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The New York Times’ comically embarrassing election stress advice

Let’s face it; there isn’t a person alive who hasn’t had an embarrassing moment at some point in their life. We’ve all been there.

Maybe someone took a bad photo of you at a party where you look goofy. Maybe you tripped walking up the stairs and ate dirt in front of your peers, who promptly slagged you for it (the way true friends do). Maybe you got really into a fashion trend which, in hindsight, was so cringe that you should currently be in the Hague on trial for war crimes.

That stupid swept-to-the-side Smosh haircut from the early 2010s comes to mind.

At the end of the day, one way or another, humiliation comes to all of us from time to time. It’s a universal part of the human experience – just the cost of doing business, I’m afraid.

But though the spectre of cringe hovers ominously over the human race like a thick fog, that doesn’t mean you should come right out and declare to the world “Hey everyone, I’m a human marshmallow with glass bones and paper skin.”

And yet that is exactly what the notoriously liberal New York Times decided to do on behalf of its readers yesterday, when it published a tweet on “5 ways to soothe election stress” amid the US midterms race.

“Elections and anxiety often go hand in hand,” the paper wrote.

“Here are some evidence-based strategies that can help you cope.”

These hilarious words of advice, which you can see below, include but are not limited to “breathe like a baby,” plunge your face into ice water, and stay off social media to deal with the mental anguish of a vote possibly not going your way (God forbid).

This was rightly met with the ridicule it so richly deserves, with editor of the satire website the Babylon Bee sarcastically offering the piece’s author a job at his company.

Others posted memes mocking the NYT for curling up into the foetal position and crying on the floor.

This might seem like a low blow at first, until you realise they’re literally asking you to do breathing exercises to imitate infants. So actually drinking puréed food of a sippy cup and wetting the bed is barely an exaggeration of what they actually called for – they may as well go the whole hog and regress to the toddler-like state they so clearly crave.

As one user rightly pointed out, “if this is how you react to elections, maybe it’s time to think about how much power the government has over you” – an astute observation if ever there was one.

Now what’s the point of all this, beyond pointing and laughing at journalists for acting like idiots? Which is not a bad reason to write an article on its own, by the way.

Well, to my mind, posts like this communicate at least two important things about our society.

Firstly, and most obviously, we’ve seen a total and complete infantilisation of Western civilisation, where people who are ostensibly grown adults – mostly liberals – have been reduced to pure childlike “id,” as Dr. Freud would put it.

It’s gotten to the point now where people are so fragile and sensitive, so sheltered and insulated from suffering, that the mildest of inconveniences, such as losing an election, or hearing a view they dislike, causes them to melt into a kind of human soup. Just try uttering an alternative opinion in their presence, no matter how moderate or polite, and you can bet good money that their face will be on the carpet before you can say “Agree to disagree.”

If you ask me, a large part of this problem is the lack of swift kicks up the arse from a loving father figure – but that’s for another article.

The second thing this demonstrates to us, as one previous commenter alluded to, is the extreme over-politicisation of society.

Politics in 2022 has become a cult-like obsession to many people – ironically, often the people who understand it the least. It seems like in many cases the worse informed a person is on politics, the more likely they are to be a fanatic regarding it. It’s becoming increasingly common to have crowds of high-strung, overly-emotional youths who are ready to burst into tears or whoop with glee depending on the outcome of a vote that none of them even understood in the first place.

I say the following as someone who is literally paid to think and write about politics for a living as a career, and who follows political news forensically:

Politics is bullshit, folks.

We live in a world of States and taxes and wars, and we unfortunately have to take an interest in these things before they take an interest in us. But politics should be viewed more as an unfortunate but necessary chore – like scrubbing the toilet – rather than a hobby or legitimate interest.

The fact of the matter is, no election or referendum, in and of itself, has ever made a person truly happy. No vote has ever cured a person’s depression, or given them a reason to live.

There are people who lived happy, fulfilled lives before Democracy, and also under it. People have lived happy lives under Leftwing governments, and Rightwing governments, good leadership and bad leadership.

Because at the end of the day, politics is a means to an end – and that end is safety and prosperity for you and your loved ones. It’s having the right to worship as you see fit, and raise children, and own a home, and put food on the table. That’s what actually matters. And politics matters only insofar as it is a tool for achieving those goals.

But increasingly we’re starting to see people who obsess over politics for politics’ sake. They have been so consumed by the “my team versus your team” bloodsport paradigm, that they whip themselves up into a frenzy, where they feel like any election or vote is their entire reason for existing. And they feel like if their side loses, they may as well hurl themselves off the nearest ledge and end it all.

But when the final vote is counted, and the winner is declared, you will stand up and enter the kitchen, happy or defeated. And do you know what you’ll see at that moment?

The same family members sitting around the table having the same breakfast – probably cornflakes. The same dog whining and begging to be let out. The same neighbours taking out the bins, and postmen dropping off a package.

You’ll try to use the bathroom, and, to your irritation, there’ll be the same relative hogging the shower, and that same unusual noise coming from the washing machine that you’ve been meaning to get fixed.

Life, it turns out, goes on.

The Buddhists, in all their wisdom, have a profound but short saying: “After enlightenment, the laundry.”

Life is full of ups and downs, with all of its victories and defeats. Empires rise and fall, and the reigns of power change hands in mighty nations. But those are not the things which make mankind want to live.

True meaning is found in the simple, less glamorous things, like walking the dog and watching a film with those close to you. For many of us, it’s religion, and a sense of transcendental purpose given to us by our Creator.

A life’s purpose is not found in which bozo gets to become Tourism Minister this year.

The truth is that those who shed tears and feel like their life is over because of politics don’t understand politics, or life. And while some mockery for that is warranted, some pity is also probably in order.

 

 

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