Functioning as a Satirical Curmudgeon - The Explorer: Columns

Functioning as a Satirical Curmudgeon

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Posted: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 4:00 am

Curmudgeon (cur-muj’-in), n. The traditional definition refers to crusty old men who are ill natured and rude. Fortunately, I discovered a current description that highlights a modern view: dislike for pretense and duplicity and the nerve to say it with candor and clarity of thought. In fairness, defining a curmudgeon requires more insight than merely perusing a few lines in the latest version of Webster’s collegiate dictionary or an online selection. 

Satirical, on the other hand, is rather straightforward in meaning: humorous, witty, ironic, and at times, sarcastic and contemptuous.

Therefore, combining the two into a satirical curmudgeon gives you a more representative presentation: a candid, unbiased view of the world presented in a way that creates a plausibly embraceable objection.       

Okay, I can hear your wheels turning, but hold on; before you create an aversion to curmudgeons remember that some remain prominent even though they’re long gone. For example, the wit and quotes of Mark Twain and Will Rogers are celebrated. Look at a picture of Mr. Rogers; can you really say he looks insolent? And yes, the obvious pundits that always come to mind as fitting the born-grumpy mold are W. C. Fields and Andy Rooney. Undoubtedly, these two cumudgeonary role models stand alone in a world of aspiring wits.     

Curmudgeonry is a tough line of work because it demands a steadfast, outspoken devotion to pointing out that life isn’t fair, frequently unreasonable and most often illogical. Nonetheless, someone has to protect the human herd against itself; otherwise, it seems destined to wander through the ages in overpriced, over hyped, designer tagged and rose-colored glasses. If it wasn’t for the curmudgeon, society would have plummeted off the alluring optimist, politically correct peak long ago.

Face it; optimism and mindless political correctness are eradicating us. A week rarely passes without hearing another resounding medical research report highlighting Americans as soft and self-absorbed through conscious physical and nutritional neglect. Yet many believe by some upcoming medical miracle that virtually anything foolishly overdone is reversible or at least repairable given enough time and money. To bolster this plight, countless books and talk show hosts comfort the masses in the conviction that it’s okay to slough through life if it makes you feel good. Besides, it keeps the government social services operation functioning at full tilt and those otherwise unemployable souls indebted to Big Brother.

While we proudly live in the land of the free, it appears too many of those outside our borders define free as meaning just show up and we’ll give you stuff for nothing, or in an emergency, we’ll even air lift it to you. Never mind that some people living here may be going without. Either way, we foot the bill under the guise of humanitarianism, but that’s okay because whatever makes us feel better about ourselves must surely be okay. Oh yeah, I can see our freedom for the world notion is headed in the right direction without any further cumudgeonary input.

Finally, the misconception that curmudgeons dislike particular things and people is misleadingly unfounded. We’re suspect of many things and people; it’s not personal or biased and no individual or item is targeted, they’re all fair game if involved in something inexplicably dim-witted. We abhor injustice, recoil at the concept of political correctness, resolutely avoid fads and trends, don’t embrace the herd mentality, and remain clearly disillusioned. Curmudgeons hate crime, not the criminal, although some merit exceptional consideration, and we consider stupidity as an anthropological quirk that isn’t likely to be eradicated given its foothold in humankind.

Armed with these premises, the curmudgeon bores deliberately into the mire of mankind. With a bit of luck and the outlook for perpetual human stupidity, we’ll be in business indefinitely.

For those of you on the sidelines, here’s a chance to eccentrically participate in the conscientious battle against dumbness and injustice, simply report anything that seems remarkably stupid or illogical to: Mild Mannered Thelma Grimes, Editor. You didn’t expect me to take the heat on this one did you? Curmudgeons aren’t stupid, we just write about it.

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