This is an idea I’ve had sloshing about in the carr that I call my mind for a while now, and I decided to get on it.
I call it…
ABC: Another Bloody Complaint!
The short version is, I just complain about something, but I hide it under a thin veneer of education. You know, like how the Humongous Entertainment Games were really just point-and-click adventure games for kids, but they had enough learning in them to be called “educational”.
[Side note: if you have kids, are a kid, feel like a kid or just like playing fun freakin’ games, I highly recommend the HE games. They are excellent, kid-friendly adventure games, packed with comedy, fun imagery and just enough educational content to call themselves Edu-tainment. I spent countless hours on them as a kid, and they were an integral part of my childhood. Check them out here if you get the chance; you won’t be disappointed.]
A slightly longer version is that I’ll introduce the word, it’s definition, and a few other words that start with the same letter, usually ones that are a bit obscure or just not that common.
Then I express my opinions, personal stories and, of course, complaints to do with the topic.
Anyhow, the best way to learn is to do, so without further ado, onto the first (and hopefully not last) ABC.
noun (pl) -sies
1. the practice of professing standards, beliefs, etc, contrary to one’s real character or actual behaviour, especially the pretence of virtue and piety
Hypocrisy starts with the letter ‘H’!
‘H’ can also be used for words like:
Someone who exhibits hypocrisy is called a hypocrite (and often other, less kind names).
Now, on to the less educational rant.
A big issue I have with with hypocrisy is how invisible it can be. Many people are hypocrites without even realising it, because it requires an ability to remove yourself from the situation at hand and view the subject from an objective point of view. A lot of people just flat out can’t do that; many more find it hard. There are very few people that can switch between an objective and a subjective viewpoint rapidly, let alone multiple times during a conversation.
I like to think that I can do this fairly well, but as with all things, I’m still learning. I often catch myself about to berate another for doing something that I myself did not moments before. It can be very hard too, because as everyone loves saying:
“We hate in others what we hate in ourselves.” -All people, everywhere, all the time.
What makes me hate hypocrisy the most is how disrespectful it is. Whether you do it knowingly or not, treating someone hypocritically is disrespecting them as a person. Instead of focusing on any good qualities they may have, we instead point out how they should change, while not bothering to do the same for ourselves.
To use a real world example, I used to go to a friend’s house a lot, and vice versa. We, being kids, always made a mess. Whenever he left, I often spent the rest of the afternoon tidying it up.
However, when I was the visitor, things were different. If I left without helping clean the mess up, I was told that I was being unfair, unkind, disrespectful, by his parents and him. It wasn’t nasty or spiteful in any way, but it still got to me. Here I was, being told that I was being disrespectful by leaving before everything was clean, when not a week prior, he’d left while my lounge room looked like it had just been rocked by a magnitude 9 earthquake.
It really hurt me, because they obviously knew that it was disrespectful to leave a place messy, yet they themselves did it. I knew they didn’t mean it, and eventually we all talked it out and it was fine.
It is, however, one of the finest examples I’ve ever seen of how easy it is to be a hypocrite without realising, and why, to this day, I scrutinise my every move in fear of being a hypocrite. I know how it feels to be on the receiving end of hypocritical behaviour, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone else.
Another, perhaps the most notable, example of hypocrisy in my life is with some of my extended family. Now I preface this story with a disclaimer: I love my family. All of them. No matter how much they’ve angered or saddened me in the past, I love them, and would do anything in my power to help them if they truly needed it. And I want to prematurely apologise to the people I’m about to talk about, because they may not have realised how they affected me, and this may be jarring to them if they ever read this.
But, here goes.
My uncle and my grandfather on my mother’s side are amazing blokes. They’re the type of guys that’ll bend over backwards to help someone else. If you needed help badly, they’d work day and night without rest to make sure you got that help. They want everyone to have the best life possible.
Yet they are the single biggest reason I struggle with my own hypocrisy, and why I despise it so vehemently.
You see, neither of them “get” video games. They don’t understand them. To them, video games aren’t even just silly little toys kids play with.
And that’s cool. Not everyone has to like video games; not everyone has to even understand video games.
But they see games as a waste of time, as being worthless, even detrimental to health. And, as video games are an integral part of my life, you can see where conflict might arise.
They both, with the best intentions I’m sure, told me that games were bad for me. They told me that nothing good comes from them, that they were a waste of time.
“Go outside more,” they’d say, “stop spending all your time in fake worlds and live in the real world for a while.”
And I got that. My Mum said similar things all the time, because I did play a bit too many games. Even my Dad, a gamer himself, occasionally told me it was a bit excessive.
But it wasn’t just that. It would keep going, and going.
Just mentioning games was a target.
“Man,” I would say, my head out the car window, feeling the air rush past me, “this is awesome. This must be how it feels to be in Mario Kart.”
“Not everything has to relate to games, Logan.”
“Not everything is like video games, Logan.”
“Can’t you just forget about games for five minutes?”
Even when I wasn’t playing games, they’d bring the subject up.
“Aren’t you glad you came to the park instead of playing games all day?”
“Wasn’t that movie awesome? Better than playing games all day huh?”
“That nature walk was an adventure, wasn’t it? Much better than a virtual adventure.”
They constantly hassled me about how terrible games were, how much time was wasted playing them, how I’d meet an early grave if I kept playing.
But the thing is, they both drank and smoked and watched T.V. A lot. If they didn’t have a beer or cigarette in hand, then they were probably sleeping. If they were inside, they were watching sport.
And that’s cool. I’m all for doing what you like doing.
But, here they were, telling me about how video games were bad shit. That sitting around playing games all day would screw my life up.
While sitting on the couch, stubby in hand, watching the fucking footie.
And I would have to nod along, pretending that this was some sage advice that was changing my life. If I did any different, the shit would hit the fan and yet another bloody tirade would come down on me.
I hated the times they visited. It was always, games cause this, games do that. Get outside, play more sport.
Do as I say, not as I do.
I grew resentful because of it. My time with them was few and far between, but they always made it an ordeal. I wanted nothing more than to shove their hypocrisy in their face, but even hinting that they might be wrong brought down another stream of bullshit.
“Oh, you’re so disrespectful.”
“You shouldn’t be so obsessed with games.”
It was hard to handle. But I had no choice.
To this day, I find it hard to be around them. To speak with them. I still harbour so much pent up resentment towards their behaviour I can barely look at them without feeling angry.
I’ve always craved solitude, but I can barely be in the same room for a few minutes before I have to find an excuse to leave.
And the worst part is, they’re changing. They have changed. Just a little, but it’s noticeable. But I can’t.
I still can’t look them in the eye.
I still can’t be around them.
All because they couldn’t see how hypocritical they were being. All because they wouldn’t practice what they preached, and I didn’t speak up.
Hypocrisy is, to me, one of the worst things a person can do. I work hard everyday to make sure I’m not being hypocritical. I try to tell others about my own flaws so that I can be more accountable for them. I try my damnedest to educate others on hypocrisy in a way that isn’t accusatory.
Because hypocrisy is that big an issue to me.
I’ll end with a quote that left me thinking about how harmful hypocrisy really is. How big an issue it is when we get to the heart of it all.
“The only vice that cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy.” -William Hazlitt
Logan, the Not-So-Dragon