a) purposeful action/inaction, mine heart
b) so i have a lipstick problem (and a lipstick-red problem)
that being said, there’s a gulf between not being nice and being mean that i think people who judge niceness as a concept miss
that in response to a previously designated moral high ground to niceness there is a growing position that it is okay to be actively mean, which is inaccurate, self-aggrandizing, and often cruel
yeah, i think that’s why kindness is important as an idea. generosity, too. all the agency-based human-decency adjectives. can reframe the argument and let you fight the toxic bits of niceness without going to “what’s the opposite of nice? MEAN. IF NICE IS BAD THEN MEAN IS GOOD.” (mean’s abstract and essentialist, too. as well as consisting of dick moves.)
the problem with niceness isn’t that it’s weak to make other people’s lives better—it’s that you have to make a choice to do that, rather than believe your ability to do that is a condition of who you are. the answer to the “niceness” problem obviously isn’t cruelty, it’s reframing goodness as an act of agency, rather than a character trait that people either possess or lack.
characters pairings shows objects jokes memes games etc
for me, niceness is a question of manner—and it’s a consolation. niceness is not threatening. niceness is, at its best, making the world easier for those around you. not “better” so much as less work. i do not mean it is a concept intrinsically without virtue, but it is abstract and it is passive.
kindness is active; kindness comes from acts, describes those acts, you are described as a kind person when you are known for performing acts of kindness. and you can perform acts of kindness (things that make other people’s lives better) without becoming yourself a nice person, without softening your manner on a categorical level. you can generally be a mean or brash or cold or aggressive person and still be capable of kindness. can still perform acts of kindness. everyone can.
i have a hard time with Niceness. i think it’s a prescriptive expectation, especially for girls—reminding them to be soft and unthreatening and to put themselves aside and want as little as possible; i think it does a fuck of a job on fiction, especially y.a., wherein heroines who are Nice Girls in fiction tend to be unthreatening vacuums who are rewarded for learned passivity and often juxtaposed with Not-Nice Girls who embody all the threats absent in Niceness. it’s also the vocabulary of an increasingly frustrating trend where if you don’t actively fuck up other people’s lives you deserve a reward: talking, of course, about Nice Guys™.
but that doesn’t mean that i don’t think people should work to be good to each other. it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work to make our loved ones happy and not to be a dick to strangers. everyone should do that, no matter who they are, no matter how they come off. everyone is capable of that. niceness is a judgment of your character in general; kindness is about the things you’ve done.
what if papa gino’s was actually papageno’s and you were served pizza by men who were birds
greyface darlin, i’m going to paint you a picture. yes, i have friends i met ~in the flesh~ preceding internet interaction and i have friends where the 3D follows the 2D. but i also have friends i met and then subsequently followed~ on the internet, making them ~~internet people; i have friends that precede the internet that got on the internet because everyone’s on the damn internet. i have friends where the amount we talked online has switched with the amount we talk face to face. i have friends i’ve dropped contact with irl who are only communicable now through assorted devices. (i didn’t talk to an ex for three years until i got an iphone and got foursquare. he works for foursquare. now we talk, on foursquare. fuckin’ internet, fuckin’ bizarre.)
the internet ate the fourth wall. i just showed up in the middle of the feast.
so while i’ve gotten first-time dinner with people that i’ve known via email and social networks, i’ve also gone to new countries on my own and fallen into entire preset social circles that now get to come with a physical location. and i’ve also been at bars for friends’ birthday parties surrounded people who have tumblrs/twitters/etc. that i don’t follow, where i have to take the names and find these people i met irl later on on the internet, and i’ve been told by an irl old friend “hey isabel i read a million-page webcomic about instant messaging and the apocalypse” and was like HUH BET I CAN DO THAT before i realised from the rest of the stupid internet that that’d be a terrible-ass idea (homestuck, i’m talking about homestuck, my high school bff went to swarthmore and became a homestuck before i even knew what a homestuck was). old hs friends of mine have kipped on our couch. almost everyone that matters to me has met each other at least once.
there is no fourth wall in my life anywhere*.
*correction: there is a wall, it’s between me and assholes. the “discriminating taste in humans” wall between me and the world is firmly intact, but if i like you, you are permitted entry.
it’s never been weird because the structure for weirdness is in erosion. and on the whole i find that exciting.