Beat Poets. Well, if you insist....
The strongest men are the most alone. I’ve never thought, “Well, some beautiful blonde will come in here and give me a fuck-job, rub my balls, and I’ll feel good.” No, that won’t help. You know the typical crowd, “Wow, it’s Friday night, what are you going to do? Just sit there?” Well, yeah. Because there’s nothing out there. It’s stupidity. Stupid people mingling with stupid people. Let them stupidify themselves. -- Bukowski
I've never developed an appreciation for the Beats, because I spent a long time studying Modernism, and, imbued with a deep and broad and informed loathing of that movement, I found the this particular backlash against it trite and tedious and painfully self-aware. Fuck Postmodernism, because it’s navel-gazing, self-important, and an excuse to be boorish and boring (I'm aware that these criticisms can be made with varying degrees of validity of myself; I ain't perfect). Go ahead and ossify, but for the love of fuck, ossify in something with a modicum of style. You look like a goddamned Apple ad (the renaissance of Beats as MRA and hipsterish scions, or at least being quoted by them in attempts to seem cool, isn't doing either half of that equation any favors in my estimation, so take that as you will).
This is, however, one of the most irritating quotes I see come up time and time again on tumblr (it comes in from several directions - athletes and aesthetes alike). There are a lot of facets to this, so I’m going to try and unpack my negative reaction to them:
- Arrogance isn’t strength. Arrogance can be a byproduct of strength, if you’re a douchebag. (Believe me - I’m strong, and entirely capable of being an asshole… but those are independent vectors, A does not cause B, nor does B cause A).
- The only time strength is absolutely solitary is when it’s being exercised to its utmost. Stephen Hawking’s brilliance explores places no human mind has previously contemplated or theorized or drawn up equations to express the same way that Andy Bolton was the only guy pulling a thousand pounds off the floor. Nobody can be the strongest with you, but you didn’t get to that apex of achievement alone, and the point is to blaze a trail, not stake an exclusive claim. It's a less-facile "First Post!" achievement, but if you're doing it to be exclusionary, you're doing it wrong.
- Contempt for stupidity is something I recognize, and, yeah, exhibit. But they might not be “stupidifying” themselves. Maybe they have different passions, and are strong about things that are different. It’s called fandom, Chuck..
- It's not all a thousand bags of fail; he's at least gotten the clue about "if you merely do X, you get the girl" as masculine entitlement, though he almost immediately undermines it with the "No, that won't help." Soooo... this is a dismissal of someone's appreciation of strength? Some kind of self-absorbed ascetism?
- Inactivity isn't strength, unless you're actively resisting some force pushing against you. If, as CB suggests, "there's nothing out there," than he's doing less than shouting down storms and tilting at windmills, he's trying to stare down the abyss, lip pooched out, doing nothing to resist doing something he considers to be nothing.