Cosmo vs. Columbine

I will never be the best. At anything, ever. Not at writing, or writing blogs, or writing about writing blogs, or writing about not being the best at anything ever. Someone has written what I'm writing now in a much clearer, more profound way. This is such a depressing thought to me. What's the point of living if I'm always in the middle of the pack? It really takes the insignificance of me as a person and shoves it back in my face. I'm insignificant in my community, the only reason I try to achieve something is to prove my worth to myself.  I'm insignificant in your life. Don't deny it, it's alright. You might not know me, except through my writing. You might know me really well. Either way, I'm just a fleeting, peripheral character in a life that will have thousands of them. The only life that I'm not insignificant in is my own. So the point of my own existence is to prove to myself that I have proven my own existence. I need proof. Proof I was here, so I can be set free of a mortal time frame. For my grandma, the proof is a tombstone on a mossy, rundown field. For Janis Joplin, it's the music that I'm listening to right now. We think our lives are a contest to see how long we can go without being forgotten. It's that artistic entropy that makes me go crazy. Why would you remember me? This isn't the best thing you've read today. Not by a long shot. Why wouldn't it leave your head the second you finish the last sentence?

I have to realize that my life will be forgotten in a nanosecond. So what does that leave me? A life turns into a Cosmopolitan magazine. Superficial. Empty of substance, but full of the in-your-face, important-in-an-embarrassing-way material that you look at underneath the covers and realize that this might be the only thing you have to live by.

Spot a Man Who Wants to Be Approached

 *He [wants to be approached if] he flaunts his junk.
   When a guy wants to meet a woman, he'll unknowingly position his body so that his package is as visible as possible. Often, he'll rest his foot on an elevated surface, like the rung of a bar stool, and point his knee out to let his crotch take center stage.
---Cosmopolitan Magazine, page 68

Does anyone really need to know that bit of information? Obviously not. It's entertaining, humorous, and might make a few girls try it out. Cosmopolitan is a filth magazine for women, but you can't help but snicker at what's on it's pages. You love to look down on it. We love to look down on things that scare us. Is Cosmo the one that has it right, though? Maybe the emptiness is importance. Maybe the dumb redneck knows what he's doing. Maybe numbing the pain of existence is the only thing that will help you forget that it's going to end and it's never going to be remembered again.

Exhibit A. The Columbine Massacre. Reality. No one knows what went through the heads of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold when they killed 13 bystanders and then themselves. Analysts upon Psychologists upon Pundits blamed the massacre on everything from childhood trauma to videogames. Maybe these kids knew that the news would be analyzing them. The first day of journalism class I heard the phrase "If it bleeds, it leads". God Damnit if that story didn't lead for a year straight. I still know their names. Morality thrown out the window, I still know their names. Does that make them more successful than me? In a way I think it does.

Cosmopolitan, and magazines like it, help us focus on the superficiality of sex or drugs or anything else without "salvific" characteristics. They help us stay in a bubble so that we don't end up like Dylan and Eric. That's alright with me. Superficiality becomes reality when reality is superficial.


  1. I'm actually dealing with the same thing right now, and I was struck the other day by how billions of people must have gone through the same thing. But I think your reaction is a little extreme. Why does a life of non-fame equate to insignificance? Why do we have to go out in a bang in order to validate our lives? I don't feel that I need to get any sort of message across. I try to live my message instead. And if I can't, then I'll try to be happy in a substantial way. Commit to a cause, plant a garden, fall in love, even, yes, read a filthy magazine occasionally. We don't have to revert to extremes. Marlon Brando loved good fart jokes.

    I think the most elusive thing in the world is to manage to stay half-in-the-bubble, half-in-the-world. Cosmic despair accomplishes nothing, unless you really consider infamy an endgoal of life. Do you? Then the magazines have succeeded.

  2. i actually wrote a research paper on this last year (kinda...i didn't actually write it and i chose to fail the class but this is what i almost wrote a research paper on..i researched it a little)
    and it was about gary gilmore.
    long story short
    gary gilmore went into a convenience store, took some cash, was on his way out, and just decided to turn around and shoot the owner of the store.
    late he did the same thing to another person.
    the details a probz wrong
    but not the point
    the point is
    he just shot two people for funzies.
    and then he asked the judge for the death penalty.
    in fact he fired his lawyer for trying to fight against his execution.
    just the way he wanted it, he was the first person to be executed in utah after a 10 year dry period of capital punishment
    and for years after wards people psychoanalyzed his life and dwelled on the ordinary events of his past
    the only motive the so called 'experts' could come up with is that gary gilmore killed those people to get the death penalty and immortalize himself in death the way he never could in life.

    i felt this relevant.