Why are women runners with great media gigs so chronically defeated? (2/2)

There's nothing empowering about advertising oneself as an unhappy fabulist.

This continues yesterday’s examination of the phenomenon of “unexplained” stress among a group of people who voluntarily and regularly behave in ways well known to provoke stress-related feelings in normally socialized adult humans.

Without straying too far into the weeds here—I highlight the media lies I see in the hope the problem will somehow go away, but trying to determine what motivates the lying on a case-by-case basis is for the most part a pointless, recreational step—I found that, although Scientific American seems a weird place for such a thing, this article on victimhood provides a helpful framing of the “suffering but you can’t keep suffering me” trend:

Although it’s possible to arrive at most these ideas through basic intuition, those of you without the sense to avoid Twitter recognize that this describes most of my targets strikingly well: They don’t just lie, but they lie without any restraint or remorse, and they perversely claim to be the arbiters of morality in the process. The first and last dimensions are not just prevalent in Wokism, but integral to it: Not only must you blame other people for all of your problems, you must invent problems to blame those people for.

I didn’t score as low as I could have on the provided quiz myself, by the way. I hate it when other people try to make me look silly by throwing tests at me that are impossible to prepare for. Why are we* not calling for a boycott of SciAm?

On a more serious personal note, while I clearly have strong feelings about the issues I wrote about here, I don’t advertise myself as a model for how to maintain a sense of grace about the world while doing it.

It would be silly to deny that the miseries of and restrictions imposed by COVID-19 have in fact degraded a lot of people’s quality of life, even those who have kept their jobs and have never known any kind of first-hand financial strain. I myself saw my most significant source of writing income shuttered a year ago and ate a good deal of plane fare dedicated to never-realized family meet-ups that are, and remain, long overdue, but mostly I’m just aimless and ornery.

But just as I see in the Wokish, most of my moment-to-moment unrest is entirely optional. While I feel aimless and frustrated by a lot of things, there's no one or nothing I can ultimately blame. And somehow, I manage to get out the door and run and do other stuff without comparing my resilience and perseverance to that of, say, Sir Ernest Shackleton. The same can be said of most—hell, almost all—runners I associate with in my everyday life; whatever they’re attracted to about me vis-à-vis running, it’s not my eagerness to avoid conflict, so most of us* are still moving forward with the idea of centering our efforts on becoming faster or otherwise more aerobically satisfied runners.

More to the point, I'd feel far worse if I didn't do those things. and if someone is running their fingers on Twitter about being too paralyzed to run, they probably just don’t care enough about running to do it every day. There is, or should be, no shame in this. I hate that I have all the time in the world to work on a particular creative project I started many years ago, but the harsh reality is that I lack the drive and the confidence to keep at it without a lot of external pounding—and just admitting this adds to the irritation.

In the end, yeah, I had some setbacks thanks to COVID, and the shutting off of an already dribbling faucet thanks to the growing power of cowardly cuntistry, but nothing I can't regain in some way with relative ease. And I’m an agent of my decisions; deciding to go on Twitter and write about the Wokish puts me in a shitty mood at times, one that disappears upon removal of the aversive stimuli almost as quickly as it darkens the spaces behind my eyes.

I spent a lot of years subjecting other people to the results of my processing personal unrest very poorly, so I am not claiming sanctity in the overall area of “Be aware of how your pain affects others.” Really, being very aware of it, in some cases far too late to make meaningful amends, is why I wish they would stop doing it. They don't know the damage their crap can do to other people or just don't care. And while drunks and others with personal problems are miserable train wrecks to those close to them and the people they work for, I don't know many who intentionally spread the poison produced by their own demons from media pulpits.

If you’re habitually engaging in behaviors that erode your conscience, stop doing them. Most of the madly clucking hens hurling muck around the running world at some level came to writing and journalism with a desire to excel at it, as this is traditionally how one gains notice in these areas. Even if they have now achieved their aim of attention, being aware of having gained notoriety through recklessly dishonest and slipshod work isn’t something that tends to imbue perfectionist minds and bodies with warm tingles, even if they can’t admit it.

Mario Fraioli expressed some ideas in last week’s Morning Shakeout that reflect my own inner and actual meanderings over the past year:

I think so many of us have been [languishing] of late. There have been times in recent months when I’ve felt abnormally stale, unmotivated, unfocused, and seemingly indifferent to almost everything and everyone…

…when I recognize that I’m feeling this way, I know what I need to do: take action. If I force myself to go outside, or call a friend, or check the lowest-hanging fruit off my to-do list, or write in my journal—the point is to do something with purpose and intention—my mood slowly begins to turn around. It’s not a cure-all but patchy sun is better than sitting in the fog all day. 

Mario is a genuinely nice person, and he naturally defaults toward solutions and kindness even when frustrated by other people’s nonsense; I lean by constitution toward scorn and withdrawal, which is not insurmountable, but means I need to follow the advice he offers about purpose and intention especially well.

While I’m no stranger to the persistent subconscious idea that I can change people’s entire personalities by repeating their lies and other bad arguments back to them, I’ve taken this, and the associated ennui, to a new level in recent months by immersing myself in the dismal output of people I’d like to consider allies in running, a facet of my life I continue to cherish a great deal. If I liked writing posts like these—or if the people I write about were doing all the same things they’re now doing, but in reverse—I would have a hard time not churning out 3,000 words a day purely as a hobby.

A couple of things happened recently that made me feel better about my dives here into experiencing undesirable emotions about an impressive array of related issues.

One is that a blog reader noted the insidiously growing sense of alienation I tried to communicate in this post and said that, after admitting how much the Wokeness-imposed changes to their everyday life (including outdoor-masking zealots, who invariably bleed Wokish rainbow colors in the usual areas) had begun not just bothering them but interfering with their life, decided to seek therapy and disconnect from certain online channels.

It’s important for me to remember how much organized forms of dishonesty, especially by members of the media, upset me, but also how easy it is to opt out of most of it. Every time I look at Twitter, I sense myself becoming—just like many of my subjects here, really—a worse person by the moment as my eyes take in a new round of whining about the patriarchy or some new burst of stupidity from a blue-checkmark self-loathing single white female; I find myself posting things under my own name that I once would have been ashamed to write under a pseudonym, and worse, I’m generally satisfied with the result.

That, I do not need. No one with any sort of opinion feels better about anything on Twitter not posted by The Dodo. I’ll continue to express dismay over the palpable corrosion and corruption of beneficial norms and policies, but getting lost in whining every day only makes me want to whine at my own kids, or something.

In addition, another brave Beck of the Pack spelunker pointed out that, even though a lot of Wokish bullshit is published in high-profile outlets and in all the running-related ones, the goal isn’t really to convince anyone of anything—it’s a circle-jerk of people co-signing each other’s lies and getting paid to do it, all the while able to pretend, sort of, that they’re in the right with their conscious deception—that their flagrant lies are in the service of a worthy, overarching moral crusade.

Imagine seeing a book like this outside of the B&N humor section just three years ago:

It seems pointless to continue this mission in a bland-reporting vein, which, despite regular saltiness, I feel like I have been doing for months. If I’m going to complain about things that are actually pretty gruesome without getting any meaningful results, I might as well satisfy my own id in the process and start laying on the casual cruelty as smoothly as everyone else does, and in the manner I’m kind of used to doing when it comes to members of religious cults, which Wokish people are. Since we* aren’t to question them or their ideas at all even with kindness and civility, why not skip those preliminaries altogether?

I will continue to blame unresolved body, relationship, and running-performance shame and discontent for almost all of this purportedly equality-oriented nonsense until some proposed an alternative hypothesis that works better, and that seems unlikely given that the “study group” in question is a smattering of well-educated, mostly female distance runners. People generally tell you who they are, and when they try to shut down talk about bodies, it’s probably not because of traumatic memories from their supermodel days.

I think this is too bad. I really do. It sucks that any of us experience shame as a result of putting food into their bodies for any reason. I have. To paraphrase cringe-comic Doug Stanhope, not often upheld as a progressive icon, the meat of our bodily selves is really all we can say we own in the world. It might be objectively unhealthy to eat far above one’s absolute needs, but people do this for a wide variety of reasons and are not “weak” for “succumbing.” I often have a hard time separating this from my contempt for the harmful results of the ways some shame-sufferers process the associated feelings, but after a certain threshold, when people are ranting in ways that damage institutions and undeserving persons, then I have no real problem with slinging whatever verbal arrows seem most likely to get them to think about what they’re saying and doing.

I believe that my largest miscalculation so far in all of this anti-Wokish blogging has been the idea that I can perpetrate any meaningful hectoring of the running media’s leading miscreants without referring to their social media output. Most “journalists” live on Twitter, and since those involved with running are especially prone to both cognitive flatulence and stammering ignorance, this is where some of them shine the brightest. Trying to chronicle the totality of their shitty hijinks without skulking around in there is like being a surgeon with an aversion to blood and guts. And going on plaintively about how plain wrong it is without adding anything new doesn’t seem worth it.

As I figure out my new angle, I’ll probably keep the main focus here on running per se, but these people are too righteously stupid and committed to ignore outright, and really deserve a lot more hectoring than they’ve gotten. Each one of them knows at some level that the only reason their behavior is not widely singled out as invidious is the religious nature of Wokism — the protective effect of a mob with social momentum.

For that, fuck them. Since they are presently above whatever passes for the law in most sectors of public discourse, they should be punished with as much basic excoriating bleak humor as I and everyone else can come up with. I’ll be as willing to own everything I’ve written here in five years as I ever have; I really doubt the Wokish will, and will remain reliant on controlling narratives by fear, deceit, and, where possible, adverse legislation.

And they more rewards they get, the more they cry about how awful the abuse is.

Fuck them.