Wednesday, September 22, 2004

What is a Curmudgeon Anyway?

Jon Winokur:

"What is a Curmudgeon anyway?

"A curmudgeon's reputation for malevolence is undeserved. They're
neither warped nor evil at heart. They don't hate mankind, just
mankind's absurdities. They're just as sensitive and softhearted as
the next guy, but they hide their vulnerability beneath a crust of
misanthropy. They ease the pain by turning hurt into humor... They
attack maudlinism because it devalues genuine sentiment... Nature,
having failed to equip them with a serviceable denial mechanism, has
endowed them with astute perception and sly wit.

"Curmudgeons are mockers and debunkers whose bitterness is a symptom
rather than a disease. They can't compromise their standards and
can't manage the suspension of disbelief necessary for feigned
cheerfulness. Their awareness is a curse.

"Perhaps curmudgeons have gotten a bad rap in the same way that the
messenger is blamed for the message: They have the temerity to
comment on the human condition without apology. They not only
refuse to applaud mediocrity, they howl it down with morose glee.
Their versions of the truth unsettle us, and we hold it against
them, even though they soften it with humor."
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