Everyone here has seen Pulp Fiction, right? I’m making an assumption, being that we’re on the Internet, and all. There’s a scene where Ving Rhames forces Bruce Willis to take a fall in a boxing match. He says:
“On the night of the fight you may feel a slight sting. That’s pride, fucking with you. FUCK pride.”
Pardon me if that quote isn’t verbatim; I wrote it from memory. I haven’t seen Pulp Fiction in many, many years. I think it’s an embarrassingly overrated movie with a handful of brilliant scenes that belong in (or to) better films. The last Quentin Tarantino flick I paid to sit through was Jackie Brown, which I detested. I saw parts of Inglorious Basterds (however it’s misspelled) on DVD and found it to be totally asinine. I got a kick out of Eli Roth machine-gunning Hitler in the face, but Brad Pitt’s Huckleberry Hound impersonation was more than I could bear.
And yet, I can swallow my pride enough to admit that something I vehemently dislike has merit. Here’s the rest of the quote from Pulp Fiction:
“Pride only hurts. It never helps.”
In Christian teachings, pride is one of the seven deadly sins. In Judaism, pride is considered the root of all evil. Again, because we are on the Internet, I can safely assume that you hate anything remotely Judeo-Christian. Why not throw the baby out with the bathwater, eh? Anything Christian is bad, because abortions concentration camps Hitler something something. Right?
The great philosopher Aristotle called pride a profound virtue, and he knew what he was talking about, so just pin your beliefs and ethics on that. Be overtly proud of everything life has given you, even if it makes you act like an insufferable asshole. Take pride that your skin is one color and not another. Tell everyone on-line how proud you are of whatever you’ve decided to fuck. Teach your children that their every youthful caprice and impulse is an unassailable wellspring of pride.
Never forget: you’re right. THEY’RE wrong.
You obviously know better than all those dingalings with their stodgy traditions and rules about “sin”. Where did it ever get them, anyway? They’re dead, and since they were probably white, they deserved it. You’re the smart one, with your fancy computer and Internet connection. That’s why you’re so successful in your life. Give yourself a great big round of applause; you’ve earned it, with your rigidly contrarian dogma.
Feel that sting?
That’s your pride, fucking with you.
That’s the sneaking suspicion that you’ve shut people out who might know better than you do. That’s the feeling that you haven’t actually settled anything, you’ve only blocked out all opposition. You can sense that you’ve walled yourself into a stifling chamber of echoes.
Your pride has hamstrung your mind. Because it really is a sin. It’s the path to ignorance, and not anything to be celebrated or lauded. It’s mental masturbation. Not to mention annoying. Kanye West’s humility is what bugs people about him, right?
Pride makes you a jackoff.
Let’s say for example that a corporation makes a big show of “gay pride” by adding a rainbow to their avatar or logo on social media. Nothing wrong with that, right? It’s standard operating procedure nowadays, despite being a completely empty gesture of posturing. Changing your computer’s screen-saver makes about as much difference in the world.
Okay, just for the sake of argument, what happens if a company’s profits drop sharply during the time they fly the rainbow flag? What happens if their customer base doesn’t cotton to homosexuality, for whatever reason? What then? Who’s right, and who’s wrong?
What if it simply comes down to the fact that most people don’t like to be told how to live by a corporation, or a celebrity? Should the LGBT community and rainbows take the fall for that?
What if the people who disagree want to take pride in their own ways; are they now “the enemy”? What about people who don’t want anyone in their business? Why would anyone’s sexuality be your concern in the first place?
So you can either condemn it, or sell them something?
Who the fuck are you?
You want to support something? Terrific. Put your money where your mouth is. Money talks, bullshit walks. These phrases have been spoken by people I wouldn’t piss on if they were engulfed in flames. Does that make those words any less valid, or truthful? Clichés are clichés for a reason, aren’t they?
Your pride makes you easily manipulated. It makes your motivations a cinch to predict; it makes you predictable. You see a symbol and you either love or hate, like a rat in a Skinner box. Like a Pavlovian dog, slobbering at the sound of a bell. I tell you this as one of the most prideful motherfuckers on this planet or any other; pride is no virtue.
I don’t expect anyone to take every single thing I say as gospel. I’m ostensibly a humorist; take what you like, and leave the rest. I’m not too proud to beg for money or clicks if it means keeping the whole crap game afloat for another few months. That’s how this site is in its fifth year, and the titular strip is in its twenty-first. I’m very proud of what I’ve accomplished here.
It would be a sin if I rested on that, and demanded the world’s respect based on it. Think about how many people in the current entertainment sphere do exactly that. You know what they used to say in the advertising industry (and presumably still do)? “You’re only as good as your next project.”
You could create the most profitable advertising campaign in American history, and it’s meaningless if you don’t top it next time. Everything in entertainment is like that. It’s become so unworkably cut-throat that when performers can’t top themselves anymore (or don’t want to compete), they sell themselves out by pandering to social or political causes. If they’re called out on it, they hide behind a religion, or a minority sexual orientation.
Anything to abate the sting of obscurity. Even boldfaced hypocrisy, or betrayal of what made them who they are. Even turning against their most ardent supporters. All because their pride is fucking with them.