In a drunken argument there is an inevitable wall that is encountered. The argument begins. Points of view are gripped resolutely. Train of thought is lost. The argument continues, veering. The grip becomes tenuous. The original seed of argument is forgotten; it is no longer relevant. Fuck it. Soldier on. Admission of defeat is not an option. You press down on the gas and run full tilt into the wall.
Any American who is paying attention to politics right now is in a drunken argument.
We are all barreling towards the wall. The only variables are the direction we are driving and the amount of gas that we pour. The wall will not move. It’s a big, beautiful wall that we’re all going to have to pay for eventually.
On the right, there is cognitive dissonance. People clamor for Trump. His entire aesthetic is meant to posture himself above the hoards, yet these are the very unwashed masses that voted him into office. How can these ghouls support a man who so clearly disdains them? They wave their flags on the sidewalk outside the hospital. Inside, the president languishes.
They love him for calling it a hoax. They love him for making fun of masks. They love him for getting it. They love him because of his contradictions.
On the left, we have our self-righteousness. Voting is extolled as the highest, most virtuous act that we can achieve. If you vote correctly. If you vote incorrectly, you are scum.
Voting is sacred, but only if you vote exactly they way we want!
For the record, I returned my ballot yesterday. I voted for Joe Biden. But more on voting in the coming weeks.
Other leftists claim to push for the rights of all, while they excommunicate potential allies for minor infractions and failure to comply with a constantly shifting framework of abstract theory. This is divisive and thus detrimental to a unified class-based movement.
The point of this is not to equate the hypocrisy of the Trump Administration to the hypocrisy of woke scolds. The point is that we are all hypocrites. To deny it makes us even more hypocritical. It also omits the rhetorical and pragmatic function of hypocrisy as well as the virtual impossibility of avoiding it.
Sometimes it’s useful. Sometimes it’s fun. Sometimes it’s necessary.
In my high school years, my parents were strict prohibitionists.
No drinking, no drugs, no sex, no matter what. These are reasonable rules for a high school student.
The confusion arose when they would gleefully (and correctly) point out that Caddyshack is the greatest piece of art that has ever been created in the history of the world. They were basically giving me a blueprint on a how to rock and then telling me not to rock. They were Judge Smails. I was Danny.
I asked them if they ever smoked or drank when they were in high school. They said no. I believed them. Now, my parents do not live shamelessly online like I do, so I do not want to besmirch their character in any way. I will merely point out that in the late 1970’s they had ponytails down to their asscracks, they lived in a yurt in Vermont and they were avid Bad Company fans.
Make of this what you will.
I do not hold any of this against my parents. In fact, as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to understand their point of view. What is a parent supposed to do in this situation? I know what I'm going to do. I’m going to lie my ass off. I actually can’t wait to have kids for the sole reason that it will be fun to make up a new past for myself.
[tucking my kids into bed]
My kids: Dad did you ever do stand up comedy and have a podcast?
My kids: What did you do?
Me: I was a Rhodes Scholar and I could bench press four hundred pounds. Now go to sleep.
This may be hard to pull off, assuming YouTube doesn’t go out of business by then.
Do As I Say, Not As I Do
Prohibition does not work. My parents’ version of it did not work. My version of it will not work either. But that does not mean that I should tell my kids every detail about my twenty first birthday or my trip to Bonnaroo. It means that there are situations in life when white lies are the most pragmatic and seemingly harmless answer. It’s impossible to navigate life without resorting to these strategic omissions. Hypocrisy is the answer.
A lot of the confusion and chaos of the current moment is rooted in the tunnel vision of respective political factions. We stare, mouths agape at the hypocrisy and contradictions of our political counterparts. All the while failing to acknowledge and examine the paradoxes rooted in our own ideologies and interests. All sides are not equal in the severity and consequences of their self-righteousness, but all sides are guilty of it. Accepting that won’t fix our politics, but it couldn’t hurt.
Trust me. I am not a hypocrite.