Passionate Contempt

First things first, not to let fame go to my head but I was recognised on the street today as Old Man Wolfe, or rather:
“Hey, isn’t that Old Man Wolfe?”
“You know, that wanker who writes about feminism and shit”
Genuine dialogue there ladies and gentlemen, I am a wanker that writes about feminism and shit. I’m a little hurt, feminism and shit? I write about feminism and David Cameron, Sonic the Hedgehog, Russell Brand… ok yeah, feminism and shit making more sense now… That aside, in sticking with my pages of wank upon this blog of shit, I’ve got more for you, a requested article even (not commissioned, I’m not THAT popular, just a “Hey can you do one about…?”). So, I won’t deny my fans, what few I have, here comes the famed Wolfe wanker to deliver his opinions on the subject of being passionate about our interests, whether or not that makes us ‘hipsters’ and why we feel the way we do about such matters.

At this point, the word ‘irony’ crops up nine times out of ten, more particularly in how it is misused and abused by the population, excusing their behaviour as acts of irony, completely missing the point of the word, we get it. Truth is, on that front, you either know better or you don’t, no amount of intellectual snobbery will fix the internet – people will keep doing dumb shit and call it ironic, we all know what the word means as it is defined in the dictionary, it’s a losing battle to try and fight when you come across some idiot being ‘ironic’ when they’re actually just being stupid or ignorant. I’m actually here about the other abuse of irony, claiming to love something perceived as tacky or awful out of ironic pleasure and how that branches off from a culture of disenfranchisement and distinguishing “I love He-Man because it is so bad it’s good” and “I love this obscure franchise because I genuinely love it, not because I’m trying to set a trend or be outside the box”

See, you use the word ‘hipster’ here and you think of two different types – the one with a profound love for the unpopular and unheard of, seen as a pretentious dickwad looking for new ways to buck the trend, and the one who is also seen as a dick because they hold everything in contempt, calling everything they see commercial crap or unoriginal or not as good as this or that or the other. A weird culture indeed, where does it come from? Well, it’s a flaw of my generation, the media plays us as generally disinterested layabouts – we aren’t the stoic heroes of yesteryear, we missed the hippie revolution and we’re weirded out by what comes after us as being the sort of cack we bought into as kids but now that we’re “grown up”, we’re not supposed to like any more. Growing up, it’s easy to be disinterested in the world around you, you’re full of angst and bitterness and raging hormones but once you hit your twenties, nostalgia kicks in, you pine for a more innocent time and suddenly all that plastic crap becomes wondrous through rose-tinted shades. Think Thundercats, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, iCarly, hardly works of fine art but I bet one of them or something like them has a place in your heart for all its flaws. A generation raised on the devil-may-care too cool to give a damn mindset forked into two very different paths – passionate about discovery and passionate about not being passionate.

The latter culture, passionate about a lack of passion, breeds a psyche of “Effort is uncool, enthusiasm is stupid”, bred in the hearts of the grunge music of our cooler older siblings when we were young and a life revolving around hardening one’s shell, especially in the form of typical masculinity. After all, imagine being a fifteen year old and telling our friends at rugby practice that you’re thinking of having a That’s So Raven marathon and then imagine the state of your testicles later, considerably more swollen and sore one should imagine. A harsh disconnect with the world, born of a survival instinct and then later transformed into some warped sense of intellectual superiority or being too ‘cool’ for bursts of excitement, led to this grumpier sort of person of my generation, myself included to some extent. To this day, I rarely get excited, for me that “get hard or die” psyche was intensified by being the eldest in my family, the supposed smartest in my classes and the social outcast in a school full of violent thugs, I couldn’t afford tears or anything that could be exploited, occasions when word let slip I had feelings for someone in my class, myself and the person I cared for were bullied and heckled to no end, it turned me into a vengeful stone cold walking behemoth of irritability, something I’m still receiving counselling for to this day.

You should also consider we were born into a world that raced through technological advancements and yet dwindled in opportunities, the internet didn’t show us the world was better, it showed us the world was better than us, at that point it became why bother? Helicopter parenting only really got called out as a bad thing within the last twenty years, too late for someone like me who has already been moulded by such, it led to this generation of hearts encased in stone because it seems easier that way – never try so never fail, never care so never grieve. As more and more franchises get rebooted, retooled or live to the point of stagnation and lack of originality, perhaps for some it is easier to say sod it to having favourites and holding all things in equal contempt, only holding a soft spot for things that cannot be revamped or remade. Oasis, Nirvana, Arctic Monkeys, music and emotion that cannot be portrayed by anyone else, bands that won’t “sell out” or catch on with their shitty little brothers and sisters, relics of the time when stuff was ‘cool’

The other more optimistic road journeyed down was that of discovery, of branching out, taking passions and interests from youth and watering the seeds of joy into full grown forests. You start at Pokemon, you go onto Cardcaptors, you find Naruto and then so on and so on until you go so far through the looking glass, the Cheshire Cat puts his paws up like “Hell naw man, that’s some weird shit”. Such individuals were persecuted as nerds but responded to the bullying of their youth by just enduring it, not so much becoming as hard as a mountain but bowing like grass in the wind – a mountain doesn’t move in a storm but then grass doesn’t move much either, the land beneath it gets torn up but grass isn’t so much destroyed as strewn about. Of course, this passion for discovery led to creativity, to ‘nerdiness’, to an internet culture of memes and fan-fiction where people could unashamedly share their fantasies of making out with Sasuke Uchiha whilst exchanging information and recommendations, giving each other maps for the weird roads they had walked down. Chances are if you’re thinking of someone this reminds you of, they may well have a tumblr, not just a tumblr, I mean like one of THOSE tumblrs. Superwholock and so on. Personally, whilst sometimes cringing because of my underlying cool-guy bravado pressured upon me, such people can be held in admiration, they werent’ scared to be in love and let it grow, they became much more creative and inventive and broadened their palette, not bad considering they mostly started in the same place – commercial cartoon slop pushing toys down their throats.

Here’s where we go full circle then, back to the point of irony, a word that became a safe way of saying “I don’t want to admit I enjoy this inherently terrible thing”. Genuine ironic pleasure, liking something you know you rationally think is atrocious, is a good thing, it allows one to communicate with their true self, asking themselves why they might enjoy something so bad. I’ll put myself on the line here, my ‘guilty pleasure’ is Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Yes, a show meant for teen girls when I was only old enough to be interested in Digimon and Scooby-Doo but I watched it anyway, I loved it, mainly for Salem. On reflection as an adult, I found I probably liked it because I saw myself in the characters; Sabrina, the super-talented youth who must try to fit in even though she’s clearly leagues ahead, very true of my young self; Salem, the mind of a tiger-like man in a pussycat body who finds comfort in food, very true of my adult self; Aunt Zelda, the voice of reason and seen as boring or callous but in fact really enjoys intellectual stimulation and worthy peers, very true of myself as a rule through life. I acknowledge the shoe is bad, it’s a campy comedy for hormonal schoolgirls, the romance is strained, the plots are inane nonsense, the Salem puppet looks like a mitten with a face and Harvey’s actor is a generic “cool boy I want to like me” template, as is his character. Knowing that though, I still watch it with a smile, if only to hear Salem wail (Seriously, every episode, at least once, Salem will either burst into tears or shout “NOOOOOOOOOOO!”)

Guilty pleasures and ironic enjoyment are the way of the passionate about a lack of passion expressing themselves without breaking down and admitting to themselves they actually care, in this way, perhaps it is a really damaging thing to deal with, it’s essentially self-hatred. Guilty pleasure shouldn’t be a thing, if you aren’t hurting anyone at least. We let this festering feeling of apathy overwhelm us all as teenagers, we wanted to fit in and be cool and denied ourselves what we cared about, or at least some of us did. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why we hold such contempt for someone who declares love for something obscure and unheard of, we envy them for being so unafraid to have fun that they dedicated themselves to finding new ways to do it. Fun isn’t for us, fun is for kids, except it shouldn’t be, it should be for everyone.

To conclude then, enjoy what you honestly find yourself enjoying, embrace it without fear and when someone comes up to you and says they actually prefer some weird TV show or band from some place you’ve never heard of written by people with names you can’t pronounce, don’t hold it against them, try shit out. If it’s not for you, it’s not for you but do so honestly and with an open mind, don’t deny it because it’s weird or tacky or obscure, deny it on its own merits and your personal tastes. Guilty pleasures are a thing of the past, passion is back in fashion and you don’t have to hate yourself if you sincerely like watching My Parents Are Aliens.

A Brand You Can’t Trust

Well we’re straight up going political on this mother nugget, no holds barred, let’s go right in there and cut to the core of the issue, the rotten one. Johnny Rotten. You get it? I made a joke because Johnny Rotten made headlines today for criticising Russell Brand on his dreams of a revolution, by which Brand actually seems to mean complete and total apathy for the political system. Yes, former Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten said in an interview with John Lydon that “If you’re not voting, not contributing, you’re demanding to be ignored” and the general response was a well deserved hurrah. Johnny urged my generation to take part, to get involved in politics and learn about the different parties, what they stand for and who to vote for and I wholeheartedly agree – too many people in the 18-24 age group don’t vote, which is an issue I feel strongly enough about to talk to you all about it so here goes nothing.

Ok, so Russell’s argument was that the system is corrupt and flawed and that is doesn’t accurately represent the will of the people so as such it’s outdated and should be boycotted which I can see some reasoning to, don’t get me wrong. Yes, the system is corrupt and flawed, it’s what governments usually are by their very nature, a bunch of rich privately-educated people trying to think what do poor people want whilst corporations whisper promises of yet more riches in their ear to do the opposite. Politicians suffer from a disconnect from our reality because with power and wealth there comes a new reality for you, a reality in which your car drives itself, your house is always clean and everybody wants to know what you think so when that’s been your life long enough, things like fuel costs, pastry taxes and heating bills are just words to you. The system is not run by the masses no, but the masses can overwhelm the system when they stand united and demand change. As Rotten said, refusing to vote means refusing to take that stand, to demand anything so the people that always vote (The rich and the extremist agendas) are all we see in power because heck, they’re always happy/angry and being either of those gets stuff done. Apathy? Well I’ve wrote a few articles on apathy, you decide how much I got done. If a system is wrong you don’t give up on the system, you change it. If something is broken, you fix it, the value of fixing things has been forgotten in a world of impatience but when you see that something truly isn’t working, try a new approach and come at it again like a rabid dog.

I think the big problem I have with Brand is he’s influential to our generation, he can spoonfeed my peers this gobshite about giving up hope on politics and demanding anarchy. People see Russell Brand, they see a comedian and a famous face that tells them to abandon hope and give into despair, which is essentially his message. A celebrity trotting around the land saying such depressing nonsense that can be reduced to the core concept of “Give up, it’s useless”. Thanks, we didn’t feel bleak enough already, we really needed you to drill it into our skulls you scraggly haired halfwit. If you’re a young voter and you don’t care, nobody will care for you. If the LGBT community never said “We want legal marriage”, you really think it’d just happen on a whim? No political system reform ever came about as a part of doing nothing – womens rights, civil rights movement, legalisation of homosexuality and of homosexual marriages, the end to death sentences in Britain – somebody, well a lot of somebodies, had to say enough is enough and fight the system to get what they wanted from it and fuck me, it worked. How do you plan to change the world by missing the polling time because you were eating pop tarts and bitching about things on Tumblr?

For the record, I don’t know why Russell Brand sees himself as a political authority, I always assumed he was just a hit-and-miss comedian but he seems to think he’s Che Guevara, his own words. I would like to point out that whilst Guevara was a revolutionary, his revolution installed a dictatorship of total authority and the man himself was a fan of torture and shooting squads. Great hero Brand, did you learn anything from the guy apart from how to hate and how to style your hair? This a romanticised view of politics and rebellion, a desperate rage that wants to destroy the old ways and replace it with… well… they never think that far ahead. Brand calls it ‘alternative systems’, which is a clever way of saying he hasn’t the faintest idea. To be honest a revolution of non-activism is a process in which the process, not the result, is the ambition. Sticking it to the man is all well and good but if you’re gonna tell someone they’re doing everything wrong, correct them or else you come across as a foul little imbecile

I know guys, life is hard and politics are dull and why should you care right? Rent’s too damn high, no jobs are available, your parents had an easier job finding work (Probably not true but you’d like to think it is) but guess what, that’s the reality of the situation and it won’t change by doing nothing. Politics are daunting and a lot to learn but it’s a small price to pay to have your opinions matter right? Ignorance makes fools of us all! Please, I’m begging you, be bothered, get off your idle backside and give a shit or you will be nothing but a number for the rest of your life. I voted last time, I’ll vote again, I’ll always vote because when the issue is important, I’m a noisy son of a gun and one day someone might just reckon I’m saying something worth listening to. Heck, at almost 6000 views on this blog, seems that day is coming. Don’t listen to celebrities, listen to the facts, get engaged in your community and learn what each party stands for and understand why you’re in the shit you’re in rather than whine about the smell because if everyone who could vote, did vote, some parties we want to grow might well flourish and soon enough the old men in power are gonna have to shut up and listen to the united strength of their successors

Can you tell I’ve got my spark back?

Again with the Apathy

You may, or may not, be aware that I, Jacob Wolfe, occasionally suffer with mood disorders, the most prominent of which at the moment being apathy. Apathy, simply put, is a severe case of who gives a fuck and includes symptoms such as unusually slow conversational speed, sighing more often than Severus Snape post break-up and the overwhelming urge to do impressions of a boulder at any given moment someone attempts to make you do something. Can I empty the bins? No I can’t, I’m a fucking rock and I’m gonna sit here and do rock things like not emptying bins. Apathy in itself wouldn’t be too much of a problem if it weren’t so spontaneous and didn’t come with the option to switch over to being an unbearably explosive nutcase when the whole catatonic gargoyle thing wore thin and my brain didn’t decide to play my emotions on shuffle like I’m a bloody i-Pod.

This is a personal rant, in case you hadn’t guessed, so don’t feel obliged to read on unless you want to see into the heart and mind of the man behind the rant, and if so please leave your coats, knives and unnecessary comments at the door where my non-existent fuck-giving attendant will hold onto them for you until such a time I decide to give a damn. Arrogance is possibly what I’m best known for, but I mostly use said arrogance to give me a means of self-defence against criticism, a lack of popularity and the disapproval of others with the idea being ‘So what if he thinks I’m a prat, I think I’m awesome’ and this is a great idea in theory until even you are calling yourself a prat then you fall at every hurdle like a donkey with four broken kneecaps. However, there is more to me than this arrogance and macho character I like to think I am and that is this overwhelming desire to be remembered as a lover and a man of honour, which can often lead to difficult decisions where one forsakes the other and so on. I want to die knowing that when I’m gone, someone will cry at the funeral and someone will say the words

“We mourn the loss of Jacob George Wolfe, a man who lived and died by his beliefs and would sooner die with honour intact, than live on a thief and a coward”

Dramatic, maybe, but the world is a stage after all so call me a full on variety show with masked dancers, monologues and the like. I’ve put apathy aside for now and tried to enter a sincere frame of mind to tell you all that what worries most is that as I am right now, a temperamental and exceedingly impatient old man, that I may just burn down every bridge around me and leave myself on lonely island with just my conscience for company.

“Cocked that up eh? Man of honour eh? You’re full of shit and then you wonder why people complain about the smell when you insist on unloading said shit onto everyone else’s heads?”

I’ve got a good circle of friends and my girlfriend, Alice, is the most supportive woman I’ve ever met and could possibly ever ask for and bless her heart, she’s seen me change from the happy-go-lucky cowboy who never says die to a greyhound with a limp and no nose. I talk about this like it happened over years, but I was the kind of guy who reckoned he could punch through brick no less than two years ago. I hear my former self sneer at me at times and demand of me that I get up on my feet and stop being such a pussy but having no ground to stand on makes getting up a damn site harder. Literally feels like a lifetime ago I was the king but it was only just yesterday in the grand scale of things so I know I can undo the damage I’ve done to myself as swiftly as I’ve done it.

You hear that world? I’m down but not out, and I might be weak at this moment in time but I want you to think that so you get cocky and put your foot down on my back, because then it’ll make getting up and kicking your arse all the more satisfying. Rest assured, I was kicking the shit out of you once upon a time, with a smirk on my face as I did so, and I will do so once again if it means I die straight afterwards. I’m not the only one coming back up from the depths of hell though; you know you can do the same if it means that much to you. You, the anxious, the unloved, the sick, the poor, should all rise up and fight your battles once again because there is no defeat as long as there is blood in your veins to lose.

Give me my victory or give me my death.

Arrogance and Apathy (Originally Published – 8th February 2013)

Oh it’s a funny old life being Jacob Wolfe, self-confessed arrogant twat who rules his own little world but falls flat on his face at every hurdle. I recently triggered a massive debate when expressing my views on gay marriage, by which I mean I said I support it, a few people said they didn’t and I explained my argument before they buggered off then someone more intelligent tried to argue with me and it ended in agreeing to disagree, though with some discrepencies along the way. I won’t change my mind on core beliefs no matter how hard you try, and frankly my opponents weren’t trying to convince me they were right but rather tell me what I believed in was wrong, so to speak. I found the debate dis-satisfying though, the only intelligent counter argument to mine was that of religion and to me, talking to religious people about their beliefs is like signing up for being fucked in every orifice by a power drill, it’s a long and painful process that I don’t willingly agree to. I have my own personal religion so whenever anyone else brings up their religion, I’m offended by it, usually because it’s without me asking. However, with the topic being homosexuality, I should have been prepared for such. I’m arrogant, I admit it, and there are many reasons for that so I’m inclined to think I held my ground pretty well and did so with civility but being me, I never feel any sense of accomplishment in these confrontations. I boil in my own negative juices it seems, forever spiralling downwards because alongside intellect and arrogance, I decided to mix in pessimism and a general loathing for things that breathe… Great mixture. So, whilst I can often engage with the intellectual aspects of a person, their spiritual beliefs leave me with a bitter taste in my mouth and any stupid comments of any kind whatsoever instantly ring the prick alarm bells in my head. I can’t help it though, I think it’s just my character.

I worry about my cynical side sometimes, as humourous as he is with his massive vocabulary and the ability to outwit almost anyone who tries to challenge him but as much fun as he can be, he’s a miserable mother fucker and he’s quick to judgment. Internal arguments with myself have led me to believe I’d be a nicer person if there were less human beings crowding around him and doing stuff he hates, like existing. I guess I’m walking this tightrope between nice guy and total cunt but I’m doing the stunt whilst drunk and balancing on one foot with my arms cut off so it’s a bit hit and miss which side of the rope I fall off, the side where I pick you up off the floor or the side where I shoot puppies in the face… that’s a metaphor, I have no ill will for any puppy on the planet. The probable explanation for this is somewhere along the line, a younger me said ‘Fuck it’ and it just kinda stuck and honestly I swear that is the logic my brain goes by at times. Fuck it, I’ll tell them that they’re irritating. Fuck it, I’ll do a little extra work. Fuck it, I’ll go back to bed and grumble off to sleep. I realise I’m complaining a lot but it needs to come out and if you’ve read this far, you’re probably interested anyway which is kinda weird as effectively you’re just listening to the grumpy ramblings of an old man, so to speak. I’m bored, I’m broke and my body has developed the ‘Fuck it’ logic too, spontaneously deciding to make my spine feel like it’s made of uncooked spaghetti or my head feel like I’m lying on the road during a car crash. I spoke to my doctor, said it’s all just stress and depression. Thanks a bunch, you useless imbecile. The doctor also suggested my mood could be explained as the development of a sense of apathy that my body is reinforcing by periodically shutting down the systems at moments where it should be working. Oh well, I shan’t give up because I can’t give up and I haven’t done so previously so I’m not gonna start because of a few aches and pains in the joints. You’ll find I’m man enough to shoulder any burden I’m needed to, and then ask for more, because whilst I may be struggling at times, I still have that voice in my head that thinks I can run up waterfalls or punch the face of the non-existant God I don’t worship and that voice is what drives me to fight through each day

I was going to use this paragraph to tie things up nicely, or round it off with a positive note and a joke, but if I had a strong note to end on, I’d act on it myself. Besides, conciliatory endings don’t always have the same impact do they? In that regard, until my next rant, go away.