David Wong strikes again: “Harsh truths that will make you a better person”

Looks like I have to point out why David Wong is wrong again. Ok, that’s a little unfair. David Wong’s recent post is just one part of a greater example of a misrepresentation there is about business and “the world” in general. I won’t go into the level of detail that my previous David Wong post entailed, but here are short summaries on why I think these are bad ideas, before getting to the bacon, as it were:

6. The World Only Cares About What It Can Get from You

This will be discussed as the bigger point. Here however, is something which I’m a little confused about. Wong seems to imply that we need a set of skills in order to get a job. Well… um… yeah? How do you write an article about needing skills for employment? Next they’ll be saying we need to ingest nutritious food in order to be healthy, or walking takes you to places that you have not been before.

5. The Hippies Were Wrong

No shit, that’s why you don’t see a lot of hippies anymore. But the advice delivered by “Glengarry Glen Ross” speech only applies to what Wong describes it as: “brutal, rude and borderline [sociopaths].”  Employment to avoid this kind of soul-crushing ultra-competitive insanity is quite easy. Don’t be a salesman. You can limit your chances of dealing with this nonsense by choosing career choices that will always have employment opportunities- like accounting. If you want something exciting that you want to enjoy, pick it and prepare for the consequences, knowing that your enthusiasm will propel you better than your disinterested peers. The “Glengarry Glen Ross” idea i.e. a  sort of hell-for-leather approach is pretty damaging on employee relations (and summarily profits), meaning that more and more, businesses are concerned with making happy employees- how exactly does that measure with Wong’s assertion that all you do is who you are?

His examples suggest that all that matters is that you do a good job. There are plenty of counters to this statement.

4. What You Produce Does Not Have to Make Money, But It Does Have to Benefit People

Here Wong suggests girls like douchebags because they “offer more”. Whatever that means. This implies of course all women want the same things, and those things are things you must have.

3. You Hate Yourself Because You Don’t Do Anything

Wong removes thousands of years of childhood advice to be comfortable with yourself, and further insinuates that your ability to do something is your only contribution to your humanity.

2. What You Are Inside Only Matters Because Of What It Makes You Do

I’ll cover this in my concluding statement.

1. Everything Inside You Will Fight Improvement

If this part is to be taken as as “improvement is good but hard” then yes I agree. If it is to be taken as “improvement is something you really want to fight against” then I disagree, and I find it hard to believe, beyond the shallowest or dumbest of individuals, that anyone really feels that way. We try to improve ourselves everyday, be it through going to the gym, getting that promotion, or hell, getting a better score in a video game.

I don’t think that Wong misses the point completely, but it could be summed up as: get your head out of your ass, start working hard, and you can enjoy yourself. It is a hard lesson to be sure, but one that does not need the added bitterness that this is your only contribution to anything meaningful, or that this world is purely an economical one, full of people without hope, love, compassion, dreams, fears, or mercy. But that is the core of this issue, and the reason I chose Wong as a good example of a fallacy. This Real World isn’t a real world at all. Maybe its the extrovert in him (or worse, the introvert trying to be extroverted) that makes him feel this way, but the real world happens to be a chunk of rock orbiting around a perpetually exploding nuclear power source. The Real World, as Wong puts it, is the world of economics. It is very important, and it is likely how you are going to survive and thrive, but it is erroneous to aggrandize it to being the real world. You can work at a dead-end job, receive no respect from peers and still be perfectly happy.

The real world is this. Right now, when you are reading this, you are hurtling through space and spinning at thousands of kilometres an hour. Your death, one way or another, will come. The universe will one day have no usable energy. Your entire existence is overwhelmingly insignificant, except, pound-for-pound, you can move things more than ordinary dirt. The universe does not care about your existence, because it has no ability to care. The actions of the most influential person alive, when rounded, are equal to the scummiest bum heroin addict; that is, zero. The best thing you can do is to enjoy life, be good to others, and not drive yourself into an early grave by worrying too much about what the Real World wants from you.

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~ by freeze43 on December 19, 2012.

One Response to “David Wong strikes again: “Harsh truths that will make you a better person””

  1. Thank you for writing this post. It takes a broader perspective that doesn’t lose focus on the whole person.

    Harsh “truths” are in style now if you’re young, white, and male, and Wong found a lot of testosterone-minded Cracked readers to upvote his article without question. But speaking truth to “truth” is harder to do than speaking truth to power. Good job.

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