Wednesday, April 27, 2011

the realism/cynicism spectrum

the other day, a friend of mine sent me a link to a story about yarn bombing here in minneapolis.  it was a story about the phenomenon and how the bombers are often art students, organized and seeking to share their vision with the rest of the populace.  my own natural reaction was "can you make any money at it?"  i then continued to expound on how youth, the aristocracy, and the very lucky are the only people able to engage in anything for its own sake, such as art, haute couture, and around the world ballooning.  one can never know what others are thinking, but i am guessing a great many people would label such a comment as "cynical."  au contraire!

true, inquiring about the possible financial gains of yarn bombing instead of the intended message (whatever THAT is) may seem a little crass, but it is not cynical, simply realistic and based in my own reality, which is the only reality i know.  nevertheless,  it got me thinking.  the very next day, i had a similar conversation with an old theatre chum who said she has no idea what she was thinking pursuing a degree in theatre arts.  i think her exact phrase was "ick!  how gay!"  we discussed how our changed/enlightened perspective was not cynicism, but informed realism.

i have noticed in recent times the words "cynicism" and "realism" are often interchanged.  is it a linguistic trend?  further evidence of our society's polarization?  or are those 3rd grade teachers slacking on the dictionary in class?  actually, it is a matter of perspective that shifts with age and experience.  young people (who tend to be stupid at most things) consider everything as either idealist or cynical.  wiser people ("wiser" and "older" being synonymous of course) have learned that everything is not black or white, that some ideals are necessarily rudimentary while others are only as useful as they are flexible.  in other words, we embrace realism.

where are you on the that perspective spectrum?  here are a few questions to help you navigate your self discovery map:

·       i enjoy coming to work each day because:
1.     i feel good about my contribution to society
2.     it is secure, provides benefits, and pays a reasonable wage
3.     every day i am one step closer to retiring and telling all these clowns to jump off a bridge, especially that bitch, Sheila, in H.R.

·       my marriage will last forever because:
1.     my spouse and i are madly in love
2.     my spouse and i make a good team
3.     "forever" is a relative term

·       when i step into the voting booth:
1.     i feel invigorated to be exercising a right secured by the founders of this country
2.     i make my choices based on reasonable expectations i surmise from what  i perceive to be the real person behind the candidate
3.     i pick whatever thieving bastard happens to be at the top of the list so i can get my "I Voted" sticker and enjoy the rest of my paid two hours off work

·       my friendships tend to be:
1.     energetic and fun; i have many people i can count on
2.     categorized into close friends and friendly acquaintances
3.     based on who buys the beer, 'cause you can't trust anybody anyway

·       when i hear the phrase, "you can be whatever you want to be," my reaction is:
1.     absolutely!  all it takes is hard work, a positive attitude, and tenacity
2.     that can be true, but it is not always going to happen
3.     sure, you can be whatever you want to be……on LinkedIn

·       in general, i look at life as:
1.     fruit on a tree that is there for me to take and eat
2.     vegetables in the ground, that must be dug up, sorted, washed, and cooked before they will provide any sustenance
3.     a series of ridiculous questions that i have already wasted 5 minutes of my life on because it is what it is anyway

the results:

if you choice mostly #1, you are having fun.  enjoy it while you can, because a time will come, sooner than you can ever imagine, when you won't BELIEVE you ever were some one who chose mostly #1!

if you chose mostly #2, you are one of those that embrace realism.  aren't those people that chose mostly #1 just the cutest things?!!

if you chose mostly #3, it is amazing that you have even gotten this far in this post.  congrats!  there is help for you yet!  enjoy The Onion and don't take things so seriously.  after all, you can't do anything about it anyway!


  1. we all have our own realities, based on our experiences :) the reality for our village is that yarnbombing has brought a lot of positive attention to our village via the books and publicity, brought a lot of visitors, makes locals (young and old) smile, and while it hasn't brought any income to me as an artist (I get that via the gallery), it has been a joy to be involved IN the community I live.
    jafabrit, an old bird who knits ;)

  2. JafaBrit, i think you some one who is blessed with a very lovely reality. thanks for reading and leaving your thoughts.