Dec 25, 2011

Deeply Troubled or Lowlife Assholes? - Why We Hate Being Alive

Being a lowlife asshole is actually kinda cool.
A common end-of-year tactic for many bloggers is to do a post about the weirdest search phrases that brought people to their site during the previous 12 months. Since I'm all about the spirit of giving (after all, it IS Christmas), here's my strange list:

short black midgets - (thanks, Gary Coleman)
rasta sweater vest - (when greed was good and we were all superstars)
wife gangbang homemade - (must be something about pornography)
those cult members in san diego with the kool-aid and the sneakers - (I got nothing)
452817_48702741 - (get a life, please)
jizz fest - (now we're talking)

But the top winners (if you can call them that) for 2011 are all variations of "i hate being alive". Here's some examples from the vast sea of deeply troubled human misery:
  • i hate being alive
  • i fucking hate being alive
  • being alive is hard
  • god i hate being alive
  • being alive is difficult
  • god damn i hate being alive
  • have a good life i hate being alive
  • i dislike being alive
  • i dont like being alive
  • i feel like being alive is too difficult
  • i resent being alive
  • i seriously hate being alive
  • i think i just hate being alive
  • oh god i hate being alive
  • reasons to hate being alive

Shut up and eat your spinach you asshole
Even though I can't really know someone's inner experience while they're Googling "hting bieng alive", I think it's safe to say they've never heard of spell-checking. And that their search is motivated by deep emotional suffering. After all, who searches for reasons to hate life just for kicks? That's why we have YouTube:

A poster on Yahoo! Answers had this response to the question, "Why do people hate themselves and their life?":
"If life has been predominately kind to you, you are blessed and perhaps cannot relate to what some people face from the time they wake till the time they go to bed again. Knowing you SHOULD be happy is like saying why don't all people eat spinach. Don't they know it is healthy and they should love it? Well, if it makes them puke every time they eat it, they can't snap themselves into liking it. The life that has been presented to them is not necessarily as palatable as the one presented to you."
Well said. It's easy to judge until you've walked in someone's shoes, which takes all the fun out of passing judgement. I think my post about my own feelings of hating my life, myself, and our shitty world touched a nerve for people who also feel lost in the wilderness. I currently hold a top 10 ranking position in Google for the term "i hate being alive", which was purely accidental. But this and other related terms account for 90% of all search engine traffic to this blog in the last 12 months. Behind the required facade of "doing fine" are some deeply troubled people who are anything but fine. Running a blog that ranks well for hating life is a dubious achievement at best, and I'm not proud of it. What do you think I am, cynical or something?

Lowlife and lovin' it
Karen Carr discusses the concept of “cheerful nihilism” in her 1992 book, The Banalization of Nihilism. Cheerful nihilism is characterized by an easy-going acceptance of meaninglessness and narcissistic moral arrogance. This shallow world view has now been popularized by everyone from Eminem to Toby Keith (or as Bill Maher calls him, "Cletus McFucknuts").

Another good example of this empty angst is "edgy" Canadian rock export Theory of a Deadman. Their 2008 platinum-selling hit "Hate My Life" is predigested stadium rock for the white trash NASCAR crowd. It seems to say, "your life may suck, but it's nothing a huge drunken kegger won't fix":

Call me old fashioned, but when you say "I hate my life", you should be talking about something a little deeper than your annoyance at panhandlers or your wife's taste for expensive lingerie. Oh, and it would also help me take you more seriously if your music didn't suck.

Talking about their newest hit "Lowlife", Theory of a Deadman singer Tyler Connolly says, "I thought it'd be cool to write a fun anthem about being a lowlife. It's okay to drive an old piece of shit car, get arrested and be a dirtball. Our fans aren't wearing suits and ties. They don't have diamond necklaces. They're regular people who like to party and sing rock 'n' roll music. The song speaks to them."

Yes, basically reveling in being a piece of shit. Along with hardcore gangsta rap, this is what pop culture now passes off as an existential crisis. I'll take suicidal ideation over this disturbing banal shallowness any day.


  1. I agree with you that when most people say "I hate my life" odds are they're just having a bad day (much like people will say "I hate you" when they actually just DISAGREE with you), or their life is 90% good for them and there's an annoying 10% that's out of their control, keeping them from achieving a more perfect existence. Take me for example: I am a tall, white male living in the United States, I have a full-time job with benefits, a loving wife who would literally take a bullet for me, good health, two fuzzy cuddly cats, a three bedroom house and no children by choice. On top of everything else, I usually have adequate time, money and inspiration to fiddle around, create my artwork and blog about it. In short, I've got it fairly good by most people's standards and yet I still find myself slipping into a "*sniff* *sob* *whine* Life isn't worth living!!1!" kind of funk every time my job requires me to work a 6 or 7 day week (time and a half on Saturdays, double time on Sundays). Even with the weekend overtime snag, I quite sure there's plenty of people out there who would gladly kill me and take my place if they could. THOSE are the kind of people who are more near the threshold of TRULY having a difficult life and have much more of a right to say "I hate my life", not douchebags similar to myself who's greatest daily difficulty is dealing with the responsibility of being employed and the resulting ennui it induces.

    Of course, the "life/spinach palatability" quote you cited (which I wholeheartedly agree with) does throw an annoying wrench into the whole existential crisis thought process. Everyone is different, living a different life with different advantages and disadvantages. One needs to determine whether or not life is worth living for themselves and ONLY for themselves. Sure someone can say "I can handle MY shitty life, you should be able to handle YOURS." but they're being deliberately close-minded and judgmental for the sake of a dismissive simplicity.

    As for pop culture trivializing and over simplifying nihilism or philosophical thought, I'm not sure there's anything else that's even possible when it comes to pop culture. If it isn't a catchy, upbeat, easy to remember slogan the "popular mind" doesn't want any part of it.

  2. To the above posters, just want to say thanks for people that are understanding. I really hate it too when people judge others by their own standards. Everyone is really different so what comes easy for one person does not necessarily come easy for others. I am one of those people that you might consider unlucky in the lottery of life. I was born to a set of parents that were utterly toxic and as a result I am a mess and I have mental health difficulties that I am trying to deal with. I am 40 now and I'm still recovering from that childhood. People are forever judging me and looking down on me because I struggle to get the pieces of my life together. These people are lucky that they don't have my genes, my background and my messed-up brain wiring because I doubt if they could even survive one day with my head on their shoulders. People should thank their lucky stars and concentrate their efforts on telling themselves "there but for the grace of God go I" instead of wasting energy on being judgemental of others. There seems to be too many people out there that lack empathy.

  3. Deeply Troubled or Lowlife Assholes? yeah, the ones that need to insult others that didnt even talked to them (im looking at you author), btw i dont hate my life and i dont like emo music either, i hate the world, trolls like you are one of the reasons.

  4. I'm going to kill myself and everyone I can find who is over 80 feet tall! Blessings of the 8 Divines upon you

  5. You're downright pathetic, scum.