Miserably Woke

One of the reasons I’m such a yuge fan of Dennis Prager is his weekly “Happiness Hour” – in which he talks not only about the practice and moral imperative of being happy (hint:  it’s not just for you), but about the struggle to become happy.

One of his sayings, and his advice, on the subject comes close to an old Hungarian saying I’ve been fond of most of my adult life; “the best way to become wealthy is to appear as if you already are”.   Prager notes that this basic philosophy applies to so very much in life – about getting in shape, about falling or staying in love with one’s partner, and of course happiness.

There’s some science to the premise as well.  There’s a reason that disciplines from music to the military drill one endlessly on things they want to impress into the human brain – because almost nobody plays a piano scale or a guitar chord or clears a rifle jam automatically or intuitively.  But if you drill on them often enough, they become what people call “second nature”, because your brain develops space – neural pathways – for them.

Happiness works a little like that.  Not entirely – being happy isn’t quite as easy as playing a first-position “F” chord – but the idea of wiring the brain to be something isn’t all that conceptually different.

I believe you can push yourself toward happiness.  There’s some science, not to mention thousands of years of human experience, to support the premise.   It’s basic cognitive psychology.

And since one can wire one’s brain to be many good things via practice – a musician, a soldier, a happy person, whatever – it stands to reason you can do the same with unhappy, useless, miserable, depressing things.

Having raised, and working with roomful of, millennials, I’ve observed that the generation seems to collect psychological and psychiatric maladies in young adulthood the same way they used to collect Pokemon cards in childhood.  “I’ve got mild self-diagosed bipolar, which beats your dysthymia and separation anxiety!”.

Modern academia and media preach some miserable stuff to the kids; a common refrain among the young ‘uns is what a miserable world the “boomers” “left” them, with the misery being expressed in terms of climate change, the changing economy and, er, Trump.

And the few times I engage on the subject I mention that I can kind of relate – when I was a kid, the worries were nuclear war and overpopulation.  Of course, there actually were nuclear weapons all about the place, including 25 miles from my hometown, and there were still famines happening.   The nukes are mostly gone, and the obesity is a bigger problem among the poor than famine for the first time in human history.

And our presidents – Nixon and Carter – actually were corrupt and incompetent (respecively).   So compared with the world I grew up in, my kids have it pretty decent.

But I digress.

I thought about the way the world – academia, entertainment, the media – seem to be wiring the younger generation to be a bunch of dysfunctional, whiny mopes when I read this sad, pathetic story about a guy of color who dumped his perfectly good white girlfriend because, well, read the story.

Or don’t.  Maybe you’ll be happier if your brain doesn’t rewire itself just a little bit wrong with that little bit of dysfunction.

Or make yourself a little happier by considering that if this is all the younger generation has to fret about, we’ve done a good job.

28 thoughts on “Miserably Woke

  1. “I’ve got mild self-diagosed bipolar, which beats your dysthymia and separation anxiety!”

    As someone who has been CLINICALLY DIAGNOSED by a REAL FUCKING DOCTOR of having Bipolar (among a few other mental issues) disorder, nothing pisses me off more than those who are self diagnosed (and are usually millenials). I have gotten kicked out of multiple bipolar support groups on Facebook because I laid into those who are self diagnosed because the idea that anybody would actually want this (along with Aspergers, but I digress). But its just a issue of my messed up generation who doesnt want to be happy.

  2. Also sidenote; before I hit 30 I…
    Was committed to a psych ward
    Had my Dad die on me unexpectedly
    Had a fucking stroke
    And my Mom decided to move halfway across the country to be closer to family leaving me alone in MN (Im a only child)

    If anyone has “earned” a “right” to be miserable its me. But I walk around happy and when people start complaining about how tough their life is I get nasty, and if they ever challenge me I bring up those points and tell them Im still a happy person, that ALWAYS shuts them up.

  3. this sad, pathetic story about a guy of color who dumped his perfectly good white girlfriend because, well, read the story.

    I’d seen this article previously, and just shook my head. The young lady no longer in the picture may not feel like it, but she dodged a bullet when this self-absorbed, insecure young “man” dumped her. Imagine if she’d borne him children before he came to this realization?

    A friend and former co-worker or mine grew up a Gen-X black man in Mississippi. He dated and married the white daughter of a Duluth dentist. They’ve gotten the judgmental looks from both sides. Today, they’re still married with their oldest kid in high school. I think they’ve stayed happily married because they don’t give a expletive what anybody thinks!

    Speaking of Prager, one of his most insightful observations I’ve heard him make is on how leftism and narcissism go together. Narcissism is actually toxic to society, unlike masculinity. You can see it in the barely-coherent scribbles of the young man in the article. He places value on how society, or perhaps just the racists that are regrettably part of society, viewed him and his white girlfriends.

    You can see the rampant self-love in a lot of millenial viewpoints and behaviors. Social media has encouraged some to place a high value on what anonymous strangers think of them on-line– sometimes leading to tragic ends.

  4. A valid point did come from the author’s epiphany:

    “Pick a side, Chris, pick a side.”

    10-4, chief.

  5. Its funny I had a similar, less racist, realization. I woke up one day at 30 and realized, “I cant date leftist (or even liberal) women anymore.”

  6. Several (20) years ago, I read The Turner Diaries, which for those that dont know, is the neo-Nazi version of Trulbert. (Hmmm…Merg?)

    It’s not only twisted as hell, I found it A laughably clumsy and outright infantile wet dream for 1/4 wit, frustrated 1488’ers. It’s no wonder fans of Stormfront are limited to the far left side of the Bell Curve.

    That said, like Orwell’s 1984, William Luther Pierce did have in 1978, a certian prescience into where American society is headed. Many of the federal government’s edicts promoting “equality” and anti-gun rhetoric (culminating with gun raids), as well as much of the slogans and talking point dialogue of various leftist antagonists are *spot on* what we hear today.

    I can only hope his prescience ends there, but I’m increasingly doubtful.

  7. I’m glad I didn’t marry a liberal. Mindset matters a LOT more than skin color. Can’t imagine seeing my wife get pregnant and wonder whether she’d go to the abortuary with the fruit of our love. It’s a great bit of happiness that I never had to worry about things like that.

  8. Swiftee, while it is it also severly limits my dating pool, while admittedly being a bit of a man whore in my 20s (I wont go into details…) I have become extremely picky on who I date now since I am looking for a wife, not just someone to bed for a few months.

  9. In general, the older you get the happier you are. Most research seems to indicate it’s because you give fewer [*bleeps*] about what other people think of you as you get older. And it’s true. You can’t control how other people react to you, you can only control how you react to their reaction. That’s an insight more people need.

    To see the truth of that, just consider how joyful and happy you were in middle school when what all your peers thought of you mattered more than anything else in the world. I’ve often said I wouldn’t mind getting younger, but if involved going through puberty again…

    But, other than growing older, yes, being grateful and content with what you have is a great foundation for being happy. You can certainly strive for more, but realize that getting what you think you want isn’t what’s going to make you happy unless you can get your internals under control. It’s that funny 10th Commandment thingie.

  10. While I was in the Air Force, I met a black female Marine from Georgia. She was very hot and had a great personality. In fact, she was enrolled in classes with a goal of becoming an officer. We hit it off and I asked her out one day. She hesitated, then gave me the race thing. I told her that I understood and hoped that I hadn’t messed up our friendship. She assured me that we were still “solid” as we said in the 70s. Anyway, we jumped on the shuttle bus to our duty areas the next day and she sat next to me, then told me that she changed her mind. That Saturday night, we were eating dinner at the base enlisted club, when two black guys, with blonde white women on their arms, came up to us and proceeded to give her grief about being with a “honky”. Well, she got up and proceeded to give both of those hypocrites holy hell. We dated until she rotated back to the states and wrote each other for about 8 months, before she stopped. I always felt richer for having known her and despite the internet, I haven’t been able to find her. Always wondered if she became an officer.

  11. I’ve gotten happier as I’ve gotten older, though there was a rough patch when my wife passed away in 2017 (cancer).
    It takes less to make me happy. I used to believe that externalities — better job, better car, better house, better girlfriend — would make me happy. It is actually disappointing to discover that they don’t, like mastering the play of a game that you come to think of as a waste of time.
    So I will retire at 60 to the hinterlands of Western Wisconsin, where I hope to spend the rest of my days writing fiction, playing the ukulele, riding motorcycles and hanging out with friends and family.

  12. @MP, sorry to hear about your wife. Not an easy thing, but tell me when you get back and we’ll life a brew in her honor. I’ll freely admit I don’t get out enough around here to have much knowledge of the local watering holes (it’s a rare night when I do more than one), but I’d be happy to welcome you back to the mainland.

    But you’re completely right about externalities. It’s one of those things you learn with experience. Like never dating a woman whose nickname is “Trouble.” Yeah, learned that one the hard way.

  13. I’ve been known to stop at Py’s Bar in Osceola for a cold one and a burger on a hot summer’s day.

  14. We need:
    Love and affection

    Keep the needs close to your chest and wants at a distance.

  15. We know from an impeccable source that what is best in life is to “Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the women!”

  16. MP,
    I, too, extend my condolences on the passing of your wife.

    Cancer is such an insidious disease.

    I can relate, because thanks to early detection, my wife beat breast cancer late last year, without radical surgery.

  17. Very sorry to hear about your wife, MP. Hope Wisconsin is everything you hope for. I travel in MN & WI from time to time (in summer lol), I’ll be sure to give you a heads up and maybe we can hook up.

  18. Yeah, it’ll be Wisconsin in the summer, anyhow. I’ve got some possibilities opening up that will allow me to winter in Florida. Never been there, not sure I’d like it.

  19. Osceola is right by New Richmond, where I hangar the airplane I’m rebuilding. Not Justa Bar is half-way . . . first round’s on me.

  20. MP, I spent almost 5 years in living in Hell south Florida. I was assured by other folks from near here that I’d get used to it in 3 years.


    My vacations were in the BWCA in July, where everyone else was protesting loudly about the heat and humidity. I replied that the conditions reminded me of FL in late March when it was still cool and dry.

    The only time south FL was habitable was December through February, and the only month you could open the windows without the risk of mold forming in your carpet was January, but it was incredibly crowded and trying to do anything outside onshore was very difficult due to the lines.

  21. @JD, have you tried visiting The Laurel supper club in New Richmond? I strongly, strongly recommend the filet there. Reasonably priced for what you get, and the Yale executive chef we had visiting us said that it compared more than favorably with the best he’d had in NYC.

  22. Upon successfully graduating from St. Agnes, my boys jumped out of perfectly good airplanes at New Richmond.

    Oh sure, parachutes were involved lol.

  23. POD, going back to something you noted, I’ve got a sister-in-law who is bipolar, and given that you’re seeking for a wife and not just serial girlfriends, I’m inferring that you and your psychiatrist have at least gotten the worst of it under control. Well done!

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