Colonoscopies are undignified.
That's what I said.
Yes, I said it.
If you live long enough, eventually the only words any doctor will say to you are: have you had a colonoscopy?
Literally that's it. Doctor, I'm here for my eye exam. Have you had a colonoscopy?
Doc, I've got a sore throat. Right, have you had a colonoscopy?
Doc, I'm pretty sure I broke my arm, see the sharp end of the bone sticking out of my skin? Uh huh, when's the last time you had a colonoscopy?
Doc, I'm having these excruciating chest pains, my arm hurts, my vision is fading out, I'm sweating like Donald Trump Jr. on a coke bender making a TikTok video... I hear you, so anyway let's get you scheduled for that colonoscopy.
Sooner or later there you are, on a table, naked, unconscious, with your ass literally hanging out in the middle of room full of people suited up with masks and face shields, cameras, lights, computer monitors and robot probes like an SpaceX mission to Uranus. Then later, while you're still dopey from the anesthesia and pumped full of sewer gas that's slowly (or rapidly) leaking out and you're sitting in a puddle of your own goo, they show you high resolution full color pictures of parts of your anatomy that you'd rather not see, with the person who's supposed to drive you home right there as part of the audience and ain't that a hoot?
And maybe, if you're really lucky, they'll tell you that you have cancer.
Because that's always awesome.
I don't know, maybe that's a fun day for you.
Me? I'd prefer to do just about anything else -- well, except for maybe watching that aforementioned Don Jr. video.
Now, I didn't say it wasn't necessary.
And I also didn't say you shouldn't get it done when your doctor tells you to.
And I don't honestly see how what I said was in any way whatsoever at all controversial.
I just said, the whole process is undignified.
Undignified. That's it. That's what I said. Undignified.
And Twitter called me ... homophobic?
No, no, you read that right the first time. Homophobic.
... honestly don't know how you get there.
It's three days later, and still I still really just don't see how you got there.
Nevertheless here we are. Homophobic. Cue the outrage. And then, I got to spend the next six hours hearing about how I'm an asshole (yeah, I did that on purpose, tough shit) because here are all these other procedures that are even more undignified if you're a woman. Rage! Rage! You terrible person, you!
So, in summary, not only homophobic (and really, what the actual fuck?), but misogynistic too.
Oh, and the people who have colorectal cancer? They were likewise mad. A lot of them anyway.
Oh, right. You're right. You're right. I shouldn't take it personally. After all, the whole purpose of social media to be perpetually outraged at every jerk of the knee no matter how ridiculous. You're absolutely right.
And I really don't take it personally, much.
Are you kidding me?
But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Remember those old home improvement TV shows?
Like, actual home improvement shows.
Back in the 1980s and 90s. Shows like This Old House, Home Again, and Hometime. Dean Johnson. Jojo Liebeler. Robin Hartl. Norm Abram.
Well, I guess if you're not old enough for a colonoscopy, you're probably not old enough to remember Bob Vila
Anyway, if you were a homeowner back then, especially if you were fixing up an older house, they were pretty great. They showed you how to repair things. How to renovate on a budget. How to build a new kitchen, knock down a wall, overhaul a bathroom, landscape your yard, how to hire a contractor or how to do it yourself. They'd give you great ideas, show you what tools you'd need and where to rent them, what kind of materials to use, and walk you through the various steps in detail.
Moreover, they were fun people. Likable. Interesting. No drama. Every week you'd tune in and see a new thing, a new idea, something you could adapt to your own situation.
America was a different place back then.
I'm not saying it was great. But we still had this idea, somehow, that we could make things better.
One day, suddenly it seemed, all the shows were about buying some rundown place, renovating it the minimum possible amount, and selling it for a profit.
Oh boy, profit.
At first those programs might show you how they were doing the renovations, but unlike actual home improvement that really wasn't the point. And it wasn't long before they dropped even the pretense.
Now, these shows are about drama.
Oh my God! We've got a problem! Termites! Bad Pipes! We're Going Over budget! Everybody is mad at everybody else! You're fired! What are we gonna do? What are we gonna doooooo?!
Over about 30 years, these shows stopped being about practical solutions and became manufactured outrage for entertainment.
You're wondering where the hell I'm going with this, aren't you?
You're trying to figure out how I got from social media being mad at me over a colonoscopy to Love It or List It, aren't you?
But, that's it, right there.
That's the whole thing.
Somehow over the last four decades, we went from looking for simple, practical solutions to literally manufacturing ridiculous drama so that we can be outraged for our entertainment all the damn time. We don't care about fixing stuff, we want to watch people shouting at each other.
Home renovation not your thing?
Then take a look at the evolution of cooking shows over the same period.
We went from how to make a decent meal to a red faced asshole screaming at some poor cook about what a goddamn failure they are. It's not about cooking. It's not even about food.
It's about humiliation for entertainment.
And goddamn, don't we just love that?
Of course, the evolution (de-evolution?) of these shows is nothing compared to what's happened to the news.
So, what am I'm saying here? TV rots your brain?
Maybe, but the point isn't that these shows, and by extension social media, are causing the downfall of humanity.
That's not what I'm saying at all.
These shows are simply a reflection of who we've become as a people over the last 40 years.
We've become a race of beings who are perpetually offended and outraged.
We thrive on it. And if there's nothing to be outraged about, by god, we'll make something up and be mad anyway! You're not enthusiastic about getting a colonoscopy? YOU HAVE OFFENDED ME!
We can't just live our lives.
It is not possible for Americans, or increasingly anyone else, to just be happy.
Oh, but it's so much worse than that.
See, we can't allow anyone else to live their lives either.
We absolutely cannot tolerate the idea of anyone else being happy.
We have quite literally reached the point where we as a people, as an ideology, as a society, seemingly can only find self-worth in outrage.
This wretched worldview is bad enough when it results in the kind of bizarre manufactured indignation that I illustrated up above as a lede into this article, but all that happens then is that I take a break from social media until I stop thinking that maybe nuclear war might not be such a bad idea after all.
As nasty and insane as social media is to me most of the time, I, as a straight white male, am not in any way oppressed or diminished by it.
I can, and do, walk away when I have to. I have that luxury.
I have privilege to ignore it if I want to.
Others, far too many others, cannot escape and the actual real consequence of this contemptible worldview is that it results in real, actual, terrible oppression.
The real horror is that this oppression exists for no reason, for literally no reason at all, other than that we as a society have come to glory in the humiliating domination of others.
And far too often, that oppression, that true horror, is lost in the seething noise floor of our perpetual outrage over idiotic nonsensical things.
While my Twitter feed was working itself into a righteous over-caffeinated woke fury over some imagined homophobia on my part, Florida made it illegal -- literally illegal -- to even say the word "gay" in public schools.
Oh, now you're mad at me about that? The new law doesn't really say any such thing?
Yeah, actually, it does.
Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.
May not occur.
In Kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.
And who decides what is age is developmentally appropriate?
The political party who came up with this hateful bullshit in the first place.
So don't you dare try to tell me that's not what the law says.
And if it's illegal to say gay, then it won't be long before it's illegal to be gay.
Which is what just happened in Texas, where any parents can now be sent to prison for life -- simply for affirming their own child's sexual identity.
For being supportive of their own children. Imagine that.
Well, you don't have to imagine it. That's the thing.
This is America. This is what we have become. The ideology of self-determination and personal freedom, so long as you only identify yourself in accordance with the state's accepted definition.
Meanwhile, back in Florida again, a second bill just passed the Senate making it illegal to discuss race in public school -- specifically racism. It will be quite literally illegal in the state of Florida to teach actual American history.
And this isn't just happening in former slave states.
Or the Bible Belt.
There are more than one hundred and fifty similar examples of pending legislation in nearly every other state in the Union.
Florida and Texas are only the first, they won't be the last.
But ... why?
No, that's not a rhetorical question. Why?
Why would anyone care?
Why do you care what sexual orientation anyone else is? What skin off your nose is it? How could you possibly be offended by what pronoun someone else uses? How does it affect you personally? How does teaching that our nation once held human beings in bondage and treated them as less than livestock diminish you personally now?
Of course, it doesn't.
But, it's not about that, is it?
No, it's about outrage.
Outrage at the very idea that someone else should know their own identity -- because that's what history is, identity.
Outrage that someone else should be free to chose their identity -- because that's what freedom actually is, the right to define yourself.
While social media is yet again outraged at some imagined slight, very real people are being erased from our society.
That is an outrage.
This is about an ideology that claims to revere freedom, but is daily reduced to seething yellow-eyed violent rage over the idea of someone else choosing a pronoun. Over someone learning that their ancestors were property. About the idea of actually trying to make the world a better place.
This is about a people who see themselves as victims, who literally liken themselves to Jews being pushed into Nazi gas chambers, even as their own endless privilege allows them the freedom to take a month away from work and drive their trucks across country to protest an oppression that exists only in their own fevered brains -- while some of them are literally flying the Nazi swastika and how the fuck does that even make any sense?
It's about a people whose sense of self-worth is measured entirely relative to others, and so they can only feel superior if those others are made less -- it is the swaggering self-assurance of a bully.
It is about a people who've been conditioned to believe that worth is measured in bombastic chest beating, in physical strength, in power, in size, in bulk, in muscle, and most of all in the willingness and ability to visit violence upon others. It's about the biggest truck, the most powerful gun, the greatest wealth, the loudest voice, and the largest flag. And the biggest hardon.
It's about self-loathing.
It's about fear.
It's about an ideology that can never ever be happy with itself and thus can only find satisfaction in the humiliation and subjugation of others.
It's about those who profit from hate and outrage and who think there will never be an accounting.
Writ large, this is Russia's invasion of Ukraine and it just might end in nuclear fire after all.
It's about a culture that is the end result of decades of manufactured artificial outrage -- so much so, that it's become self-sustaining and thus you must find offense in the most innocuous of things while real injustice goes unchecked all around.
We have become a people who pretend to oppression, who scream in outrage at the slightest of imagined offenses, solely in order to drown out the anguished cries of those who are the true victims of tyranny, inequality, and injustice.
Outrage isn't the opposite of calm, it's the savage antithesis of reason.
And far too many of us have given up on making the world a better place.