November 13, 2015

GOOD TASTE ALONE | Talk

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By SARAH CHANDLER

We need to talk about talking about not talking about stuff.

We often talk about not talking about stuff. We talk about not talking about stuff like Donald Trump, the Kardashians (are they still a thing?) and the color of a Starbucks cup. These are the things that are being talked about that make rational human beings such as ourselves ask, “What the hell? Why is this even up for discussion?” and fantasize about swearing off the use of the Internet, period. At one point a morning show host stormed off stage because he didn’t want to hear about the Kardashians anymore. But it’s nice to see these items on the news or trending on Facebook because it reminds us that we have better things to talk about than that. Of course in talking about not talking about Donald Trump, in talking about how unworthy of being talked about the Starbucks holiday cup is, we are talking about it.

But that’s okay. We are doing our duty to society by talking about not talking about things that are being talked about. We are doing a massive service to ourselves and our posterity. If we didn’t bemoan the deplorable state of modern society with every other keystroke, how would new atrocities be grandfathered in? In order to keep our lives interesting without really having to do anything, we need to establish a subliminal channel by which every new social offense can be excused and subsumed under the overall horribleness of society, stripped of any quality or character of its own and lumped in with the non-issues we’re all ~not~ talking about.

As long as we stay offended by something, we can keep pretending that the world is a hateful and disgusting place, and that all people are inherently evil and probably harboring the literal spawn of Satan or One Direction. That way we can justify continuing to be offended; we can justify our righteous indignation; we can justify any action we might ever take, as radical and/or ineffectual as it might be.

The important thing is to strike a balance between real offenses and false ones. The false ones serve a very important function, as discussed before: that of not being talked about. And this gives us something to talk about. These false offenses allow us to gesture broadly at the rest of the world, to speak out vaguely against the “truer issues” facing our world. But of course we’re too distracted by the fact that everyone else is too distracted by a presidential candidate whose “IQ is one of the highest” (“sorry losers and haters”) to even be able to speak coherently about any “truer issues.” Which is good, because that means this situation is self-perpetuating. We get so indignant over the color of a cup that of course when it comes to a real issue like pervasive, life-threatening racism we have no other response than the impotent rage we’ve practiced so well on more trivial topics.

But honestly, it’s embarrassing that we even have to talk about this.

Sarah is a sophomore Psychology and Performing & Media Arts major in the College of Arts and Sciences. She likes to exist sometimes, but mostly just recite lines from The Office. Her favorite food is oatmeal raisin cookies dipped in curry sauce, and she can usually be found using the words “film” and “movie” interchangeably, highlighting her favorite words in the dictionary or trying to transcribe feral cat noises into the next groundbreaking Twitter trend. Good Taste Alone appears on Fridays this semester. She can be reached at sec262@cornell.edu.

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