I am Cynical But.
I decided to give myself that name because, when I started doing my blog, most of them began with the words ‘call me cynical, but’.
Anyway, I had a look to see what the word cynical actually means and what it derives from.
Seemingly, the name comes from the philosophical school founded by Antisthenes, which derives from a Greek word ‘Kynosarges’, meaning ‘dog-like’.
Now, that’s a really cynical definition…
1: A fault-finding, captious critic
Especially one who believes that human conduct is motivated wholly by self-interest
2: An adherent of an ancient Greek school of philosophers who held the view that virtue is the only good and that its essence lies in self-control and independence
I have to say, I may be a bit distrustful but I am no misanthrope (except maybe of the ruling classes). I don’t hate people, I love them, I just hate how stupid humanity has become.
I don’t even see myself as a pessimist: I know the glass is half full – the problem is, someone pissed in the glass and the bastards are trying to make me drink it.
I decided to look at other definitions and feel that the Urban Dictionary has a better perspective of the modern cynic, and gives some more resonant and amusing definitions of the word – my favourite being:
An idealist whose rose-coloured glasses have snapped in two and stomped into the ground, immediately improving his vision.
Nowhere do I assert that I am right all the time. I may be completely right – unlikely – or partly right, partly wrong or even completely wrong.
The man behind the cynic
For nearly twenty years, I have done Youth Work. It was something that happened by accident. I was sent to a Drop-In Centre by the Job Centre. I didn’t want to work for the System any more, making rich bastards even richer.
The young people there were so friendly to me that I continued working there for 18 years.
I’m unemployed now. The Centre had to close because fewer youths were attending than there used to be. There are a few seemingly obvious reasons why the numbers dropped off:
1) The smoking ban.
They all used to come up after school get a cuppa and have a roll up. This was in the building in case you forget the good old days. Most of these kids smoked anyway, they were largely ‘hard to reach’ and regularly in all sorts of trouble with school and the police. We could sit down and chat and get to understand them. 99% of these kids were lovely, 99% of the time. We could get up to 70 teenagers drop in in an afternoon.
Since the smoking ban, they had to stand outside the building, cigarettes in hand, looking intimidating to adults and kids alike.
I think that put some potential new kids off coming in.
The young people used to come up and talk and play pool with each other and with staff. Now, they largely sit there, phone in hand, eyes transfixed to a screen. Hardly looking up to grunt acknowledgement of one another’s existence.
3) Lack of self-worth.
There are so many really young kids taking completely unknown chemicals with no regard for their health. The shit pills and pingers which older more experienced drug takers won’t touch end up being sold at knock-down prices to kids who won’t be served booze for years, and who’ll do anything to get off their tits.
It’s tragic really. But it led to the birth of this cynical blog, so perhaps some vague semblance of mild positivity has come of it. Then again, probably not…