Why I don’t listen to Michael Jackson and Why Johnny Depp is not my favorite actor anymore

There was a time when I used to force myself to keep the artist and the art separate. My heart always felt that it was wrong but somehow, I used rationality to convince myself to listen and watch artists who have been accused of child sexual abuse, domestic violence, etc. But now when I listen to the English retro station and hear Michael Jackson, I immediately close the tab or my ears. Whenever I hear praises about Johnny Depp (Who was my favorite actor at one point of time) or Woody Allen, I cringe. It’s true that the art is always greater than the artist but it is kind of impossible to separate the two. Art is not rational and human beings are emotional beings.

You might ask, “where is the proof? How do you know that the accusations are not false?”. My answer is that it’s okay if I miss out on one of the greatest pieces of art because of the accusations. Humanity is more important than art. A piece of art that has been created by a man/woman who has done some inhumane things is anyway not worth my time.

Parents are not Gods

“Worshiping your parents” is dangerous because it discourages us from questioning our parents (which is REALLY important). It is dangerous because the kids grow up and expect their kids to worship them. It is dangerous because it enables many parents to abuse their children. It is dangerous because many parents manipulate and emotionally blackmail their children. It is dangerous because many parents bully their children. It is dangerous because it turns parents into narcissists. Our parents are not Gods. They are human beings with flaws and limitations. Respect and love your parents but don’t be fanatical about them!

To old people who criticize ‘today’s music’

To old people who criticize ‘today’s music’: Many a times, your criticism has got nothing to do with the music itself. We all want to go back to our childhood and adolescent days. If you ask me, I would say that the 90’s music was better than today’s music but that’s because I have some amazing memories associated with it. Objectively speaking, every generation produces good music but we tend to be biased towards the music we grew up to and it is understandable. Childhood and adolescence is a time when we experience many things for the first time in our life (e.g friendship, love, heartbreak etc) and the music that we listened to was an expression of our emotions. Instead of criticizing ‘today’s’ music, we should respect each generation’s need and right to express itself. Let’s stop bullying the younger generation by saying stuff like, “today’s music is crap”.

Rebuilding habits

Some habits are unable to stand the test of time. Due to changes in life, it is difficult to sustain good habits. So how do we get back to them? I’m trying to find answers to this question and it seems that there is no magic formula. Since we are back to square one, we have to start rebuilding, step by step. I guess, there is no point in aiming for big things when we have totally given up the habit. We have to start doing small things to get back to the old times. This can be a painful process but if we had cultivated some really good habits, then we will realize that habits (both good and bad ones) don’t die easily. It’s up to us to cultivate them again. We also have to learn to enjoy the process of building habits.

The problem with ‘Baahubali: The Conclusion’

‘Baahubali: The Conclusion’ is a nice movie but there are places where the message of ‘women empowerment’ feels like a joke.

Examples:
1. Devasena, who epitomizes a strong, independent woman, says things like, “Why are you hiding in the back like women?” In other words, she wants men to stop acting like women (women=weak). This is a classic example of internalized misogyny.
2. The arrows of Devasena have a pink color on them while the arrows of Amarendra Baahubali have blue color. This is a classic example of gender stereotyping.
3. At the end of the day,  Devasena has no identity of her own. Just like Avantika in ‘Baahubali: The Beginning’ (click), Devasena begins her journey as an independent, strong woman but is ultimately defined by her relationship with men (girlfriend, wife, mother). It is all about Baahubali, his kingdom, his child, his strength and his revenge.

What to expect from therapy/counseling

Your counselor/therapist is not your friend.He/She is a professional who is there to help you. He/She is not a magician. He/She cannot ‘transform’ your life overnight. He/She doesn’t have all the answers. His/her word is not the last word. He/She is a human being with flaws and limitations. It takes effort from both parties to build a healthy relationship and like any relationship, it requires time, patience, understanding and adjustments. Be practical and set realistic goals with your therapist/counselor. Not all counselors are empathetic, though. There are some insensitive therapists  who invalidate your feelings.

We are in an abusive relationship with society

Society gaslights us into believing that we are worthless. It tells us that the only way to get love is by changing our mind, body and soul. It swings between rewards and punishment, between love and abuse, and leaves us forever confused. We start believing that there’s something wrong with us, when in reality, it’s the culture which has unrealistic expectations from us. We are forever walking on eggshells, trying not to disappoint the society. No matter how much we achieve, it is never enough.
The only way to get out of this abusive relationship is to realize that the problem doesn’t lie within us. Abusers are never satisfied and nothing that we do can be good enough for them. The day we realize that we don’t have to prove our worth to anybody, we will be free from the abuse.

The problem with using ‘uneducated’ as an insult

I often hear people using the word ‘uneducated’ as an insult during debates.  First of all, not everyone can afford to get quality education, so it’s not someone’s fault if he/she is not educated. Secondly, education cannot really stop anybody from becoming an asshole (Many highly educated men have been accused of rape). Sure, it can impart the right values but I’m skeptical about our education system doing this job. Our education system is mainly designed around obedience, conformity and jobs, so teaching the important things definitely take a back seat. And even if the education system is doing a fabulous job, using the word ‘uneducated’ as an insult is like mocking someone for not knowing English. 

Sexism in IPL

IPL is a wonderful tournament but it is disappointing to see only female cheerleaders on the sidelines. There is nothing wrong with cheerleading…The problem is sexism (why can’t we have male cheerleaders)? By having only female cheerleaders, we are telling a generation of girls that they are only supposed to ‘cheer’ for men. Aren’t women expected to do this in every area of life? While the man reaches milestones in his career, the woman is supposed to sacrifice her dreams and ‘cheer’ for his achievements.

Why society is afraid of solitude

Society is afraid of solitude. A solitary individual might find truth, beauty and happiness and he/she might come to a conclusion that most of the things/activities in the society are not necessary. He/She might start questions like “what is the meaning of life” or “why am I here?”. Society is made up of people who have second-hand answers to these questions and it is afraid of being challenged by individuals who are not satisfied with these answers. So society designs a strategy: it shames loners and thinkers. It fills up people’s time with endless activities so that they have no time to think.