Wednesday, August 12, 2009

In Contempt of Whining

O how the world hates whining, and rightly so. Just try, if you can, to make it all the way to the end of this:

Empty, I echo to the least footfall,
Museum without statues, grand with pillars, porticoes, rotundas.
In my courtyard a fountain leaps and sinks back into itself,
Nun-hearted and blind to the world. Marble lilies
Exhale their pallor like scent.

I imagine myself with a great public,
Mother of a white Nike and several bald-eyed Apollos.
Insread, the dead injure me attentions, and nothing can happen.
Blank-faced and mum as a nurse.
It sounds like somebody has a case of the Mondays! In her refusal to stay focused on the sweet things in life, Sylvia Plath was almost as bad as this guy:
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
Get over yourself, Will! Go outside or something! Of course, he has nothing on the ancients, for we can trace this sort of belly-aching as far back as we like, at least as far as the endlessly self-pitying author of Ecclesiastes:
So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.

Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.

Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.
It goes just as deep in the classical tradition -- Plato, that moaning little frowny-pants, practically celebrated looking beneath the shiny surface to find the rot beneath, and this inspired, among countless others, this epic whiner, this one, that one, and even more grating, this character and this little downcast toad. Don't even get me started on this malcontent.

Not all of this pointlessness took written form -- would that we could be so lucky! Visually distorted and wordless though it might be, there's no small amount of whining here:



A common tactic has long been to cloak the useless complaining in humor (see video below if you can stomach it), while still others have grabbed on to an outrageously longstanding tradition of clouding it in music, with and without lyrics.



Whining is simply awful.

No comments: