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A Love Letter to Hollywood Part I

Dear Hollywood. You’ve been a bit beat up lately, so I wanted to remind you of your greatness and your purpose.

I love you. I love your magic. I love the movies, the glamour, the legends. You gave us The Ten Commandments and Gone With the Wind. You challenged us with Schindler’s List, 12 Years a Slave, and Saving Private Ryan. We cried, laughed, and cheered after watching E.T., Apollo 13, The Avengers, and Guardians of the Galaxy. We got a bit obsessed with movies like Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars. We quoted The Princess Bride, fell in love with late bloomers like The Shawkshank Redemption and Office Space. We wept openly at the ending of The Green Mile and spent our adolescence trying to have adventures like the kids on Stand By Me and Goonies. All of this was made possible by you, Hollywood.

But we need to talk, because you’ve lost your heart.

 

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Image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/hollywood-signs-hollywood-sign-1246529/

Hollywood, you wonderful, confused, beautiful, horrendous beast, you are suffering from the sin of nihilism. You’re all glitz and lights and over-zealous joy sometimes, but under that is a deep, deep sadness. Because you’ve achieved everything there is to achieve, sometimes selling your soul to get there, and life is still painful. This is why you’ve come to the collective conclusion that life is meaningless.

But you’ve got it all wrong. The money, the fame, the accolades; they are not everything there is to life. They are cake. They are fluff. They taste great for the time being, but then the sugar high passes, and you realize you’ve overloaded on carbs, and you feel bloated and empty and wanting that next high. That Oscar on your shelf, it’s cake. Enjoy it, yes, but take note of the empty carbs and find something of substance, because your nihilism is bumming me out.

All this other stuff, the sex abuse scandals, the dark and dirty underbelly of Hollywood, it can all be overcome if you realize that your purpose isn’t the aforementioned cake. It’s much greater than that.

Your purpose isn’t to make money. Your purpose isn’t to get an Oscar or a SAG award. Your purpose isn’t to save us from Trump, wars, guns, or scary conservatives. Your purpose isn’t even to “entertain and distract.” Your purpose is to take all the chaos and pain of real life and shape it into something meaningful.

It is a mighty purpose.

When you tell a great story, when you perfect the art you are creating, you tap into a vein that has existed since humans invented language. That vein is, in essence, the story of us, the story of humankind and the hope we have. That vein will carry every story or every form of great art into a natural conclusion, revealing a truth far greater than the narrow truth of Hollywood’s echo chamber. Your mighty purpose is to find that vein, plug into it, and give us a looking forward to that time in life when the veil is lifted, and we see there was always a grand and wonderful meaning to life.

But you can’t do that if you’re stuffing down cake and in the regretful, empty afterwards, worshiping at the alter of nihilism.

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Dear Culture: We’re Breaking Up

I’ve just realized there is no part of this culture that I can embrace anymore.

As a writer, our culture, the collection of millions of people who surround me, is ever so important. And I’m not hipster enough to be counter-culture. I want to write books that everyone likes and everyone buys. But I’ve realized my writing is never going to appeal to the masses.

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Photo by jscreationzs from freedigitalphotos.net

What does appeal to the masses?

Fifty Shades of Grey, Donald Trump, Mountain Dew, Bernie Sanders, Marvel Comic sequels, remakes, and reboots, Kanye West, Miley Cyrus, hating on Miley Cyrus and Kanye West, club songs, recreational marijuana, Pewdipie, and every one of the 25 Fast and Furious movies.

Do not get me wrong. All of those aforementioned things can be enjoyable. But they are all, as Jim Gaffigan would say, McDonald’s. And our culture has gone from indulging occasionally on guilty pleasures, with a kind of self-deprecating self-awareness, to living by them.

For goodness sake, the human race came up with language, learned how to hunt, gather, then farm, then build. We discovered electricity, split the atom, and traveled to the moon. The classic authors like Fyodor Dostoevsky and Friedrich Nietzsche (not to mention Socrates, Plato et al) plumbed the depth of human consciousness, relationships, religion, and politics. We overcame the darkness of fascism, communism, racism, and slavery. We created a country where serfdom disappeared under the brilliant light of a free market and a government bound by the constitution.

And today, our attention cannot be drawn long enough from Candy Crush Saga, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram─or whatever other sort of godless time-sink that has inhaled the zombified masses─to notice that we’re about to lose everything. We’re excited about the guy who’s gonna build a wall and the guy who’s gonna give us free college. Because…hey…stuff is neat. Walls are neat, and it’ll keep out those Mexicans, and we’ll have more jobs. And free college is great, because we always value stuff when it’s “free,” don’t we? Hamburgers, french fries, chocolate shakes! This is McDonald’s, people.

When your entire life is about getting stuff, that is absolutely all you’re going to get. Stuff.

Self-sacrifice, hard work, patience, kindness, love, thoughtfulness, wisdom, and deep, lasting joy─these things you’ll never know. You cannot recognize them now, and you never will.

I’m not the smartest or wisest person that walks the earth. But it appears that success today is measured by how much fat, sodium, and sugar you can squeeze into a product, all flash, a lot of lies (as long as you’re the first to tell it), and no substance.

Which is why I’m breaking up with this culture. Don’t worry. This doesn’t mean I’ll start doing douchebaggery hipster stuff and gentrificate my sweet little diamond-in-the-rock-town or ever, ever wear turtlenecks. But, Culture, I’m leaving you behind.

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Seven Reasons To Support Gun Rights

1. Owning a gun is one of the most basic civil rights.

It is human nature to rule or be ruled. Without constant vigilance against such ideas, we inevitably drift into an unconscious acceptance of a permanent ruling class. Throughout all of history, citizens were subjected to the laws and rules of kings, the Church, oligarchies, and tyrants.

The establishment of a government of, by, and for the people was unprecedented, prefaced by the idea that men are created equal, that men should govern themselves.

But when you give up your ability to protect (and provide for) yourself to a government, you acknowledge that they are better, smarter, and more capable of handling things than you. You have, in essence, decided that men are not equal after all. The ruling class knows better, and only the ruling class can be trusted with guns.

2. Guns are the great equalizer.

One of the NRA’s earlier programs was to arm black men in the South, so they could protect themselves against attacks by the KKK. Their aim was to give the power of self-protection to the powerless.

Gun rights supporters are often painted as angry hicks with Confederate battle flags flying from their pick-up trucks. But many gun owners are actually women, who acquire a gun to protect themselves against attackers. In many cases, gun ownership gives someone who would normally be victimized the chance to fight back.

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3. Banning guns in the U.S. would have the same net result as Prohibition.

The Volstead Act was difficult and costly to enforce, and it introduced a whole new criminal class. Prohibition was enacted to reduce crime, the negative health effects of excessive alcohol consumption, and to promote a cleaner lifestyle for all the citizens of the U.S. But it ended up increasing the problems it meant to abolish. So would a gun confiscation.

4. Laws should not be passed because bad things happen.

If you feel a bit less free in the U.S. than you did 20 years ago, this is the reason why.

Smoking bans, speed limit laws, drug laws, child booster seat laws, health insurance laws, tax laws, OSHA regulations, EPA regulations….we’re getting to the point where virtually everything is illegal, where everyone is breaking some kind of law, like those criminal masterminds who sell lemonade without having a public health inspector check their kitchen, lemons, sugar, and storage.

Why do these laws exist? Because at some point and some time, someone got hurt (or someone in a position of power imagined someone getting hurt), and in an effort to stop the possibility of anyone getting hurt again (think of the children!), these laws and regulations were passed to keep us all very, very safe.

5. You shouldn’t punish good people for the actions of the bad.

The bad behavior of a few often leads to laws and regulations that constrict the freedoms of everyone. Those laws are ineffectual, because they only target those who actually follow the law. They don’t work. They’re only symbolic. Bad things are still going to happen. But, you know, we’ve got to do something! So tyranny creeps in with our emotional need for action. It is the slow and steady deterioration of our nation.

6. Mass shootings are this century’s version of serial killers, which were last century’s version of marauders, not the outcome of the freedom to own a gun.

The new M.O. for young men hoping to make a name for themselves (and that is 95% of their motive) is to acquire guns and shoot as many people as possible.

These individuals are selfish, immersed in a world of sin and solipsism, Godless, and supported by a cultural obsession with the fickle immortality of having the media say your name. The freedom to own a firearm has nothing to do with it, nor is it an indication that the sky is falling. Men (and women) with blood-lust and blunted empathy, who do terrible things, have existed since the beginning of time. They will always exist.

7. Firearm abuse is just one of many things that kill us.

If you’re going to creep down the path of making laws for safety, how far are you willing to go?

There are a lot of things that exist with the potential to hurt people. Should I start naming some of them?

Cars (in 2012, 33,561 died in car accidents)

Depression (40,000 suicides in 2012)

Sex (in 2012, 13,712 died of AIDS in the U.S.)

Medicine (17,000 prescription drug abuse deaths in 2012)

Food (600,000 heart disease deaths per year)

Alcohol (88,000 alcohol related deaths per year)

Work (4700 on the job deaths in 2014)

And finally, we have Guns: (8,855 gun related homicides in 2012 – add in accidental gun deaths for a total of 12,000)

Clearly, we live in a dangerous world. And banning guns is only going to make us a little more safe . . . well, if you could actually confiscate all the guns, stop all illegal gun activity, and stop guns from being smuggled over the border with Mexico, that is.

Maybe, instead, we should acknowledge that it is not a tool that causes evil but people who do evil things. Then we could expend our energy on fixing that, as opposed to letting it fester, so we have to keep moving down the list of banning things that could harm us.

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Game of Thrones, Sansa Stark, and Matt Walsh

Recently, Matt Walsh told Christians that now is probably a good time to stop watching Game of Thrones. http://themattwalshblog.com And he may be right. But I still disagree with him.

I’m not a prude when it comes to books, movies, and TV shows. But there comes a time when I feel like the producers, writers, and directors are making things as graphic as possible just because they can. I gave up on American Horror Story, because the sex and violence was gratuitous, sensationalist, and the story appeared to be centered around characters who were devoid of a moral compass of any kind. It started to feel unhealthy and salty (as addictive and empty as Cheese Puffs) and I couldn’t find a single thing pointing to God. In other words, the show was going to starve me spiritually. And, as a wise woman once said, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

The reason Matt Walsh may be right is because Game of Thrones has gotten lazy about throwing in the perfunctory nudity/sex scene, and it has nothing to do with story development. However, it’s not titillating to someone like me. It feels more like the show has paused to show a commercial on how nameless, faceless men and women living in the gritty reality of something like the middle ages can still have flawless skin, flat stomachs, and no hair below the neck. It takes away from the fictional realism and removes the audience from the show. In other words, it’s bad art.

The reason I (somewhat) disagree with Matt Walsh is because the scene in question, the rape of Sansa Stark, was not in any way gratuitous. Only her bare back from the waist up is exposed (she’s fully clothed otherwise), and the act takes place off screen. It was not pointless sensationalism, either. In fact, it was the exact opposite. For the first time–after watching women raped and brutalized through five seasons–the woman/girl in question is humanized so much that seeing her humiliated and reduced to nothing but a vehicle for pleasure by the villainous Ramsey Bolton struck a chord with many. But this is exactly how rape works. It’s the reality of rape, and it’s about time someone has the guts to show it in front of such a large audience.

It’s telling, however, that our culture is more horrified that it’s made to feel horrified, because it’s harrowing to see the daughter of the beloved Eddard Stark abused in such a way. But that same culture is unconcerned with all the other young women treated as slabs of meat in pornography, magazines, music videos, and Game of Thrones itself. It’s not a big deal, though, because…well, we didn’t watch them grow up. We can’t see them as their fathers’ daughters. And….so….it doesn’t matter.

But isn’t that the definition of “gratuitous?”

I still love Game of Thrones, because I believe that all art, all good art, all art that simply strives–not to push an agenda–but to be excellent, points to God, no matter how gritty it gets. (The honest frustration expressed in A Perfect Circle’s “Judith” has more richness than the fluffy generic references to the joy of Christian-hood churned out by some Contemporary Christian artists.) Likewise, in Game of Thrones, every time a man believed to be hopelessly wicked starts on a path to redemption, it points to God. Redemption, after all, is a story only Christianity can tell. Those who tell it while rejecting Christianity are quoting a Master without referencing the source, but the Master’s work is still evident. (God always wins.)

Every time a man lays down his life for the sake of others in Game of Thrones, it’s retelling the story of love, the story of Christ. Every time the lofty goals of the heroic are cut short by treachery, it reminds us of how confusing and hopeless life can seem at times, that all our aims and expectations can be cut short by unforeseen circumstances. It reminds me of my own smallness, how I am just a grain of sand in the vast ocean, in a world that is merely a dot in the galaxy, which is merely a speck in the universe.

It reminds me of the immensity of God and his creation and how much of it I don’t understand.

So, no, I won’t stop watching Game of Thrones. But I respect the warning that Matt Walsh gives. It reminds me to slow down and consider what I’m consuming, what I’m putting into my head. I have stumbled many times in this area. The concern of fellow Christians, even if the initial sting of criticism is always unpleasant, has helped me say goodbye to several less-than-savory movies and TV shows, even books.

My advice to other Christians who are also Game of Thrones fans is to take Walsh’s warnings to heart, and with a grain of salt. Evaluate why you are watching the show. Is it enhancing your life, your walk with Christ? Or is it hampering it?

Then, if you will, remind yourself that criticism, something this culture fears and rejects beyond anything else, is actually a useful societal tool, something we all sorely need now and then.

Why Christianity Isn’t Selling Anymore

My (biased, uneducated, and hasty) perspective on why Christianity is dwindling in the west.

1. Christians are terrible representatives of Christianity. Take myself for example. I have a bad attitude, a foul mouth, and when things don’t go my way, I’m like any 2-year-old throwing a tantrum. I’m also opinionated and bossy, and sometimes I’d rather be right than loving. Okay, I’d always rather be right than loving.

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But Christians as a whole are even worse, and most Christians are Circumstantial Christians, which means their personal lives and their faith don’t actually intersect. So an atheist is more likely to live a life of morality than a Circumstantial Christian, because an atheist had to actually think about it.

In other words, it’s hard to put a good spin on Christianity with a world full of “Christians” doing terrible things.

2. The Church hasn’t kept with the paces. They got stuck in the feel-good, gooey alter calls of the 80’s and 90’s and haven’t changed fashion since. They neglected to disciple their followers. They threw tradition out the window and opted for contemporary and easy-going and forgot about substance, sacrifice, and sacredness.

The sacred act of worshiping God can sometimes be a little uncomfortable, possibly a little sobering, or maybe even a little boring. But when the Body of Christ is fed more than just baby food delivered with flashing lights and big happy sounds, the Body receives actual nourishment. It isn’t flabby and weak, like those Christians who have lost their ability to digest anything of substance.

The rest of us are going hungry.

3. Churches failed to recognize a growing demographic within their pews: Single people without children. Churches have a place for babies, children, teenagers, and college kids in between. They have a place for families and married couples, marriage retreats, you name it. But virtually nothing for single men and women. And since being unmarried and childless is becoming almost as commonplace as being married, an entire group of people has been lost to the church.

It’s not all their fault. Some of us single people, facing the pain of being in a place filled with families, husbands, and wives, have quietly slipped away. In a sense, we failed them as much as they failed us.

4. They didn’t tackle the issue of homosexuality the way it should have been tackled. No, I don’t think the church and Christians should open their arms and declare homosexuality a God-ordained practice, as some churches have. Clearly, it’s not. The Bible is explicit about condemning the acts, in the same vein that it condemns other sexually immoral practices–such as incest and bestiality.

However, the church should have had the foresight to welcome sinners, all sinners, including those who struggle with the sin of homosexuality. While the church was focused on making a home for single mothers, divorced couples, alcoholics, and pornography addicts, it forgot to make room for gay people, struggling with a unique set of sins no better or worse than anyone else’s.

5. Last of all, churches have failed to be places where members of a Christian community come to serve others. Instead, churches are places where Christians come to be served. The pastor, youth director, and music leader are all there to serve us, to meet our needs, to keep us happily entertained and comfortable for 60 minutes a week.

This makes being a Christian easy. I don’t have to commit to anything except those 60 minutes. In fact, the Church has made Christianity so easy and so comfortable, it hardly seems worth it.

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10 Technologies I’m Starting To Hate

ID-100211387 by kanate from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1. Facebook

It was once exciting. Everyone was joining, Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa. It was, and still is, a way to keep in touch with everyone. But the layout has gotten heavy with advertisements and endless recommended posts, and what was once simple and clean is now crowded and convoluted. It looks sleek, yes, but feels clunky.

2. Facebook Instant Messenger.

For smartphone and tablet users, this a separate Facebook application, a little chat bubble that pops up anytime someone messages you, which sits on your home screen until you swipe it off. Most Facebook messenger users were perfectly happy with the previous application, using the messenger within Facebook. But, no, no, no, the developers knew better.

Facebook Instant Messenger is likely meant to be something to replace text messages, a new, funky, revolutionary, mandatory application of the future. Except no one is using it to replace text messaging. And even if they were, it still wasn’t a problem to use messenger within Facebook. Now the two biggest apps hogging storage space and data are Facebook and his little brother, Facebook Instant Messenger.

3. Google Maps:

Don’t worry. I normally love Google, but the updates to Google Maps have been odious and completely non-user-friendly. Nothing about the updates have improved the application. They made it worse, added complicated steps, and have taken away important elements of the application.

Navigation, the little blue arrow on your smartphone’s home screen, is a great tool. It has navigated me out of tight spots, helped me find my way home, and has made travel much, much easier. But that’s the thing. It is often used at the last minute, while someone is driving, forgot directions or needs to get someplace unknown quickly. It’s not an application anyone sits at home and admires. So adding steps is not only frustrating, it’s dangerous.

4. Android:

Again, I love Google, but I hate the Android operating system. It was such a cool idea in the beginning. It was cheaper than the iPhone. It made smartphones accessible to people who either couldn’t afford it or weren’t interested in paying for an expensive, hoighty toighty iPhone. It was the beginning of something wonderful.

But now Android phones come pre-loaded with junk apps that are going to forever get in your way and take up your space. Add to that updates, caches, and the Facebook megalodon, and we’ve burdened perfectly good phones with unwelcome trash they don’t need. These are our phones, not yours. Let us put what we want on them, or at least give us the option of uninstalling the applications we don’t like. It’s that simple. Forcing customers to hack into their own phones is tyrannical, and you know it.

ID-100111466 by twobee on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5. Touchscreens:

I hate them. I HATE them. I hate them in every form they come in. Touch screen keyboards, touch screen tablets, touch screen laptops.

Sure, it looks futuristic to touch a screen and things happen. The problem is we have nerve endings on our fingers, and they help us identify things through touch. But that thing has to have a shape of some kind. If all you’re feeling is a smooth surface, it’s difficult to tell what you’re touching. Sight alone is limited, which is why typing on a touchscreen keyboard is fraught with error and endless frustration. And auto-correct is its own horror story.

6. Yahoo! Mail:

This was once a bastion to email users who just wanted a simple and tidy means of reading and writing emails. But in 2013, this lean and clean email application was overhauled and replaced with a chunky, clunky replica of Gmail. The interface was full of errors, folders went missing, and emails got lost inside emails that were 100 “conversations” long. Finding emails and replying to them became a guessing game. For days, Yahoo! Mail users were left in the dark.

Eventually, most users discovered a way of rolling back the updates and going to basic Yahoo! Mail, but it’s still prone to errors. Emails aren’t sent. Saved drafts disappear for no apparent reason, and the application is a staggering behemoth of missed connections.

Yahoo! didn’t recognize the market they had cornered, and they didn’t care.

7. YouTube (comments section):

Yes, the comments section of YouTube does seem to attract the dregs of humanity, the worst of the worst kinds of people, who are desperate for attention and think that posting nasty comments under an anonymous name will fulfill them. So I understand why YouTube, (another Google creation which is a wonderful thing taken as a whole), decided to regulate it a bit.

However, linking all comments to Google+ has caused a lot of unforeseen issues. As a user, who’s not afraid of posting under her real name, I’m endlessly signing in. And I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to sign in to. Do I sign into Google Chrome? Gmail? Or YouTube? Or do I sign into Google+?

If you comment on YouTube, if you like swimming with sharks, then you’ll get email notifications when someone replies to you. However, replying back is virtually impossible. Inside the email notification is a link that says “reply,” You think by clicking that link, it’ll take you to your comment. But that doesn’t happen. It takes you to the video, and then you have to go into the comments section and scroll endlessly to find your comment.

I know YouTube was never meant to be a debate forum, but it’s becoming that. So roll with it, Google guys. Stop trying to shut it down. 

8. Twitter’s 140 Character Limit:

This is annoying, and it’s making us dumber. Get rid of this idiocy. Inspire real conversation, not sound bytes. It’s making us all hate each other.

ID-100129214 by SOMMAI from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 9. Outsourced Tech Support Phone Service:

Yes, it’s cheaper to pay someone in India $2 an hour to answer phones. And, yes, there are a million reasons this is happening, wages too high in the U.S., cost of living too high, union demands, government regulations, corporate greed, shareholders, profit expectations, etc, etc. It’s a bevy of issues and problems and a little bit of selfishness from everyone that leads to misery for all. But, dang it, you’re wasting our time.

I’m not opposed to talking to someone with a foreign accent who knows what they’re doing. But don’t just sit people by phones who only know the basics of fixing a problem. (“Did you turn your computer on, Ma’am?”) At least don’t call that “Customer Care” or “Tech Support.” You don’t need cheaply paid labor for that. You just need a recorded message.

For the real problems, hire the people with the knowledge and power to fix problems. I don’t care if they’re Indian, Japanese, American, or Mexican. If they can speak in a way so we understand them and actually know what they’re doing, you’ll save yourself the danger of having the name of your product used in conjunction with swear words.

10. Web Ads

Pop-up ads, video ads, ads on the side of the screen, on the top, link ads, and animated ads. You can open a single webpage and see every single one of these types of ads flashing at you all at once. This is an outdated method of making ad money, and it’s stupid. Frustrate your target customer, shout at them from 10 different directions, and they’re not coming back.

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An Open Letter to “Nice Guys”

We’re watching you.

You think the game-face you pop on whenever you approach a girl you want to sleep with is the only side of you the rest of us women see. But that’s not the case. We see all of you. We see how you treat your mother, your sisters, your aunts, nieces, daughters, and female friends. We see how you treat women, all women, not just the ones you want to have sex with.

ID-10011082photo courtesy of graur codrin www.freedigitalphotos.net

We see that your kindness is reserved for those who will give you something in return. Outside of that environment, you’re not nice.

We see how you mistreat an old woman who gets in your way on the street. We see that you simply don’t have time to hold open a door for the overweight mother with two children and two bags of groceries. We see how every word you speak to a woman you have no intention–or talent enough–to sleep with is laced with contempt.

You talk about women as if they’re things, not people. You identify women from the vagina up. You categorize their worthiness by how their bodies are shaped, how attractive they are to you, and how receptive they’ll be to your advances. You insult and degrade women who don’t give you what you want.

Elliot Rodgers, in a sad bit of irony, characterized himself as a nice guy. He did this before he killed 7 people in cold blood. In one horrible move, he summarized the Nice Guy movement, what it’s really about, frustrated and angry young men who aren’t getting any, but think they should be.

While very few “nice guys” will eventually go on a killing spree–or even have Rodgers’s lack of human decency–many profess the same line of reasoning. “The young, pretty women of the world owe me sex. Why? Because I want to have sex. And I should get what I want, because I’m a nice guy.”

But being nice to people because it may get you something has nothing to do with being a good person. Bad people do that, too.

What you have isn’t kindness. What you are isn’t nice. What you are is passionless and aimless. You’re heartless. You’re lazy. You have no ambition except to get laid. You have no cause, no purpose, no drive. You won’t lift a finger to help someone else, not unless it means you get something in return. You’re a narcissist, selfish, self-obsessed, and it’s obvious to us that you are empty. You have nothing to offer but a polite smile. But your facade cracks to pieces the instant you don’t get what you think the world owes you. Under all that thin, polished ceramic is nothing.

And we know this. We can hear it in your voice the instant you open your mouth to speak. Women are intuitive, scarily so. If you’re just looking for sex, you had better have a good game. You better be so good at feigning love that you feel it in your heart when you speak to us. You’d better have depth. You’d better be someone we can talk to, find common interests with, and connect with, not an empty vessel.

I’ve seen these “jerks” who get the girl. They aren’t nice. They’re real. They’re confident. They persist, but aren’t desperate. They’re fearless but also genuine–or at least really good at appearing to be. They have usually lived enough of a life outside of stagnating in front of a game console that they have stories to tell, something to offer, a passion for living, and a personality. They may be playing women, but they’re at least good at it. They at least know women enough to understand what actually works.

You, on the other hand, don’t have a clue about women, because you haven’t bothered to listen to them. You tune them out, all the women around you (mothers, sisters, aunts, coworkers, even the girl who put you in the dreaded “friend zone”), because women don’t exist to you unless they are obtainable objects of your desire. So you have no idea how they think, what they want, how they feel, and how easy it is for them to sense all that you’re lacking.

So to the nice guys, the “friend zoned,” the “only jerks get the girls” guys: It’s not yet hopeless. Put something in your overly-polished temple. Be man enough to love and cherish those around you who can give you nothing in return, treat women (all women) like human beings with actual thoughts and feelings as profound as your own, and for God’s sake, make something of yourself!

Perhaps, maybe, if you change your approach to life, your life with change.

Disclaimer: Not all nice guys fit this model. This is mostly aimed at those with a mindset similar to Elliot Rodgers, who may not be future murderers, but have grown to hate and resent women because of their own ineptitude.