Is It Wicked Not To Care?

By Nathan Payne | pablosmoglives | 7 Jun 2022

TRIGGER WARNING:  This message is not suitable for children.  You shouldn't be here.  Go away.

In this article, I'm going to tell you why it's time to be quiet, and listen.

I'm going to show you how your vision has been blurred, how things that were once in focus have been made fuzzy by myopia.

I'm going to explain how your mind has been trained to clap like a seal at all the wrong things, and why it's time to stop clapping, be quiet, and listen.

I'm not kicking you out.  You kicked yourself out.

Since you've already left, it would probably be best for you to get it over with and leave.

For everybody else...


1.  Overplaying Your Hand Makes You Irrelevant

In Michael Mann's Heat, Diane Venora's character constantly nags Al Pacino for doing his job.  We're supposed to believe that she's unhappy because "he's never around."  It's ridiculous.  He's working, right?  Would you rather he lay around on the couch all day in your underwear, "celebrating" his own degenerate, narcissistic sexuality, like a lazy, adolescent imbecile?  Not only does he have a job, he has a career.  One in which he has apparently excelled.

And we're expected to believe, or rather, we're being told:  It isn't good enough.  Your employed, ambitious husband is neglecting you.  Be unhappy.  In this way, by living in a state of constant displeasure and dissatisfaction, you will acquire the "strength" required for personal enjoyment and satisfaction.


Heat might not be the first movie to ever document and/or promote the failures built into feminism and divorce and how they destroy the children subjected to them (Natalie Portman attempts suicide at one point), but it's one of the biggest.  And it's one of the earliest major films to make the "crumbling American family" a centerpiece in the lives of its characters.

It's unwatchable.

Not the movie Heat, but rather, the crumbling family scene.  The disconsolate wife scene.  It's unwatchable.  It's become so common, it's unbearable to look at.  Watch almost any (any) film with a male lead, and if he's not a philandering, idiotic whoremonger or some variation of a monastic wolf, his ex-wife is unhappy with him.  He always has to go pick up the kid in the house he was forced to move out of, and her face is always the same:  Displeased, unhappy, disconsolate.

Without being told, we're supposed to believe it's because "he failed her" in some way.  The story has been told so many times, the reasons for her disapproval are never even questioned, or explained.  Ever.  The reasons are taken for granted.  At "some point in the past," he did something so unforgivable that he can never be allowed into the inner circle of the family, ever again.  Even though his character is almost always gainfully employed in a lucrative or productive career, he has some personal peccadillo that's so insufferable, he must be rejected outright as the dangerous anomaly he must be.  She, of course, couldn't make a mistake if it was part of the job description.  He, on the other hand, is anathema to everything good and righteous in the world.

Not only are we expected to accept this without question, but we're expected to believe it.

Well.... I don't. 

I'm at the point where I can't watch the wife-interaction scenes at all.  I fast-forward through all of them.  "Here the guy is, knocking on the door of his own house to ask his wife permission to do his job," and you can see those scenes coming from a mile away.  I don't care if it's War Dogs, Taken, or Die Hard 3,

I skip them all.  I never watch them.  Never.  They're all the same.

The insufferable male protagonist might have been a joke in Die Hard 3 (which came out the same year as Heat), in which Bruce Willis wakes up with a hangover to a barrage of jokes by his colleagues about his insufferable nature and inability to keep his flawless jewel of a wife, but the joke has worn thin.  They don't even try to make it funny anymore.  Now, it's understood:

The man is always wrong.

In this way, feminism has destroyed more than the stable fabric of society.  By overplaying their hand spectacularly, and taking it granted, feminism has destroyed art.  It has even destroyed silly, fictional action films.  It has taken film away from the realm of exploration of new ideas, and turned it into a microwaved re-hashing of the same old feminist propaganda.  Which is, essentially:  Women, be unhappy.

That's the message.  They're telling you you'll find fulfillment through terminal, disconsolate unhappiness.

It's unwatchable.  It had better be.  If you watch those scenes for no other reason than because you believe you have to, I'm telling you:

You don't. 

You can skip them.  Like the women they presume to represent, they have made themselves optional, and been rendered obsolete.  Unfortunately.

The interaction between Tommy Lee Jones and Mary Steenburgen in In The Electric Mist is a refreshing change from this pattern, but it's refreshing... because it's a pattern.


What about other self-absorbed identity groups?

Have they destroyed more than just the souls of the people they presume to represent?

Yes.  They have.


2.  Shut Up & Listen

The manufactured rage of the Black Lives Matter movement destroyed rap and hip-hop for me.  Not entirely, but mostly.  Like Nagasaki and Hiroshima, there are a few limping, mutant survivors, but the blast radius of BLM and the George Floyd riots encircled most black art, and rendered it instantly dull and irrelevant.  Obsolete.  In the 90s, intellectually and artistically-curious people for whom hip-hop and rap were not native modes of expression would explore those foreign worlds for new sounds, ideas, information, and inspiration.  When this song was released in the late 90s, it was a genuinely original-sounding mashup between organic instruments and the by-now-stale-and-overplayed loops and beats (including the loops of the organic instruments).  The subgenre under which jurisdiction it fell was called "Drum & Bass," and it had a style of its own, separate from rap and hip-hop:

I actually bought the double album.  I never got entirely into it, but I tried it out.  I was interested.  My personal opinion is that this album is not a timeless work of art, but rather, a dated one.  Not irrelevant, and not without value, but not Kind of Blue or Sketches of Spain either.  You are free to disagree, and good for you if you do.  Personally, I think the album is dull, with the exception of this track and possibly one or two others I can't remember.  But I bought it anyway, just to find out.  I wanted to know.

But that was then, and this is now.  These days, nobody is allowed to cross-pollinate their minds with influences that didn't come from their own backyard.  Unless this guy from the comment section of the video above is correct.  And in a non-sentimental, non-retro way, I would like to believe he is.  So would 873 other people.  But he's wrong, of course.  Even if the comment itself wasn't over 5 years old.  He's wrong:


I know what he's trying to say, and I'm not trying to be contrary by making the obvious statement I'm about to make, because I appreciate what he's trying to say.  However, he is wrong.  The late 90s is not the future.

It's the past.

If the late 90s was the future,

People would learn to shut up and listen.  That's what we did back then.  We listened.  We didn't presume to teach; we were interested in learning.  We did not operate from the unquestioned presumption that by screaming from the void of what we're not even aware we don't know while standing on a pedestal of perpetual dissatisfaction, that people had any reason to listen to us.  Any reason whatsoever.  Why would anybody listen?  Why should they?  Who am I to preach?  Have I not considered the possibility that I'm wrong, and therefore need as much information as possible before I presume to educate people on their own lack of rightness?

As a future denizen of the late 90s, I have.  As a manufactured piece of iconoclast livestock who has been trained to clap at all the wrong things, especially my own lack of self-awareness, which is readily apparent to everybody but myself, however, I have not.  As a pontificating, unself-aware Master of Naught, I have not only the right, but the duty to educate the people I've been told are wrong about everything, about absolutely everything.

Don't even worry about it, I would know.  I have nothing to learn.  I am the Great Professor, the Self-Cancellating Tool Without Equal.  Hear me profess my confusion from the lofty heights of my own myopia.  Marvel at the truly disgraceful way I patronize the entire world.

Am I not amazing? 

I am stupid, hear me roar.

If this were the late 90s, people who thought in such a way would be derided, mocked, and rejected by every sector of society.  Including the gay one.  People of all stripes and proclivities would look at those pontificating sock puppets and wonder what their problem is.

If you see any signs of that on the horizon, let me know.  I could use some good news.

Couldn't we all.


3.  Zooming Out To Regain Perspective & Sanity

Everywhere we go, we're told to focus on an extremely narrow, supposedly-oppressed sector of society.  Rather than zooming out and looking at the bigger picture, we're taught to only see things that are placed before us, never more than 2 inches from our nose.  Context is for the patriarchy.  Doublespeak is the new norm.  It doesn't matter if we're only regurgitating ideas that have been fed to us from a sippy cup; we're "thinking critically" if the word "critical" is in the name of the ideology.

I could talk about how there is no such thing, legally speaking, as "minority group rights," and how there are only "human rights," legally speaking.

But... I already have.

I could waste time focusing on these overplayed and therefore stale and uninteresting segments of society that have no idea how irrelevant they are, no concept of the blunt objects & simple stone tools they've allowed themselves to become, manipulated by the hands of people who are (apparently) much smarter than they are, and how ridiculous it is for them to still, actually believe themselves to be on the "cutting edge" of some social movement or other. 

Like watching a butter knife prancing around in its underwear, pretending to be a samurai sword.

But it's been said.  By me, among a hundred million other people.

What I'd rather do is shine a light on the absurdity of giving arrogant, uninteresting people attention they have neither earned nor deserve by suggesting an alternative.  An alternative which, by virtue of being instantly attractive to people with inquisitive hearts and minds (hopefully), will illustrate how much time, money, and energy have been wasted on manufactured non-issues like other people's sex lives, and which will, hopefully, inspire somebody out there to shut up and listen.

Listen to what?

Well, everything...

What if the "appreciation calendar" looked like this, instead?


January:  Filmmaker appreciation month

February:  Sculptor appreciation month

March:  Painter appreciation month

April:  Dancer appreciation month

May:  Actor appreciation month

June:  Architecture appreciation month

July:  Singer appreciation month

August:  Songwriter appreciation month

September:  Poetry appreciation month

October:  Musician appreciation month

November:  Writer appreciation month

December:  Jesus Christ appreciation month


What culture would we live in, if we spent the entire month of January appreciating filmmakers?  Gay filmmakers, black filmmakers, straight white Christian filmmakers...  All filmmakers.  Anyone who trains a camera on something with the intention of telling a story (or deconstructing one, if they prefer). 

What would the cultural landscape resemble if we spent the entire month of November appreciating writers?  From Neil Gaiman to Mark Twain.  From John Milton to Sylvia Plath.  From Chinua Achebe to Gabriel García Márquez.

What if?

Would patriots have more to choose from than Tom MacDonald, Kid Rock, and Ted Nugent if we spent the entire month of August appreciating songwriters?  Songwriters, from every genre, from every conceivable sub-basement of computerized, chemically-altered collective sound-making to every crazed attic and lonely mountaintop of genius?  Whether it's real, fake, taped-up, tacked-on, wished-for, wondered about, or otherwise.  Everything.  Would you be limited to 3 guys of questionable, one-note talent who patronize you by selling you what you're told you want to hear, or would you have something to choose from, that would perhaps intrigue others, inspire conversation, bridge chasms of contention with a simple chord change or lyric...  Why do you like this guy?  Who is Mozart?  Who is Roni Size?  Do I like it?  Do I care?  Is there something from the Requiem Mass in Dm I can use, or should I stick with Tupac?  Why do the Ramones and Tom Waits cover each other so much?  Is there a common thread there?  Or just an interesting mutual appreciation, and maybe even friendship?

And you could ask.  And I would ask.  And we would "learn something."  "From each other," even, like futuristic people from the late 90s.


4.  The Myth of Cultural Appropriation

"Cultural appropriation," after all, is yet another example of leech-projection, a situation in which people who deify "content" and "creators" over art and artists impose rules on the rest of us,

To prevent us from doing what they are incapable of.

This guy from Oaxaca doesn't care if this song was used in a movie from a culture that isn't native to him.  He just knows good work when he hears it, and wants to play it, because he likes it:

Does anybody care that he's playing a "traditional American song" while dressed up in a Zapotec headdress, or are they simply excited they recognize the timeless piece of music?  What do you think?

Is it possible that the reason we're told to focus on our differences (and hate each other for them) is because if left to our own devices, we'd come together and overthrow the fascist pig dividers?  Does anybody think Simon & Garfunkel would burn this guy's house down under a flag of artistic white supremacy, in the name of "cultural appropriation," if they discovered he was playing one of their songs?

Is that why we're told to hate art and artists, and deify the flavorless, disposable "content" of people who have deified themselves with the title "creator?"

Is there a future in the realm of artless jealousy and ego?  Even a retro, late 90s future?

I don't think so.


5.  Is It Wicked Not To Care?

But what if we spent the entire month of March appreciating painters?  Visual artists who work in any medium, or media, scratching images onto canvases, plywood, brick walls, and sidewalks with pencils, crayons, gluesticks, oil paint, anything.  Would we have time to care about drag queens?  Would we be interested?  No.  I don't think we would.  Would we feel the need to hand our children over to artless, self-righteous degenerates to be groomed, out of fear they "might not like us?"  Would we be tempted to waste our time on cowardly, forced-compliance "drag queen story hour" events, while telling ourselves we're "strong, independent people" who possess neither strength nor independence, if we spent our time teaching our kids the stylistic difference in Baroque and Rococo?

I don't think we would.  I know we didn't care about drag queens in the futuristic late 90s.  Drag queens weren't oppressed; they were just there, and it used to be sufficient not to care.  Simply not burning down their drinking establishments and getting them fired for personal, private activities engaged in by consenting adults used to be enough. 

Now, people think they're oppressed if the entire world isn't celebrating their every move and stupid decision, 24/7.

It's no longer enough to not impinge on their human rights; now, you have to celebrate them, actively and publicly, or risk deportation from the tiresome, would-be privilege of participating in their aloof, impolite society.

Being uninvited from such circles is like being paroled.  Those people have no idea how obsolete and uninteresting they are.

They are disgraceful,


when did it become wicked not to care?


6.  The Dreary Phenomenon of the Mandatory Party

Willful stupidity is the first and ultimate degradation.  Before you can smear shit on yourself and call it body paint, you have to reject your intellectual and emotional standards.  You have to have an extremely low opinion of yourself, which is perhaps why people who lower themselves in such a fashion flounce around pretending to be proud; are we supposed to be fooled?  Are they?  To engage in such self-disrespect and degradation, you have to believe you're unworthy of salvation, like a pig in the muck.  Many rape victims hesitate to come forward out of shame, and yet the pushers of the mandatory party stand there with their hearts and minds bent over the hood of the car like they're doing something that's not only not immoral (which it may or may not be), but which is in fact virtuous to the point of being worthy of widespread, mandatory celebration.  An act that is so far above reproach, so clearly and obviously liberating to everyone who comes within a million years of it, the celebration of it must be mandated.  A party so unequivocal and undeniable in its liberating, carefree abandon, the idea that it's virtuous must be forced on everyone in the culture.


If the party is really that great, should it be necessary to mandate participation in it?  Would it?  If your hedonistic dogma is really all that and a bag of chips, won't people just gravitate to it like the liberating experience it supposedly is? 

Effortlessly, without the threat of cultural or social exile?

Doesn't mandatory participation and heavy-handed threats of unemployment and exile indicate the falseness of your claim?

It does.  But even if it didn't, the fact that you can't keep your hands off of things and leave well enough alone, letting people come and go from your subjective, loaded act of morally-relative faith freely, as they see fit, is a heavy, heavy indictment you have leveled on yourself.  It's a cage in which you have locked yourself, welding the lock shut with the blinding power of your own hubris.  And if you don't wake up now, you will drown in the cage in which you've imprisoned yourself.  And you will answer to God for every soul you drag down with you.  Whether you're aware of it, or like it, or believe it, or not.

"They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy."  Jonah 2:8


7.  Closing Thoughts

I do not believe other people should be fired, imprisoned, killed, or punished in this life in any way for engaging in behaviours of questionable morality with other consenting adults, but I will not celebrate your pride masquerading as strength.  And I will not refrain from telling you that you should be ashamed of yourself, for not only being dumb enough to fall for it, but for intimidating your neighbors into joining you.

Be gay if you must, and wear women's clothing all day if it pleases you to do so, but the minute you mandate my participation in the would-be virtue of your amoral, sanctimonious delusion, is the moment you forsake your own mercy.  Not at my hands, or the hands of the patriarchy you so desperately wish you were subjugated beneath, but as an act of willful blindness on your own part.  You have rejected your own mercy, because you believe you are unworthy of it.

It isn't true.

Nothing you have done has disqualified you from the atoning grace of Christ.


Repent now.  Time is running out.


8.  Sleeping The Clock Around

I for one, am going to sleep the clock all the way around to the futuristic year of 1998, so as to pre-visit this Belle & Sebastian album, so I can see forward into a time long-since past, when everything will be better.

See you there.

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Nathan Payne
Nathan Payne

I am a songwriter and bandleader who travels the world in search of the golden ticket.


Replacing my blog at

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