Tonight, on Facebook, I saw a post of an image, a person in silhouette before a sunset, the kind of image you see in posters designed to fill you with inspiration to manifest your destiny, to be a butterfly, to be all that you can be.
You know the kind.
And the caption emblazoned on it read, “Grab life by the pussy.”
An attempt at a humorous take on Donald Trump’s recorded boast about his belief that his fame and wealth provided him with a license to sexually assault women.
And the person who posted it, a person who for a time invited thought provoking conversations, was applauded for their application of their first amendment rights.
High fives abounded.
It might have been funny if that person had ever bothered to stand up for the rights of anyone other than themselves, but I never actually saw that person do that.
Instead, I watched as that person slowly retreated, over several months, into the cocoon of their privilege. The thought provoking questions were replaced by an increasing number of images of their apparently fabulous life.
It’s understandable. The temptation is incredibly strong to tune out, to turn down the volume on the sounds of other people’s suffering and listen instead to the strains of our own song, our own laughter, our own good fortune.
The temptation is equally strong to believe that all our fortune is the result of our merit, that we have earned, through sweat and fine character, every good thing we enjoy.
Once you believe this, it is easy to see the suffering of others as something they have heaped upon themselves. And one of the ways we can tell ourselves they have heaped this upon themselves is through their inability to laugh at things like sexual assault, police brutality, systemic racism, poverty, and all that other flotsam and jetsam that spills forth from being less than exceptional.
Why is my life so magnificent? Because I can laugh at horrible things I don’t actually experience myself. Don’t you see? Just look at me. I’m incredibly carefree and unapologetic for being such.
There’s really no such thing as political correctness. No one is actually legally policing anyone’s right to be feckless and indifferent to the plight of others.
But does that mean such an attitude is worthy of praise? Does practicing your ability to be hilariously offensive truly earn you all the kudos you receive?
Or does it merely demonstrate that you are one of the lucky winners in the lottery of existence, that you can afford to laugh at things others have had their lives diminished if not destroyed by?
These are the kinds of questions my acquaintance once asked people to engage in.
These days, however, I think they’ve found it easier to reap the warm fuzzies one can coopt by feeding into the hunger we all feel from time to time for the dreamy sleep of indifference.
I fear an opportunity for growth has been wasted and the potential to make a real difference has been cast aside.
Then again, maybe I should just go grab life by the pussy and forget all about such concerns. The rewards for doing so, I’ve been told, are far, far greater.
Ken Robert is a guy who can’t not write, writing things he can’t not say. If you can’t not read them, click here and sign up for free updates.