Dear Cynic

Dear Cynic:

aw-Alan-20Cumming_20120118111628316010-420x0You write pithy aphorisms which show us, via your use of rich vocabulary, witty insight, and rhythm in word choice just how smart you are. I am particularly impressed with your ability to dissect the nuance and latitude of the human condition in 10 words or less. Many thanks for your most recent quote of the day.

And yet, as amused as I am by your general aptitude for prudence in cutting through our most recent collective bent towards embracing all manner of bullshit, I must say I am also worried about you. And yes, in case you are wondering, worry is actually a meaningful category of emotional distress that can, at times, point in the direction of insight. I worry because I care. And I worry that you do not.

Dr-Gregory-House-dr-gregory-house-31945344-1918-2560Why? Because all manner of cynicism is a worry, I suppose. It is, after all, a rejection of the human condition in our collective desire or ability to do better. But it’s also because your brand of cynicism, with all of its smart edges and brand sensibility, seems so devoid of the messiness and beauty of affirmation without qualification.

You have so much potential, dear brother—why play it so safe? I know what you find boring, and silly, and stultifying, but what excites you? What do you say ‘yes’ to, even if you end up being wrong? Or are you so afraid of being wrong, or saying you made a mistake, of taking a giant leap forward only to possibly take a step back, that cute insight seems the only intelligent path to take?

Please, I implore you, reconsider your next 10 words. Direct them to something slightly more bright, incomplete, partial, and perhaps less frugal in their estimation of things. I implore you for your benefit, and mine. It’s a sad sight, after all, to see so much ability bent toward dissection. But, more importantly, what we need now, more than ever, is people like you trending toward innovation, construction, and compromise if we are ever going to get out of our immediate and long-term mess. For God’s sake, stop selling us short.

—Anna-Liisa Aunio

About AL Aunio

Born in Boston and raised in working-class New Jersey, Anna-Liisa Aunio was awarded the Jon Bon Jovi “Dare to Dream” scholarship in 1992. She was 18. She had big hair. And it was the high point of her life. Been downhill ever since. But seriously, Anna-Liisa restlessly fled the lawns and picket fences of her youth first chance she got. Initially to New York City, where she traded on Wall Street (by day), whilst living like Carrie Bradshaw (by night); then to Baltimore, where she managed a national drop-out prevention program (by day), whilst living like Rick James (by night); and, most recently, to Montreal, where she teaches sociology at Dawson College (by day), whilst living like Claire Dunphy (by night). Along the way, she's picked up a few degrees—a BA from Rutgers, an MA from Johns Hopkins, a PhD from McGill—and a husband. But she'd prefer to talk about her kids.

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