One of my women’s physique competitors posted this up on Facebook today:
Here is the compliment I just received…”I know you work hard for it, but you don’t look very attractive.” This is coming from the pot bellied man in the horse barn who eats donuts all day long, smokes a pack of cigarettes a day, puts them out in his hand and walks around the barn barefoot. I know I am dieting down and exhausted because my normal confrontational self just smiled…I know I look F#*KING AWESOME!!!
Most people nowadays call it “hating”, which is a nice politically-correct and generic term for the phenomenon. But it’s far worse than that.
We have entered the Age of Opinion, where “everybody is entitled to theirs” simply by virtue of having a mouth and consuming oxygen. Social media outlets like Facebook, and the internet in general, have done wonders for helping people to learn, share ideas, and experience new things. But it has ALSO given a platform to every asshole to spew nonsense without thinking first. And now, this phenomenon is leaking out into the streets.
When’s the last time a fit person walked up to an out-of-shape person and said, “You should be ashamed of yourself, you fat piece of shit”? It doesn’t happen. In our ever-degrading culture, shit only seems to flow in one direction, and that’s UPSTREAM: the fat make fun of the fit; the ignorant make fun of the educated; the ordinary feel compelled to constantly rip down “the beautiful people”. And so it goes, on and on.
I hate to be old-fashioned, but what ever happened to your mother’s sound advice of, “If you don’t have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? What the hell compels people to feel entitled to say stuff like the above, without invitation?
We see this most prevalent on the bodybuilding message boards, where any semblance of respect for the pros has completely ceased to exist. There are those who take it in good stride, poking fun at the “haters”– the Jose Raymond’s and Evan Centopani’s, who take it all in good stride and go about their business.
But we tend to forget, we are somewhat BLESSED to live in this era where we can openly communicate with these individuals, ask them questions, learn from them, and thank them for the inspiration they have provided for us. Instead, we tear them down and speak as rudely as humanly possible.
“Well hey man”, I often hear, “if they didn’t want to be judged and receive criticism, they shouldn’t put themselves out there in the first place”.
I’m not saying we should be a herd of Polyanna hippies, all patting each other on the back. But there is a way– a sensible and, dare I say, tactful way– to provide criticism, without being a fucking jackass. If you don’t like somebody’s physique, find a way to express that in non-emotional and non-derogatory terms. Find a way to sound like you’re not a spoiled 5-year-old brat, verbally ejaculating all over the keyboard at every possible opportunity.
Find a way to rediscover some decency, and remember that we’re all in this shit together, all fighting for essentially the same cause, self-betterment. Which is something that should always be applauded, even if you don’t approve of the specific form it takes.
-David A. Johnston