All posts by Javi

Manipulation. Manipulated. Manipulator.

Have you ever been manipulated? Doesn’t that sound ugly? Manipulation. Manipulated. Manipulator. It’s the connotation of the word. Nothing good ever comes of manipulation, and if you’re caught manipulating someone, people’s perception of you changes. You’re suddenly dangerous. You’re a menace.

Suddenly, you’re not friendly, you’re a “user”. Your intentions are poison and your words are venom. To be completely fair, those who manipulate typically do so for personal gain. Your spoils are ill begotten and covered in the blood of others. You are suddenly a being lacking a conscience, remorse or empathy.

And that’s wrong. This isn’t to say that you should forgive your manipulator, or that everyone really may have remorse. But some of us do.

I recall I was once sitting down, studying with my best friend, and in the middle of idle conversation, the topic of an ex of his came up. From there we moved to vengeance. My friend jokingly said he was afraid of me given my vengeful streak. I’ve always known I don’t take shit, and I believe in an “eye for an eye” and then another eye for having fucked with me to begin with. Yet it never occurred to me how stringently I adhered to this self-imposed rule. He continued his joke saying, “I’m glad we’re friends. You’d be a dangerous enemy.” This joke allowed me the insight into myself to understand that, deep down, I know I manipulate people.

Why would I do this? Why would I purposely take up the tools of deceit and control? To put it simply, I didn’t even realize that I manipulate people. I taught myself to believe that I would do no wrong. I wasn’t manipulating people, I would think, I was just interacting with them – doesn’t everyone do this? It’s not that I didn’t consider the thoughts of others, or that I’d consider my own needs more important. It was innocent ignorance.

But I was not innocent. I hurt people and I made decisions and left impressions that make me a shitty human being.

A few days ago I started watching a new show on Netflix, House of Cards. The protagonist, Frank Underwood, is a politician and the definition of a man whose ends justify his means, without a shadow of a doubt. His unfettered thirst for power is fed through underhand advancement using any and all people in his life.

I was enthralled by the show. I saw myself in Frank. I sympathized with his actions, down to his dirties, and now as I write this, I find myself sick to my stomach that watching this show has only empowered me to continue my education as a Political Science major.

Maybe it’s best I lay off the television for a while. As a person whose manipulation was a result of natural ability for it, who did it for the sake of the fact that I could charm and talk my way through any person, maybe there’s hope for us. I can empathize with others. I at least have to try.

Black, or white, or brown

It’s time to talk about the color of our skin. More specifically, who even cares about the color of our skin?

Here in the United States, you are black, or white, or brown, before you’re American. We don’t have a single, unified people. We aren’t all American. You are African-American, Mexican-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic-American. Never just American. Your skin color, your origin, supersedes your status as an American in the United States.

So to answer my own question, Americans care about the color of skin. And that’s bullshit.

See, it’s these trivial labels that exacerbate the racism that Americans love to vehemently deny. It has infected the culture of the United States. Everything from films and television to literature has constant racial undertones and reminders that your race is constantly affecting your life. And comedy is no exception.

America is chock full of funny assholes, and thankfully comedy itself is blind to your race – it just wants you to joke about the things that make you cry. But of course color is never far away. You can talk about all your misfortune, you can talk about your problems, but if you’re black or Hispanic, your jokes are sadly rarely going to be about anything but your race.

And then there’s Vine. Vine lets you share six-second videos of whatever you’d like to share. To some it’s just quick catharsis, to others Vine offers a way to advertise your cheap porn site or cam girls haven, but Vine is seeing most success as a comedy site – six-second humor, and of course race has influenced this too. A favorite video type is “White people be like ____, Black people be like ______”. These scenarios only serve to make people look like uncivilized assholes. Especially the people who make the videos.

By placing a subtle focus on racism, we draw attention away from the fact that it is indeed still racism. No matter how we deal the cards, if it’s racist, it must stop. People are people regardless of something as stupid and trivial as how we’re colored.

Let’s stick to finding comedy in regular things, like your girlfriend fucking your brother, morbid obesity, daddy problems. If we soulless fucks can concentrate on that, maybe the rest of the world can follow suit.

Top-notch moral compass

Society is often really quick to tell you that some shit just isn’t cool.

I’m not talking about wearing the wrong color to a wedding, or asking a war vet how many men he’s murdered with his bare hands. No, I’m talking about feeling good about yourself.

See, if you feel good about yourself, for any reason really, say you are particularly good at cooking a certain dish, or are just a genuinely honest person, you can’t just tell people that. Really, try telling someone that you’re very honest or that your moral compass is top notch. You know what they’ll probably call you? A ‘self-righteous prick’.

Some people will think what the hell – you are a self-righteous prick if you go out of your way to tell someone how awesome you are. But to them it doesn’t matter if the context fits or not. If you’re better than someone in a trait that is considered good or desirable, and you happen to talk about it appropriately, you’re immediately seen as a narcissist whose only desire is to have everyone know how great you are (even if you are really fucking great).

My girlfriend and I are fighting right now about our relationship, which is temporarily long distance (no, I don’t care about your opinion on that, at least I have a girlfriend, dick). The problem doesn’t matter. What matters is that my girlfriend is a standoffish woman. She makes everything a ‘you vs me’ affair.

Conversely, I feel it should be ‘me & you vs problem’. Am I technically the better person for having this point of view? Possibly. The point is, when I explain that to her, I sound like a ‘self-righteous prick’, just because of the more efficient way I deal with things. Fuck me, right?

If you’re a good person, the world (and your girlfriend) wants you to keep it to yourself. But if you’re just a ball of fucking badass morality and goodness and it helps you solve problems in life, don’t feel like a dick for pointing out that you are a good guy or girl. Feel good that you can say such positive things about yourself.

But if you instead rub in the fact that you’re the epitome of human nature, I have bad news – you’re not. You’re an asshole. Get over yourself. And if you think the former is still self-righteous, understand this: just because someone is good at something and they feel good about themselves for it, this does make them a self-absorbed douchebag – so long as they don’t use their good traits as a means to put down others.

Let’s all love each other. We all are good and bad. And if my girlfriend still can’t see that, well shit, what hope do I have of convincing you?

Breaking; entering

When was the last time you fucked up? You probably can’t remember the most recent time you fucked up, but you sure as hell remember every fuck up big enough to impact your life, like cheating on a math test, or cheating on your girlfriend, or trying meth just once.

What did you do after you fucked up? Did you own up to it? Did you lie? Did you run away from the situation? Shit, whatever you did, you probably suffered the consequences, hence why you remember fucking up.

Now look at yourself in the reflection of your smartphone and ask yourself, “Do those mistakes make up the person I am?” No they don’t; you’re made up of all your successes and mistakes and weird as fuck character traits.

I’m not saying you have to be a good person, or that you’re alone in fucking up. We all fuck up.

I recently trespassed into my friend’s home completely willingly. To be fair it was a good friend of mine, but he was in China. I didn’t know there was a Chinese family housesitting for him. Irony. Imagine this middle-aged Chinese woman’s surprise to find me and an associate in the middle of her dining room at 3am.

Yeah, so we all fuck up, and sometimes you get away and sometimes you have to apologize to old Asian women for breaking into their houses at 3am, and sometimes you get arrested and on rare occasions you fucking die.

Despite all this, when you fuck up, remember that everyone does. We all do an occasional recreational 8-ball, and we all sleep with our fiancées sister, and we all break into Asian people’s homes at 3 am.

Don’t beat yourself up you self-centered dick. You’re not special. Own up to your actions, because we all fuck up, and we all think we’re special, and that’s bullshit.