Monday, August 21, 2006

Misanthropes and Curmudgeons Society Newsletter

Supposing ... We ban parties and replace them with real fun
Charlie Brooker
Friday August 18, 2006The Guardian

Here's an amusing game for all you coal-hearted misanthropes out there. Next time you find yourself lurking in the corner at a party, watching the disgusting fun unfold around you, start saying the word "despair" out loud. Begin the incantation at conversational level, then increase the volume incrementally until someone asks you to leave. I guarantee you'll be bellowing at the top of your lungs before anyone even notices. If you're lucky, someone else'll join in, and then you've made a new friend. I know; I've tried it myself.
Don't get me wrong. I'm a fun guy. There's nothing I enjoy more than a bit of pointless dicking round. It's the single most life-affirming activity in the world. But I have a problem with parties. Parties are supposed to be the last word in devil-may-care enjoyment, yet they fill me with an infinite sense of sadness, so vast and gaping that shouting "despair" seems like the only sane course of action. After years of pondering the subject, I've worked out why.
Parties somehow represent the rationing of fun, and that very concept depresses me. You're allowed to act like a tit at parties; therefore, by implication, you're not allowed to act like a tit the rest of the time. I consider that a serious infringement of my human rights. It's like society is blowing a whistle and shrieking, "Attention drones - your allotted enjoyment period starts now." Talk about enforced bonhomie. It takes the joy out of joy itself.
Consequently I'm suspicious of parties, and all who sail in them. Experience confirms my aversion. For example, when people refer to someone as a "party animal", you can guarantee what they really mean is "a loud, unimaginative, overbearing cretin who just about gets away with it when everyone around them is too drunk or stupid to complain". If there are any self-proclaimed "party animals" reading this, I hope the ink rubs off on your fingers and poisons you - and if you're online, I hope your monitor shatters, firing white-hot LCD shards into your dimwit, party-loving eyes.
Come to think of it, just hearing the word "party" makes me angry. In addition to wishing misfortune on "party animals" everywhere, I firmly believe that anyone who uses the word "party" as a verb - as in "hey everybody - let's part-ay!" - deserves to die shackled in rags while a masked torturer pours a saucepan of their own boiling blood down their throat. "Let's party" is a pathetic phrase. It really means, "Woo hoo everybody - we're allowed to enjoy ourselves for a moment! Aren't we ker-razy!?" Ugh.
The only solution, as I see it, is to swap the fun/no fun balance in everyday life. I'd prefer it if the entire year consisted of one long party, punctuated by bursts of compulsory stony-faced toil, preferably doled out in the most fascistic manner possible: two hours of serious work a week, overseen by jack-booted stormtroopers who'll thrash you into a coma if you so much as chuckle before the all-clear sounds. Global efficiency levels would sky-rocket. Better still, our quality of life would improve dramatically. And that'd give everyone real cause to celebrate. Not party. Celebrate.


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