On Recognizing My Own Hypocrisies | Fallor Ergo Sum

By Don Hall

I write a lot. A lot. 

Quite a bit of it is of the Socratic solipsistic nature gazing hard into the ignorance of the world and commenting on how the collective we can do better. Not a bad preoccupation but presenting itself with certain limitations that bind the brain like a too-tight corset squeezing the blood in opposite directions until both your feet and your face get puffy.

I believe that every once in a while, in a take-myself-down-a-peg sort of way, it’s necessary to look hard into oneself and catalogue one’s own bullshit a tad. Perhaps in an effort to know thyself, perhaps in efforts to change the self before leveling accusations at the collective, perhaps just as an exercise in seeing past the narcissistic image in the mirror and recognizing who one truly is. I dunno but it seems valuable and I’m going to be writing anyway, so why not?

The Capitalism/Consumerism Hypocrisy
If you either know me or know me strictly from my writing, my strident distaste for capitalism is obvious. The religious fervor for making a buck at the cost of integrity, artistic merit, and basic human decency is rotten to the core of the human experience. The overwhelming hunger to consume things and too many calories and fuel the machine that drives our society further and further into a dark hole of war and rage and callousness drives me nuts.

It is, therefore, hypocritical on levels reserved for Republican Senators that I love nothing more than to horde my Apple products. An early adopter, a technology scavenger, and He Who Must Bloviate About His Many Kickass Devices, it’s a sad testament to my wavering commitment to hating capitalism and consumerism that I must have the latest iPhone, iPad Pro, iCases, charging cables, operating systems.

The Reductive Injustice/Grudge Hypocrisy
In the slow, grinding evolution of my soul I have come to the conclusion that most group revenge on individuals is nothing more than mob justice. As a character in a Tarantino movie puts it “justice delivered without dispassion, is always in danger of not being justice." I see McCarthyism and Witch Trials everywhere on the internet and I fundamentally view these actions as wrong even if the target is guilty.

This statement, however, is in complete hypocrisy with my desire to hold those individuals who engage in mob justice accountable. In an eye for an eye sort of way, I want those bullies who gang up on others in the name of some ill-defined sense of justice to pay for their bullying. I crave for those self-righteous twats who feel empowered to destroy someone they disagree with so casually to suffer the exact same Villagers with a Pitchfork fate.

The Marketing Hypocrisy
I hate marketing. I hate marketing, advertising, clickbait, promotions, spam emails, upselling. I hate all of it and, like Bill Hicks once said to advertisers, “You are Satan’s spawn filling the world with bile and garbage. You are fucked and you are fucking us. Kill yourself. It’s the only way to save your fucking soul. Kill yourself.”

One reason I was replaced at WBEZ was my refusal to use the events department I had created over a decade as just another source of high-dollar marketing to people willing to part with their cash to attend. Sure, I could’ve adapted and gone with the program but my personal ethic is too rigidly attuned to the horrors of marketing to bend too far.

Ah, but my own hypocrisy shows as I use Facebook, Twitter, MailChimp and the host of digital marketing tools to sell you my shit. I want you to come to see Literate Ape events so I use all the mechanics of the trade to entice you to read, to show up, drink a beer and attend. I want you to hire me to produce your events and host your shows. So I use the instruments I despise to get you to do that.

The Feminism Hypocrisy
I am a feminist if feminism is defined as being pro-women, in favor of and actively engaged in promoting equality via the gender-lines, holding strong and unwavering beliefs that women are every bit as intelligent and capable as men when it comes to just about everything I can think of.  In my 35 years or so of working for money, more than half of my employers have been women and that fact has never been an issue in any way.

I am not a feminist if feminism is defined as believing that women are better than men in general, or that the worst aspects of humanity exist in the constant annoyance with manspreading and mansplaining (effectively reducing feminism to bitching about traffic and old people making the line at Walgreen’s too long because their goddamn coupons.)

I recognize that rape is evil but that Rape Culture is a made-up bunch of crap equating dirty jokes and catcalling with a violent sexual assault.

Not so sure how hypocritical this is but it is definitely an issue I struggle with. I struggle with it because I love my wife, my sister, my mom. I struggle with it because my niece is just now entering the world of college and I want this brilliant, willful woman to not have the edges of her genius dulled by the whetstone of patriarchal paradigms. I struggle with it because I am human and believe that other humans deserve nothing less than what I have in life.

The Hypocrisy of Being a White Guy in a Multicultural Society
The Rage Profiteers over on the Extreme Left have it right on a few accounts. White people have done a lot of shitty, horrifying, inhumane things on the road to today. Genocides against indigenous peoples, slavery, Jim Crow, the subjugation of the Chinese and Mexicans for cheap labor. All the Robber Barons (both then and now) are white. And men. The KKK. The War on Drugs (which is really just a war on black people and hippies.) The John Birch Society. The assassination of MLK and then the subsequent quoting of MLK to support their dominance. The whitewashing of history and religion (c’mon folks—Jesus was black and you fucking know it.)

Face it, the list of atrocities attributed to white people throughout history would be almost ludicrous if it weren’t so incredibly, comprehensively damning.

I am in favor of some sort of feasible reparations for slavery, for serious immigration amnesty, a genuine reform of police culture in this country and for a monumental financial investment in black and brown neighborhoods to at least balance out the systematic gentrification.

But I’m a hypocrite in that I refuse to own the legacy of my skin color. I feel no personal guilt for the list of horrors proliferated by my forefathers and, despite the screams in my face to just shut up and listen, I maintain that any movement that requires me to simply follow without contributing to the ideas behind it and the strategies utilized is not for me.

I believe that I can listen empathetically and still disagree. I meet the charge to "check [my] privilege" with the counter to "Check your stigmata." I bristle at being referred to as fragile by someone throwing a tantrum over the specious charge of micro-aggressions. I firmly believe in tone policing for everyone because it is the tone of our discourse that is preventing any forward collaborative movement.

Because of all of that, I find that I am a poor proponent of civil rights because revolution requires simplicity and ideological purity. That is a hypocrisy that I find difficult to swallow.

“Fallor Ergo Sum.”
“I err, therefore, I am.”
—St. Augustine.

Perhaps it’s a dodge or a cop-out but my experience has shown me that each of us, in our own personal ways, are hypocrites. The view of ourselves as the heroes in our narratives is only balanced by the shitty things we do to maintain that illusion.

There's nothing in the world wrong with being wrong. Hypocrisy is as human as it comes.  I've met in my days folks who have stopped. Stopped making mistakes, stopped learning from them, stopped wrestling with the dichotomies within. That's a mistake I won't make.