Notable users of the wonderful phrase “shut the fuck up” include Method Man, Samuel L. Jackson, and of course- me. It’s a group I’m happy to share breathing space with, and for the money there’s nothing more satisfying than a well placed “shut the fuck up” directed at someone who can’t seem to stop flapping their bullshit projectors.
It’s also something that nearly EVERYONE should be doing more of in 2020, but nearly nobody IS.
Why’s it on my mind today? I was thinking about an article I saw on Huffington Post a few weeks ago, one of those HuffPost Personal pieces that they let freelancers submit. I don’t remember who it was, and I don’t care enough to spend time finding it again, but the title of it was some approximation of “I feel sad for the loss of my graduation ceremony and I don’t know how to grieve without feeling guilty”. Maybe it was “the loss of my dog” or something like that, but the premise was that this person was trying to figure out how to grieve publicly about something that might make people think she was being selfish during a pandemic.
As soon as my eyes finished reading the title my brain IMMEDIATELY said “just shut the fuck up and keep it to yourself, then you don’t have to fucking worry about it!”.
Mind = blown.
Wait just a god damn minute, you mean to tell me that the option to shut the fuck up exists? Are you REALLY telling me that a person can just NOT share their every fucking thought publicly for all to scrutinize? No way, I don’t believe it. CRAZY TALK.
It’s fucking true, Ghosties. In just the first half of 2020 alone more people have gotten themselves into metric tons of shit cause they couldn’t keep their mouth shut, and while you’d like to think people learn from this shit unfortunately we’re human- and that means most of us are stupid.
Social media has fucked up our brains, period. Instead of keeping shit to ourselves it’s just all out there for everyone to see. Every thought, every opinion, every conspiracy theory. Every cliche, every hateful diatribe, every bald-faced lie. Every stupid fucking brain fart that our brains produce MUST BE SHARED WITH EVERYONE OR IT’S NOT REAL!!!!!
I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to successfully unpack the idea of posting a public article about how to publicly share your private thoughts about something that people might find objectionable. Christ, are we REALLY this fucking emotionally bankrupt that we are living for these Inception-level degrees of validation? We want validation for shit we don’t even really want validation FOR. It’s fucking BANANAS and we’re all so desensitized to that fact that we don’t even fucking realize it when it’s happening.
If you don’t want people giving you shit for something you think/feel/say- drumroll please- KEEP IT TO YOURSELF IDIOT! Everyone doesn’t need to know how you feel about ANY fucking thing, and if you’re worried about how something is gonna come off, all you gotta do is not fucking say it out in the world. Have we lost that ability? Have we really ruined THINKING?
We have, but please let me live in denial of that fact.
I’m guilty of it too sometimes, doing something like this makes it tough to sort out what to share, when to share it, and who to share it with. I’ve had precisely two examples the past few months of times when I should have shut the fuck up, and didn’t, but I learned my lesson.
The first one was when a couple of my followers on Twitter were going back and forth with Phil Labonte (the singer from All That Remains) cause he’d said something dumb as hell about Libertarianism. It wasn’t my argument, but I chimed in anyway and ended up spending half of my day going back and forth with this fucking guy about why he’s a moron. I mean, sure- the dude is an AK-47 toting, right-wing jackass, there’s no real debate to be had there- but still, it wasn’t my deal and it ended up BEING my deal. No thanks, I can have all of those opinions without arguing for sport and/or clicks. Lesson learned.
The next one was a little more recent. I reached out to someone cause they popped into my brain after a long time had gone by without me thinking about them. They’d been QUITE a polarizing figure around these parts and I’d even gotten into a couple arguments with this person before myself. It was a LONG-ass time ago too, well over a decade I think. Anywho, the guy tore through a lot of people’s lives like a tornado and had essentially disappeared from view for a long time and I thought it would be interesting to give the guy an opportunity to tell his side of the whole fucked-up story. I reached out and it took exactly two seconds for it to turn into a situation where I blocked this person on social media and abandoned the idea completely.
At the end of the day, some people don’t heal and some shit doesn’t need to be brought to light. I thought I was trying to do something good, that people might be interested to hear, but it ended up just being a stupid call that led to me arguing with somebody I 100% didn’t need to. Way to go asshole. But again, lesson fucking learned.
I think it was Sage Francis who said this on social media a few days ago , he said “2020 is no time to be making enemies” and if that ain’t the truth I don’t know WHAT is. All I want to do right now is keep myself and my family as under the fucking radar as possible, so the LAST fucking thing I need to be doing is poking bears that don’t need to be poked. So, yeah- lesson number two learned for sure.
When something gives you that icky, “I just watched 12 episodes of Breaking Bad in a row and I need a shower” feeling that means it’s time to SHUT THE FUCK UP.
It’s easy to make mistakes like this, we’re living in a world where the easiest way to get some attention for whatever you’re doing is to go around fucking starting shit all over the place, but it’s not who I am. It makes me feel gross, and I like to keep my side of the street fucking clean. After the second thing I ended up spending some time wondering if I should reach BACK out to that person to apologize or still the waters but I decided to do something I’m getting better and better at over the years- I let it go. Fuck it, there’s nothing it would really accomplish anyway besides keeping the fire burning. Sometimes, you just gotta own the fact that you made a stupid call and let it die.
It’s tough to build a following, it’s tough to keep eyes on your work as a creative out here, and the problem is that it’s EASY AS FUCK to get sucked into shit like this when you’re trying to put something out into the world. if it wasn’t for The Ghost Generation I’d have never touched social media again, it’s not for me in the SLIGHTEST but it’s a necessary evil if you want to do something out here in the world. I hate it and I don’t care who knows it, I’m grateful for the people that”follow” us, but if I never had to tweet again I’d dance like nobody was watching whilst laughing into a salad.
We’re living in a world where social media is the dominant means of communication, but everything you see is manufactured for maximum impact. There’s no way to know what’s real, what’s genuine, or what’s pure fucking evil. Those funny jokes about people’s kids? Bullshit. Most of that shit is written, not lived. All those “look how super edgy I am” posts? Bullshit. Recycled thoughts and ideas engineered to sound funny for five seconds while you’re scrolling by. The cliche shit like “pineapple on pizza is trash” or “which is better, bacon or whiskey?”, it’s all fucking crap too. it’s just designed to get you to fucking click it.
Communication has been kidnapped, tortured, and dissolved in a fucking barrel full of acid. We’ve destroyed it, because everything is engineered by us, or corporations, to get attention. I’m trying like hell to stay honest, and real, but sometimes it seems like that’s not even what people WANT anymore. Truth is, I have nearly NO idea what people want anymore, so I just stay the course and stay true to myself.
If I had all the answers I’d be writing this from my impressive yet understated beachfront villa in Iceland, or something like that.
Nope, I’m writing this shit while sitting in my office against my will at my day job- fun! I don’t know shit, but guess what- nobody else does either. The problem is that we’ve integrated our entire lives into these validation factories and we’ve lost all ability or desire to live without a constant dopamine hit. We’re the lab rats hitting the cocaine button, we’ve drank from the cup on Jim Jones’s suggestion, we’ve followed Charles Manson directly into prison. We’ve bought the lie so we don’t have to see the truth. That we’re flawed, our society is crumbling, and we’re all terrified of what the future will hold. We cling desperately to ideas like fame, viral videos, and influencer culture so instead of chasing down something real we are all wasting away chasing after shallow things that don’t love us back.
We’ve sold our sold for a “likes”, and if I were to ask a couple hundred people if it was worth it I’d e genuinely horrified to hear their answers. I was the happiest I’ve ever been when we were off all social media, and now I’m fucking miserable. I have to do it if I’m gonna do this, and maybe that’s something I need to reckon with, but it doesn’t change the fact that I find the whole enterprise ugly.
I don’t rally know what I’m playing at here, but the one thing I know is this- if any part of you feels “icky” or youre concerned in ANY way about what the reception might be to something you’re about to say publicly, maybe you should try telling yourself to SHUT THE FUCK UP and see what happens. Have your thought or idea, pause a second, and tell yourself to shut the fuck up. Take another second and ask yourself “do I still need the world to know this?” and if any part of you says “nope” then move on. Move on forever, don’t tweet the tweet, don’t send the email whatever.
Look around at the state of things in 2020, how much awfulness could we have avoided if some asshole would have just shut the fucking fuck UP?!
Yeah, a lot. See my point? We’ve made life hard for ourselves, and we’re all feeling so empty that we waste SO much of our precious time chasing validation from people we’ll probably never actually see in person. That makes me sad for us, like a lot of things are lately, because I feel like we’re all just coasting through life without living much of it ourselves. We’d rather watch other people do it instead, and then hate ourselves for not doing it too.
If 2020 is to teach us ANYTHING besides “fuck everything” it should be that life is fucking short, and we’re wasting too much of it on bullshit.
It’s true, this shit-show of a year should be the biggest wake up call in human history, our time is short and it doesn’t take much to sideline the whole fucking world. If we don’t stop, and take a few minutes to shut the fuck up and tune back into our own lives, I’m afraid there isn’t going to much left when we finally get tired of the validation treadmill we’re all stuck begrudgingly jogging on and that would be a tragedy I can’t accurately put to words.
“We walk past the flowers, don’t stop for a breath, until they’re above our heads”.
Stop. Breathe. SHUT THE FUCK UP.
A blog/website where these happily married, 30-something parents of 2 little minions rant, rave, and speak in tongues. Raw, honest, and riddled with profanity. Get on board and let’s make The Ghost Generation awesome together! http://theghostgeneration.com Twitter.com/Gh0stGeneration