Hermit Rages

October 14, 2010

(Originally posted here on 11/08/09)

Yes, guys and gals – it’s time for me to come out. I’ve tried to act against my true self, but I knew that I was just living a lie and it was time for me to finally be comfortable with who I am. Okay, here it goes:

I am a misanthropic, cynical and ill-humoured bastard

Phew, there we go. Glad I got that relevatory admission out the way and everything. Some of you might not be able to put with it, but that’s the way I am (Incidentally, if any of you were expecting a sudden turn to homosexuality on my part, I’m afraid that’s really not on the cards. I’m far too big a fan of boobs, and I’m not nearly well-dressed enough to be gay).

But that is the way of things – as many of you might have suspected, and indeed as I may have warned many of you in the past, I absolutely cannot stand people. Having had various encounters with them throughout my life, and having suffered at their various pettinesses and attempts at intelligence, I feel I am in the right place to spin around neatly, remove my finger from my nose and give the interfering bastards a great big flick of the V. They, being people, will probably tut and sneer like the horde of livestock they truly are, but that – if anything – will confirm and validate my hatred of them, rather than render it meaningless.

Now, dear reader, simply because I hate people does not at all mean that I hate you. Quite the reverse, in fact. When I use the phrase “people”, I refer to the gormless throng which can be seen muttering their way through the high streets, vacantly staring out of buses and thinking that an interesting shirt makes up for their complete lack of personality. “People” are (usually) chavs, the unthinking elderly, cocksure prannets, Daily Mail readers, Guardian readers, joggers, idiots, men in pubs who think Jim Davidson is funny and anyone who has ever bought a “feelgood” film. “People” are those grey, featureless individuals that periodically fill gaps between the folk we actually know. They are drab, uninteresting and only open their mouths to say something unenlightened and contentious.

Optimists tend to state that “a stranger is just a friend I don’t know yet”. Pessimists contend that strangers are simply enemies in the cunning disguise of anonymity. I, however, am so hugely misanthropic that I don’t even think that strangers have the mental werewithal to be either my friend or my enemy. I might dislike them intensely, but they’d never be counted as my “enemies” as to call someone an enemy, at least, implies a certain level of mutual respect for one another’s sniping.

So, if you are reading this, you escape the trap of being “people”. I already know you and by that definition you cannot be “people”. Makes sense.

“But Iwan”, some of you out there will yell in a bid to tear down my suspicious worldview, “but isn’t everyone a stranger to begin with before you meet them? Didn’t all of your friends start out as strangers to you? Even for a few seconds, even your own mother would have been a stranger to you. Therefore, you cannot hate people, as many of them eventually became your friends”.

In answer to this I would say: yes, but I know them now, so it doesn’t matter. Anyone to whom I’ve ever been introduced or made friends with seem quite antithetical to my usual conception of “people”. They are (in various forms and combinations) kind, interesting, clever, dynamic, mad, admirable and genuinely nice. In contrast to this, “people” have all the qualities of a bowl of porridge left for several years in a cobweb-riddled croft – they are cold, drab, tasteless and desperately dull.

And – to make a more serious point – what needs to be remembered is that it was “people” who helped Hitler to get into power. By this, I don’t mean the more general sense of the German people or supporters of the Nazi party, but precisely my earlier definition of “people” – that partly spiteful, partly apathetic mass of dunderheads who don’t care what’s going on so long as it doesn’t bother them. Not in My Back Yard. It’ll Never Happen Here. What The Eyes Don’t See.

In fact, “people” are very good at benefitting from the misery and detriment of others. They are snide, overly given to schadenfreude (not in a funny way, either) and will turn their noses up at the efforts of the optimistic in order to try and stifle them. Chavs love a bit of unprovoked assault, Daily Mail readers and the mindless elderly like to tut, joggers will always tell you how much damage you’re doing to your body and the cocksure prannets enjoy making suggestions about your virility (though that one is pecuilar to us gents alone, mind). These sorts and their offshoots will make useless judgements based on 0.01% of the evidence, and then give their opinion even if it isn’t wanted. As examples, Mary Whitehouse and Gillian McKeith are “people” – they will have a list of “Thou Shalt Nots” trotted out in the time it takes for a website flogging interesting films of Megan Fox, a jacuzzi and a bucket of cream to reach sixty-eight billion hits. Which is to say, no time at all. And keep in mind, none of these rules will be particularly useful to your day-to-day existence, and some might even run in opposition to your instincts.

To make matters worse, for the past year or so I have been forced to work with – nay; to work in the service of – people. As one might imagine, the terrifying business of telemarketing brought me into contact with people on a minute-by-minute basis, like Sky News coverage of the Annual Conference of the Prickbag’s Union. As might be imagined, this gave me a look at a cross section of the local public, and I was dismayed to find that the vast majority of them were “people”. Fingers-in-the-ears, parroting people. I’m not saying that they didn’t deserve their privacy, but there were plenty of folks out there who still managed to be courteous and understanding even when I’d rang them up at a bad time. As such, the calvacade of moaning seemed a bit like an over-reaction, given that many others coped perfectly well with me and my unwarranted nocturnal intrusions.

This is equally true of my current job. Though the impact of said “people” is usually watered down through conversation with warm eccentrics or genuine enthusiasts, the tossers nevertheless manage to get through. Usually, they are characterised by pillocks who believe they are given every right to haggle over prices and discounts (despite the fact that they are in a shop and not some bazaar), or the old couples who share the same defeated face. However, the greatest, terrifying synthesis of the worst types of people are entire families of them; there is unimpressed dad, snappy and sexually unfulfilled mum, and kids who screech like Claw the Scratcher going one-on-one with Captain Blacboard, deep in the recesses of the Noiseatorium of Doctor Decibel. Also, not to make a big racist point here, but the vast majority of the time, the “people” I meet are English. Now that’s not to say I haven’t been friends with or been inspired by a damned nice load of Englanders, and nor does it say that I haven’t met hordes of snooty and holier-than-thou Welsh “people”. It’s just that nine times out of ten, in my experience, “people” are usually to be found across the border. Or perhaps I just attract the English, I don’t know (answers on a stamped postcard please).

Of course, there will now be a few among you who sense victory against me. Perhaps you have spent time among what I class as “people”, and find them to be a perfectly agreeable lot, who live by dog-eat-dog codes and are a good, hardy contrast to what I define as “not people” – who are a bunch of sentimental, cloud-nine hippies in your opinion. Plus, to dig myself a deeper grave, I have been a hypocrite – for here I am doing exactly that for which I decry “people”. I’m sat on the internet judging people I’ve never met, being all cynical and moany, while decent “people” are getting on with their lives. Hah harr, you might cry in joy. I have been most assuredly trounced.

Except, there’s a problem there. I like to think that, much like Batman (and that’s not just put in there so I can compare myself to the coolest fictional man ever), I weld the weaponry of cynicism and pessimism against cynics and pessimists, and in the service of the joyful, the clever and the endearingly sweet. And just like Batman is made into a hardened fighter by living in a world of criminals, so I too am shaped into meaness by the existence of “people”. Were there no windmills at which I could tilt and no sacred calves to slaughter, I would spend my life in a room full of baby chimps, making them tea and helping them work the DVD player so they could watch Bagpuss . I would be an unmitigated hippie, and go off to live on an island somewhere. But while there are “people”, I will wear the cowl of grumpiness and sling my Batarangs of venom. Because…well, I think it was Johnny Cash who put it best:

Ah, I’d love to wear a rainbow every day,
And tell the world that everything’s OK,
But I’ll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
‘Till things are brighter, I’m the Man In Black.

So, should you think me bitter or downhearted when I come across as a miserable old sod, or feel personally insulted when I tell you that I “hate people”, keep the above in mind. I may appear in the guise of a misanthropic, cynical and ill humoured bastard, but beneath this exterior is a deluded and essentially friendly idiot, who hopes for a world of simplicity, niceness and good tea.


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