ITT: Unpopular Opinions

I was having an internal debate about what to write this month, so I’ve decided on this. The other topics can remain unpublished for a few months, I think.

I’m no stranger to unpopular opinions (I think pop music and most movies are garbage) but there are a few opinions that I hesitate to voice because I think they might actually be detrimental to peoples’ views of me. However, I’m here to break down my well-maintained image and speak out because these opinions are important.

I’m also entirely sure that some people in my audience share my opinions and haven’t had the courage to voice them. To you, sir or madam: you are not alone.

  1. Forced political correctness is detrimental to cultural progress. I understand that people have different definitions of “political correctness” but here’s how I see it: political correctness demands that we use (or refrain from using) specific words for the purpose of possibly avoiding situations where people may get offended. But in the long run, it doesn’t have any benefit other than bringing us the satisfaction that we’ve possibly avoided offending someone who’s different from us.

    Language changes over time (duh), and the more we use insulting words, the more they lose their meaning. A great example of this is in the word, “lame.” Its original definition is still there, but with a much more toned-down connotation.
    I believe you should be allowed to say whatever you want, but you should still know that you might look like an idiot.

  2. I don’t agree with many of President Trump’s actions since he’s taken office, but two things he’s done that I very much appreciate:
    1. Trump has sparked political activity. Though some of it may be violent, the political activity in this country seems to have taken off since Trump took office. I have never seen so many political Facebook posts, Youtube videos about riots and rallies, or in-person openness about political beliefs.

      People are starting to care because they have an opinion on how people should or shouldn’t be treated, and I think it’s a step in the right direction; even though it may have caused suffering to an insurmountable number of people, many more people are hearing of these events and are forming opinions in their minds. I can only hope that citizens of the US continue to be active.

    2. Trump has attacked mainstream media outlets. I’m sure most of you remember when Trump called out the media for publishing so-called “fake news” — I think he actually holds some ground there. The interesting thing about news is that a majority of people get their information from them and don’t realize that the information can be curated. To beat a dead horse: a vast majority of Americans thought that Hillary Clinton was going to win the 2016 election, because that’s what most of the media were saying.

      Anyway, the other scary thing is that these corporations have enough power that they can get together and control what information gets out to the masses. They can also band together and attack individuals, which they can basically do at any time. They’ve been trying this with Trump: just think of how much you see per week and how much of it is really necessary.

      Yes, Trump’s got some stupid ideas and does stupid stuff. No, he’s probably not going to get re-elected. No, he’s not going to get impeached (unless he does something way out of line, which I honestly can’t see happening). So quit wasting our time with this sensationalist “news.” It’s not going to be any different for the next three years. Go report on something that is actually valuable to our time.

If you’ve got some differing opinion somewhere (I imagine that many people will disagree with my point #1), let me know and we can have a discussion.

Oh yeah, also: memes are a huge waste of time and don’t contribute anything worthwhile to society.

The Importance of being Honest

I heard a question recently in an advertisement for a Youtube Red show: “[as a human being,] Is it more important to be correct…. or to fit in?”

I scoffed at the notion that this question was even worthy of discussion. To me, the answer is obvious: it’s more important to fit in. People don’t care about whether you’re right. If everybody around you think that one fact is true and you know for a fact that it’s not, it doesn’t matter. In this situation, you’re wrong. In fact, if you point it out and try to prove your point, you often look rude or stubborn (or a politician).

I first came to this realization in 7th/8th grade orchestra: my teacher, Mr. Caldwell, posed this question: “if you’re playing in tune and everyone around you is playing out of tune, but everybody else is playing the same thing… who’s wrong in this situation?” Everybody had the same answer, and the answer seemed to be obvious then. It seems to be obvious now. So why is it so hard for people to realize that?

It could be that people are usually not used to being the odd one out, or that they’re not used to being wrong. It could be a combination of both. I usually find myself somewhere in the center; people ask me why I don’t keep up with shows or watch movies or listen to pop music, but I think the answer is simple: I don’t like them and I don’t find any desire to pretend to like them in order to fit in with the crowd. But what I’m quickly realizing now is that the relationships I have with people are more important than my personal taste, so it behooves me to pretend.

This led me down another path of thought: if I’m spending my entire life following popular trends and pretending to be an average person, then suddenly I’ve lost my identity. There’s nothing that distinguishes me from everybody else. I’ve effectively become a nobody, and nobody will even notice. No longer am I “that guy who doesn’t watch [show] or listen to pop music or follow sports.” I’m just another guy. I’ve faded into obscurity.

But… is that really so bad? A vast majority of people from history have faded into obscurity. We only remember a few handful in the past few millennia, but it can’t be that hard to leave behind a legacy nowadays. All you have to do is join an infinitesimal community and devote some time into it, like speedrunning video games or mentoring some homeless youth. Perhaps if you prefer not to leave behind a legacy and only want to impact the community around you, that takes even less effort: just get into a car accident during rush hour in a major city. You’re impacting thousands of people in a single day.

But all of these things are the opposite of fitting in.

So you must make a decision: which do you prioritize? Do you work hard to tell everybody the truth or do you feign ignorance to appease the masses?

Because I honestly believe that these two things are mutually exclusive.

Late-Night Grocery Store Trips

This post is going to be a little different. Instead of a thought experiment or internal thought like usual, I’m going to be telling a story. A story of something that happened to me ten minutes ago.

I had just gotten back from the gym with a friend (yes, I go to the gym now), finishing some weight lifting and some heated discussion of the atmosphere of eSports and other competitive video games. I suddenly got the urge to go to the grocery store and pick up some deli meat and pork rinds.

As I’m getting out of the car, I hear an “Excuse me!” and, against my better judgment, I turn to look at who said it. Approaching me (rather quickly, might I add), was a middle-aged woman who was saying something about not wanting to beg and having three kids with no food and no more food stamps to use. I was actually so shocked at the fact that I stopped and turned that I didn’t catch every word she said, but before she even finished speaking, I said, “sure. Why don’t you come inside?” and I waved her in with me.

After we got inside, I let her know that she could get anything she wanted, so she started with some fruit. After just a handful of things she came to me and asked for my permission to pick up more things, to which I said, “Absolutely. Get as much as you need. Just meet me up front when you’re done.” And she was off.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wonder if I was being scammed. But I figured, hey, I’ve had a pretty good week. I just got back from a church camp where I felt pretty uplifted. Also, today two of my friends paid for a game that I’ve been wanting, and on top of all THAT, I got a job offer today. So in the back of my mind, I was telling myself to pay it forward. Even if she was scamming me, what’s the harm? I’d lose some money and somebody would have food. There’s not much to lose here.

My second thought was: okay. I’m pretty sure she’s telling the truth about going through a hard time, and I’m more than willing to pay for her groceries. But what do I say to her? Should I tell her to tell her children that God exists and He loves them? Do I tell her to make the groceries last? I thought about this the entire time I was waiting for her at the cashier. But in the end, I couldn’t figure out what to say, and I ended up just not saying anything at all.

She gave me a hug outside and we parted ways. I made sure to take the receipt so she wouldn’t have to worry about how much the food cost. Judging by what she bought, I kinda figured that her fridge was completely empty. All the more reason for me to help her out. She pushed the shopping cart with her as she crossed the parking lot, walking alongside someone who was waiting outside. I saw her slow to a stop with her head down. I waved to them as I passed.

I live in a bubble. For a while, I didn’t think I did. But I literally went from a conversation about playing video games for a living … to being asked to help someone’s children survive. It was so easy for me to point out my friends who live in their respective bubbles, so far away from hardship. But I’m in one myself. Just because I live close to these people doesn’t mean I’m stricken with the same problems. I live in a bubble, and I am so blessed.

But you know what else I realized? There’s no need to bring religion into every conversation or good deed. If I had said something like, “Jesus loves you” after I paid for her groceries, it would have been so forced, and I doubt she would have taken it well. I definitely wouldn’t. Instead, it would have sounded like I was using this opportunity as a cheap way of converting her, and that’s not at all what I was trying to accomplish. At first I regretted keeping my mouth shut, but now that I’m thinking about it, I’m glad I did.

I’m so glad to have had this experience. I’m so glad to have been able to pay my blessings forward. I’m so glad to have been able to make this woman’s night, or week, or whatever. I’m just so glad for this evening, and everything that lead up to it. And I wonder what would have happened to her if I didn’t have that parking lot conversation about eSports, or if I wasn’t on this diet, or if any of those things prior to tonight… didn’t happen. Everything just seems to have fallen into place beautifully. For that… I’m glad.

These are the best pork rinds I’ve ever had.

“don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it” -YK

This month, I’m going to write about something completely random:

Enjoyment.

Or, more specifically, enjoyment of something, assuming that it’s well-done and prepared properly.

As a person who’s always willing to go out and try something new, I want to say this: I don’t think it’s fair to say that you don’t enjoy something until you’ve given it a good, honest try. Things around you usually have a lot more depth than they may seem. Also, if those things are still around, then they must be around for a reason. It is after the try–and only after the try–that you can say that it’s not your “cup of tea.” I really don’t think you can pass judgement before that. This is especially true if you’re experiencing something completely new for the first time. Because if you have no basis for comparison, then how will you know for sure?

I’m also in the boat where if something isn’t your “cup of tea,” then you need reasons why. I don’t like when people say they don’t like something and say “it’s just not my cup of tea” and can’t provide any other reasons. It feels like a cop-out answer and that you’re not even going to try to enjoy the activity past its surface.

How do you define a “try?” Well, it depends on what it is. For the most part, you have to try hard enough to be able to appreciate some facet of it before you can point out exactly what it is that you don’t enjoy. That’s just how long it takes. But if you don’t like something and it seems to have no depth, then it takes at least a few tries. The classic example here is pho.

I’ll give a few personal examples.

Some things I didn’t think I’d like but enjoy now:

  • Ballroom dancing. I didn’t think I would enjoy it, even after the first few times I went. But after becoming more interested and investing some time into learning it a little more, I realized that I quite enjoy it, and it’s something that I’d be willing to spend money to learn.
  • Meeting new people. I used to despise leaving the house and talking to people face-to-face at parties. I used to keep my doors shut until it was time to go, and it was because I wasn’t willing to put in the effort to make it work. Now, while I still struggle a little bit with this, I have a much easier time talking to new people because I simply find it enjoyable.

Some things I’ve tried and disliked:

  • League of Legends is not my cup of tea. I like fast-paced games, and this game is rather fast-paced, but I don’t like the way they sped up the game by making parts of it easier.
  • Bowling. This activity pretty much defeats the purpose of a social gathering. You can’t keep up a conversation for more than two minutes unless you’re not playing.
  • Most movies. I prefer movies that are heavy in plot and low in fighting, unless it’s an Asian martial arts movie. If a movie has a weak plot or a lot of plot holes, then I’m not going to enjoy it.
  • Jeans. I don’t know how jeans became the most common style of pants. They’re so uncomfortable. They hug my legs and restrict my movement.

Some things I’ve afraid to try for fear of ending up liking it:

I’m not going to lie to you and say that everything I’ve given an honest try at all the things I dislike. There’s plenty of things I haven’t tried and don’t want to: not with the mentality of “I’ll probably dislike it anyway,” but “I don’t want to end up enjoying this.” For whatever reason.

  • Pop music. Because I’m a pretentious fan of classical music and jazz.
  • Spectator sports. Because I’m a pretentious fan of video games.
  • TV shows that people recommend me. Because I’m pretentious.

Anyway, if you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. And think about some things in your own life that you enjoy (or not) and let me know why. I’m genuinely curious about why people like certain things.

Don’t forget to subscribe and smash that “like” button.

light is coming

I missed my post in April.

It wasn’t because I didn’t want to, but there were just too many things I could have written about. I’ll try to crank them them all out soon. Here’s what’s been most recently on my mind:

I’m starting to think that the blog migration from my previous site to this current one was a mistake. These next few posts are probably going to be about complaints I have about the professional scene, the industry, and growing up in general. Which makes me a little worried that a hiring manager will see this and immediately be turned off. I suppose I should remove that link from my website.

But really, why is there so much harm in complaining about things I don’t like about this industry that I’ve chosen? It’s not like everything is fine and dandy in every industry on the planet. Even the people who absolutely love their jobs have complaints from time to time. There’s no perfect place to be because there are no perfect people in the world.

If didn’t already know, I’m between jobs. I’m having a tough time finding a new job, now, because I have too little experience to be considered for anything at a junior level (which, for some reason, requires something like five years of experience) and too much experience to be considered for an entry-level position or internship. It’s so hard not to become discouraged.

Furthermore, the interview process is honestly pretty silly to me. I’d much rather do a test run where I can prove myself in the position than be asked a few questions up-front about things I won’t be using for the job. I can prove my worth. Just let me show you–take a chance and pull the trigger. People have told me that I should still respect the interview process but I still don’t think I agree.

In the meantime, I’ll still be applying for jobs, pretending I don’t hate the process. Practicing, studying. Working on my hobbies, listening to music. Sitting, waiting. Wishing.

See you later this month.