Laying out what I'll talk about tomorrow night. I want to get into how we've become a post-reality world and what I mean by that, using this blog post--in which I made what should be an innocuous and true statement to a woman who became enraged--as a jumping off point. People hate experts. People hate people who actually know what something is. But it's more than that. These are, as one would imagine, huge problems for me. I think about them constantly. They are a large reason why I am in the situation I'm in. It's far more than just a corrupt industry. What people desire is to be able to say anything, have it be taken as true, and for their voice to count as much as any voice has. On every subject. Ever.
People are dumb. They don't know anything. People are lazy. They aren't going to learn anything. Being gifted is not a choice, but not being a moron largely is. People won't choose not to be. They won't expose themselves to ideas and knowledge, they won't think, they won't read. They won't look. Society is set up to allow these people to delude themselves. They are insecure and angry, and mankind has never been stupider or more entitled on a whole than it is now. We have come to a point where if you say to someone that water is wet, they can lash out, say, "I disagree" as if natural order and reality does not exist. What they say is what makes the reality. That's what I mean by a post-reality world.
I experience this constantly. If someone, for instance, were to put the word "a" in front of nouns that start with a vowel and I remarked that one should use "an," they'd become enraged. They'd tell me I was wrong. This is how the world is now. The hubris involved is staggering. The stupidity involved is also staggering. And woe is the person who says anything true. Or doesn't go along with the insanity.
What are supposed to do? Look at that blog post. Look what that woman sent me. That's someone brighter than most. She looked that word up, too. She was so obtuse that she couldn't even understand the definition, because it contained the word "initial," and she also didn't know that word. That's most people now. That is what an illiterate society we are. That's now a fancy word most humans don't know. I don't know how I get anywhere in that world. You have maximum stupidity, maximum mental illness, maximum entitlement. Of course you're going to have maximum fear, maximum insecurity, maximum fakeness, maximum envy, maximum cowardice, maximum weakness.
I am not trying to sound harsh. I don't know how you put this any other way, though. It's what is happening. Has happened. What do you do if you know? I'm not talking about correcting someone. Going around being a scold. But rather how one's knowledge and intelligence would naturally come out in the exchanges of human life. Because no one likes someone with a clue. A person is reading this and they have a clue about some things. That's fine. But they are likely in a pocket. With the spouse, the kids, maybe one or two friends, the job. And not to be rude, but chances are that they don't know much about any given subject. They're not an expert. Yes, I get it, if you're a plumber, you're an expert on plumbing, or the accountant is the expert on tax codes. But those aren't subjects that come up much in the public square. Like film. Or sports. Or whatever it is that people talk about.
I'll also get into David Krejci's recent decision to step away from the NHL as part of this conversation. I did an experiment on Twitter the other night. I saw comment after comment that was completely wrong and ridiculous. "He's literally the most under appreciated athlete in Boston sports history." I only write about the subjects on which I am the leading expert in the world. The world cannot understand what I am. How someone could be the leading expert on all of those things, disparate as people think they are from each other. But that person, unique in human history, is here among us. He's typing this. You get into the work, the books, the interviews, this journal, the posts, and I have proven what I am. It's not my opinion. It's not a wish I have. It's the reality. I made some basic, true comments about Krejci. How he had never scored more than 23 goals in a season, never registered more than 73 points, never averaged a point-per-game. He was a nice second line type of center, better, at times, in the playoffs (the most impressive achievement in Krejci's career, by far, is having led the postseason in scoring twice--not a lot of players who aren't Hall of Famers have done that), and in his entire career had never finished higher than eighth in postseason All-Star voting. He's like a John Valentin-level player in Boston sports history, with a lower peak and less longevity. He's getting older, he's slowing down, and he was never fast for starters.
These are simple things. Basic. I get showered, of course, with blows, expressed in botched, barely recognizable English, with acronyms and emojis from adults. It's embarrassing. You feel bad for them. Then again, you think they're trash, too. People want to think they know as much as I know. As much as a human can know. They have no clue. They want to be unchallenged. They want to be the expert. That's what social media does--it makes every dumb ass feel like they're God. In that moment. In that unexamined, entitled, delusional moment. Sick. Twisted. But those moments are also near-constant, and they become the stuff of a life, and they become the moldy, hole-riddled fabric of a society and a culture. They think as one big lowest common denominator, so even among themselves, stupidity just reinforces stupidity. No one says anything with a clue. The key to this society is enabling the insanity. That's how you fit in. You are much better off being an idiot.
Do you ever notice, too, how the biggest "compliment" you'll often see is someone saying they agree with someone else? They're saying to themselves, "See? You are good enough, it's reinforced by this thought-echo. You're not alone, you're not less than others." Often, I think, "who the fuck cares if you agree? Let's have an interesting discussion. Have an interesting viewpoint. Express it well. Be wrong, I don't care. Make me think. Make me feel. Be sincere. Be open."
You have to understand, these people don't even know what a postseason All-Star is. I might know two people who do. (I know others who do because they know me.) And it's so simple. It's like the bare minimum form of knowledge of this variety. At the end of the season, there's a first team All-Star group, and second team. So two centers, two left wings, two right wings, four defenseman, two goalies. How many of these you have goes a long way to indicating if you'll make the Hall of Fame. It's one reason why Brad Marchand is a sure-fire, no doubt Hall of Famer (there is much more to this, but I am not here to write a 3000 word disquisition on why Brad Marchand will make the Hall of Fame and why he should). You can also see the voting for the positions. And like I said, Krejci has never placed higher than eighth. And that was just once. He was fine. He was above average. A creative player who found ways to slow down the play and create space. Also, ill-suited to playing the point on the powerplay as he often did, with a weak shot. It was Krejci who was the Bruins' first line center for a bunch of years, not Patrice Bergeron, which I bring up because people went at me saying if he had first line center minutes, and didn't play behind the amazing Bergeron--who himself is overrated, without a single 35-goal season or 80-point year--he'd have been this huge scorer or whatever. They don't even understand how the first and second line thing works. You can be on the second line and be the best player on a team. It's not really a ranking. The even strength minutes are comparable. You can play on the second line, play on the powerplay and the penalty kill, and be the leader in ice time for your team. Mostly, it's who starts the first twenty-five seconds of the game, but it can be the fourth line, too. The idea that Bergeron's ice time and offensive heroics kept Krejci from his 100-point seasons is risible. Never remotely a star in the league. Not a lesser star. Never close to one of the better players. One of the top quarter of players? Sure, at times. Not often. All of these posts saying he was one of the greatest players in Boston sports history, a legend, his number will be retired, etc. So much stupidity. This isn't discussing Proust. This is simple stuff that a six-year-old can grasp. I liked this player a lot. And saw him often at my local market, actually. I wish they signed him. I think he's valuable defensively, which is overlooked, and never brought up by these same people. They wouldn't understand how hockey works that way, the defensive impact a center can have.
Some genius said--and realize, please, that I struggle with replicating the language of these sub-literate cretins--"Yeah, but you forgot to add five years of Taylor Hall to his stats," because Hall has now been signed by the Bruins. Right. So, a player in Hall who is not a finisher at all, and Krejci who is also not a finisher--both playmakers--and the latter getting up there in years, already slow, becoming slower, was going to elevate Krejci to this scoring marvel, he'd have this late career scoring spike a la Johnny Bucyk, whom these people have never heard of, so you can't make the reference, let alone walk them through why that happened with Bucyk (the Orr effect, expansion). These people also have no clue how age works when it comes to sports. I see that with all of the sports. Age determines so much in athletics. And at these levels, you have it one season, and then you're done the next--or the next month. Not a lot separates these players. It's not you going down to the playground and playing a game of one-one-one with the seven-year-old kid who asks you for a game, so you go easy and shoot from the outside and let him get up his shots. You cannot have an intelligent discussion or exchange. It's not possible. In order to interact, you must know nothing and talk out of your ass. And just make up whatever you wish. Speak in hyperbole, but think you're the god of reality, and say the word "literally" a lot, without having a clue what it means. As for Hall, he's had two decent scoring seasons in his entire career. There is little suggesting that he's about to become a big scorer. Outside of an obvious career year which he won't replicate, and another nice campaign, he's a slightly-above-average scorer, who has mostly lost his goal scoring touch, it appears. If he's your fifth best player, okay, you might have something. If he's your best, you're going nowhere. That's not an elite offensive force. He's rarely been that, and he's also moved out of his prime years. Or what are historically a player's prime years. Yes, there are exceptions. Marchand was one--as I wrote about for Sports Illustrated years ago, when no one talked about him, for the most part, as a star.
When someone comes along and knows, these people hate that. It's like someone spoiling the fun, blowing the whistle and calling the kids back in from recess. At the same time, these people know on some level that they're lazy idiots, so when that is exposed, which is what happens when knowledge is present, they lash out. They get the mob. They try to become verbally abusive, though at the same time, they're too stupid to put anything cogent together word-wise. When you handle them, as I did that woman with my response to her attempted insult, you destroy them. It's Tyson chucking some hunk of jelly through the wall of a building. Then you're the bad guy. Personally, I feel like I am an alien trying to get somewhere with drunken, unthinking ants. Trying to talk to them. Reason with them. Be sane with them. And it's not possible. And ants are better at ant-ing, anyway. They have efficiency and purpose. But it can be like you're pleading with, and dependent upon, a lower form of life. That's who controls if you get where you're trying to get. And your quality of life. But it's worse than ending recess: people take it as a condemnation and exposure--a joint takedown--of everything they are. The wind that wrecks their house of cards. Their emotional house of cards.
The biggest problem with the post-reality world is that, of course, reality itself never actually goes away. And this is why so many people now are either broken or crazy. They're trying to distance themselves from something you ultimately can't distance yourself from. Reality always wins. People can't face reality, so the foundation of society then becomes building a community of people who also can't face reality. That's also how you have success and build a brand and make money. You work the post-reality world for everything it is worth, and you sell delusion to other people. That's popularity. That's social media. Is any of it real? The money is real, the blue check mark and followers are real, but no, in a larger sense, none of it is real. See my comments from yesterday, too, on compliments. The money will spend. These lives will have comfort. Ease. It's all surface and it's all pretend, and maintaining the delusions as though they were the real reality is paramount, but it's comfortable. Is it living? No, it's not living at all. Is it wasting your life? Your humanity? Your one go-round on this world, if that's how it works? I'd say so. But it's not this hell I live in. It's a kind of numbness. Stupid, glazed-eyed numbness. But it's not this. It's not what I am enduring. That's for sure. I feel like the better you are, the more you try, the more you do everything right, the worse your life will be. Mine is worse than hell. Right now, at least.
I'll also talk about Preminger's 1959 film, Anatomy of a Murder, which I think has some strengths and quite a few flaws, and is a useful movie to talk about in that manner. Additionally, the 1956 amateur movie production of M.R. James's "Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad." Further, the Rolling Stones' smart, urbane, oft-overlooked Between the Buttons--the British version--which is in some ways their Rubber Soul but also unlike any other record any British band made. (Rubber Soul is modern folk pastoral via Black music; Between the Buttons the record of the young, "aware," urban sophisticate with the chic Black record collection.) And there will be a breakdown of who the five best Red Sox players are of all-time, then I'll do a Patriots version come the football season.