the absurd observers

Monday, March 21, 2005

Don't disrespect Disrespect


Apparently, two New Jersey Assemblymen have introduced a resolution calling for people to be nicer to each other. CNNMoney explains:
Bramnick and Johnson's resolution, which is waiting for a hearing by an Assembly
committee says "increased courtesy and respect among residents will reduce
stress and make daily tasks more enjoyable," but does not aim to legislate

At first glance this seems to be a noble enterprise. However, upon further reflection, it is clear that the resolution is misguided - not because there's something wrong with legislating behavior, but, more fundamentally, because increased courtesy and respect will not reduce stress or make life more enjoyable.

Feeling respected is surely a great experience, especially these days when so many feel disrespected. (See every athlete and every tough guy.) However, is there a better feeling one gets than when one disrespects? I doubt it. That is the pure pleasure of trash talk. Disrespect is the catalyst of the put down. It is the inspiration for the taunt, the tease, and the mocking limerick. Disrespect is the mother of spoof and the father of satire. It is the brother of Weird Al. It is the seed crystal of late night talk show monologues and the instigator of punditry. It has more names than Apollo Creed in Rocky, and that should tell us something. But Disrespect is more than just an entertaining way to tease people; the fear of disrespect makes society go.

The fear of disrespect makes many personalities productive. The fear of disrespect fuels the desire to distinguish one's self. Without disrespect what would the point of competition be?

Life without disrespect would be a distopic enterprise indeed. Why not just drug everyone and force feed them Disney movies constantly? We'd all be happy right? We'd all be courteous - probably because we'd have trouble interacting with each other at all, what with the challenge of drinking from a juice box while on Aldous Huxley's soma all day. The point is: we need disrespect.

It is not the thought of an America that resembles Leave it to Beaver that urges me to work. Rather, it is the fear of disrespecting myself and the opportunity to disrespect someone else that drives me on. And if this legislation eliminated disrespect, for a world full of respect, I might just sleep in everyday and do nothing.


  • This is the first blog posting that would make both Mackey and Kaplow proud. You have no left hand Rabbit. Not an Updike reference!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:49 PM  

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