficult to draft a story about two droids lost in a desert when you're worrying about keeping predators out of your daughter's section of the hut at night. George Lucas didn't direct his first film until he was 29 years-old, an age that he unlikely would've reached during medieval times given the increased risk of plague and war. Even consider authoritarian societies - Does anyone think that Joseph Stalin or ISIS would appropriate two hundred million dollars to produce "A New Hope"? Not when people need to be fed and when neighboring countries need to be invaded. Or consider comicbook movies: Would someone like Hitler ever allow for concepts like Batman and Iron-Man - Two individuals who use their own genius and resources to fight crime and injustice - To rival the perceived heroes of the Third Reich, such the Gestapo and the SS? Get the fuck outta here. In their eyes, society doesn't need fictional heroes because the state ensures a perfect society. The Soviet Union could barely get Tetris off the ground for fuck sake.
Secondly, leisure time is a symptom of social and economic progress. If entire families are working 14-20 hour days on the farm or in factories, they're not going to have the time or money to watch millionaires pretend to have lightsaber battles in the middle of space. They're not going to have the time or money to purchase and play video games. They're not going to have the time or money to go to amusement parks and ride rollercoasters for the entire day. Etcetera. If people have the money to splurge on tickets to the Dodger's game, while not fretting about missing a day of work, odds are they aren't struggling to buy groceries.
Not to mention all of the jobs, opportunities, and money that's being made in the entertainment industry. Further, works of art like movies are inspiring, on both an economic and spiritual level. How many men watch the Marvel Cinematic Universe and think "Wow, Thor is jacked! I wanna look like that!" and start working out and eating better? Or think about the gamers that pick up extra shifts cooking pizza so that they can afford the new edition of Halo. Shit, I can't even go for a run without my awesome iPhone to program playlists on, so you bet your ass I pop a bigger boner when I upgrade my phone than I do voting for someone who'll find ways to regulate Uber. What a concept - People making a living off of inspiring others and making others happy. If only prostitution were legal.
For real, fuck these memes and the judgmental pricks who propagate them. People who get painted up for football games and people that cosplay for sci-fi movies work hard for their money. They deserve to spend it on things that make them happy.
Lastly, when has fun-shaming ever solved anything? It's not like AIDS would magically disappear if people stopped standing in line outside the Apple Store. If anything, smartphones have helped solve problems like drunk driving with the advent of ridesharing apps. Drunk driving matters, right? Or how about cameraphones giving people the power to expose excessive force from police officers? And what about all of the astronauts and NASA scientists that were inspired by science fiction like Star Wars? Guess space exploration, and all of the technology and benefits that come with it, doesn't "actually matter" in the eyes of the fun police. What matters most is that people enjoy what little time they have on earth, which may include dressing up as Chewbacca to see "The Force Awakens" on opening night. Thus in that sense, Star Wars actually matters. Once people begin to sacrifice their passions and happiness, then life is no longer worth living.