If you think about it, an opinion is much like that rifle recently flaunted by the old coot strolling through Hartsfield International Airport. But since this is the Internet, I know not much thinking is done here, so I’ll explain. See, that rifle could be a useful tool, and the man has a right to possess it, and technically can have it there or many other places. It’s his choosing, though, to openly display it there—to prove a point—that proves this point: He’s an idiot. Are you with me? It was unnecessary, senseless, provocative. And too-easily misinterpreted.
This happens every day here on the wild, big ol’ Internet. Here we are, with our guns out at the airport, wondering what’s with all the tension. All the bickering. All the misunderstanding. And it’s because we’re idiots. We bring such conflict upon ourselves and each other because we wield language remissly, and react to it thoughtlessly. It’s, ahem…an “EPIC FAIL.” (I shuddered after forcing myself to type that.)
Clarity beats clarification, yet we seldom pursue or achieve it in our (mis)communications.
Lately there’s been a lot of back-and-forth about Caitlyn Jenner’s touted, mocked, celebrated, booed, bravery. I can hear some of you gasping in disgust. “He didn’t surround ‘bravery’ with quotations, that means he supports this!” Support what?? To be clear (see previous paragraph), I give absolutely no shits about Bruce Jenner’s becoming Caitlyn Jenner. Why would I care? Years ago, one of the Wachowski Brothers became a woman, and here is my opinion: Speed Racer is their greatest film to date, by far. But if I did put “bravery” in quotes, it would be “He’s implying that she is not brave! Get him!” Not so fast…
The Internet has had quite a deal of trouble with its grasp of that word this week, but why? Just look it up. Merriam-Webster defines bravery like so: the quality that allows someone to do things that are dangerous or frightening. That’s it. Broad as hell, right? As it should be. See, danger is usually obvious and can be widely agreed upon as such, but fright is something different entirely. Fright is personal. Out there in the real world today, a child is sleeping for the first time without a nightlight; an amateur comedian is taking the stage; a boy is asking his crush for a date; a diver is swimming with sharks; some redneck is wrestling an alligator; someone is getting a free-hand tattoo of a mermaid; a man is telling his wife that the meatloaf is always dry; some jackasses are filming themselves swallowing ghost peppers; a fireman is entering a burning house…maybe a psychopath’s burning house; etc. I will give them all ESPYs!…in my heart.
The broadness of “fright” begets a never-ending slew of scenarios, each mostly incomparable to the next, and each met or not met by varying degrees or types of bravery. So why are we comparing apples and…troops at war??
“That draft dodger is running for president again. Boy, that’s some bravery.”
What’s funny is that all this public outrage is exactly what would chisel at a transgender celebrity’s spirit; it would take, you know, considerable courage to come out, knowing what would be faced. Bravery is a mental state, a decided act of strength against fright. “Bravery” is what we call it. What it isn’t is an exclusive trademark of terminal children and troops who take up arms. Of course American soldiers are brave…and as such, so are the soldiers who take up fights against them. IT’S WAR, Y’ALL.
If we’re not asking male troops to become women in front of the world, nor asking Jenner to frontline an invasion, what in hell is all the fuss?
This article is of course my own opinions, because irony is fun.