Here there be monsters (socratic) wrote,
Here there be monsters

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The Epistemology of SUCK

Today I had a revelation. A very sweaty revelation.

No it wasn't with a woman. It also wasn't with a man, for those of you who suspect I swing that way (nosearmy). For once it wasn't even alone in bed with some hand cream and a picture of Estelle Getty*.

This wasn't a pleasure sweat, it was an exercise sweat. I'd been out in the park doing what some might call power walking but for me is more accurately known as speed-lurching, the effect looking somewhat like someone had projected Boris Karloff's Frankenstein monster into one of those funhouse mirrors that makes you fat, and then sped the film up about twofold.

The sun was shining, there were children playing, and a gentle breeze wafted off the Hudson, bringing with it not the scent of garbage barges or dying fish but that sweet fresh springy smell of clean pure water. It was a perfectly terrible day to exercise out of doors, but I was determined and made it over the 4+ miles I had assigned myself, listening to music and plotting out a 12 episode television series of outstanding hilarity that will never see the sight of day.

I arrived back at home sweaty. Not the normal kind of sweaty either, fat man sweaty. Not just fat man sweaty, but fat man who hasn't showered in over 36 hours sweaty (I'd spent the day before home alone and then what's the point of showering right before you exercise? That's for GIRLS and guys who RESPECT THEMSELVES.) Naturally I had my trusty crusty underpants on and the hot sweat was dripping down the small of my back into the crust of the pants, creating a noxious odor that's absolutely impossible to describe**. I needed to get into a shower and get my clothes into a washing machine (Or really an incinerator) post-haste. There was, however, a problem. While I had brought the key to the apartment building with me, I had taken an old set and the keys to the apartment itself did not work. As I sat in a cloud of my own manfumes and waited for someone to come on duty and let me in I talked to myself.

"Self," I said with resignation, "This sucks."

Then it hit me like a thunderbolt. Yes, that did indeed suck, but how did I KNOW it sucked?

It was with this question in mind that I began to probe the nature of suckitude. Many people think that sucking is something defined by emotion, like something that makes one happy or sad. It is not. We know our emotions as we know ourselves. When I have written something spectacular, I am happy, and I know it. When I am blocked and sitting at the computer for days typing up unreadable crap that I will delete, I am sad, and I know it. When I am alone in my bed with the hand cream and my sweet Estelle I am in the throes of passion, and I know it. These states are evident through an empirical analysis of one's emotions and reactions.

Suckitude is not.

The reason is simple. You can declare yourself happy and nobody can effectively argue that point. They can claim you are lying, saying you're happy when you're not, but they can't prove it except through circumstantial evidence, such as the fact that you're crying and hugging yourself or the heavy spike in your IV drug use. If someone tries to argue that you're happy when you claim you're not they are probably your abusive boyfriend. Ladies, I can't stress this enough. DO NOT MARRY YOUR ABUSIVE BOYFRIEND. It's not a good idea. Why would you even consider it? He's an asshole. Remember what Laura Bush says, 11 inches of pleasure now, a lifetime of regret. She should know.

Likewise you can say you like something and it cannot be reasonably disputed. Some people like dressing up like the tooth fairy and exposing themselves to young children. You may not approve, but you can't say I....I mean they...don't enjoy it!

Anyway, emotional states and reactions can be unilaterally declared, but suckitude is not so simple. Observe the following realistic debate between two teenage boys. The names are real but the boys have been made up.

Marty: Man, Revenge of the Sith really sucked.

Robert: No way, it RULED!


You see how Marty's declaration of suckitude was cleverly countered by Robert's claim? Not so if he had gone with a more subjective term.

Marty: Man, I hated Revenge of the Sith.

Robert: What are you talking about? It rules. You're gay.

Note how Robert doesn't challenge Marty's claim that he enjoyed Revenge of the Sith, he simply CHANGES the subject. What an asshole.

What we see, though, is that sucking and ruling are objective states. While they may lead to certain reactions these reactions are mere responses to a fact of reality.

Ah, you say, but there is a potential problem. Let's return to our pair of young exemplars to illustrate.

Marty: So dude, Chloe wants me to come over to her house and "help her with her math homework"if you know what I mean.

Robert: You mean help her with her Math homework?

Marty: Yeah.

Robert: That RULES!

Marty: but I think her boyfriend's gonna be there or something.

Robert: Oh dude, THAT SUCKS!

Now what sucks here? Is it the entire situation, or merely the presence of the boyfriend? If we look back to what made the incident "rule" we can see that if you include the boyfriend's presence there is no ruling going on in the first place. The situation would have ruled, had he not been there, but it sucks IN GENERAL since he is. Indeed here we get to the crux of the suck/rule dichotomy. Sucking and ruling are, indeed, objective states, however they are objective states that require subjective information to be analyzed. For example, for a fan of the Blues a few hours spent at a B.B. King concert are definitely hours that rule. However for a hip hop aficionado those would be hours of extreme suckitude. In order to analyze the suckosity of a particular incident object or person we must first have a perspective from which to view it.

But, wait, what about our original example? Does Star Wars Episode III suck or rule? Can it suck from Marty's perspective and rule from Robert's? Is there room for that?

The answer is no. You see in a situation of dispute like that, the opinion of the coolest person must be taken as fact. Since Robert rocks and Marty is a douche, we can conclude

Marty: Hey, FUCK YOU.'re fictional.

Marty: Whatever. You suck.

No Marty, it is you who sucks.

Marty: I deserve better than to be an example in this stupid essay. I'm a very intelligent young man, I don't say suck or rule for the most part, I'm just doing you a favor. In fact, I'm a published author. I have an article on Etruscan architecture coming out in the Atlantic Monthly next week. Do you? I find it highly dubitable.

What are you saying?

Marty: You suck, dillweed. You write bad too.

I write badLY Martin, I write badly.

Marty: My point exactly.

Hey, fuck you.

Marty: Who sucks now?

Unfortunately Marty had a sudden heart attack

Marty: What the fu--

And was unable to continue the conversation. Nonetheless we see that epistemologically suckitude is an objective state that is perceived by all but with most clarity by the coolest people around. Thus when a popular celebrity, such as Brad Pitt or Robert Goulet, proclaims something to suck it does, in fact, suck and it is not peer pressure that creates agreement but rather acknowledgment of expertise. Given my situation, sweaty smelly and locked out, I think that we can all agree that even the coolest of people, Goulet, for example, would find that a sucky position, and thus my belief in its suckitude is, in fact, well merited.

That being said, Robert Goulet sucks, AND HE KNOWS IT. Just wanted to get that off my chest. I feel better now.

*though I wish it had been. God I wish it had been.

** I will, however, for the sake of comprehensiveness, make an attempt. To call it a paint peeling smell would do a disservice to the olfactory capabilities of paint. This scent did not make paint peel, it made it run screaming from the locus point (which would be me.) sucking itself up the walls and towards the furthest corner, while emitting a horrible wail. Did you know that paint can scream? Well it can, and it's BLOOD CURDLING. This smell was so bad that not only were birds dropping dead from the sky but the New York City terror alert was briefly switched to red because sensors detected a chemical weapon attack. If not for deep throat revealing himself you would have heard about it already, you still might later. Yeah, that was me.

This smell was so bad that had it wafted up to heaven God himself would have said "Why the fuck did I rest on the seventh day when I could have been working on air freshener. This Glade crap doesn't do shit. It DOESN'T DO SHIT. At least Satan has brimstone down there, that masks the smell. Do you know what I've got? Clouds. Do you know what clouds smell like? NOTHING. They're water vapor. DAMN DAMN DAMN. He's also got all the good music you know. Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Tupac. What do I have? Fred Rodgers and one fuckin' DJ whose only CD is apparently the Best of Bryan Adams. Oh, what's that? You're playing "Cuts Like a Knife" again? What a shocker. So original. Good job! People think I've got Buddy Holly, but no. No. Apparently "Peggy Sue" was too 'racy.' Fuckin Peter, 2 millennia as a bouncer and you think you own this place. I'd start Armageddon but I don't want to give those fucking fundamentalists the satisfaction. Yeah, I put you on earth so you could resist every natural temptation and spend all day chanting my name like a swarm of developmentally challenged lemmings. Good call on the bible interpretation there Chief. THIS SMELL. I should have been a dentist, but no, I had to be god. "Be a dentist, people will always need their teeth fixed. Good money in dentistry." that's what my mom told me, but did I listen? No. I went the deity route. And I'm omniscient so I KNOW about England. I KNOW."

Yes. That bad. Did you throw up a little in your mouth? If not then you have no idea. No idea of the smell. The smell. Oh god the smell.
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