Culture of Complainers

Don't be one of them

September 21, 2023

The other week I wrote an article that summed up my thoughts about the Republican debate from last week but for some reason I felt like I shouldn’t publish it. It wasn’t the first time I’ve chosen not to publish an article after writing it, but this is definitely the longest article I have chosen not to publish and I couldn’t quite figure out why I didn’t want to publish it. There was one theory I had on the reasoning behind my gut feeling that related to something I won’t get into, but I decided I could talk myself out of that reasoning if I wanted to. But I didn’t which led me to believe that there was another reason I shouldn’t publish it that I still couldn’t put my finger on. Then I watched this Wranglerstar video and it all made sense to me.

The video is a reaction to Oliver Anthony’s song Rich Men North of Richmond. I’m sure you’ve heard of the song by now and may have even listened to it, I’ve referenced it a few times and it has been the number one song in the country for a few weeks after it came out and among the places I frequent online it has gathered nothing but praise. But then I watched that video and my perspective on the song changed.

To quote the video (and break one of my rules) Rich Men North of Richmond is “nothing more than a bitch session and complaining.” I won’t get into the specific critiques the video does, you can do that yourself. Of course the music is good, it is well written and well performed, but I can’t disagree with the Wranglerstar take here since the song is really just a bunch of complaints. If a culture’s number one song is one that primarily features a man complaining what does that say about that culture? Is a culture of complaining a culture that we want to promote and participate in? No, we want a culture of optimism, hard work and solutions.

I realized that I didn’t want to publish that article I wrote last week because it was just a bunch of complaining. The gist of the article was that the debate last week was proof that the GOP establishment is completely disconnected from its voters and the debate did nothing productive choosing to talk about things like climate change that Republican voters don’t care about instead of more important issues like parental rights and the deep state. You don’t need to read a two thousand word essay of complaints on that nor should you. All that would do is make you feel angry and powerless, two emotions we should avoid.

Of course there will be times in our lives when we do feel angry and powerless, or powerless and depressed, or angry and rageful, or any other ugly combination of emotions. These are among the trials that are a part of life on Earth. You aren’t a bad person if you feel this way from time to time, and Oliver Anthony (or Chris as he is actually named) is not a bad person for making music that expresses those emotions. I believe channeling emotion into art is a healthy way to express it and help us realize that there is still good in the world. From what I have seen Oliver Anthony is not a man who believes that life is hopeless and you shouldn’t be either.

Satan is the one who wants us to feel angry and powerless and depressed all the time. He is the one who wants us to feel like there is no hope in the world. He is the one who wants us to put our faith in politicians who don’t have the power to save us. Don’t fall into his trap.

But of course politics isn’t the only thing that people tend to complain about. I’ve come to the conclusion that complaining is the modern human’s favorite pass time, we’ll go out of our way to complain about things to avoid being productive. We’ve even blinded ourselves to the point where we can’t always recognize complaints when we see them. Pointing out problems is by definition complaining if it isn’t coupled with some genuine attempt at finding a solution.

I recently read a rather good article on the male loneliness epidemic. There has been a lot of talk on that topic lately but most of that talk has been dedicated to simply observing problems and pointing fingers, in other words complaining. Most of the people who talk about this issue say that somebody needs to fix it but very few of them actually make an effort to fix it themselves. However, I will cut the people talking about male loneliness some slack though because there doesn’t seem to be, nor do I believe there is, a secular solution to this problem.

Now there are plenty of other global and societal problems that people love to complain about, climate change, air travel, woke movies, stuff like that and as regular people you and I along with the other people who love complaining about these things have little to no power to fix these problems, so we shouldn’t focus on them. Instead we should focus on the things we do have power over and rather than complain about those things we should exercise that power.

I once had a roommate who constantly complained about not having enough money but he refused to apply for a job across the street that paid better than the one he had. I had another roommate who frequently complained that the apartment stunk but he never took the trash out. I’ve met plenty of people who complain about their health issues but make no attempt to improve their health. Don’t be like these people, complaining doesn’t fix any of your problems, and neither does the pity of others that so many constant complainers crave. Apply for a better job, clean your room and take the trash out, quit drinking soda and start going for a walk every day. Nobody is forcing you to stay miserable.

Ultimately you are the person who has the most power to increase or decrease the quality of your life. Of course there are bad things that will happen to us that are out of our control but we need to realize that we also have the power to decide how we are going to react to those things. It sucks when your car breaks down but no amount of complaining is going to change the fact that you need to fix it.

We don’t want to be a culture of complaining, we want to be a culture of optimism, hard work and solutions. Don’t waste your time complaining. Don’t waste other people’s time complaining. Don’t encourage other people to complain. And don’t spend your time online voluntarily listening to complaints. Complaining is a sickness that is highly contagious don’t let it spread to you and especially from you.