Tag Archives: people

Self censorship

When does it become acceptable to write something that’s funny at someone else’s expense?  By which I mean, when is it OK to ridicule an actual, real person?  You know, those things that have actual feelings and lives that may be affected by public ridicule. 

No matter how much we don’t like someone, no matter how much we think they “deserve it”, there is ultimately a person on the receiving end.  Even if we don’t think they’re much of a person.  So what’s acceptable when we’re dealing with another human?

Looking around, it seems attitudes range from “anything goes” (no matter how cruel, damaging or untrue it may be) to “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”  I tend to be somewhere in the middle but get tipped more towards “anything goes” the more of a public figure someone is.  I see it as a case of live by the sword… the more you make your living from being in the public eye the more you have to deal with the fact that the public eye can sometimes be cruel and unfair.

For me, that generally means politicians, movie stars and TV personalities are all fair game.  In terms of ordinary people who find themselves in the public eye (usually for doing something stupid) I try not to be too cruel.  And the one thing I always try to avoid is the internet lynch mob mentality.  The people who indulge in internet vigilantism have a tendency to justify their action by saying their target has done something really bad.  But I wonder how many of them would escape unscathed if their own life was subject to the same scrutiny.

The reason I’m musing on this topic is a news story that seems like perfect fodder for me.  A pair of New Zealanders described as “experienced pilots” have put themselves out front for this year’s Darwin Awards with their method of demise over the weekend.  They were killed when they crashed a microlight plane they took for a joyride.  In the middle of the night.  While it was raining.  And foggy.  And there was lightning.  To top it off, police believe the two had been drinking at a party before the flight (which could explain why they thought a midnight joyflight in shitty weather was a good idea).

Now, these guys seem to me to pretty much fit the definition of “asking for it”.  But at the same time, I’m sure there are people who are very sad they’re dead and wouldn’t appreciate the loss of their loved ones being made light of.  I think I’ll hold off saying anything too disparaging until there are more details confirmed (like whether or not they had definitely been drinking) but I suspect the nature of this story means these guys are going to be slammed around the world.

Of course at the back of my mind in all this is I’d really rather not have all my personal details used for online fodder.  Quite a few people have a go at the fictional entity of Mr Angry already (many of whom seem to have no clue that this persona isn’t actually me) so I’m always kind of expecting a wider public “outing”.  I’m not stupid enough to think that if I’m nice everyone will be nice to me but at the end of the day I’d rather be able to hold my head up regarding my own actions rather than worry too much about what someone might say about me.


Filed under Internet

Psychos don’t like being caught out

Further to my recent posts on office psychos, I’m still thinking through my Unified Theory of Global Dickheads. I’m sure that’s a Nobel Prize in the making. According to several studies I’ve read, about 1 in 100 people are full on psychopath/sociopaths and 1 in 20 suffer from diagnosable Anti-Social Personality Disorder. My own unscientific observations lead me to believe about 1 in 10 people are just jerks
I think that the biggest difference between a pychopath and a jerk is that a psychopath can’t change and a jerk doesn’t want to change. Jerks behave in ways that normal humans find objectionable. Their cunning approach is to be so obnoxious that we either have to let them have their way or essentially fight fire with fire – be obnoxious right back.
The thing is, if you’re a decent human, you don’t want to spend much time being obnoxious. It actually feels bad. While it’s worth shouting down a jerk every now and then, they like to put us in positions where our lives will essentially be miserable if we retaliate.  I’ve noticed this behaviour more and more lately.

This behaviour is far too widespread to be limited to the people who are statistically likely to have Anti-Social Personality Disorder.  This is where my theory on the preponderance of jerks comes from.  I think being a jerk is pretty much learned behaviour – they see that when they’re a colossal jerk, people often let them get their own way just to shut them up.

But you know what?  Jerks really hate it when you call them out for being jerks.  It’s actually fun to watch them squirm but they’ll rarely admit they were at fault.  Just today I was on a really crowded tram.  So crowded in fact that when I got on I basically couldn’t move far past the doorway.  That didn’t bother me too much because I wasn’t staying on for very long.

Each stop at least one person would get on and/or off which involved some creative squirming away for me and a few other to accommodate the people who were entering/leaving.  Finally, we approached my stop and I stood by the door waiting for the tram to stop.  A woman who wanted to get off as well evidently decided she didn’t want to wait for the door to open and shoved past me while the tram was still moving.  She actually elbowed me in the stomach!

As I got off the tram behind her I decided to communite my displeasure and the following exchange took place:

ME: Yeah, thanks for that.

SHE: I needed to get off.

ME: So did I, why the hell did you elbow me in the stomach deliberately?

SHE: You wouldn’t get out of the way.

ME: The tram hadn’t stopped, I couldn’t get out of the way.

SHE: You shouldn’t have been in the way.

ME: There was nowhere else to stand.  Besides, like I said, I was waiting to get off too.

SHE: I didn’t know that, you were just in the way.

ME: Well, here’s a novel idea – try saying “Excuse me” before elbowing me in the stomach!

SHE: And I suppose you would have moved if I’d said that.

ME: No, I would have told you I was getting off at this stop.

SHE: So, I was meant to just wait behind you?


Actually, I may have said “fuck” more times than that.  For some reason, the conversation ended awkwardly at that point.


Filed under General Angriness

Elevator etiquette

I’m back working in a multi-storey office building for the first time in years which means having to use the elevator multiple times a day.  I have to tell you, I’m astounded how many people simply don’t know how to use a lift effectively.  Because I like to help (really because I like to vent at people who piss me off) I thought I’d compile a handy guide to proper elevator use.

1. Getting into an elevator: There are basically two rules when it comes to entering an elevator.

  • Wait for people to get out before you get in
  • Don’t take all bloody day to get in

For people who don’t place any value on courtesy, letting people get out first still seems like basic common sense to me. There’s more room to manoeuvre outside the elevator than inside. If you push your way in before people get out they’ll have to shove past you. It’s easier all round to just step aside for a second to see if anyone’s trying to get out

The second part can be a delicate balancing act.  If you stand around for too long the doors will close.  If you don’t wait long enough you crash into people coming out.  Some exercise of the brain is required here.  I hate getting some slug-like entity between me and the elevator who does nothing because they’re too fucking stupid to figure out what’s going on.  Then the doors close and I’m left to ruminate on why I didn’t shoulder charge the obvious moron out of my way.

Here’s a tip for the slow learners: try putting your hand on the door frame to hold the door.  You can do this while standing out of the way of anyone exiting.  And on 99% of elevators this will stop the door from shutting before you can get on.  If everyone stands around waiting for someone else to get on first, that isn’t “polite”.  It’s fucking stupid!

2. While in the elevator: Don’t listen to people who say you should never talk in an elevator.  It’s a fun experiment often given to first year Psychology students to get into an elevator, face the “wrong” way and try to engage people in animated conversations.  99% of people will cringe horribly/amusingly when you do this.  But grownups should be able to maintain decorous conversations in an elevator that also contains strangers.

But for the love of the little baby Jeebus, DON’T have loud conversations on a mobile phone.  Either hang up before you get in or continue your conversation at a conversational volume.  If the person at the other end can’t hear you tell them you’re in an elevator and you’ll call them back.  Shouting at a person who isn’t there is fucking obnoxious behaviour to the people who ARE there.  It will be your fault if someone decides to see if your phone will double as a rectal thermometer.

Also, when you get in, stand somewhere that makes sense in relation to where you’re getting out.  If you’re likely to be getting out the first time the elevator stops, don’t stand right at the back just because you’re the first to get in.  Stand to the side near the door but out of the way so other people can come in.  That way you can get out again with a minimum of shoving.

Likewise, if you going to be the last one out DON’T STAND IN THE FUCKING DOORWAY!  The only time you should ever stand right where the doors open is if there’s no other choice.  Or maybe if you’re getting off on the next floor (but if that’s the case, why don’t you take the stairs you lazy bastard?)

And if you are in the doorway because there was no choice, when the door opens and it isn’t your floor, get out of the fucking way!  Step out of the goddam lift and hold the door.  Then get back in when people have exited.  Don’t force people to wriggle past you.  Pull that shit with me and you’re likely to get an “accidental” kick to the back of the knee.

So please, people, I’m begging you.  There are precious few things that separate us from the beasts.  Knowing how to interact with random people without causing trauma is one of them.  If you don’t have the mental capacity to navigate an elevator without making other people want to punch your lights out, maybe you’re not enough of a grown up to be part of the workforce.  Stay in your home with your 24 cats and leave the rest of us alone.


Filed under Work

What makes me angry? The people!

One of my earliest inspirations for this blog was a former co-worker who had a hilarious way of expressing her frustration with stupid people by simply going “The people!  The people!”  OK, maybe I’m easily amused.  But she was a New Yorker and that sounds really funny in a New York accent.

I’m actually working on my grand unified theory of why people are fucked.  Seriously.  Expect to see some musings on this in the coming days.  Some kind of serious and some plain silly.  I’m starting off on the silly side with these videos.

The first was inspired by a weekend shopping trip where I had to deal with some truly fucked people.

I actually got a huge response from my YouTube viewers to my question “Why do people suck so much?”  A cavalcade of comments and quite a few video responses seemed to be of the common opinion “They just do!”  Leave it to Little Miss Angry to enlighten me as to why people actually behave this way:

Well, I did say I was starting silly.


Filed under Video Blogging