Monday, April 30, 2012

Grape #9: Artificial Sweetness

Sometimes before I write something, I really don't know what to write about, so I pray to God for inspiration, and then ask myself what problems or trends I have spotted lately, what matters are really worth discussing.  What do people need to hear from me this week?  And that's when this one came to me: People need to stop being so fake!  If you're not happy and joyful, don't act happy and joyful.  If you're not really friends with someone, stop acting like you're really friends with someone.  God is allergic to artificial sweetness, and it makes no sense at all to be someone you aren't.

Ernest Hemingway once said, "The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof shit detector.  This is the writer's radar, and all great writers have had it."  I don't pretend to call myself a great writer, but I am grateful to have this particular gift for detecting bullshit.  It's served me well many, many times, and often keeps me from serving up my own dish of artificial sweetness to others.

So why do we do this as human beings?  Why do we pretend we're delighted to be with someone if we're not?  If a person just rubs us the wrong way, makes us feel uncomfortable, justifiably so or not, we shouldn't just act like the person is still our best buddy, or worse that we're still their best buddy.  It doesn't serve either party well to add fakeness to the equation.  That's the devil's game, and it's a twisted, backwards artificiality I want no part of.

The problem seems to be that people who choose to dish out this brand of artificial sweetener in their bowl of daily discourse feel they have to, that this is just how you're supposed to live your life and keep things friendly.  I'm sorry, but that is just pure bullshit.  You cannot bullshit me with your bullshitty bullshit about your preference for a bullshit-filled life.  I won't listen to it.  Most importantly, 99% of bullshitters, the compulsive liars out there, have no idea how transparent their lies are, how easily we can all see right through them.  It's as if they have built up an artificial wall, a Saran Wrap-like edifice that they stand behind as they make faces at passersby.  I'm sorry, do you think I can't see the real you?  Your choice to be fake does not serve you or help you, and everyone can see right through it.

Artificial sweetness is everywhere, and if I didn't see it from a lot of people, I wouldn't even be talking about it.  People who live with this syndrome literally believe they are right, that it is funny or wise of them, and it's just not.  I don't care if a person is your archenemy or just someone you're not friendly with.  Don't reduce your soul to this kind of meaningless artificiality. 

Now I'm not saying you should be rough and angry with them.  Civility, kindness, respect, and cordiality all have their place.  But don't act like someone is your best friend if they're not.  You deserve better, and hell, they deserve better!  Be friendly, be kind, but don't be fake.  Bullshit is a see-through, paper-thin device that breaks as soon as it's built up.  Stop using it, stop being a bullshitter, and just be you.  That's who you were made to be.


  1. Sean, AMEN! I believe our society is virtually built on bullshit - distractions from what's essential and true. Thank you for sharing this with such blunt honesty (I'm reminded of the writing professor who pushed us - hard - to use the "good old Anglo-Saxon" for powerful writing - smile).