Amber, Putin, and the myth of unconditional innocence.
It’s “fine” to be abusive if you can prove you aren’t powerful. The underdog gets unlimited free passes to do as they please, with zero accountability.
I don’t always comment on trending topics. Today I felt like it, not just because it’s trending, but also because they are topics that gave me a dejavu.
My life has a theme, and it seems to repeat nonstop: I’m always put in the position of “judge” in a dispute between a wolf in sheep’s clothing VS a victim who happens to have privilege. I always suffer social pressure to side with the covert villain, but end up unmasking them. It was like that with my mother (wolf in sheep’s clothing) vs my father (privileged but still abused by her); and a series of other incidents I couldn’t casually comment on without preparing an entire other blog post — or possibly even a book. Because if I comment on them superficially, I’ll sound like a bigot.
And why will I sound like a bigot? Simple: today’s society is polarised. On one side, the horrible heartless villains who want to destroy the world; on the other, the poor suffering souls who are pure as a unicorn and could never do any wrong. Just give them some puppy eyes and martyr expression; better yet, an oppressive cross.
Any similarities with Biblical saints vs demons is not a coincidence. Oh, wait, I’m not allowed to say that. My bad. Internalised stuff is not a thing, aye? Everything has to be overt, or it doesn’t exist at all. Subtlety and nuance are out the window. I forgot.
Let’s normalise understanding that not every adult is mature.
And now that we’re at it: let’s also normalise understanding that things like power and fame do not make anyone a role model. A celebrity can still act like a child. A politician can still act like a child. Do you understand that? Okay, I’ll elaborate then: a celebrity who represents a minority can still act like a child. A politician who represents resistance to a certain ideology can still act like a child. Are you with me? I’ll elaborate even further: a celebrity who represents a struggling minority can still act like a child. A politician who represents genuine resistance to a certain ideology can still act like a child.
Do you disagree? If so, HOW? Look into my eyes (or let’s pretend you can). Do you accept that adults can be immature? Do you? Okay. When you accept that premise, there’s no conditional in there. It’s not saying “but”. It’s not saying “except”. It’s not giving you a caveat. Adults can be immature, period. Too bad it’s your pet adult, but let’s still give them consequences for misbehaving.
Growing up is a choice, not a given.
Sorry if you don’t deserve the above. A lot of people don’t. My patronising tone is exclusively for a very specific kind of people: emotional thinkers. If you’re capable of reasoning with facts and logic, just skip this article, all good.
Since I’m aiming this article at the dreamers and the hopeless idealists, here’s a children’s song:
No patience to watch? I got ya, boo.
Poor unfortunate souls
In pain, in need
This one longing to be thinner
That one wants to get the girl
And do I help them?
Those poor unfortunate souls
So sad, so true
They come flocking to my cauldron
Crying, “Spells, Ursula, please!”
And I help them!
Yes I do
You’ve got zero excuses to ignore the message now. Yay! Can I get a high five?
The fact is, even if you see Amber and/or Putin as “poor unfortunate souls”, you’ve still got to admit they turned to the dark side in order to achieve something deemed noble (debatable, but still). And when people turn to the dark side, there are consequences. Sooner or later.
I assume you understand that, don’t you, sweetheart? Very good. And what happens when the consequences come? Aye, that’s right, we get sad. Very sad. Sometimes, there’s a way out of it: we just have to prove that the evil we signed a contract with is a bad guy, and we can be purer in comparison. That’s how happy endings happen on TV, isn’t it?
“I had no other choice” isn’t always true.
In the cartoon that inspired the performance above (The Little Mermaid), a mermaid signs a contract with an evil witch in order to get her wish. In doing so, she is enabling evil. Oh, but that’s okay, because in the end Ursula ends up showing everyone that she can be worse than Ariel, so Ariel gets a free pass. And besides, Ariel was just resorting to unethical magic because she felt she had no other alternative, the poor thing! Girl power, am I right? A dream is a wish your heart makes…
In the film, it looks like she didn’t have another choice. We sometimes need machiavellianism in order to achieve our goals, don’t we? This big bad world is very unfair because it won’t cater to every whim we have immediately. Why are others getting what they want but you’re not? It’s soooo unfair! On the surface, doesn’t it seem like people achieve their dreams without even trying? I mean, social media shows that… Fairytales show that… It must be true?
I get the frustration. I get it that turning to “evil” means sounds reasonable when you perceive your NORMAL difficulty as something that’s simply unfair because you’re believing in the lie of picture-perfect social media and main-character-syndrome Disney.
The problem is, real life doesn’t work like these fairytales. Awwwww, what a shame. I know, I know. Come here, I’ll give you a hug.
You see, love, I’m not even getting into the merit of who’s right and who’s wrong. Russia or Ukraine? Amber or Johnny? I don’t want to comment now. Let’s look into a separate question, other than who’s right and who’s wrong. A more painless question. Are you with me, child?
Okay, let’s go then.
Both of these conflicts are about the same thing. I know it’s surprising, but it’s true. But… What is this thing? Is it feminism? No. Hm… Is it freedom, then? No.
What is it then? Let’s find out together!
What do you call it when someone reeeeeally wants something, without needing it? I’ll repeat: someone doesn’t need this thing, it’s not a necessity for them. But they really, really want it anyway. What do you call this feeling?
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Great, that’s true! Another high five! So… When someone has a wish, it can be something they don’t need at all, but they can still want it. And they can still want it very bad. It’s just like the main characters in fairytales when they sing about their wish. It’s just something nice they’re dreaming about, but they could live without it, couldn’t they? Yes they could. But life would be so much happier if they reached this dream, isn’t it? Very good! You’re so smart!
Remember when Cinderella’s fairy godmother turned a pumpkin into a carriage? It was super cool, wasn’t it? That felt like a necessity, because without a carriage, she couldn’t go to the ball. She couldn’t walk to the ball, maybe the castle was far away.
But hang on a second here, let’s take another look at that scene: why did Cinderella want to go to the ball? Aye, that’s true, she wanted to have fun. And why did she want to have fun at the ball? Why not another kind of fun? I mean… she saw a fairy godmother. She could have asked for anything! Maybe a party at her own house, wearing that same fabulous dress, with magical guests! She could have other fairies for guests, and other magical creatures like unicorns and elves, imagine that! Wouldn’t that be cool? The evil stepmam and stepsisters are away, it was possible for her to throw her own party.
Why did she ask, specifically, for help to go to the ball? Do you know? There’s logic. Think about it.
The reason, my dear, is Cinderella felt left out. Do you know what her real wish was? She wished for acceptance. She felt it was unfair that everyone was invited to the ball, but evil stepmam didn’t let her go. It felt like an injustice. That’s why.
Cinderella believes that justice is always immediate. She wants things to be resolved NOW and FAST. No waiting, no gradual work in order to achieve her dreams on the long run… No, she does not have any patience. Whatever it costs, whatever it implies, whatever the consequences… she wants her wish NOW. That’s why, without the help of a fairy godmother, she wouldn’t have achieved anything.
Is Cinderella a bad person? No, she’s not. Is the injustice against her really happening? Aye, of course it is. There’s no question about that. We are team Cinderella, for sure!
But what is her situation? Let’s look at the bigger picture, what’s really happening to her? Why do we feel for Cinderella? Exactly! she is treated very badly by her stepmam and stepsisters. And HOW does that happen to her? This is a very important question. What’s stopping her from getting out of this situation?
We don’t know for sure. Perhaps she doesn’t have any money of her own. Or maybe she does, but couldn’t handle living alone IF she decided to move out of that house where the evil people are mistreating her. Let’s not blame her. She’s the victim, that’s very clear. And if there was no magic at all in her story, that would be perfectly reasonable. But there was magic in her story. She was given a wish. Any wish. Anything her heart desires!
She made the decision to spend her one magical wish on something momentary and immediate, something that would be over the next day, which means she didn’t want to really solve her problem. She just wanted it to stop existing for one night, but then the very next day she’d be back to reality again, suffering.
Cinderella knew that. So why did she go for instant gratification anyway? Was she stupid? No. I don’t think stupidity is the reason.
Real talk now.
Cinderella is an emotional thinker. She thinks with her heart, not with her brains. The world is full of Cinderellas.
When you’re an emotional thinker, your top priority is to make your bad feelings go away, as fast as you can. Even if the decisions you take in order to feel instantly better have horrible consequences.
I’m not saying it’s invalid to be an emotional thinker. It’s okay. We’re all human, we’re here to learn. Throw the first stone if you’re perfect, am I right?
But this is important: emotional thinkers don’t make good leaders or role models. And it doesn’t even matter what they stand for, what they represent, who follows them, etc. They aren’t very good at decision-making or owning up to their mistakes. Period. So people shouldn’t be looking up to them — not because of WHAT they represent, but because of HOW they do it in an impulsive, unwise, dangerous way.
You see, in the end, it doesn’t matter if Amber Heard felt justified in lying about her ex-husband in public and lying again under oath. People who defend her are relying solely on emotional thinking for that, writing paragraph after paragraph of emotional commiseration… And accusing everyone who doesn’t side with her of not commiserating with her feelings.
But child, that’s disingenuous. Can’t you see that? You can’t tell for sure that the people you’re hating on don’t empathise with Heard’s feelings. Maybe we do. Have we ever told you we don’t? Have we ever even implied we don’t? All of us?
Her feelings are valid. There’s a good chance they’re genuine. And of course they’re important. For real.
The thing is, her feelings are not the centre of the equation. The main thing that weighs on her is the consequence of the lies she told, because she did that in an illegal way. There’s a law against telling lies in public in order to damage someone’s reputation REGARDLESS of how much you hate the person. There’s a law against lying in court REGARDLESS of how sad you feel that this situation is happening. The world is not going to stop and side with you just because of your puppy eyes. Chances are this would be opening a precedent for injustice to happen against other people EVEN THOUGH you, special snowflake, know-it-all, centre of the universe, got YOUR individual justice.
Everyone feels for Cinderella, nobody feels for the animals that were caught off guard and included in a spell just so SHE (the centre of attention, the only one who matters…) could get what she wanted. And this is not even a “vegan” argument here, it’s just an argument about consequences and prices.
If you stole a sweet for your child at a shop, there’s a law against that, and people could hold you accountable. It doesn’t matter how much your lovely sweetheart is crying. If it’s a case of not having enough money, or social inequality, or whatever, then there are ways to raise awareness about this problem without literally trying to make it okay to break laws that aren’t in fact evil (let’s be honest here, the cashier is probably also poor, and doesn’t deserve losing their job if suddenly the law changes and now everything is free and their work is no longer needed — simplistic example, but whatever). Everything we do has a price. Everything we do impacts someone else. Even if it’s for justice and with the best of intentions.
Genuine ways to try and solve social problems, which people like Amber and Putin were claiming to be against, take TIME. And emotional thinkers don’t have the patience. They want everything NOW. Just like Cinderella. They just forget that “now” has a price, and it’s often not pretty.
If the ruling had been in favour of Amber, despite undeniable evidence that she lied illegally, what precedent does that create? Suddenly other people also can! “But it’s for feminism!”, yeah, okay, cool, feminists get a win. Hurray. Next thing you see, a child molester is winning cases because he doesn’t have to worry about saying the truth in court anymore.
Similarly, I won’t waste my time arguing about who is right and who is wrong in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It’s not unimportant, but it’s fruitless: I’d be on one side preaching to the converted, and on the other, falling on deaf ears.
Ideology is not the main focus here. The focus is emotional thinking, and how dangerous it is.
It’s lovely and lighthearted in fairytales, but in real life it has real consequences. Emotional thinking doesn’t make anyone “wrong”. It doesn’t make anyone “bad” (unless they’re already wrong and bad, but I said I wouldn’t be commenting). But it DOES make people take the worst possible route towards achieving their goals.
Whatever side you’re on, whatever you think of Putin, one thing is objectively true: his choice was impulsive and inefficient. It’s a fact. You could almost call it a “dumb” choice — not without reason. When you shut down your brain and let your heart fully take charge, you make dumb choices.
He claims to side with Ukrainian resistance against the authoritarian leader. Let’s imagine that’s true. How else could he have done that? Funding a revolution, perhaps? Revolutions happen from the inside out, and empower people instead of turning them into damsels in distress.
He doesn’t like NATO in Eastern Europe? How else could he make himself heard? Exposing the activity he deems suspicious perhaps? If Russia can interfere with US elections, they can certainly blow the whistle elsewhere as well, that’s for sure.
But no. None of the above choices would have the immediate impact he was wishing for, would they? They take time, and he has no patience. Tick, tock, midnight is nearing.
Stop selling yourself short.
Aye, this is for internet activists everywhere, regadless of what you’re defending. Stop selling yourself short. Stop devaluing yourself like that. You deserve better.
Stop settling for emotional thinkers, when you could have smarter and more efficient role models who will help you achieve way more. Of course these people are going to claim that if you don’t follow them, you’re against them. They’re immature. What did you expect? Don’t fall for it. I bet you know better than to let a 5-year-old child manipulate you, so why exactly are you falling for adults who have the mental capacity of a 5-year-old? Bodies grow old, but there’s no guarantee everyone’s mind grows mature.
Don’t just settle for cowards who hide behind cheap manipulation. Demand to see people who actually put their money where their mouth is at the forefront of the social movements that are dear to your heart. Say what you will about the importance of “listening to your heart” — if you overdo it, you’ll eventually end up manipulated, used, and abandoned.
Say what you will about me, as well. One day you’ll thank me. And in advance, you’re welcome.