There are Very Fine People (& Complete Assholes) on Both SidesJim Goad
FUNDRAISER ALERT: From now until the New Year, I am offering my dubious skills as a karaoke songbird to help Counter-Currents reach its goal. For $100 per ditty, I am willing to post a video of myself performing a song of your choice, provided I feel I can do the song justice. Let’s not go nuts, though — I’m not going to learn, rehearse, and sing an entire side of “Tales of Topographic Oceans” by Yes. Last year, at the request of Gaddius Maximus, I sang “I’ve Always Been Crazy” by Waylon Jennings. Preference will be given to songs with “white” in the title, although I’ve already covered “White Christmas” and “White Room.” Send an email to me, and we can discuss.
As we all hunker down for what may be a historically frigid Christmas, I’ve been doing a bit of soul-searching. To clarify, I did a bit of searching and discovered to my dismay that I have a soul. And in moments of quiet reflection during these horribly dark and cold days, I’ve concluded that the most humane gesture I can make is to encourage everyone, no matter their political leanings, to briefly set aside the endlessly poisonous political bickering and acknowledge that we’re all human.
Not that there’s anything great about being human. It’s a mostly rotten existence. But perhaps we can all share our common rottenness as if we were breaking bread together. Even if it’s only a brief respite before we finally start slaughtering one another, let’s at least have a nice Christmas, okay?
I stand before ye all today to confess, even though it’s very off-brand for me, that there are good people in this world. For dedicated misanthropes such as myself who’ve invested our entire lives in defaming the human race, nothing disrupts our tidy narrative more than a truly good person. I’ve met a few in my life, and they fuck up my entire program. I want to hate them, but they make it impossible. I hate that.
The term I use for such rare gems that glimmer atop the human slag heap is “asshole barometer.” These are people who, in my extensive dealings with them, have proved to be so pure, so guile-free, so fundamentally and frustratingly decent, that if anyone has a problem with them, I don’t even need to hear the details. I automatically assume that the other person is an asshole.
There are about a dozen people I know whom I’d rank as “asshole barometers” — men (and even women!) of the first order, and what’s striking is that there is no ideological continuity among them at all. Some lean hard Left, some lean hard Right, and some don’t bother with ideology and would prefer to live life unhindered by a playbook. But the constant is that they’ve all been good to me. They all also tend to cringe when I remind them of how good they’ve been to me.
That’s right: About half of my very solid friends — friends of the first order, people about whom I can say without a droplet of shame that I admire — don’t agree with me on basic political issues.
Just as I’ve found, through hard and often disgusting experience, that there’s absolutely no correlation between a woman’s physical attractiveness and her skills in the boudoir, I’ve found that there’s no correlation between someone’s chosen ideology and their character. None. There are very fine people, and very foul people, on both sides.
This may seem like a radically heretical idea in this current climate of mass hyperpolitical poisoning, but it used to be common wisdom.
At the beginning of this year, I wrote:
One of the major cultural changes between 1994 and 2022 is that back in the ‘90s, everyone except a small throbbing cluster of fanatical malcontents was able to distinguish between opinions and behavior. Back in the ‘90s, it seemed as if ascribing to even the most extreme belief systems didn’t make you an “asshole” or dehumanize you to the point where you were “scum” who deserved a painful death. . . . Where I come from, an asshole was someone who ate your French fries when you went to the bathroom, not someone over whom you disagreed about whether trannies are actually who they say they are.
It occurred to me precisely when I started to notice this uncomfortable cultural blurring between one’s belief’s and one’s character. Around 2008, shortly after Gavin McInnes was squeezed out of VICE magazine because he’d committed such unforgivable transgressions as telling The New York Times that “I love being white,” I noticed that VICE’s writers picked up the habit of using the word “asshole” to describe anyone who expressed viewpoints that could fairly be classified as even tepidly Right-leaning.
In other words: If you think differently than we do, you’re a bad person. It doesn’t even matter what you do — if you think like we do, we’ll find a way to justify it.
To me, this marked a seismic shift in the culture, and a very dangerous one.
As the 2020s dawned, I had a sense that this decade would be a lot like the 1970s — as a result of mass anxiety about an impending cultural and economic collapse, there would be cults. Lots of cults. I was partially right. I didn’t expect that the entire world would split into two cults known as “Left” and “Right.” One side is perpetually verklempt over “racism,” while the other side has its panties in bunches over “degeneracy.” Both sides are oblivious to the fact that psychologically, they’re all on the same side.
Church Ladies to the left of me and Church Ladies to the right of me. Moralfags as far as the eye can see.
Can we at least give it a break until the New Year?
The other day, in the service of attempting to send a copy of the spanking-new hardcover anthology of my notorious early 1990s magazine that you — yes, you! — can purchase for an absurdly reasonable price, I reached out to an old friend of mine whom I hadn’t spoken with in ages. To test my rapidly declining mental acuity, I attempted to dial his number from memory, only to reach the voicemail of a girl that we’d both dated in the past.
So much for the self-administered memory tests.
When I finally dredged up his number from an old computer file and dialed it, he picked up the phone and said, “Jim Goad . . .”
Holy hell, he’s had me on speed dial for 20 years.
The fellow in question is one of those rare souls who, against my will, forced me to jettison my impenitent misanthropy. I’ve known him since around the turn of the millennium and have never had even a mild spat with him about anything. He helped me out of multiple bad situations merely because he felt it was the right thing to do.
But America’s cultural situation has declined to such a degree in the years since we lived in the same town . . . and it’s America’s most psychotically woke town . . . that he risks both his neck and livelihood by daring to say anything positive about me in public. But that’s exactly what he did a few years back. When a local reporter asked him about me, he performed the revolutionary performative act of declaring that I’m human. When I thanked him for doing this, he brushed it off. He said that the years we worked together were some of the best times of his life and that there’s nothing that his town’s fanatical busybodies could do that would change that.
His social media feed is filled with the typical Left Coast messages about how Republicans are morons, etc. I think Republicans are morons, too, but for entirely different reasons than he seems to. But I’d trust this guy with my life, because he’s saved it more than once. We realize there’s no purpose in arguing about the things on which we disagree.
The world needs more people like him.
People these days don’t have any ideas, but boy, do they have opinions. When I was a kid, the common wisdom was that “Opinions are like assholes — everyone has one.” Nowadays, this has changed to “Everyone is acting like an asshole because of their opinions.”
This Christmas season, the biggest gift I can give you all is to emphasize that one’s ideology is a completely separate beast from their character.
I’m going to get cornier than South Dakota’s beloved Corn Palace here, but I’m pretty sure that no matter how much we all hate each other, we’re still members of the same species.
You’d never suspect it, but I can be kind and empathetic, however passive-aggressively I express it. This entire article is merely my way of saying that if you go to a family gathering this Christmas and are tempted to stab your bratty and obnoxiously woke cousin to death, take a deep breath and realize that she bleeds red just like you do.
Actually, to prove we all bleed red, we’d have to stab everybody. And that seems like too much effort this year. So don’t stab everybody — in fact, don’t even stab that evil cunt cousin of yours.
And that’s about as humanist as I’m going to get this Christmas.
* * *
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