• It’s Friday, we should break up – The “People Have it Worse” Argument.

    Yes, yes. I know. I’m a terrible human for not caring more about people who are suffering all over the world, right? But I do care. I promise.

    Here’s the thing: Using “But there are people suffering all over the world!” as an argument for why people shouldn’t complain/own things/be sad about something/get angry about something/whatever? It will never work.

    First of all, it’s the Hail Mary pass of arguments. All you’re doing is hoping that you’ll make the person you’re debating feel like a jackass and so guilty that he or she just shuts down.

    Second of all, if all of that stuff is so important, why on earth are you standing around HAVING a debate about something that is likely far less important? Shouldn’t you be, I don’t know, out there solving the problems of the world instead having some pointless argument?

    If those two things don’t make you think twice before using such an argument, how about this: There will be suffering in the world, pretty much no matter what. Children are going to be starving in Africa whether I eat my vegetables or not. Women are going to be abused in the Sudan whether I say that we shouldn’t be hateful to each other or not. There’s nothing I can realistically DO about those things. But I can speak up when I see people being hateful, and let’s face it, hate is where all of this begins.

    Perspective is always a good thing. Knowing that your life is not over because your boyfriend or girlfriend broke up with you is a good thing. Realizing that there’s almost always someone out there who has it worse than you is a good thing. Smugly acting like those things mean that no one else should be affected by anything? Is ignorant and unproductive.

    So yes, it’s a bummer that some soccer mom is driving around in a fancy (and possibly gas-guzzling) car, while there are people in the world who have almost nothing. Yes, it may be silly that I can find fault with some frat boys for promoting rape on a college campus or a bully for being hateful to fat people, while there are people getting blown to bits in the Middle East. Yes, you may find it ridiculous that people were complaining about salmonella-ridden eggs, while there was an earthquake in Pakistan.

    That’s life. It doesn’t make my car breaking down suck any less.

10 Comments


  1. The Civilian says:

    That’s it. I’m done. Apparently I was trying to make you feel like a jackass and shut down. Weird, I didn’t even know I was doing that.

    You’ve clearly got your mind set on what you think is important. I think otherwise. Anytime I’ve disagreed with you it seems like you’ve tried to take what I’ve said and put it in the worst possible context. I attempted to contextualize my thoughts and feelings for you. This is what I get…

    It’s been a pleasure.

    • Rebecca says:

      I believe he just pulled what we call a blog flounce.

      FLOUNCE!

    • shine says:

      First let me just say, “Back at you.” Also, I don’t think I took what you said and put it in the worst possible context. You did. I don’t agree with you. WHO CARES? But I didn’t seek you out and try to disagree with you. You came here, to read my blog and comment. I was fine with that, I am fine with that. What I’m not fine with is you expecting that I won’t try to explain myself in return.

      In other news, I wasn’t just talking to you. People use this argument all the time, and the other two examples I cited were things I’ve heard pretty recently. In my OPINION, which I’m allowed to express on MY BLOG, it’s a bullshit argument. You don’t have to agree with me.

      I think I’ve been pretty nice about all of it, actually. But if you were expecting a “Oh, The Civilian! You’re so wise! Yes, my mind is changed forever!” you’re just…going to be disappointed. Please note: I didn’t change your mind either, despite feeling quite passionate about my opinion. And I’m OKAY with that.

      I don’t think I need to say more, because you just made yourself look like a child, and I have no urge to contribute. But I’ve defended you over and over again when people (and there were many) just thought you were an antagonistic asshole. I don’t really think that’s the case. Good day to you, as well.

  2. Jay says:

    Question #1 — Are you above the ground?

  3. Alice says:

    omg, shine, i can’t believe you’re taking the time to blog about this when people are DYING SOMEWHERE ELSE. you’re so shallow to even have a blog! some people don’t have COMPUTERS!

  4. Jess says:

    I think it is all about perspective as you said. People are naturally self centered, we know the most and care the most about what is going on directly around us. I am not saying that to offend anyone and I wouldn’t consider myself or any of my friends particularly self centered. It is just a part of human nature. It is ok to be more passionate about something that you feel has an impact on you, but when people bring up Dafur or some tragic topic to belittle your particular tragedy/controversy it can be maddening. It is hard to talk to people who aren’t willing/able to understand your perspective.

    Anyway, I don’t want anyone to think that anything I said is aimed at someone in particular. Just my opinion- Obviously.

  5. SF Sex Toy says:

    OMG… I’ll remember the pic in this post the next time I’m having a bad day… At least I don’t have an ax in my face! lol

  6. P-Rick says:

    Again with that fucking car? Shine, it might be time to get a new set of wheels. Perhaps something less problematic (I recommend Nissan. Or anything Japanese, really). And I agree that perspective is the key. Case in point: last week I was on an aneursym-clipping surgery in El Paso and it was a BEATING! The case was delayed 2 hours, then the surgeon spent over an hour trying to place a lumbar-puncture drain (which didn’t work) before we even positioned the patient & could get started. So by this point I realize that there is no way that I will make my flight home, I’m gonna miss band practice & be stuck in El Paso for the night. FUUUUCK! Then when the doc finally dissects down the brain to the aneurysm, it ruptures as soon as he tries to clip it. I’ve seen dozens of these cases and this has NEVER happened! It looked like someone turned on a blood-faucet (wow, that would be a cool name for a metal band. Or a horror movie). The surgeon had to cut out an entire lobe of the brain just to try to stop the bleeding (which ALSO didn’t work). Then they had to slice open the patient’s neck to clamp the carotid artery so they could clamp the ruptured aneurysm. All told, the pt lost over 3 liters of blood and my responses from the patient’s left side completely flat-lined, probably never to return. So in a very short span of time I went from being PISSED that I was gonna be stuck in El Paso due to some surgeon dragging his heels to being very grateful that I wasn’t the poor bastard on the table with a river of blood flowing out of my skull. Witnessing a train-wreck like that makes it easy to keep things in perspective, and that first beer once I got out never tasted so good…

  7. It’s not just with bad stuff either. I also hate the people who do this when you have good news to share. It’s like they have to remind you of all the bad things in the world just to make sure you’re not excessively happy about something good that happened in your little corner of it. What’s the point? Just so they feel superior because their hair shirt is thicker than yours?

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